SLO County cities get unexpected windfall from county

All seven cities in San Luis Obispo County will receive unexpected windfalls totaling nearly $2 million Wednesday, thanks to a recent California Supreme Court decision.

The biggest amounts will go to San Luis Obispo and Paso Robles.

San Luis Obispo County had collected $1,856,285 in administrative fees from cities through a state Senate bill that allowed the county to charge cities to assess, collect and allocate property taxes. The state’s 58 counties must now pay that money back due to the ruling overturning the 2006 statute.

Katie Lichtig, San Luis Obispo’s city manager, said the city would seek City Council direction for the $632,846.64 it will receive.

“We will be taking the issue to the City Council on April 9 to receive direction on how the money may or may not be used it. We feel very grateful to the county for a fair and equitable resolution to this situation.”

Paso Robles will bank its $398, 544.53 windfall to cover any unexpected future financial downturns, according to Jim App, city manager.

“We have a financial plan for the next few years,” he said, “so there’s no specified use for the funds.

“It’s not an insignificant amount and may be used to cover short-term shortfalls,’’ App added. “We won’t use it immediately, unless there’s an unforeseen downturn. We’ll treat it as found money and stick it in the bank until needed.”

Jim Erb, the county’s interim auditor-controller, said the money is being paid out of current property tax revenue and won’t impact the county’s budgeting for next year.

The totals are:

Arroyo Grande: $193,243.20

Atascadero: $298,680.38

Grover Beach: $128,814.33

Morro Bay: $118,588.18

Paso Robles: $398,544.53

Pismo Beach: $125,448.38

San Luis Obispo: $632,846.64