The resolution to leave the IWMA will be presented at the September 14 meeting

SAN LUIS OBISPO — The San Luis Obispo Board of Supervisors held a regularly scheduled meeting on Tuesday, Aug. 24, at 9 a.m. Due to the increase in COVID cases in the county, the meeting was held remotely with a zoom link as well as the usual county website links.

The meeting opened with comment on the consent agenda, and Supervisor Debbie Arnold requested to pull item 22 (approving the submittal of an application for the Locally-Operated State Park Grant Program and allowing for the reimbursement of previously incurred Cayucos Veteran’s Hall Rehabilitation Project expenditures) for discussion.

Supervisor Dawn Ortiz-Legg requested to make comments on several of the consent agenda items, including reading the resolution recognizing August as the Women’s right to vote month and honoring the 101th anniversary of the right to vote.

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The consent agenda without item 22 was passed and then discussion on 22 opened. Arnold stated that the item felt too large to be on the consent agenda, given the scope of the project and the budget associated. County council assured the Board that the item could not be pushed to a future meeting as the deadline to apply for the grant is Aug. 31 and that the topic would come back before the Board to make decisions on the spending at a future date. The motion to hold the item for a future date did not receive a second, and the motion passed 4-1 with Arnold in opposition.

Next, the Board heard public comment for items not on the agenda, some of which focused on the recent decision to remove the county from the IWMA and wondering why a resolution was not ready to be made at that time to finalize the exit. Supervisor John Peschong made a motion after public comment to bring back a resolution to leave the IWMA on the Sept. 14 meeting, and the motion passed 3-2 with Supervisor Bruce Gibson and Ortiz-Legg in opposition.

Item 33 was the request to approve various water, wastewater, and broadband infrastructure projects to be funded by the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 funding. The presentation covered the budget plans, including the cost of software as well as the training time to bring all employees up to speed on the software. Supervisor Gibson requested that the supervisors’ direct staff to hold on the projects related to broadband until a way is found for those funds to go more directly to benefiting individuals, especially in the lower-income communities. Supervisor Arnold made a motion to approve staff’s recommendations, seconded by Supervisor Ortiz-Legg. The motion passed 5-0, with Gibson expressing his interest in seeing this go through but hopes to see a focus on broadband infrastructure helping the lower-income areas.

Supervisor Ortiz-Legg made a motion to bring back conversation on a local hire workforce agreement, specifically on these projects mentioned. The motion passed 5-0.

The Supervisors took a break for closed session, with nothing to report, and returned at 1 p.m. on item 34 to consider the use of new water management tools. These tools allow for transfer, storage, and exchanges among contractors on the state water system. These tools would provide the ability for SLO to benefit more from state water and allow cost recovery with sales of water when the county doesn’t need all the water.

Supervisor Arnold was in opposition to water for sale and stated counties who historically found this to not end well. Arnold felt the need was to improve infrastructure so the county can hold more water rather than look into selling the water.

A motion was made to approve staff recommendations by Supervisor Gibson, and the motion passed 3-2, with supervisors Arnold and Peschong in opposition.

Item 36 was a hearing to consider a request by Peoples’ Self-Help Housing to amend Article 10 of the Land Use Ordinance to remove the 60-parcel limitation from the Mission Gardens site in San Miguel. While public comment on the item discussed the issue of adding more housing when we are currently in a water crisis, the motion to approve staff’s recommendations was approved 5-0.

Item 38 was a hearing to consider amending the agricultural offset requirements for the Paso basin and extend the termination date to Aug. 31, 2022 and increase the water duty factor for table grapes. The motion passed in two parts, with a 5-0 vote on moving the termination date to Aug. 31, 2022, and the motion for increasing the water allowance for table grapes passing 4-1 with Arnold in opposition.

Item 39 was a hearing to consider adopting a resolution to modify the boundaries of the SLO valley basin to align with the revised City of SLO boundary as identified by the Agency Formation Commission. The motion was passed 5-0.

The last item of the day was to receive and file a presentation on the San Luis Obispo Valley Groundwater Basin Draft Groundwater Sustainability Plan (GSP). The second portion of this item was to authorize the Director of Public works to provide any noticing requirements. The motion to receive and file was approved 5-0.

The next meeting will be held on Sept. 14, and the agenda will be made available on the county’s website prior to the meeting slocounty.ca.gov/Departments/Board-of-Supervisors/Board-Meetings,-Agendas-and-Minutes.aspx.