The FY 2020-21 San Luis Obispo County Budget

By: 5th District Supervisor, Debbie Arnold

The County Board of Supervisors passed the FY 2020-21 Budget on June 9th. This year was more challenging than most due to the economic impact from the COVID-19 virus. The recommended budget was printed before the impacts of COVID- 19 occurred. After 3 months of regulation affecting the economy and commerce, the county is facing changes to its expenditures and revenues. The budget book can be found online at a Besides recommendations, it contains a lot of interesting information about the county. It includes information about the top 20 employers, median household income, median home price and much more.
The original budget for FY 2020-21 was expected to be $671 million. On June 8th, the Administrative Office brought many recommended changes to the budget hearing knowing that the original budget recommendations needed to be cut. The budget funds 48 county departments and the 2,920 employees who serve the citizens of the county.
Often people ask me where the money comes from and where it goes. Of the $671 million dollar proposed budget, 43% is revenue coming from the state and federal government. Most of that money is for specific mandated programs, many being health and welfare programs. 34% of the county’s revenues come from taxes, including property tax, sales tax, hotel occupancy tax, and a few others. I think it is important to know that 61% of your property taxes go to your local school district. The county retains 23 cents on each dollar for county services.
With the cost of responding to the COVID-19 emergency, and the anticipated shortfall of expected revenues, the county made cuts to the budget and may need to make more as the year goes on. The lack of sales tax revenue, hotel tax revenue, and government revenue has resulted in an estimated shortfall of over $32 million dollars to the original county budget. The Board of Supervisors and County Administration are working hard to address this expected shortfall early and ensure the maximum level of service possible for the county citizens.
I appreciate the difficult sacrifices made by our local businesses these last few months and look forward to our businesses being able to safely reopen. For questions regarding safe re-opening and COVID-19 in our county, please visit
It is an honor to serve as your 5th District Supervisor.
-Debbie Arnold


Atascadero City Big Cheese KL

5th District Supervisor, Debbie Arnold

Debbie Arnold moved to San Luis Obispo County in 1973 to attend Cal Poly, she fell in love with both her husband, Steve, and the farming and ranching values that had been a part of the Arnold family way of life for more than 5 generations. While raising two children, she owned and operated a small business in Atascadero for more than 17 years. She then had the privilege of advocating for local families as a Legislative Aide at the County Supervisor’s office and as a San Luis Obispo District Representative for the State Senate. During these years, she worked with a broad range of community groups and interests, bringing people together to solve problems. Debbie Arnold now serves as the 5th District Supervisor for San Luis Obispo County.