Los Osos board votes against becoming a city

By KAREN VELIE

The Los Osos Community Services District Board of Directors voted 4-0 to reject plans last to turn the bedroom community into a city, during its Dec. 1 board meeting. Instead, the board voted to bring community groups together to discuss bringing in more funding for the community.

Multiple speakers argued that Los Osos, a bedroom community with about 14,500 residents and few retail outlets, does not have the sales tax base needed to become a city. Los Osos has three hotels, a handful of restaurants and a few shops.

It’s property taxes go to schools, the district and the county, as directed by law.

Based on current tax and fee revenues, Los Osos would need to generate an estimated $1.7 million per year, or $118 per resident, in new taxes to provide needed revenue to be a city.

Multiple residents spoke out against the district spending funds on a process that was unlikely to succeed, including former San Luis Obispo County administrative officer David Edge.

“There’s a reason there hasn’t been an incorporation in the past 20 years, it’s because counties got pissed off with incorporating city’s taking their revenue, and the legislature said, ‘Geez, your right,'” Edge said. “Basically, it doesn’t make sense unless you get a big box store revenue and that isn’t going to happen in Los Osos. This is a solution looking for a problem.”

Director, Marshall Ochylski asked if the community could come together to brainstorm with the county to get more funding for the district.

“How can we get the county to do more for us?,” Ochylski asked. “We need parks and rec out here.”

The board agreed to have staff invite stakeholder groups such as the Los Osos Community Advisory Council, Kiwanis and Rotary Club to a stakeholder meeting to develop a strategic plan.