This week’s San Luis Obispo County government meetings

March 11, 2024

By CalCoastNews staff

The San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors will meet at 9 a.m. on March 12 in the Board Chambers.

In an attempt to raise approximately $6 million a year, the county is looking at increasing the Transient Occupancy Tax (TOT) from 9% to 12%, under Item 27 on the agenda. Staff will provide a report on the feasibility of a potential TOT ballot measure on Tuesday.

Staff, however, has already determined it is unlikely county residents will vote to raise TOT in the Nov. 2024 election. The staff report suggests there may be a chance for viability if there is a sustained educational outreach effort, at a cost of up to $100,000, and only modest opposition.

In 2022, the county projected an 8.1% increase in county payroll, boosted primarily by large increases in the salaries of management staff and officials. Currently running in the red, county officials recently increased fees and are eying mutiple tax increases.

The San Luis Obispo County Planning Commission will meet at 9 a.m. on March 14 in the Board of Supervisors chambers.

John Mussell is seeking a conditional use permit to construct 72 multifamily residential apartment units on a 2.57-acre parcel, under Item 4 on the agenda. Of the 72 apartment units, 71 will be deed restricted and one unit will house an onsite manager.

The project consists of three three-story multi-family buildings with 24 units each and one community room at the entrance of the property. The project includes 104 parking spaces, mounted solar panels, utilities and landscaping. The proposed project is located at 170 Magenta Lane in Nipomo.

Under item 5, the commission will hear a request by Josef Steinmann to divide a 9.69-acre parcel into eight residential lots for the purpose of sale and development, and one open space lot. The project site is located on Ocean Avenue at the north end of Cayucos within the Estero Planning Area.

The Arroyo Grande City Council will meet at 6 p.m. on March 12 in the council chambers.

Under Item 6-c on the agenda, San Luis Obispo Council of Governments staff will provide a presentation about a potential countywide self-help sales tax measure and draft transportation investment plan. SLOCOG hopes to place a half-cent sales tax on the November ballot for transportation-related purposes.

The Atascadero City Council will meet at 6 p.m. on March 12 in the council chambers.

Under Item C-1 on the agenda, the council will consider adopting a draft resolution opposing Initiative 21-0042A1, the Taxpayer Protection and Government Accountability Act, which would protect the current 2/3 vote requirement for raising some taxes and fees.

The initiative, with the support of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association, has qualified for the Nov. 5, 2024 General Election ballot. The measure would amend the California Constitution with provisions that adopt new and stricter rules for raising taxes and fees, and may make it more difficult to impose fines and penalties for violation of state and local laws.

According to the staff report, if approved, this measure puts billions of local government tax and fee revenues at risk and could negatively impact city government.

The League of California Cities strongly opposes the initiative.

The Grover Beach City Council will meet at 6 p.m. on March 11 in the council chambers.

Under item 5 on the agenda, the council will approve an employment agreement with James Munro to serve as Police Chief. Chief Munro’s base salary will be $202,464, plus benefits, use of a city vehicle and uniform allowance.

Under item 7 on the agenda, the council will receive information on the city’s utility rate implementation.  After the recent 112% rate increase, community members alerted the city that the rate increase was applied to water consumption prior to the council’s December vote to increase rates.

To rectify the oversight in the rate implementation, city staff estimates that applying the previous rates to this billing cycle will result in a credit of approximately $26 per account or $54,779 total. For customers in South Grover Beach, whose billing will occur this month for January and February usage, staff recommends the billing be prorated to apply the prior rates for January consumption and the updated rates for February consumption. This is estimated to cost an additional $37,226.

Combined, city staff estimates these changes will result in a combined decrease of $92,004 in revenue this fiscal year for both the water and wastewater funds. Community critics have threatened litigation and are circulating an initiative petition to repeal the rate increases.

The Nipomo Community Services District Board will meet on March 13 at 9 a.m. in the board room.

Under item E-1 on the agenda, the board will consider approving a water supply assessment for the proposed Dana Reserve Project. The annual water demand projected for the Dana Reserve Project is 377-acre feet per year, or about half the amount the neighboring community of Oceano uses on an annual basis. The water supply assessment suggests the district has ample water to supply the project if built.

The Oceano Community Services District Board will meet March 13 at 6 p.m. in the board room.

Under Item 8-B on the agenda, the board will discuss holding a town hall meeting regarding Central Coast Blue. Central Coast Blue is a groundwater recharge project being developed by the City of Pismo Beach in collaboration with the cities of Arroyo Grande and Grover Beach. However, as portions of the project will be located in Oceano, the board will discuss impacts on the community.

The district will also hold a special closed session to address four items, including divestiture of fire services, at 5 p.m.


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Just once, let’s have a meeting to lower taxes and raise the bar for ethical management practices, as in a requirement to justify all credit card expenditures?

One would think this is a responsible approach to local government, but not so with the SLO county supervisors. Instead of tightening the belt, this Board, led by Bruce Gibson wants to pay millions for the old Sunnyside School in Los Osos with its $50 million in deferred maintenance (faulty roofs, asbestos, etc.).

Is there are pressing need for this new space? No, just Bruce’s blind desire for the county to own more property. Another Gibson folly for sure. Instead of focusing on representing the tax payers and responsibility facing the county deficit, he wants to gut Prop 13, raise our taxes, and then buy property we don’t need.

Perhaps only a successful recall effort can shock this Board into reality.

The county needs to control their spending. At our business, when when we are over budget we cut costs. In our own household, when we are over budget we cut costs.

The County Board of Supervisors has to come to terms with their deficit being an expenditure problem, not a revenue problem. The revenues are coming in at higher than projected normal levels, unfortunately, the Board continues to spend like drunken sailors.

Led by the Chief Tax and Spend Guru, Bruce Gibson, the Board wants to gut Proposition 13 and raise all taxes including the TOT. The reason Bruce hasn’t raised taxes so far is because, you guessed it, Prop 13 prohibits his shenanigans.

Knowing a deficit as looming what did Bruce and his lackeys do? Last year, they gave themselves a 26% salary raise.

Until the Board show’s some expenditure restraint, I say no to any tax increases. Otherwise, they’ll be right back at the taxpayer trough again and again, ad nauseam.

It’s time to get serious about the Board; start by recalling Gibson.