SLO County adopts budget with more than $5 million deficit

July 5, 2023


The San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors voted 4-1 last month, with Supervisor Debbie Arnold dissenting, to adopt a budget with a deficit of more than $5 million.

During budget negotiations, Arnold argued that amid the current economic climate, the board should not expand programs and increase staffing levels while handing out large administrative raises. In addition, Arnold wanted road maintenance to stay a top-tier priority.

However, the new liberal majority did not agree. Shortly after Supervisor Jimmy Paulding took his seat on the board, Supervisor Bruce Gibson suggested removing county road repairs from the top tier and replacing it with services that focus on homelessness.

“I really don’t agree with the board’s priorities,” Arnold said explaining her no vote. “This budget expands programs and staff.”

While the board agreed that public safety should remain a top priority, road maintenance was removed from the top tier and replaced with homelessness, behavioral health and housing through partnerships with nonprofits.

Before voting yes, Paulding voiced support of the 2023-2024 fiscal year budget.

“I just want to say, we did a good job,” Paulding said.

In 2022, the board voted to approve raises of up to 23% for county administrators and management staff, an increase that is slated to raise 2023-2024 county costs by $9,796,000.

At that time, Arnold said that while she supports cost of living raises, she could not vote for the pricey equity pay increases. The proposed raises passed with Arnold and then-Supervisor Lynn Compton dissenting.

On June 20, the board voted 4-1 to pass a $966 million budget with a more than $5 million deficit.

“I feel uncomfortable passing an over $5 million deficit budget,” Arnold said.

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So I just worked this out on paper, might have a few unforseen problems that we can fix later, but if they just made parking $75.00 per minute they could cover that deficit in no time at all.

Congratulations to the BOS for passing a budget that is 5 million in the red.

A budget is a spending plan, and they plan on spending 5 million more than they have.

Roads are not a priority or public safety concern until Gibson figures out how he can benefit from maintenance and repairs.

What the heck? Why can’t the county supervisors understand the simple concept of do not spend more than your income? We should vote all who voted for this out of office, but we won’t because they have promised to fix the earth’s weather or some such nonsense that they have no control over.

They don’t care if they over spend because it’s not their own personal money. If any business was operated the same way as our local government they would go out of business. The local government will just find more ways to take more money from residents when the budget runs out.

Jimmy says they did a good job. How can a 5mil hole be a good job?

For Jimmy it is good, he voted for his raise.

And then declined to take it. Please tell the entire story. Mr. Peschong also declined it.

Ms. Arnold has not yet publicly said if she will take the raise or not. Please, Debbie, inquiring minds would like to know.

From Arnold’s perspective, she’s got everything. She needs: a nice home, a great job. She doesn’t want any bumps in the road in her life. If it’s a choice between fixing a pothole and giving someone a roof over their head or a free meal, she wants that pothole fixed so she doesn’t have to put any extra stress or strain on her automobile.

SLO County is in the top five, nationally, for the number of homeless unhoused per capita. This happened under Bruce Gibson and Adam Hill’s plan to provide money to nonprofits invoved in homeless services and low cost housing monies, which has failed to improve the issue.


Instead of following national guidelines, SLO County doles out money to supporters of politicians such as Gibson, who pay it back by spending millions on a failed plan. This has nothing to do with Debbie Arnold not wanting to give herself and other administrators raises which the county cannot afford, such as Gibson, Paulding and Ortiz-Legg did.

Debbie Arnold not wanting to give herself and other administrators raises”

As of this writing I have yet to receive an email from Ms. Arnold about the raise. She has still not declined it, as have Paulding and Peschong. I wish Ms. Arnold would clear this up and state unequivocally that she is not accepting the current raise.

This article is framed only in terms of negatives, provides little to no context leading readers to think the government is simply black and white bad. Things are complicated, but Paulding is right, this is a good budget.

Small increase in total budget over last year(3.9%), far under inflation. The original deficit was nearly $44 million, big cuts to get to 5 million (pennies compared to the almost billion dollar budget); the remainder has a plan to be filled through federal grants, future cuts, and rainy day funds. Of a workforce that is nearly 3,000 FTEs the net increase is only 16 from last year. People talk as if headless chickens are in charge, when that’s not the case – the budget is nearly 800 pages long (something which has answers to every complaint, but won’t be read because being angry is easy, finding solutions is hard). Still large increases in the Sheriff, work programs, maintenance projects… Not your standard liberal majority strawman.

Deficit spending is very popular among most Democrats and the image of getting things done with cheaper today’s dollars is the selling point.

What is not said about deficit spending is that it is somebody else’s money, your taxes, your benefit of government and a growing debt to be conveyed to your successors. This is commonly know as kicking the can down the road because the imaginary free money does not require you to pick it up and deal with it.

Oh, then there are the successors, your pal, your buddy, or whatever as procreating children appears to be less promoted. What is currently promoted is a 3 – 2 vote and media driven.

no worries, just put up another sales tax increase. we haven’t lost one yet.

This is extreme negligence that likely needs to be addressed at the state level. Beyond comprehendible actions from those that are supposed to prevent this exact scenario. Pathetic as usual.