City employees address council on livable wage

ATASCADERO — The Atascadero City Council met for its regularly scheduled meeting on Tuesday, May 28, at 6 p.m. The hybrid meeting was held in the City Council Chambers.

During the Community Forum, seven residents, mostly city staff, addressed the council about current wages compared to the cost of living in Atascadero.

“My name is Nicole Bryant, and I’m the field representative for SEIU Local 620, which represents your hardworking general unit employees here at the City of Atascadero. Our membership this evening is here to impress upon you the importance of these contract negotiations and their need for fair and equitable wages that meet current economics,” stated Bryant.  


She also added that Atascadero employees are having a hard time supporting their families and that neighboring agencies are keeping up with inflation with their current employment contracts. According to Bryant, Paso Robles gave a 4 percent cost-of-living increase to their employees this year, Santa Maria 5 percent, Pismo Beach 3 percent in July, and Arroyo Grande 3.5 percent. Morro Bay and Grover Beach are currently in contract negotiations.

All city employees who addressed the council stated that they appreciate their jobs and love working with others on city staff, as well as the council themselves. They all expressed wanting to be able to stay in San Luis Obispo County and continue working for Atascadero, but they said that the cost of living may end up getting in the way of that.

“As stated, we are in a negotiation, so there is nothing that we can say to that this evening. I will say, overall, as a council, and I know I speak for my entire council, we appreciate our employees, we appreciate the job that every single one of you do, and it takes all of us to make this work,” stated Mayor Heather Moreno.

Community Development Director Phil Dunsmore later addressed the council on a Request for Authorization for Amendments to Del Rio Ranch. 

“The reason we’re here tonight for this isn’t an overview of the whole project,” stated Dunsmore. “It’s really an authorization just to proceed with an application to submit this project.”

The project site is on the corner of Del Rio and El Camino Real. It’s known as the Del Rio Ranch Property and is a substantial retail, entertainment, and tourism project. Over the years, multiple projects have been brought to the council, but none have moved forward to completion. The newest version of the project removes any residential space and turns it into a resort.

The site would include an RV zone, a resort zone with glamping sites, pools, a main clubhouse, and a market walk.There will also be a commercial zone along El Camino Real.

“Again, there’s no guarantee of approval if they are authorized to move forward, but there is a chance to analyze and process the application,” stated Senior Planner Kelly Gleason, who continued the presentation. “So if the council does authorize the project to move forward, there will be a formal application submittal and staff technical review. We will also see this project before the DRC and Planning Commission before we finally make it to the council for final action.”

A motion passed unanimously to allow the applicant team to proceed with the amendments to the project as recommended. 

The next Atascadero City Council meeting will be held on Tuesday, June 11, at 6 p.m.