Councilmember requests resolution to declare local businesses as essential
PASO ROBLES — New Paso Robles City Councilmember Sharon Roden was officially sworn in to serve the District 1 seat during the Tuesday, Oct. 4, City Council meeting.
On Sept. 7, the council appointed Councilman John Hamon to fill the mayoral vacancy created by the passing of Mayor Steve Martin. As a result of Hamon’s appointment as mayor, the District 1 council seat was immediately vacated. At the same meeting, after Hamon was sworn in as mayor, the council decided to fill the newly created vacancy in District 1 through an appointment process.
Roden was one of eight applicants to apply for the position. After interviews held during a special meeting on Sept. 26, councilmembers approved to choose Roden as the new District 1 councilmember. She will serve in the position through the next General Election in November 2024, in which she will be up for election by the public. Roden is a farmer and fifth-generation San Luis Obispo County resident. Her focus is to help Paso Robles move forward while preserving its history.
During the meeting, Roden and Hamon clarified for the public that they did not know each other directly prior to the appointment and they had not been neighbors for the past 15 years. The clarification came after some comments from the public outside of the meeting insinuating that Roden’s appointment was preplanned.
Later in the meeting, Councilmember Steve Gregory was selected by council to serve as the new mayor pro tempore until the end of his term. Councilmembers then rearranged their committee and liaison appointments which can be found at prcity.com/DocumentCenter/View/37138/2023-Council-Liaison-Appointment. They will alternate positions until such assignments are updated after the November 2024 general election.
Councilmembers received the fourth quarter report from the El Camino Homeless Organization (ECHO). In February 2022, ECHO approached the city and requested a one-time grant of $444,000 to cover staffing costs not paid by other funders for the 2022-23 fiscal year. In August 2022, the city approved an agreement with ECHO, which requires ECHO to present quarterly accounting and statistical reports to the city prior to issuing funds. Payments to ECHO are not to exceed $222,000 per fiscal year of 2022-23 and 2022-24.
Council unanimously directed staff to distribute funds in the amount of $55,500 to ECHO.
At the closing of the meeting, Councilmember Chris Bausch requested for the council to add an agenda item to a future meeting that would declare all businesses in the city an essential business in preparation for any potential closures ordered by the county, state, or agencies. He also requested council to consider a resolution stating any mask mandates similarly imposed will not be enforced by the city and that masking would be a matter of personal preference.
Bausch referenced a similar resolution that was passed in the City of Coalinga. In May 2020, the City of Coalinga passed a resolution declaring all of its businesses essential to allow them to operate during any government shutdown.
The councilmembers agreed to discuss a resolution on a near future agenda.
The next regular City Council meeting is on Tuesday, Oct. 17, at 6:30 p.m., in person at 1000 Spring St. and via livestream at prcity.com/youtube.