top of page

Gainesville Residents United, Inc.

Tiny Gainesville Residents United logo - tiny hi

See our latest Litigation Update here

The mission of Gainesville Residents United is to educate, motivate, negotiate, and litigate important issues affecting our community. We are challenging the State takeover of the City of Gainesville’s utility services, which was done for political rather than practical reasons. 

House Bill 1645 was passed by the Florida Legislature and signed by Governor Ron DeSantis in 2023. The "Special Law" requires Gainesville Regional Utilities to be managed by up to five Governor's appointees. Beginning in October, 2023, these unelected Utility Authority members control the rates, services, facilities, employees, budget, and debt of the City of Gainesville’s utility systems. 

So far, five separate lawsuits have been filed by different plaintiffs, some in federal court and some in state circuit courts. The first three lawsuits argue against the special law itself. The complaints allege violations of both the U.S. and Florida constitutions and Florida statutes. The fourth and fifth lawsuits challenge the appointment process by the Governor and the City of members to the Gainesville Regional Utilities Authority. 

Since October 1, 2023, the Utility Authority board has had full control over the utilities of Gainesville. The Authority explicitly lacks any oversight by citizens and locally elected officials. The Authority has been given the power of eminent domain to take private property. Authority members enforce their own ethics and financial disclosure rules, and are restricted by the Special Law from considering social, political, or ideological policies or programs. Members answer only to the Governor, who has the sole authority to appoint or remove them. They cannot be sued directly even for violations of the law - only the City government can be sued even though it has no power over the Utility Authority’s policies, actions, or negligence. 

Court filings, media stories, and other documents for all of the court cases are linked on this website’s Litigation page as they become available. Our Facebook page provides opportunities to learn more and to converse with other concerned residents. 

In our Federal court case filed on July 3, 2023, we allege that our constitutional rights are being infringed, that we have been denied due process, and that the State is violating numerous state and federal laws. This is how authoritarians take over democratically elected local governments. Our small volunteer organization is pushing back with litigation, while also advocating for amendments to the law and negotiating with the Utility Authority and state officials for more rational outcome. 

If this can happen in Gainesville, Florida, USA – it can happen anywhere.

bottom of page