Atascadero City Manager Rachelle Rickard recognized for 26 years of service

SAN LUIS OBISPO COUNTY — Atascadero City Manager Rachelle Rickard was recognized for her service to the city during the San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors meeting on Tuesday, May 2. 

Rickard was recognized upon her retirement for 26 years of service to Atascadero. She will be officially retiring in July and the Atascadero City Council will be considering a hiring contract with new City Manager James Lewis, who previously served as city manager for Pismo Beach.

The Atascadero Loaves and Fishes (also known as ALF Food Pantry) will be receiving county funds for the restoration of their food pantry building. The nonprofit addresses food insecurity by providing groceries to low and very low-income residents of Atascadero, Templeton, Creston, Santa Margarita, and the California Valley. In 2022, they served 3,700 individuals with food covering 3-4 days of meals for each resident. The food pantry building suffered some damage from the Jan. 9 storm and is in need of repair and restoration.


The $3,250 in county funds will be used to offset the expenses of repairing and restoring the building, including but not limited to wet/dry vacuum, building materials, drying equipment, excavation equipment, mastic sealer, and gravel.

Staff gave a presentation recapping damages caused by this year’s winter storms through the end of March. Comparing to the 2017 storms, which resulted in Federal Disaster Declaration with clean-up efforts and repair work at 36 locations in the county. Through this year’s March storms, staff has identified 595 locations: 287 roads requiring debris clearing, 109 locations requiring emergency repairs, and 199 locations that will need permanent repairs. Staff noted they have accumulated close to 10,000 photos of damages on sites throughout the county.

Much of the storm damage included destroyed bridges, washouts of roads, broken culverts, undercutting of roads, and embankment failures. This led to an estimated 400 isolated residents during storm emergencies. Staff reports that as of Apr. 17, there were still over 100 isolated residents resulting from damaged infrastructure on Chimney Rock Road, Upper Lopez Canyon Road, and Santa Rita Road.

The estimated cost to repair the damages is $36 million. This is before reimbursements from FEMA which could reimburse 75 percent of the total cost with an additional 18.25 percent from the California Office of Emergency Services (CalOES). However, the amount reimbursed will vary on the date of work completed. One hundred percent reimbursement is expected for work completed within 270 days, and 88.53 percent reimbursement is expected after.

Areas needing permanent repair work is anticipated to continue through at least 2026. Staff proposed a Storm Damage Recovery Team made of six positions and described as “repurposed positions already existing in Public Works and some limited-term (three-year) positions.”

The SLO County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved the funding plan and storm damages report.

The next San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors meeting is scheduled for May 16 at 9 a.m.