County of SLO recognizes June 19 as Juneteenth

SAN LUIS OBISPO — The San Luis Obispo Board of Supervisors held a regularly scheduled meeting on Tuesday, Jun. 22 at 9 a.m. This was the first in-person meeting since COVID-19 restrictions began, and remote participation will no longer be conducted. 

Cheryl Vines of the NAACP received the resolution recognizing Saturday, Jun. 19 as Juneteenth in the County of San Luis Obispo in person from Supervisor Bruce Gibson.

Items 10 and 22 were pulled from the consent agenda for a separate vote. Item 10 was Salinan Tribe of San Luis Obispo and Monterey Counties. Supervisor Dawn Ortiz-Legg moved approval of item 10 with the amendment to the verbiage to include the Salinan Tribe of San Luis Obispo and Monterey Counties. The motion passed 4-0, with Supervisor Arnold abstaining from the vote.

Getting through this together, Paso Robles

Item 22; Request to approve a contract with Rincon Consultants, Inc. in an amount not to exceed $244,668 to prepare an Environmental Impact Report for the proposed Paso Basin Land Use Planting Ordinance, contingent on adoption of the Fiscal Year 2021-22 Recommended Budget. Supervisor Gibson pulled this item to state that he is of the opinion that the item is a mistake. 

Supervisor Debbie Arnold made a motion to approve the item. She referenced the emergency ordinance from 2014, which stopped certain agricultural businesses, which she feels is unfair, and that this item will create a more fair distribution for Paso Robles. The item passed 4-1, with Supervisor Gibson in opposition.

The remaining consent agenda passed 5-0.

Dr. Penny Borenstein, County Public Health Officer, spoke on the 68 new cases over the last few weeks and that COVID is not gone but that no deaths have occurred in over a month. She highlighted the changes that have occurred since Jun. 15 and California no longer having occupancy restrictions on indoor dining. Businesses should still refer to Cal/OSHA for guidance. At this time, there is no requirement in the State of California for anyone to have a vaccination record as proof of vaccination aside from indoor events over 5000 attendees. 

During the public comment period Supervisor, John Peschong brought up the resignation of County Clerk-Recorder and making the hiring of the position an open and transparent process. County Staff indicated the intention in the meantime to recognize Deputy Helen Nolan for the position. The matter was decided that it should be brought up at the next meeting to begin the application process.

Peschong went on to request the addition of items to future agendas, including the redistricting of California in which at one time the division of SLO county was discussed, to require an economic study to identify fiscal and economic impacts of proposed ballot measures and a resolution regarding the historical and religious rights of the Salinan Tribe of San Luis Obispo and Monterey County, which were all agreed to be added to future agendas.

Chairperson Lynn Compton spoke on the issue of overnight RV parking and the hope to put up signage, which was decided that it would need to amend an ordinance to do so and would come back in August.

Wade Horton spoke briefly in honor of Guy Savage, who is retiring after 18 years. 

The budget was addressed next, with staff recommendations to formally close the 2021-22 budget hearing, and approve the resolution adopting the budget, as well as approving the resolution adoption the position allocation list. The motion passed 5-0, though Gibson did express his dismay in the budget, but to support the county did not vote against it.

Item 39 was the presentation of the county’s public information website for the 2021 redistricting process. The public can participate in the process by creating groups and district map suggestions for the county to view. Those who wish to participate can do so at slocounty.ca.gov/redistricting. Staff also recommended special meetings in response to meeting the state-mandated deadlines. Supervisor Gibson moved to approve, and the motion passed 5-0.

Item 40 was a request to award a four-year contract to private attorney firm San Luis Obispo Defenders, a Professional Law Corporation, in the amount of $4,920,401 for the first year, which was presented by Guy Savage. The last contract was 2016 to 2020, with an interim contract through 2021, while the county went through an RFP. Chairperson Compton thanked staff for their work on this and requested that there be a report on the cases and other pertinent information before the Board twice a year, as well as to authorize the Board to execute up to two additional years. The motion passed 5-0.

There was no report on closed session, and the Board moved on to the final item, 42: Submittal of the 2021 Countywide Cannabis Program Update, and request to approve, in concept, the Compliance Monitoring Program Plan and provide staff direction as deemed necessary.

The report covered the application process, compliance monitoring, appropriate uses of land for cannabis, the budget involved, illegal cannabis enforcement, and the Cannabis Business Tax. The Cannabis Business Tax (Measure B18), which is a gross receipts tax, and has brought in $434,000 so far this year. Difficulties with the taxation process were expressed, and square footage was a proposed substitute for taxation.

Public comment expressed the varying views of residents in the county and highlighted some needs, such as conducting a programmatic Environmental Impact Report (EIR) and freezing the tax rates so that the industry can grow and stabilize before taxation increases.

The Board passed the Programmatic EIR with direction to staff to provide funding that does not put the cost on the taxpayer. The five-year review period once operations begin was approved with a 5-0 vote. The Board also approved the holding of the Cannabis Tax rate at 6 percent, which has to be done before July, so the Board will hold a special meeting on Friday, Jun. 25 at 8:30 a.m. The fee study was approved with the request to look at a square foot rate instead of the rate of the gross receipts. 

The next regular meeting will be Tuesday, Jul. 13 at 9 a.m. The links for the meeting and the agenda when it becomes available can be found on the county’s website.