SLO County getting $54.9 million in COVID-19 funding, how will it be spent?

March 20, 2021

SLO County Administrator Wade Horton

By KAREN VELIE

San Luis Obispo County is in line to receive an estimated $54.9 million as part of the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan Act, and two supervisors have been selected to develop a plan on how to spend the funds.

Instead of the entire board conducting public workshops on how the funds will be doled out, county staff suggested a two-supervisor committee comprised of John Peschong and Bruce Gibson, who can meet and confer in private. Peschong made the motion for the ad-hoc committee, which was seconded by Gibson.

Supervisors Lynn Compton and Debbie Arnold argued that all five supervisors should work together on the proposed spending plan.

Responding to their concerns, SLO County Administrator Wade Horton said Compton and Arnold could give him suggestions that he would relay to Gibson and Peschong.

County Counsel Rita Neal then told Horton he needed to be careful not to violate the Brown Act.

The Brown Act prohibits serial communications, which are communications relayed to at least three supervisors, although the supervisors are not present at a publicly posted and conducted Brown Act meeting. This could also include Horton promoting his plan for an ad-hoc committee to three or more supervisors prior to last Tuesday’s meeting.

Compton also voiced concerns that a two-man committee dilutes the views of the majority of the board.

Supervisor Dawn Ortiz-Legg said she supported her fellow female supervisors, before admitting she could not remember one of their names and voting against them.

Peschong, Gibson and Ortiz-Legg voted for the ad-hoc committee comprised of Gibson and Peschong. Compton and Arnold dissented.

The county is slated to receive half of funding in the next 60 days, with the remainder of the money arriving no earlier than 12 months after the first payment.

Funds can be used to:

  • Respond to COVID-19 emergencies
  • Provide aid to households, businesses, nonprofits, tourism and hospitality
  • Provide premium pay to essential employees
  • Provide government services impacted by the pandemic
  • Investment in water, sewer and broadband infrastructure

After Peschong and Gibson develop their spending plan, the remaining board members will have an opportunity to provide input.


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NorthCountyLady

Are the taxpaying citizens going to have a chance to provide some input? So one male supervisor makes the motion and the other male supervisor seconds it and the same two will decide on how to spend 55 million dollars? This is absurd. My eyes are rolling into my head. But really I’m not too surprised. SLO County and City politics has been ridiculously corrupt since I first move here in 1978. Perhaps they’ll decide to spend $10,000.00 on a really beautiful gravestone for Adam Hill.


nunsense

Christmas bonus for ALL!!


Rambunctious

Public employee pensions…we all know it so don’t try and lie….


kevin rise

Really dont trust anyone locally in Gov, especially and including BOS to manage any cash due to their own financial interests, their conflict of interests. Arnold, Bruce, Lynn, and Peschong all lobby for their donors and have gentrified our home beyond recognition. Idk enough of Dawn’s history to have a comment. Peschong owns a lobbying firm Merridian Pacific. Hm. Youd think Arnold and Lynn would Trust John a conservative, speaks volumes, guess not!


Jorge Estrada

The only input before the decision is made will and should be before all five members of the Board of Supervisors. This is the only way our priorities and decisions are made at this level. A two member committee is just one away from appointing a King. No, we have a Board of Supervisors and the staff will yield to their will within the guidelines provided, challenged and agreed with County Counsel. $55 million dollars is not a county wide committee of two narrative opportunity. My vote would be to do it right or give it back to avoid legal consequences.


OnlyinSLO

What this really means is that Wade will dole out pay increases and bonuses again to his loyalist, the people who will cover-up all the misconduct at the County. Cover-up embezzlement, graft and corruption at all levels! This also means the hiring of more cute Asian interns that meet Wade’s requirements. Image is everything to Wade and nothing else matters. In his mind, there are no issues until someone brings them to his attention and then that person is the problem. Wade then goes after them with a full vendetta, a total abuse of power and trust. Here are some examples, a County employee who Wade personally made sure she got a promotion, spends half of her work day working as a realtor, and another County employee spends more than half of her work day shopping, including shopping at Good Will because she is so poor at $100,000 plus a year. Then there are the employees who check in, then go work their second jobs, go to the gym for two to three hours a day all on our dime.

The interesting thing beyond this is that the County laid off a few employees under the auspices of Covid-19 and thus would not qualify for the grant funds unless they falsified official documents.


mazin

I’ve seen this at other counties. So why doesn’t the supposedly “conservative” board majority allow misuse of funds? Why will a “progressive” board do the same? Neither cares about the taxpayer.

The red/blue dichotomy is clown slap show. A joke that the ideologically dependent and weak minded fall into. A sideshow for the insecure and grifters. At this juncture, in reality, red or blue it doesn’t matter who.

A third alternative is needed, dedicated to lowering costs, administrative and managerial salaries and benefits.


kevin rise

Spot on, Hence the reaction from Compton, Arnold and their new friend “Dawn”. There is political manipulation around here, Especially in Slo and Paso, and it’s always odd how Politicians other Jobs are always involved in local economic and political endeavours. Peoples Bias doesnt allow them to see this, this Nationalistic ideologies, vs, one earth, one race, one Democracy, a very people governed Democracy. Oh, lobbyists, even around here.