Gainesville City Commission Vote Yes to Increased GRU Rates and Property Taxes

by Landon Harrar

GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WCJB) — It’s a double-whammy for taxpayers in the city of Gainesville.

City commissioners voted Wednesday to approve 6.4 percent rate increase for electricity, and that isn’t the only rate hike.

Commissioners have for months been trying to find millions of dollars to make up for their budget shortage. Wednesday, on a vote of 4-3, property taxes, the fire fee, and GRU rates will help fix that gap. Read the rest HERE.

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Residents are NOT happy about it. From Facebook :

Commissioners approved a 6.4% electric rate increase and property tax increase that could be as high as 11.5%.

After months of deliberations, Gainesville’s elected leaders on Wednesday decided to increase electric rates and property taxes to make up what’s left of a budget shortfall.

The Gainesville City Commission voted 4-3 to increase electric rates by 6.4% and bump property taxes up 11.5%, an increase that will cost most city residents hundreds more a year. Commissioners Gail Johnson, Harvey Ward and Gigi Simmons voted in dissent.

The City Commission will vote again in July and September to finalize the increases.

The electric increase is higher than what Gainesville Regional Utilities officials initially requested and eats up savings customers had seen from the $754 million biomass plant purchase in 2017.

Though currently the lowest in the county, the city’s proposed property tax rate would be the highest it’s been in 25 years. The increase puts Gainesville at the second lowest, behind Archer, and would add almost $4 million to the city’s budget.

Property values have gone up roughly 6% in Alachua County in the past year.

Those in attendance asked city leaders to think about cutting the budget before considering increases on taxpayers and pointed to GRU customers’ charges and rates that are already at or near the highest in the state.

The proposed revenue increases will cover the city’s remaining $3.2 million budget deficit — a hole that started at $12 million. The city’s budget also includes new commission initiatives and 16.5 full-time employees at a cost of $1.2 million, which interim City Manager Deborah Bowie said were not a factor in the deficit.

Throughout the budget process, the commission has not made any cuts to its budget, with the exception of about $790,000 in reduced pension payments.

Commissioners on Wednesday agreed to consider up to $1.5 million in department cuts at an upcoming meeting, a suggestion they rejected in February.

Mayor Lauren Poe said the city has been “very conservative” on spending and that the city has done everything possible to lower rates or keep them steady, despite increasing rates in each of the last three years.

“You cannot starve government into greatness,” Poe said. “We cannot address the challenges we have as a community by reducing the level of service that our customers both expect and need.”

Poe also said an upcoming renters’ rights ordinance will have the most significant and positive impact on electric bills.

Earlier in the year, it was suggested that GRU and the City Hall side of government would share the $12 million deficit. GRU had refinanced its debt, adding $114 million in new debt, to make up most of the deficit.

After Wednesday’s meeting, it was clear that property owners and GRU customers will be forced to make up the difference with increases in their property taxes and utility bills.

The utility’s general manager, Ed Bielarski, asked the city to cut about $3 million from the general fund transfer — money that moves from GRU to City Hall to pay for various services. The GFT currently sits around $38 million and typically grows about 1.5% each year. GRU had initially requested commissioners lower the GFT by $6 million, instead of increasing it, so customers weren’t impacted as much. In the end, commissioners kept the GFT flat, resulting in a higher electric rate increase.

Bielarski estimates the increases, for those who use 1,000 kWh, will make customer’s electric bills go up 4.25% and about 2.5% on the overall bill.

“I know for some people that’s difficult for them,” Bielarski said. “But it is something that the utility needs to maintain its fleet of assets and to keep its financial strength intact.”

In April, the utility had the third-highest residential bills and by far the highest commercial bills in the state.

GRU customers also will see increases for other utility services.

Gas rates will increase 0.57%, water 0.44% and wastewater 0.42% to make up for employee raises previously approved by the commission last month. In April, GRU had also increased its fuel adjustment charge by $3.50 per 1,000 kWh.

Commissioners also agreed to increase the fire assessment fee by up to 32% percent to make up for rising costs. The proposed increase was initially $11.

If approved in July, the city will charge $133 per fire protection unit.

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  • Ivo Rabell In April, the utility had the third-highest residential bills and by far the highest commercial bills in the state.Together with the upcoming “renters right ordinance” The left/progressive city commissioners are slowly turning Gainesville into a small city shit-hole just like the left/progressive commissioners have done in San Francisco. L.A., Seattle, Portland, etc.
  • Richard Giambrone The city under the guise of “renters rights” will further alienate owners from thieir investments. I’ve been in the business a lot of years and I remember way back somewhere in the late 70’s or early 80’s many of us went to a commission meeting concerning our properties. The point is this city has had over a 40 year history of scapegoaing and landlord abuse without ever acknowledging the befenits landlords do for the this tiny back water( read soon to be Shole) municipality. The fees we pay to the city far surpass any expense created from absentee ownership.Recently they suspended the prison labor cotract which was a great savings due to the low wage paid for that service. In place of that program they hired “x” number of full time employees to do what the prisoners did. Meanwhile they pat themselves on the back and loudly and proudly proclaim “look at the jobs WE created” All they did was raise the expenses. UNTIL THE LEADERS OF THIS COMMUNITY STOP SEEING CITY GOVERNMENT AS GIANT MAKEWORK PROGRAM WE WILL CONTINUE TO SEE RED INK.

    Link to post and comments on Facebook.

Memorialize Our Fallen Heroes by Keeping America from Becoming a Memory

Nikolay Doychinov/AFP/Getty Images

by Tommy Waller

Every Memorial Day, I think about those men and women I know who died in combat against our nation’s enemies. I think especially about the families who lost Marines under my command and how I owe it to them to ensure that I preserve not only their memory, but the safety and security of the very nation for which they gave their lives.

