What a spring! I know after a decade of drought we were all praying for rain. Our prayers were certainly answered. The rain was wonderful and helped bolster our groundwater supply, but the amount of rainfall throughout the north county also did damage to a lot of infrastructure. San Luis Obispo County was hit by twelve Atmospheric Rivers, and was declared twice Federal and State Disaster areas, once during the December, January storms, and again because of the March 9-10 storm.  Many places in the County experienced historic rainfall totals.

I like to hear about the rainfall totals at Rocky Butte because it often has the highest totals in the County. This year the seasonal rainfall total at Rocky Butte was 96 inches, while Cal Poly received 47.66 inches which is the second highest rainfall total there in 152 years. The amount of road damage countywide was amazing. The north county was hit especially hard. The estimated costs to the County for short-term repairs, opening roads to residents and businesses, are somewhere between $7.5 and $9 million. The long-term permanent repairs will be many times that amount. The County Public Works teams have spent several months working on damage to roads and water systems. There remains much work to do. It will take years to make all the infrastructure repairs.

To view historical pictures of county roads and bridges damaged by the storm, please go to www.slocounty.ca.gov click the meetings button, scroll down to past meetings and select May 2, 2023 , item #34. Look at the report given to the Board of Supervisors. Scroll down to find the extraordinary pictures. We know that with a tourist economy it is important to make the necessary repairs so people can enjoy our beautiful scenery when they come to visit this summer.

The County is getting ready for budget hearings which will begin June 12 this year. The 2023-24 recommended budget has Government Funds spending level at $838.8 million, a 3.9% increase from last year’s budget. Even though that seems like a lot of money, the financial forecast last November predicted a $5.1 million dollar gap. There are updated recommendations proposed to close this deficit, and some cuts must be made.

I would like to remind people that our county revenues depend on money from the state and federal government (about 42% of revenues), and taxes (about 32% of revenue). Another interesting thing to note is that when you pay your property taxes to the county, about $0.61 of every dollar goes to the local school district, and about 10% of property taxes collected by the county is returned to the cities.  The annual budget book provides interesting statistics on growth, demographics, and the history of our County. The entire volume can be found online at the County website mentioned above.

I look forward to seeing you this summer at the many activities hosted in Atascadero. It’s so nice to see the lake full!

It is an honor to serve as your 5th District County Supervisor.

-Debbie Arnold
(805) 781-1994


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.