By: 5th District Supervisor, Debbie Arnold
As I write these words, I am looking at the most beautiful rain clouds creating a very dramatic sky. We are quickly approaching spring, and this late season rain is so welcome after a relatively dry winter. Any more rain will be welcome, but it looks like we may be facing another drought year. While the lack of rain is hard on everyone in the agricultural business, the mild winter has helped many local businesses that were only allowed to serve customers or clients outside. It has been a long challenging year for so many of our local businesses, and I am happy to see us moving in the direction of opening things up.
The County continues to work hard to provide all the important services people depend on. Many County employees from many County departments have been temporarily moved to work on Covid-19 related projects. Some are contributing to the vaccination efforts. Others are working on the economic relief efforts. All are working toward the goal of helping our citizens overcome the problems Covid-19 has caused, and getting schools and businesses open again.
Preparing the annual County budget has been an extreme challenge this year. There are so many unknowns it is hard to predict how revenues will come in at both the local and state level. Approximately half of the County revenues come from the state or federal government to provide many of the health and social services county citizens depend on. The different stimulus packages have provided relief in many areas including economic stimulus funds to keep businesses going and jobs intact. We are working on finishing a draft budget for the next fiscal year 2021-2022, and things seem to be changing weekly.
With vaccine eligibility expanding to include education workers, food and agricultural workers, informal caregivers, and individuals 16 years and older with high-risk medical conditions, many more people will be able to get the vaccines they need to be protected.
I look forward to having the schools open, businesses open, and traditional activities and celebrations resumed. A year ago, things were looking bright. Our economy was booming and Chambers of Commerce Countywide were working with local governments and businesses looking to expand opportunities. Atascadero was especially changing and experiencing exciting commercial growth. All over the County there was talk on how to expand economic opportunities that would replace the jobs lost when Diablo Canyon closed. I cannot wait to get back to it! We are getting closer to safely getting back to the activities we enjoy, and the work that drives our economy.
Mostly, I cannot wait for county government to be able to conduct its business in person so citizens can be present at public hearings. Please feel free to call my office at (805) 781-4339 if we can be of any assistance navigating county services. It is truly and honor to serve as your fifth district supervisor.
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.