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County board lauds PTA efforts

The San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors dealt with menacing animals, parent-teacher associations, firefighters’ equipment, the tourist economy and other matters during a busy meeting Tuesday.

Among the issues the board addressed:

Honoring PTAs

Supervisors and others honored the 36 Parent-Teacher Associations scattered throughout San Luis Obispo County, which have existed since the first was instituted locally at Nipomo Elementary School in 1915.

Educators and others noted that PTAs have worked to combat bullying and drug abuse, and advocated for other issues important to children. More widely known is their support of programs that have dealt with dwindling funds for years, such as arts in education, computer labs and school enrichment trips.

PTAs also were “instrumental in getting the juvenile hall built near the Sheriff’s Office,” according to the resolution praising them.

In 2010, PTAs in the San Luis Obispo County contributed 118,254 hours and $2.4 million worth of time to local schools, according to the resolution.

As money for public education continues to dry up, PTAs are “more important than ever before,” one speaker said.

Menacing animals

Supervisors set a public hearing date of March 6 for a proposed ordinance that would regulate “menacing and aggressive animals.”

The ordinance would seek to prevent animals from attacking. Currently, county officials say, they can act only after the fact.

The San Luis Obispo County Animal Services Division says it receives hundreds of complaints about aggressive animals each year.

Under the proposed ordinance, it “won’t be illegal to own an aggressive animal,” according to Eric Anderson, Animal Services director. “But if you do, you have to take appropriate measures to keep it confined.”

The county would identify aggressive animals by hearing from the public.

“It’s a complaint-driven process,” Anderson said.

Fire gear

The board agreed to pay $814,310 over five years to replace the self-contained breathing apparatus used by County Fire.

According to a report from San Luis Obispo County Fire Chief Rob Lewin, the apparatus currently being used, which is supposed to provide firefighters with breathable air in hazardous environments, does not comply with the latest safety standards.

In addition, Lewin wrote, several different models are being used, which requires added training, costs more money and creates confusion.

Lewin recommended that the county contract with Mallory Fire/Mine Safety Appliances Inc. at $162,862 yearly. The board agreed.

Tourism

Supervisors gave $365,854 to the San Luis Obispo County Visitors and Conference Bureau to promote tourism, including such destinations as county parks, golf courses and airports.

The county has been working with the private sector to promote tourism, and Supervisor Adam Hill called this expenditure “a good example of collaboration (that would) help our tourist economy flourish.”

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