Oceano board appoints ex-official and newcomer to vacant seats

May 12, 2011

Oceano Community Services District board members voted unanimously to appoint former board member Rick Searcy along with Felma Hurdle to the board on Wednesday evening.

Searcy and Hurdle were appointed to fill vacancies created by the resignations of Jim Hill and Carole Henson who cited disagreements with district manager Raffaele Montemurro over his accounting practices and failure to follow the board’s direction. Both will serve until the November 2012 election when the voters will decide who will fill the seats.

Board members and the public interviewed the six candidates asking questions about the budget, selling water rights and the possible development of the Oceano County Airport.

Searcy said he was against the sale of water rights and in favor of bringing the airport, currently under the control of San Luis Obispo County’s Board of Supervisors, back to the district. He added that he was unsure if the airport should be closed and the property developed.

Several members of the public spoke either in favor of Searcy’s appointment or opposed because of his former time on the board when he voted in favor of building a community center. The district was unable to pay the mortgage and lost the building a few years ago.

Kevin Rice countered that with three appointed board members it was important to have someone with experience on the board.

Hurdle said water rights are sacred. However, she added that she would have to research the issue of selling water rights before she would feel comfortable commenting on the issue.

When asked about her view on developing the airport, Hurdle said she was not adverse to partial development.

Following the pairs’ appointments, the board voted to temporarily forgo appointing a new board president and vice president.

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Now that we have identified ourselves as interested in the welfare and improvement of Oceano, dare I ask for some ideas related to “How do we pay the OCSD bills?” If we all took as much time researching the costs and remedies for running the district, our fiscal problems would be solved! I’m still trying to figure out where the money goes that comes to the district in payment for our water. If you multiply 7,600 residents times fifty bucks each (and that is a very low figure–some families pay about $165.00 every two months!), you get…(hang on…) $380,000.00 every two months. So, what portion of the OCSD’s monthly operating cost does that cover? Admittedly, I’m math-challenged, but I’m asking for some assistance here, and you guys are it….

There are 7,600 residents but 2,100 water bills go out. The budget shows the amount they collect. Which would be last years and will be increased with this years since the rates went up. If you go to the district office they will give you a copy of the budget. I’d look it up for you oto but I’m getting ready to go out and gamble right now. $5 buy in nickle, dime and quarter bets. Gotta know when to hold ’em gotta know when to fold’em. Good thing I missed the cut to be on the board. I might be tempted to steal the coffers to feed my habit.