Frustration is rising in Nipomo as residents learn where millions of dollars in Public Facility Fee (PFF) funds have been allocated over the 12 years.
“Our community has been slighted,” said Nipomo Recreation Association executive director Jeff Long. “We really haven’t gotten what we deserve.”
Long recently was informed by San Luis Obispo County Fourth District Supervisor Lynn Compton that millions of dollars generated through area development has been directed to other parts of the county instead of staying in the community.
“I was upset when Lynn showed us those numbers,” said Long. “It was eye opening.”
Long is referring to accounting Compton requested and received from the county that shows where Public Facility Fee (PFF) funds have been directed over the past 12 years.
The funds can be used for parks, park land acquisition, libraries, law enforcement and fire protection.
“I found out Nipomo itself generated almost $11 million of funds in the last 12 years and we’ve received $2 million back,” said Compton.
The PFF funds are generated through developmental fees, which come from assessments on new homes, amounting to approximately $5,200 per home.
The $11 million collected from the Nipomo area came primarily through developments at Trilogy, Blacklake and Cypress Ridge.
“The law is pretty specific that the community that is impacted by the development should be beneficiary and recipient of the funds that are received,” said Compton.
However, Compton, who lives in the Nipomo area, said that hasn’t been the case for the South County.
“They’ve basically been redistributed to other geographies in our county and in areas where there’s been no growth,” said Compton. “They’ve been used on projects, such as skateboard parks in other areas, rather than here where we’re sorely missing those types of services and needs.”
Compton is now hoping to redirect money back into the Nipomo area where she feels it belongs.
“I’m just asking for what’s fair for Nipomo,” said Compton. “I’m asking for the money that was taken from this area.”
According to county documents, over the past 12 years, the Coastal Zone generated $2.23 million in fees, but received $8.2 million. San Luis Obispo generated $1.7 million and received $9.65 million.
“That seems unfair to me that the money was moved around,” Compton said. “They’re getting the benefit of all the building that went on in the South County. Basically, they got the benefit of the bulk of the money generated here, so that’s where I have my issues.”
Long, who recently came aboard the Nipomo Recreation Association after leading Nipomo Youth Basketball for eight years, believes the reallocation of the funds away from Nipomo is especially hurtful to children.
“We don’t have anywhere for the kids to practice or play,” said Long, referring to the lack of community center and gymnasium. “We have to go to Arroyo Grande, and so it would be nice to get those funds back into Nipomo and build stuff that the kids really need here.”
Long added its important to provide kids quality forms of recreation in a safe environment.
“If you don’t have them in a community center, a basketball gym, or a skate park, or a baseball field. If you just have them roaming around, they’ll find things to do and sometimes in the long-run, that’s not a good thing,” said Long.
Compton agrees emphasizing a lack of services and amenities in the community, which has doubled in size over the past 25 years.
“We’re completely under-serviced down here,” Compton said. “We really don’t have a lot for the population here, which is huge, so give us some path to right the situation now that it’s come to light. Not asking for anything more than what we deserve.”
Compton will be asking her fellow county supervisors face-to-face next Tuesday at the regularly scheduled Board of Supervisors meeting what they will be able to do in order to restore the funding she feels has been wrongly taken away.
“I don’t think they’re going to make it right in one year,” Compton said. “If there money’s not there, it’s not there, but give us a path to correcting the situation so we can have some services down here in a drastically undeserved community for our kids.”
Long said he is planning to speak during the public comment period at the meeting to directly ask the supervisors to redirect money where he feels it is due.
“We’ve earned those (funds),” said Long. “We deserve that money and we have things that are ready to go, to build and get this community back to where we need it for the kids and adults and older people.”
The San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors will meet Tuesday, March 7 in the San Luis Obispo County Government Building. The meeting is scheduled to start at 9 a.m.