Oceano fire tax fails recount effort

Oceano Community Services District’s attempt to implement a $180 annual flat-rate special fire tax to property owners through a recount of a vote that lost by a slim margin, has failed.

The Oceano 911 Committee asked the San Luis Obispo County Clerk Recorders Office to recount ballots from the March 2 election. County staff conducted the recount on April 2.

During the recount, staff discovered one ballot where yes was circled rather than filled in. As a result, the fire tax gained one vote for a total of 1,295 in favor of the measure and 663 against.

The tax measure, aimed at allowing Oceano to remain part of the Five Cities Fire Authority, required a two-thirds voter approval to pass, or 66.7 percent.As a result of the recount, the measure failed 66.1 percent to 33.9 percent.

If passed, the initiative would have added $15 a month to property tax bills in Oceano.

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.

Because of the failed initiative, it is likely Oceano will leave the fire authority, and San Luis Obispo County will take over providing fire services to the community. The district will remain in the Five Cities Fire Authority until June 30, 2021.

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