Stop the Los Osos sewer

February 20, 2012

OPINION By GARY FREIBERG

Electronic civil disobedience is being used to try to get the attention of decision makers for the financial plight of the almost 5,000 households in Los Osos/Baywood Park who face significant impact from the proposed $300 monthly sewer expense. An online “Stop The Los Osos Sewer” petition has been created on Change.org, the same web site that recently was the vehicle that caused Bank of America to change their mind to charge a $5.00 a month debit card fee.

Sewer dissonance in Los Osos has been painted to be only by “Sewer Nuts”; extremists, whiners, a pain in the county butt small group of antagonists that won’t go away. However, parents wanting to do something to assure they can provide financial stability for their family, or retirees wanting to stay in their homes are not sewer extremists.

The San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors have chosen to be political parents who don’t want to hear anymore about it, they have made up their mind to build this $190 million sewer and that’s it. Other than a few questions to Bruce Gibson from Frank Mecham what Gibson and the rest have lost sight of is that $200 to $300 a month makes a big difference to a lot of households, this redirection of funds will have economic consequences for San Luis Obispo County that the Board of Supervisors refuses to have the foresight to acknowledge.

To meet this new monthly sewer expense many of the 5,000 households will cut spending to be able to pay the new $300 monthly obligation. Don’t go out to dinner, don’t shop as much, reduce entertainment. It is conservatively estimated an annual $10,000,000 will be lost to the San Luis Obispo County economy due to these dollars being redirected from spending to paying the monthly tax assessment. The inevitable economic ripple consequences of this lost spending include a loss of businesses, loss of jobs, job stability and job creation and reduced tax revenues to schools and public services in San Luis Obispo County. And it’s for the next 30 to 40 years!

The worst enemy to this effort is apathy. That’s a very expensive option for San Luis Obispo County residents to take, the “I’ve heard enough” mentality, it’s what Bruce Gibson, Public Works Director Paavo Ogren, Water Quality Control Board local head Roger Briggs and others are relying on, to wear opposition down so everyone gives up and they stick it to 5000 household’s and the economy of San Luis Obispo county. But they win, that seems to be the most important thing to these decision makers, not the county economic difficulties the Los Osos sewer will still cause long after they have retired.

The loss of spending requires everyone who owns or works in a business, is a teacher or public employee, who has a stake in the San Luis Obispo county economy to sign this online petition. Signing is not just showing compassion and concern, it’s protecting your own livelihood.

The “Stop The Los Osos Sewer” petition is for economic stability, it’s for the home environment kids have when financially strapped parents have difficulty meeting expenses, it’s for retirees being able to stay in their homes, it’s not for a small group the county is tired of hearing from.

Every signed petition is emailed to sixteen officials from various agencies who can stop the current borrowing and spending for the Los Osos Sewer until an alternate is developed that will keep families and retirees in their home and not lose jobs and businesses in San Luis Obispo County.

Go to www.StopTheLosOsosSewer.com or to Change.org and put “Los Osos sewer” in the search bar. Signatures will be accepted until late April, please leverage your signature by emailing friends or posting on your Facebook page to encourage others to sign, and please do so soon, this is truly urgent!

Sign the online petition….for the sake of people, not statistics.


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shelworth

First it was the nitrates, that was the whole reason for the huge old fashioned sewer system, then recently I read that the new sewer will accelerate the saltwater leaching into the aquifer. Why don’t we just pump our septics every other year? Be a lot cheaper than a 200 million dollar system.


jimmy_me

Giant over-priced sewer forced onto the less well-to-do folks in Los Osos. A non-anonymous assessment vote that was taken under intimidating circumstances. Los Osos voters stopped several previous sewers based upon stupid projects pushed by corrupt city and county leadership. A county government that cares less about the financial burden to Los Osos residents, many of whom are on fixed incomes. A county assessors offices that has thus refused to acknowledge the hit Los Osos property values have already taken. A prohibition zone that does not include larger properties (as if their poop does not pollute). A complete refusal by the people pushing the current version of the sewer to acknowledge sea water intrusion into the ground water is going to get worse with the new sewer.


Everything about this project is F*#$ed up; I suggest everyone should stop blaming the people of Los Osos long enough to acknowledge reality.


standup

My question to all the Los Osoans is why should I have to fish in your pee that percolates into Morro

Bay?


