Read the latest update from this story.
The Gainesville City Attorney has responded to the complaint by Seniors vs. Crime about a tax on electric customer charges collected by the Gainesville Regional Utilities.
Read the original story.
In the response, the city has concluded that they feel the tax is justified and that “it is common utility practice throughout the state to include a ‘customer charge’ or ‘facility charge’ as part of the base rate and to require that such charge comprises the minimum bill for the provision of electric service,” according to the letter from City Attorney Nicolle Shalley and Shayla McNeill, the utility’s attorney.
Seniors vs. Crime, a program of the state attorney general’s office, is representing James Konish, 59, who noticed what he considered an odd charge on his utility bill four months ago. The dispute centers on the 10 percent tax collected on the portion of utility bills called the “Electric Customer Charge” that is a set fee for all GRU customers. Customers in both the city of Gainesville and outside city limits in Alachua County are assessed tax on that charge.
The response from the city can be read below:
UPDATE — June 2, 5:10 PM: The Seniors vs. Crime office has responded to the letter from the Gainesville City Attorney and GRU’s attorney. A letter from the SVC Office Manager John Caravella challenges their justification of the tax. According to Caravella, “[A]ction and reliance simply upon a common practice seems insufficient to add application of the Public Service Tax to items beyond the State’s legislative definition.” See below for a copy of the response letter.