Plenty of groups share in county funding

Supervisors give grants to projects individually or jointly with rigorous county oversight

bmorem@thetribunenews.comJune 21, 2013 

Schools, the military, local festivals, nonprofits and clubs are among the groups that benefited in the past two years from San Luis Obispo County supervisors’ discretionary funds.

Each supervisor is allotted $23,438 each fiscal year as part of the budgeting process. Though they tend to give grants to projects within their districts, they also help pay for causes of other supervisors.

Some of those joint efforts include:

• The First 5 Children’s and Families Commission Children’s Summit: all five supervisors chipped in $500 apiece.

• The Honor Flight Kern County that transported almost two dozen World War II veterans to Washington, D.C., to tour various military memorials: It was underwritten by District 5 Supervisor Debbie Arnold ($100), District 1 Supervisor Frank Mecham ($1,000) and District 4 Supervisor Paul Teixeira ($400);

• The Assistance League: It received unanimous support: Mecham ($250), District 2 Supervisor Bruce Gibson ($750), District 3 Supervisor Adam Hill ($650), and both Teixeira and Arnold ($200).

The county set up a series of checks and balances — including a rigorous application process and scrutiny by board members and county counsel if needed — years ago in an effort to avoid the appearance of patronage.

Here’s a closer look at some of the top contributions that each county supervisor granted during the past two fiscal years, based on information they provided at The Tribune’s request:

Frank Mecham: Paso Robles Pioneer Day Committee, $4,000; the Callahan Heart Safe project, $1,700; Shandon Unified School District, $1,000; Shandon High School, $1,000 for purchase of books; Paso Robles High School, $2,000 for its Skills USA program; Atascadero High School robotics team, $250; Atascadero Community Link, $1,000 for a resource guide.

Bruce Gibson: Match of a community contribution from the Friends of the Cambria Library for completion of a new library, $11,500; Los Osos Advisory Council, $2,192; Cayucos Senior Citizens Club, $1,900 for ongoing support; Land Conservancy for SLO County Creek Clean-Up Day, $2,000; the Link for SLO Co. Anti-Gang Coordinating Committee’s spring conference, $1,000; and Coast Union High School, $1,000.

Adam Hill: Five Cities Fire Authority for purchase of portable defibrillators, $4,000; The Callahan Heart Safe project, $3,700; Land Conservancy for the Wild Cherry Canyon purchase, $2,000; 5 Cities Homeless Coalition, $2,000; Avila Beach Civic Association to offset costs for the annual meeting of its Business to Business Networking Group, $3,000.

Paul Teixeira: Latino Outreach Council, $1,200; Latino Outreach, $1,500; Nipomo Area Recreation Association, $2,000; Arroyo Grande Valley Harvest Festival, $3,000; Arroyo Grande High School Eagles Athletic Foundation, $1,000; and South County Historical Society, $1,800.

Debbie Arnold: Atascadero High School Safe and Sober Grad Night, $1,500; Santa Margarita Advisory Council, $1,300; Atascadero’s Community Services Department for Children’s Day in the Park, $1,000; Latino Outreach, $500; the Blessed Creatures program of Santa Margarita Beautiful, $300.

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