Oceano fire tax appears to be Oceano

Cynthia Replogle, Linda Austin, Shirley Gibson, Karen White and Allene Villa

By CCT STAFF

Oceano Community Services District’s plan to implement a $180 annual flat-rate special fire tax to property owners appears to have failed.

The tax measure, aimed at allowing Oceano to remain a part of the Five Cities Fire Authority, requires a two-thirds voter approval to pass, or 66.7 percent. On election night, 63.3 percent voted yes and 36.7 percent voted no. It is likely the special tax will fail.

The initiative would add $15 a month to property tax bills in Oceano and would raise an estimated $422,000 annually.

If rejected, it is likely Oceano will leave the fire authority, and San Luis Obispo County will take over providing fire services to the community.

Since 2010, the Oceano Community Services District has been served by the Five Cities Fire Authority through a joint powers agreement with the cities of Arroyo Grande and Grover Beach. Over the course of the past decade, the fire authority has experienced financial challenges.

Recently, the fire authority closed its Oceano station several times because of a lack of funding and subsequent staffing shortages.

Three Oceano district board members claimed that if the tax did not pass, there would be a reduction in emergency services while others believe the county can do a better job.

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