The GRU is demanding that Alachua County pay $ 1.6 million for the general public security radio system

GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WCJB) -Gainesville Regional Utilities officials urge Alachua County officials to pay $ 1.6 million to continue using the improved public safety radio system.

In a meeting on Tuesday evening, the district commissioners expressed surprise at the nature of the GRU application letter they had received the previous evening. The GRU’s agreement to provide a radio service ends if the money is not paid within 55 days. The service is used by fire and law enforcement agencies in the area.

“When we get a letter of inquiry, I don’t know how we can’t answer,” said Commissioner Ken Cornell. “As long as I’ve been on the commission, public safety, if not the top, has been one of the top things. I can’t risk having a system shut down or holding us over a barrel to make a $ 1.6 million payment when we have a budget for half that. “

Both sides had been negotiating since the last agreement expired in September 2020. The county had estimated 1.1 million for the new year.

“The new agreement enables us to cover our costs, which is a fair agreement for GRUCom and the entire community,” said GRU General Director Ed Bielarski. “It’s not fair to ask utility customers to continue subsidizing public safety radio. So we’re glad our subscribers are supporting this change.”

GRU employees said they completed a $ 5 million system upgrade in 2018. They didn’t raise the prices right away. However, users are now charged a subscription fee based on their percentage of talk time in the previous fiscal year compared to total system minutes used.

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