• Tue. Sep 20th, 2022

Letter: Show up to talk to the Gainesville City Commission Thursday at 6 p.m. or don’t complain about your electric bill or property taxes.

ByChad J. Johnson

Sep 4, 2022

Mayoral candidate Harvey Ward and the Gainesville City Commission will be voting to RAISE your electricity rates and your Gainesville Regional Utility Property Taxes further this Thursday night (when most people are on vacation and not paying attention ).

PROPERTY TAX INCREASE:

1. Despite a 20.57% increase in taxable property values ​​(resulting in over $14 million in additional property tax revenue) in the past three years alone, the Mayor and City Commission of Gainesville continue to ‘INCREASE our property taxes instead of adopting the “CANCELLED” rate due to their insatiable reliance on spending with taxpayers’ money and unnecessary expansion of city government.

2. From the September 8 Agenda: “The City of Gainesville’s taxable assessment for the 2022 taxation year, on which the proposed budget for the 2022-2023 fiscal year is based, is $8,994,835,635 and represents an INCREASE of 11.8 % from the final assessment for the 2021 tax year.”

3. From the September 8 Agenda“The tentative adopted total operating mileage rate of 5.5000 for fiscal year 2022-23 is 0.4649 mils, or 9.23% MORE than the ‘cancelled’ rate of 5.0351.” [emphasis added]

4. From September 8 Agenda“The provisional mileage rate of 5.5000 for fiscal year 2022-2023, combined with an increase in property values, is expected to generate an additional $4.5 million in property tax revenue in fiscal year 2022- 2023.”

5. From September 8 Agenda“As a result, the city is required to issue a NOTICE OF PROPOSED TAX INCREASE pursuant to the State of Florida’s Truth-of-Mileage (TRIM) requirements.”

6. From the September 8 Agenda“For the tenth consecutive year, the City’s assessed value has increased, generating approximately $4.5 million in additional property tax revenue for the general fund.” [emphasis added]

7. Here is the “cited” evidence from the City’s new, very difficult to navigate website:

https://pub-cityofgainesville.escribemeetings.com/filestream.ashx?DocumentId=4048

8. Let’s do some basic math… $4.5 million in ADDITIONAL property tax revenue in the last year alone over a token $2 million reduction in the general fund transfer means the city could choose to REDUCE your electricity rates from the regional utilities in Gainesville, but they will INCREASE your electricity rate and your property taxes even more.


INCREASE IN UTILITY RATE:

1. Mayoral candidate Harvey Ward Gainesville and the Gainesville City Commission will vote to RAISE your Gainesville Regional Utility Rates further on Thursday night, despite claiming their hands are tied because they voted for increases through 2027 last July.

2. Last year, Commissioner Harvey Ward (now running for mayor) voted to raise your electricity rates by 7% and approved a resolution to increase Gainesville Regional Utilities’ electricity rates by 24% in conjunction with the largest, unwarranted, multi-year. increase in utility rates in the history of regional utilities in Gainesville.

3. Don’t believe silly, nonsensical excuses. No other prudently run utility has arbitrary and automatic utility rate increases. Electric rates are not set by inflation; they are set by the revenue requirements of the electricity system. No supporting rationale was provided for these arbitrary increases. The Florida Public Service Commission would laugh a regulated utility out of the courtroom if it asked for a rate increase without justification.

4. Commissioner Harvey Ward and the City of Gainesville Commission DO NOT CARE about low income households, hard working Gainesville families and local businesses who cannot afford these utility rate increases.

5. The Mayor and City Commission of Gainesville must be held accountable for their continued mismanagement of regional utilities in Gainesville and our unaffordable electricity rates.

6. Show up to talk Thursday at 6 p.m. or don’t complain about your electric bill and property taxes.

Nathan Skop, Gainesville
Former Commissioner, Florida Public Service Commission

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