Similarly, every American owes a debt of gratitude to the generations of warriors who preserved our nation’s freedom against the evils of Colonialism, Imperialism, Nazism, and Socialism/Communism. If Americans expect to maintain that freedom, we must match our gratitude with a commitment to defeat the threats that, today, could turn our Republic and our freedom into a memory [bold emphasis, mine]. These types of threats are referred to as “existential” — they hold at risk the very existence of America as we know it.

Today’s “existential threats” are embodied in the “Red-Green Axis” and the methods by which those adversaries are currently working to bring an end to America. The Red-Green Axis is an ideological and political combination of Marxism-Leninism and Sharia. The “Red” part of this Axis consists of threats ranging from the Socialist and Communist states of Russia and China to the Socialist movement in the United States, part of which is firmly entrenched in American society and even within the American government. Read the rest HERE.

The Arrogance of the Green New Deal

Kids Who Confronted Dianne Feinstein Will Be Republicans in 13 Years

Facebook/Sunshine Movement Screenshot

by John Nolte

It’s a bit premature, but I’d like to be the first to welcome to the Republican Party those Sunrise Movement kids who confronted Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) about the Green New Deal.

Of course, none of this would be possible without the world’s enviro-loons and that 12-year doomsday deadline, which I am most grateful for. For a while, it seemed as though The-Weather-Fascists-Who-Want-to-Control-My-Life had smartened up, had figured out that deadlines that sound like a Syfy Channel movie — 2149: DoomsDayaSharkaGeddon — were a much smarter way to go.

You see, by pushing the Doom Deadline out to 2149, there is no way for an enviro-liar to look foolish because we’ll all die of old age before we can point and laugh at yet another false prediction.

But a 12-year deadline?

Oh. Hell. Yes.

And please do continue to make that 12-year deadline as famous as you can.

Thank you, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY)!

Thank you, lunatic Sunrise Movement!

Thank you for doing your part to create more and more climate skeptics, more and more Republicans, more and more reasonable people who will soon see through your tired-ass lies.

Not every one of the kids in the video below will see the light in 13 years. But sometime during the year 2032, a few of them will be living in their mothers’ basements enjoying virtual reality porn when it hits them: the VR goggles will fly off, a rubber woman will hit the floor, and a cry will go up: “Hey, I got hoaxed!”

#RedforEd: Socialists Organizing Teachers to Turn Purple States Blue by 2020

Paul Freso/Getty Images

by Michael Patrick Leahy

A well-funded and subversive leftist movement of teachers in the United States threatens to tilt the political balance nationwide in the direction of Democrats across the country as Republicans barely hang on in key states that they need to hold for President Donald Trump to win re-election and for Republicans to have a shot at retaking the House and holding onto their Senate majority.

This teachers union effort, called #RedforEd, has its roots in the very same socialism that President Trump vowed in his 2019 State of the Union address to stop, and it began in its current form in early 2018 in a far-flung corner of the country before spreading nationally. Its stated goals–higher teacher pay and better education conditions–are overshadowed by a more malevolent political agenda: a leftist Democrat uprising designed to flip purple or red states to blue, using the might of a significant part of the education system as its lever.

The movement takes its name from a political organizing tool first seen in Florida in 2010, when teachers union members wore red to express political opposition to public school reform proposals under consideration at that time in the state and encouraged parents and political activists from other unions to join them.

Here, for the first time, Breitbart News pulls the mask back from what #RedforEd really is, who is behind the movement, and what its true objectives are, in a full examination of exactly who these people influencing the teachers of America’s kids are and what their goals–particularly their political objectives–really are. Read the full article HERE.

Read more articles about the radical left wing #REDFORED.

 

 

Bernie is In

…and the Bernouts for Bernie couldn’t be happier.

Judge Jeanine: The Gap Between the Left and Right has Never Been Wider

Judge Jeanine Pirro, host of the Fox News Saturday night program, Justice With Judge Jeanine, begins her powerful opening statement:

The gap between the ever-widening left and right has never been wider, and yet amazingly, it continues to widen. Every time we turn on the TV, open a laptop or listen to the radio, another bizarre, offbeat outlandish idea brings us closer to Socialism and the destruction of Capitalism and is being pushed by the left. So you have a decision to make, do you want to live in a country where no matter how hard you work, what you do or how much you succeed, you simply won’t improve your lives?

After opining about how in the last few weeks, many Democrats including most 2020 presidential candidates, and lead by freshman congresswoman  Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, have embraced far left (Socialistic) ideas, including abortion on demand until and after birth (infanticide), abolition of private health insurance (Medicare-for-all), the so-called Green New Deal, guaranteed income paid for by the taxpayers, economic security to all who are unable or unwilling to work [bold type, mine] and just any other far left freebee you can possibly imagine, without any thought of where the money will come from, other than taxing the rich or printing money , Judge concluded her Open with the following thoughts:

Who are these people, who are more hateful of one man, our president, that it matters not that he wants to protect babies or stop human trafficking or eradicate AIDS? I’ll tell you who they are. They are people who don’t care about us, they only care about power, making sure that they keep it. And for all of you who can’t make sense of why normal thinking people would not support a border, and not care if illegals including MS-13 members come into our country, you need to understand that this group knows that they have lost Americans.

And their only hope is to get immigrants and illegals into our country so that they can maintain their power base. And if you think Socialism will never happen in this country, just take a look at what has happened in the last 10 days, and ask yourself that question one more time.

One final note: Ms. Ocasio- Cortez’s last job was that of a bartender. No offense to bartenders.

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