Board signs support letter AB327 pertaining to COVID vaccination status

SAN LUIS OBISPO — The San Luis Obispo Board of Supervisors met on Tuesday, May, 18 for a regularly scheduled meeting at 9 a.m. The meeting opened with a moment of silence in honor of Luca Benedetti, a San Luis Obispo Detective who was killed in the line of duty on May 10

Public comment opened with many members of the public commenting on item 3 on the consent agenda: Request to approve a sole source contract with MSW Consultants, in an amount not to exceed $32,050 to perform a cost-benefit analysis of the county’s participation in the San Luis Obispo County Integrated Waste Management Authority (IWMA); and provide staff direction to confirm the scope and schedule for considering withdrawal; and authorize a budget adjustment in the amount of $32,050 from General Fund Contingencies to increase appropriation in Fund Center 104

The majority of comment was requesting the Board to sever ties with the IWMA. There was comment from some of the unincorporated areas in the county, such as General Manager of Templeton Community Service District Jeff Briltz, who pointed out that the analysis does not include the unincorporated areas that would also be affected by the change. 

Getting through this together, Paso Robles

County Council did confirm that the absence of analysis on these unincorporated areas is simply because of the short timeline, but that further study would report on those areas as well.

The consent agenda was passed 5-0 with just a brief comment period highlighting the great work that the public works department does for our county by Board members on item 19: Submittal of a resolution proclaiming May 16-22 as National Public Works Week.

Next, the Board heard the Presentation of the Community Foundation San Luis Obispo County Richard J. Weyhrich Leadership Scholarship Awards to local students. There were several students from local high schools who were awarded scholarships from the foundation, totaling $300,000.

Following the presentation, Penny Borenstein, Public Health Director, gave the COVID update, stating that there are currently 21,208 cases in SLO county. On Monday, May 17, the number of active cases was 69, the first time in many many months that it has been below 100 cases. “We are very much heading in a good direction; I very much think it’s due to vaccinations and the protective measures we have taken for a long time.” 

Borenstein addressed the discrepancy in total numbers, which have reduced recently, explaining that the data is always continually analyzed to look for these issues and keep the numbers accurate. It was found that some numbers were duplications from a resident residing in one county but seeking medical treatment in a different county, some were antigen tests that are labeled now as probable but not confirmed, and a somewhat sizable amount of 273 cases that were Cal Poly cases that were deemed SLO county but now are re-identified to campus cases and not the larger populous. 

“We take it seriously to give accurate data,” stated Borenstein, explaining why the data is continually analyzed. 

Borenstein reported that the pop-up clinics would close entirely after Jun. 4, at which time the public can receive their vaccinations at public health clinics and pharmacies. And lastly, Borenstein touched on the mask mandate and that while CDC came out with new guidelines, they were subject to local and state guidelines, which still require wearing a mask, vaccinated or not, until Jun. 15. 

Item 28 was a submittal of the 2020-2021 Third Quarter Financial Status Report which was presented with a few budget recommendations:

  • Accept donation acceptance requests totaling $73,841
  • Approve a request for Relief of Accountability in the amount of $67,973
  • Authorize miscellaneous budget adjustments totaling $19 million
    • 1.6 million from General Fund contingencies
    • $795,117 from the COVID-19 designation

Staff recommendations were approved 5-0.

Next was a hearing to consider public testimony regarding the renewal of the San Luis Obispo County Tourism Business Improvement District (CBID) and continued levy of assessments. The CBID levies a tax of 2 percent to all lodging businesses, half of which remains with CBID, and half is given back to the local area. Since the beginning of CBID in 2009, they have received 19.9 million. The hearing was to consider the continuation of the assessment, as required by state statue, and to continue if protests were less than 50 percent.

The protests were tallied at 1.764 percent, which is not a majority protest. The Board declared the CBID renewed and passed the motion 5-0. 

The Board met for closed session, with nothing to report on, and then moved on to recognize May as National Foster Care Month and urge citizens to join in an effort about national awareness. At any given time, there are over 350 children in SLO in the foster care system, but only 120 families to care for them. Those interested in learning more or becoming a resource can visit slofostercare.com. Supervisor Gibson moved to approve the motion, seconded by Supervisor Ortiz-Legg, and the motion passed 5-0.

The Board heard a presentation on budget recommendations. The budget book has been written to communicate the county values and how resources are recommended to be allocated. The budget can be found on the county website at slocounty.ca.gov or in person at the County Government Center at 1055 Monterey Street in SLO. The recommendations to the Board are to adopt the resolution introducing the budget, schedule a public hearing for Jun. 14 to 16, and order publication of all required legal notices. A motion to approve staff’s recommendations was passed 5-0.

Item 33 was a revision to several title 2 Administration and Personnel County codes to keep them current and up to date since it had not been done since 2012. The motion to approve the designated changes was passed 5-0. 

Item 34 was a recommendation to allocate $250,000 to Jack’s Helping Hand to continue the construction of the Jack Ready Imagination Park. The park is a 30-acre parcel of land where a universally accessible park for all children, including disabled children, will be built, with an anticipated completion of 2022. Parks and Recreation considered the item and recommended the Board allocate, while County Parks recommends taking no action, as there may be another grant that could provide the funds for the park. With much discussion from the Board, Chairperson Compton made a motion to move forward with the Parks and Recreation Commissioner recommendation to allocate $250,000 with the provision that county council draw up an agreement that the funds be refunded if the grant comes through for the project. The motion passed 4-1 with Supervisor Gibson in opposition. 

The Board heard a presentation on item 35 to authorize the Chief Probation Officer to execute an amendment to the contract with Family Care Network in the amount of $100,000 to provide an expansion of therapeutic services to high-risk juvenile offenders and families. The recommendation was to authorize the Chief Probation Officer to execute contracts with other probation departments and to approve amendment No. 1 to the Family Care Network contract. The motion to approve the recommendations was passed 5-0.

The last item of the day was a Request for approval of a letter of support for AB 327 (Kiley) and amend the county’s 2021 Legislative Platform pertaining to COVID vaccination status. The Board heard from the public, which was almost exclusively in support of AB 237 and against the idea of vaccine passports. After hearing twenty minutes of public comment, a motion was made by Supervisor Arnold to move the remaining recordings into public record in order to avoid going past 5 p.m. or delaying the vote to another day if a unanimous vote to go past 5 p.m. was not reached. Additionally, she included in her motion to approve the letter of support. Supervisor Gibson voiced his opposition to the motion, and the motion passed 4-1. 

The next meeting of the Supervisors will be Jun. 8. Links for the meeting will be available on the SLO County website.