July 1, 2023
Update from Supervisor Jimmy Paulding, District 4: Nipomo, Arroyo Grande, Oceano, Huasna, Edna Valley, California Valley, and unincorporated portions of San Luis Obispo
Happy summer South County! Last month I had the pleasure of speaking at the Chambers’ State of South County event at Verpera Resort in Pismo Beach. Now that I am six months into my term, I would like to give you an update on what my colleagues on the Board of Supervisors and I have accomplished so far this year, what work is still in progress, and share a little bit about some of our Board's upcoming goals and priorities.
What we’ve accomplished so far:
• Approved a balanced budget for fiscal year 2023/24. You can read more about the budget at slocounty.ca.gov/budget.
• Fully funded public safety services and adopted a strategic plan for our fire department.
• Lowered the campaign contribution limit for local elections from $25,000 per donor to $5,500, reducing the influence of big money in our local elections.
• Restored fair district maps for future SLO County elections. Our Board also formalized representation of the communities that were left without a supervisor during the 2021 redistricting process. Until 2026, Supervisor Gibson will represent Los Osos and Morro Bay, while I will represent the community of Oceano.
• Joined Central Coast Community Energy, saving the County over $1.1 million per year on its own electricity bill and $26 million annually for residents and businesses in the unincorporated areas starting in 2025.
• Advanced diversity, equity and inclusion at the County. For the first time in SLO County's history, the Board passed a resolution recognizing June as LGBTQ+ Pride Month. We also adopted a resolution condemning racism, bigotry, and hate speech in our community.
• Approved the final phase of the Trilogy at Monarch Dunes development in Nipomo with a fully funded paved perimeter trail. The developer initially offered to construct portions of the perimeter trail in lieu of paying the required $1.2 million in Quimby fees but the Board was able to get the developer to construct the whole trail (estimated at a cost of $3 million) in lieu of the fees. This was a good deal for the community, which will soon have a fully paved, publicly accessible perimeter trail at Trilogy in Nipomo.
• Moved forward with starting the process of rejoining the Integrated Waste Management Authority, which will strengthen regional collaboration and result in cost reductions to garbage rates.
• Advocated for the needs of our growing population of older adults. Our Public Health staff secured a grant for a dementia and "healthy brains" initiative county-wide, while our Department of Social Services staff secured a grant to develop a county master plan on aging with an ad hoc committee of the Adult Services Policy Council as the steering committee, which is being led by members of the group I helped convene over a year ago who published the report entitled "High Value Opportunities for Improving the Lives of Older Adults in SLO County."
Some key objectives still in progress:
• Improving public safety in South County by building the long-promised Sheriff substation in Nipomo. Thanks to the support of my colleagues and Sheriff Parkinson, $1.2 million was allocated in next year's budget to begin the design process of this important facility in Nipomo.
• Implementing the Countywide Plan to Address Homelessness. After the Board identified housing and homelessness as one of our tier one priorities for the year, the County increased funding for homelessness services by $1.8 million for fiscal year 2023/24. Plus, our $13.4 million grant application to build an 80-bed shelter adjacent to the County’s Department of Social Services building in San Luis Obispo was approved by the California Interagency Council on Homelessness on June 14. This is great news!
• Advancing a Central Coast desalinization project through our SLO County-led effort to study and develop a regional desalination plant in collaboration with 16 other agencies.
• Expanding the County’s grant capacity. The Board allocated $250,000 in next year's budget to fund the resources necessary to pursue key federal and state grant opportunities. By using innovative funding strategies and leveraging grants, we can advance our strategic priorities without impacting baseline service delivery.
• Improving the Nipomo Community Park by adding a multi-use perimeter trail and a disc golf course. I continue to work with staff and community partners to advance these important projects. The grand opening of the Nipomo Skate Park earlier this year was a success, as the park is heavily utilized by kiddos and adults alike!
• Improving our Community Advisory Councils. Supervisor Ortiz-Legg and I formed an ad-hoc committee to study and develop recommendations for how to improve the effectiveness of our community advisory councils. Our work efforts will be completed over the next couple of months.
• Advancing infrastructure improvements in Oceano. Priorities include AG Creek Levee improvements, "safe routes for all"/sidewalk improvement projects, a Pier Avenue multi-modal study, adding a crosswalk on Highway 1, and addressing traffic congestion at Halcyon and Highway 1 by advancing the design of a new traffic signal or roundabout project.
• Addressing gaps and deficiencies in mental and behavioral health services. The Board recently approved the Behavioral Health Department’s development of a strategic plan, which will seek to identify gaps in the behavioral health services continuum of care and identify new goals and strategies to improve County services.
• Reforming cannabis regulations. At our meeting on June 20, the Board directed staff to report back to the Board with regulatory, tax, and fee policy recommendations to improve the viability of our local legal cannabis industry, which has been a financially losing proposition for the County, and ensure the County remains in a strong fiscal position.
• Improving Planning and Building Department services. Utilizing Lean Six Sigma, which is intended to improve processes and create efficiencies within an organization, Supervisor Ortiz-Legg and I, along with our CAO and the Planning and Building Director, will champion process improvements intended to reduce permit processing times and increase customer service delivery.
• Advancing housing policy by supporting the completion and implementation of the Regional Housing Compact, Housing and Infrastructure Plan, and Regional Transportation Plan with our partners at the San Luis Obispo Council of Governments, Regional Transportation Authority, REACH, and the 7 cities.
• Working to study and invest in infrastructure to support offshore wind development, broadband, and childcare as core County economic development initiatives as well as continue to study future opportunities related to Diablo Canyon, the Phillips 66 Santa Maria oil refinery, and the Oceano Dunes State Vehicular Recreation Area. Read more about REACH's 2030 vision for SLO County at reachcentralcoast.org/our-work.
• Initiating the process to repair roads and infrastructure damaged by the January, February, and March storms. We were hit with a dozen atmospheric rivers resulting in record-breaking rainfall in several places and an unprecedented amount of damage in our county. Our Public Works team has identified 595 cleanup and repair locations including 287 roads requiring debris cleaning, 109 locations requiring emergency repairs, and 199 locations requiring permanent repairs. The total estimated cost of repair to all facilities and infrastructure due to storm impacts is $36 million. FEMA is expected to reimburse at least 75% of our repair costs but we are assuming only 66% reimbursement to budget for costs conservatively. Funding for our share of responsibility will come from a combination of loans and general fund reserves, which are in good shape.
Office hours: I welcome hearing from constituents. Please schedule an appointment by emailing email@example.com or calling 805-781-4337. You can also sign up for my email newsletter and learn more about what’s going on in the district on the District 4 webpage at slocounty.ca.gov/district4.
San Luis Obispo County
District 4 Supervisor
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