SLO County reduces funding for all departments

The San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors voted on Tuesday to cut funding for public safety departments by 1 percent and all other departments by 4 percent to make up for budget shortfall because of the coronavirus.

During the upcoming 2020-2021 fiscal year, the county was anticipating a $32 million to $56 million deficit because of reduced revenue during the pandemic. County staff suggested across the board cuts of 4 percent.

Members of Race Matters SLO asked the board to reallocate a portion of law enforcement funding to social services, housing and mental health services.

Seeking to fully fund public safety, Supervisor Debbie Arnold made a motion to suspend training programs and a building relocation in order to keep the four public safety departments – fire, sheriffs, district attorney, and probation – fully funded. Her motion did not garner a second.

Supervisor John Peschong then made a motion to use $2.5 million in reserve Proposition 172 funding for current shortfalls in public safety funding, to make a 1 percent cut in public safety funding and a 4 percent cut in the remaining departments. The motion passed 4-1 with Arnold dissenting.

On June 16, the board will review and then vote on adoption of the proposed budget changes.

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