Contact Governor Scott About Signing GRU Bill Into Law

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Please contact Governor Rick Scott by Tuesday, May 23rd and urge him to sign into law GRU governance voter referendum bill CS/HB 759 through one (or all) of the following methods:

  1. Call Governor Scott at (850) 717-9337 and ask him to sign the bill into law
  2. Email Governor Scott and ask him to sign the bill into law
  3. Call Governor Scott’s Deputy Policy Coordinator Chris Bailey at 850.717.9469 and ask for the Governor to sign the bill into law
  4. Email Governor Scott’s Deputy Policy Coordinator Chris Bailey at Christopher.Bailey@LASPBS.STATE.FL.US and ask for the Governor to sign the bill into law

Please see below for Governor Scott talking points, bill summary analysis, and links to the bill text, House of Representatives local bill staff analysis and the Gainesville Chamber 2013 energy competitiveness report.

Please let us know if you urge the Governor to sign the bill.

Contact Kamal Latham at Kamal@gainesvillechamber.com or 352.334.7100.

Top 3 Governor Scott Talking Points 

  1. Please sign into law GRU governance voter referendum bill CS/HB 759, which would not compensate board members  
  2. Gainesville’s electric utility rates are still among the highest in the State of Florida, which makes us less competitive
  3. Creating a board solely focused on governing GRU is the best public policy 

Top 3 Background Points 

  1. Governor Scott vetoed a similar GRU bill last year because it compensated board members (the compensation provision was removed this year)
  2. In March 2017, Gainesville commercial electric rates were 57% higher than Orlando in one category.  Click the link below for March 2017 Florida Electric Bill Comparisons as published by Florida Municipal Electric Association http://publicpower.com/pdf/rates/2017/2017_march_rates.pdf
  3. The Gainesville City Commission currently governs GRU, which means they split their time between overseeing the $400+ million GRU budget, the $100+ million general government budget, and overseeing the Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA)

Governor Rick Scott Talking Points: GRU Governance Bill CS/HB 759 

  • Governor Scott, thank you for your strong leadership in promoting job creation, business growth and economic development in Florida.
  • I support City of Gainesville GRU governance voter referendum bill CS/HB 759 and hope you will sign it into law
  • This referendum would enable Gainesville voters to decide whether to create an authority to govern Gainesville Regional Utilities in November 2018
  • This bill has been improved upon from last year as the governing board members would receive NO compensation   
  • Three major business organizations from our region (the Chamber, the Builders, and the Realtors) support this bill
  • This bill specifies that the 5 appointed governing board members shall be people of recognized ability and good business judgment
  • This bill mandates that a majority of board members shall be competent and knowledgeable in law, economics, accounting, engineering, finance, or energy 
  • The governing board shall be a fiduciary board with broad authority, including the ability to set utility rates and hire/fire the general manager   
  • The City Commission would appoint the utility board members
  • The Gainesville Chamber recommended 4 years ago that a separate board be created to govern GRU, which is currently governed by the City Commission 
  • As you may recall, Gainesville’s commercial electric utility rates are still among the highest in the State of Florida, which makes us less competitive 
  • Facilitating economic development and job creation are top priorities for our local business community 
  • We simply must be more competitive as it relates to overall energy costs 
  • Creating a board solely focused on governing GRU is the best public policy 
  • I appreciate you taking the time to speak with me and I hope you sign the bill into law, which would put this referendum on the ballot 
  • Thank you for your leadership and consideration 

Summary Analysis: GRU Governance Bill CS/HB 759 

Gainesville Regional Utilities (GRU) is a municipal utility system governed by the Gainesville City Commission.  GRU provides electric, natural gas, water, wastewater, and telecommunications services.  

This local bill provides for a referendum for qualified electors of the City of Gainesville (City) during the November 2018 general election to determine whether to amend the City’s charter to establish the Gainesville Regional Utilities Authority (Authority) to govern GRU.  

It details the Authority’s governance and leadership structure, as well as duties and powers. In summary of key components, the bill: 

  • Establishes the Authority as a unit of city government, but free from the direction and control of the city commission and city charter officers, for the purpose of governing the utilities operated by GRU
  • Establishes the powers and duties of the Authority, including but not limited to the following:
    1. Set rates, charges, rules, and policies for GRU’s systems
    2. Acquire, construct, and finance utilities system projects, including the power of eminent domain, with title to all property to vest in the City
    3. Issue revenue bonds, by resolution, to finance or refinance utilities system projects 
    4. Dispose of utilities system assets as specified in the City charter
    5. Prepare and submit an annual budget to the city commission, including the amount of any transfer to the City
    6. Prepare and submit an Annual Customer Report (ACR) to the city commission examining utility rates for all customers
    7. Appoint a Chief Executive Officer/General Manager (CEO/GM) to direct and administer utilities functions under the Authority’s policies
    8. Recommend the acquisition of new utility systems
    9. Provides that the Authority will consist of five members appointed by the city commission, to include at least one member from outside the City boundaries
    10. Sets Authority member qualification requirements and term limits
    11. Staggers the terms of the initial Authority members and provides for four-year terms thereafter
    12. Provides that an Authority member may be removed or suspended by the city commission for cause under general law
    13. Provides for the continued service of GRU personnel under CEO/GM
    14. Requires the performance of all acts necessary to ensure an orderly transition of GRU governance to the Authority

Additional Resources

GRU Bill CS/HB 759 Text 

House of Representatives Local Bill Staff Analysis: GRU Bill CS/HB 759 

Gainesville Area Chamber 2013 Energy Competitiveness Report

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