Government Agencies In Our County

By: 5th District Supervisor, Debbie Arnold

Spring is such a beautiful time in the North County, and this year is no exception.  Spring always seems like such a busy season, and there is a lot going on at every level of government.

As many of you know there are several regional and mandated government agencies doing business within the County. Often these boards and commissions find there is not a lot of public engagement when they are voting on issues, but often their decisions have an impact on local businesses.  For example, the San Luis Obispo County Air Pollution Control District Board (APCD) meets almost every month and regulates many businesses throughout the County regarding air quality standards.  The APCD Board is made up of all five County Supervisors and one city council member from each of the seven incorporated cities within the County. (Paso Robles, Atascadero, San Luis Obispo, Arroyo Grande, Grover Beach, Pismo Beach, and Morro Bay).  The APCD Board sets fees on businesses large and small, including the Phillips 66 refinery, the State Park OHV park at the Oceano Dunes, small paint shops, machine shops, and clothes cleaners to name a few.

Another regional body that affects businesses in our county is the Integrated Waste Management Authority (IWMA). Unlike the APCD and many of the other mandated boards and commissions, the IWMA was created voluntarily to respond to state legislation passed in 1989.  The idea was to combine the resources of the cities and counties and work together to educate the public and achieve compliance with state mandates regarding landfills and recycling. I believe that those member agencies that joined the IWMA long ago did not intend to create a new agency with power to legislate over each other’s jurisdictions.  Recently, however, the IWMA Board has chosen to move beyond state mandates and pass an ordinance that affects many small businesses, especially businesses struggling with Covid regulations. It is a ban on Polystyrene products and has the potential to affect food safety by banning packaging like the type we buy our meat and fish in.  This ban will also affect packing materials often used for breakable items and commonly used by the wine industry. This ordinance that bans polystyrene products also includes fines and possible jail times for violators.  It narrowly passed, but those that did not vote for the ordinance cited reasons like they preferred education over legislation, and others felt the IWMA was overstepping its role.  I too believe ordinances should be addressed by member agencies in their own cities, not by the IWMA.  I do not believe city council members should be able to impose legislation on other cities outside their jurisdiction.  It is my hope that a solution to this dilemma can be found so local control can be restored while the services provided by the IWMA can continue.  Stay tuned.

I look forward to seeing businesses and schools begin to open! Hope to see you soon at one of our local restaurants or retail stores.

It is an honor to serve you as the 5th District County 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.