County: $639.6M budget focuses on priorities

COUNTY — The San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors adopted a $639.6 million budget for fiscal year 2019-20 on Tuesday, June 18, after holding a two-day public budget hearing earlier in the month.

The adopted budget, which takes effect on July 1, grew just more than 1% over the adopted spending levels from the current year.

“We were faced with a modest budget gap of about $2.8 million, which means we had to tighten our belts to balance the budget,” said Emily Jackson, County Budget Director. “The small increase to next year’s budget will allow us to provide the public services that the County is legally required to provide, as well as services and programs that reflect the Board’s priorities. We were also able to continue our competitive grant program, though funding was reduced slightly, for outside agencies that provide important community services.”

Beyond what is legally required by local, state and federal laws, the County prioritized several services and programs, such as public safety and roads, as well as:

  • the Stepping Up Initiative to help keep people with mental illness out of jail
  • affordable housing programs and initiatives
  • cannabis code enforcement activities and efforts
  • groundwater sustainability plans
  • economic development activities and plans

The budget also expands the County’s successful housing-first program that serves the most vulnerable people who are homeless in the community, and provides $1.98 million in contributions to outside agencies, which include dozens of local nonprofits.

The County is required by law to have a balanced budget. After several years of budget surpluses following the Great Recession, FY 2019-20 is the second consecutive year the County faced a budget gap of about $2.8 million. To close the gap, staff used longstanding budget balancing strategies and approaches, including short- and long-term structure changes. Constituents had an opportunity to weigh in on the budget recommendations during public budget hearings on June 10 and 12.

For more information on the county budget, visit


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