SLO Board of Supervisors Increase Funds for Community Projects

Reported by The Santa Maria Times:

The San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors will add a little more than $20,000 to its pots of individual district community project funds, the elected officials decided at the end of Wednesday’s budget hearings.

The supervisors voted 4-1 to increase their individual district community project funds to $50,000. First District Frank Mecham, who is retiring at year’s end, was the lone dissenter in the vote, stating if one gets money, then all should get it.

Chairwoman Lynn Compton, who represents much of South County — Nipomo, Oceano and Arroyo Grande — made the suggestion to bump up the fund, saying some of the nonprofits that didn’t receive funding could submit grant applications through their specific supervisor’s office to potentially get the money.

Before making her suggestion to increase their district community project funds, though, the supervisors spent the better part of the morning doling out more than $1.8 million to local nonprofits that help to feed the county’s homeless, clothe impoverished schoolchildren, provide clean needles to intravenous drug users and more.

“The work you do in our community is so critical,” said 3rd District Supervisor Adam Hill. “It’s really God’s work, and the community wouldn’t be the same without it. It’s really quite inspiring to us.”

The supervisors each get community project funds every budget cycle that can be spent on everything from helping fund concert-in-the-park series to pitching in for city-hosted events.

In her argument to increase the discretionary fund, Compton said when the officials only have $30,000 to spread among numerous requests that often come in around $2,000 each, the money doesn’t go far.

“It goes back to the people paying the taxes,” she said.

In Cayucos, Supervisor Bruce Gibson said the monies have been “fundamentally important,” going toward things such as the Cayucos Pier and Veterans Hall restoration projects, although he was uncomfortable about almost doubling the amount of the community project funds.

“I’m not opposed to this … because they do go to some worthy causes in our districts,” Gibson said. “It’s just how fast do we want to (increase the fund).”

On Monday, the supervisors tentatively approved a $554 million budget for fiscal year 2016-17, which starts July 1. The board is expected to take final action on all budget-related items at its meeting Tuesday, June 21.