February 28, 2020

Chamber Creates Study Group on Energy Solutions

By: Gainesville Area Chamber of Commerce
Flagg and Denslow to lead research on alternative governing approaches based on approaches in peer communities.
The Gainesville Area Chamber of Commerce has created an Energy Study Group to research and gather data on peer communities, their energy processes and the governance structures currently in place. The results of this research will be analyzed and used as a platform to compare Gainesville’s current structure and to ensure the success, stability, and economic competitiveness of our growing community moving forward.The Energy Study Group is led by David Flagg, former Gainesville mayor and state representative, and David Denslow, a nationally recognized economist and retired University of Florida professor. Flagg and Denslow offer an effective combination of expertise and leadership experience to bring a fresh perspective on the cost impacts of energy to Gainesville, how to achieve an appropriate return on our city’s investment, and to recommend the most advantageous oversight structure of Gainesville Regional Utilities (GRU), the chamber said in a news release.
“The governance of energy not only affects the over 1,100 businesses the chamber represents but the 70,000 community members they employ, making the impact of energy community-wide,” said Mitch Glaeser, chair of the chamber’s board of directors. “We have an obligation to our businesses and their employees to gather as much information from similar communities and compare our relative energy costs to establish the most advantageous policies for our community going forward.”The group will consist of 12 members. In addition to Flagg and Denslow, members will include Charles W. Anchors Jr., North Florida Regional Medical Center; Rich Blaser, Infinite Energy; Dean Cheshire, Cheshire Companies; Chuck Clemons, Santa Fe College; Ken Cornell, Bosshardt Realty Services; Rose Fagler, Plum Creek; Mike Giampietro, Generation Wy; Joel Islam, Florida Food Service; Perry McGriff, Perry McGriff, McGriff Johnson Fletcher Insurance; and Lamonte Newsome, Mount Carmel Baptist Church.
Recently, Glaeser reached out to the local legislative delegation and spoke with State Rep. Keith Perry about holding off on legislation that would put a referendum on the ballot to move the control of GRU from the city commission to an independent authority. Perry agreed and said he believes the results of the research will be helpful.“The creation of this impressive group of individuals representing a fair balance of interest and perspective will advocate the best interests of our community,” said Perry. “This is a step in the right direction, and I look forward to the group’s findings and report.”The Energy Study Group is the third committee assembled by the Chamber in the past six months to address different issues, including transportation and education, to ensure that the Gainesville community continues to prosper.

“Energy costs are a concern community-wide from our residents to our businesses,” said State Representative Clovis Watson. “I am thrilled to see the Chamber put together groups of community leaders as we review and discuss important issues facing our community.”

The Chamber’s forward-focused Energy Study Group will release a report detailing the findings of the research and potential plans of action later this year. The results of these findings will be reported to the Chamber’s Public Policy Committee, from which the Chamber will establish a position on the future strategies to secure our energy future for the Gainesville community.

About the Gainesville Area Chamber of Commerce
Formed in 1924, the Gainesville Area Chamber of Commerce is the voice of business in the Gainesville area. Representing nearly 1,200 members that employ more than 70,000 employees, the Chamber firmly believes that thriving businesses build a thriving community. The Gainesville Area Chamber of Commerce is 5-star accredited by the United States Chamber of Commerce, putting it in the top 1% of all chambers of commerce nationwide. Learn more at www.gainesvillechamber.com or call us at 352.334.7100.

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