Mr. Magoo

Ask the previous CSD who ignored the data and the warnings provided by the CCRWQCB and chose stop a permitted and funded project. Ask them why they defaulted on the State’s low interest loan.

they, and they alone are responsible for the delays, enforcement actions, fines, lawsuits, continued pollution, and cost increases.


Paperboys

I believe Gary’s figures are inflated. The County has never said $300 a month.

The latest figure is around $165 a month. But that only includes the cost of the collection system and the treatment plant, plus the debt service. It does not include potential costs of hooking up to the sewer in the first place, which will fall on every property owner alone.

It could be just a couple of thousand to $10,000 or more depending on where the septic tank is located (front or back yard), and how difficult it will be to run a sewer lateral to it.

Plus some people will have to install “grinder pumps” if they are on the down slope side of a street. This is to push the sewage up to the sewer main. Unless they can cut a deal with the neighbor behind them (down slope) and run a lateral line down through their property to the next street.

So the grinder pumps will need electricity, which will have some more costs associated with it.

Then there is also the actual operations and maintenance costs for the new system to add in there. So depending on how much the hook up costs and how one pays for it, it could push the monthly bills well past $200 a month.

Is that too much? It’s less than a new car loan would be but then again it lasts 30-40 years, not the 3-5 years for a car loan.

Maybe Los Osans should look at it this way – think of it as buying a car that you will never pay off.

Consider also that once a sewer goes in, property values should go up a lot. Of course, when the sewer is done, the County Assessor will probably come along and reassess your property, so your property taxes will go up too.

I would imagine hooking your home up to a proper sewer system would be considered a major improvement and probably automatically trigger a re-assessment.

And with the local school district relying solely on property taxes for funding, when you write that quarterly property taxes check think of it as helping fund the schools. That might soften the blow somewhat.

Another thing Gary fails to take into account is the business opportunities and jobs this project will bring.

There will be lots of need for heavy equipment operators, truck drivers, pipe fitters, plumbers, and just your run-of-the-mill Manuel laborers, too. Then the streets will all have to be repaired, so there will be some work for asphalt paving contractors and their crews. And everyone will be getting prevailing wages too.

Just hooking up lateral lines for 5,000 properties (average of $5,000 each) is $25 million. Unfortunately, the property owners have to do that part of it, so no prevailing wages will have to be paid.

So you contractors out there, get thee to a rental yard and lease thee a backhoe. Start putting out flyers now offering to help people when it’s their turn to hook up.

There’s lots of potential money to be made on this project.


TheFacts

That is a dangerously stupid opinion.


It’s true. The County did not say $300/month, but they never said that it couldn’t or wouldn’t be that high because of the on-lot costs and O&M. As you said yourself, Paperboys, those costs are unknown and the property owner has to pay for that. You say the County’s figures are currently at $165/month, criticize Freiberg for “inflating” the cost — and then you speculate about other costs that could escalate the costs to at least $300/month.


You talk about how the project would create jobs and business opportunities. All the job categories you mentioned are temporary, and usually not salary. They’re also construction jobs. Also, these jobs will only stimulate the construction and wastewater engineering job markets — but in doing so, the project creates a burden on homeowners who could lose both their jobs and their homes because of the expensive sewer. You’re a little shortsighted there. Just a little.


You talk about increase of property values, but that’s speculative at best given that the project will go online at 2014 — and even then, it’s at the County’s discretion when the building moratorium will be lifted.Second, with the sewer costs being as high as they are, how many will be able to hold onto their homes until 2014? Even at $165/month, that’s pricey. With the on-lot and O&M costs taken into consideration, how is the middle-class going to be able to pay that much and stay in their homes at the same time? The County knows the MHI %, but they continue to push for this expensive project that most residents cannot afford.


Sounds like you’re siding with the contractors, not the people.


MaryMalone

Perhaps they simply don’t believe the amount being charged is correct. Considering the back-door politics involved in paavo Ogren’s Sewer Vision, it seems reasonable that there are some in Los Osos who don’t trust the findings and financials of those who are calling the shots.


Get the State Controller to do an audit and see what number he comes up with. At least the folks in Los Osos will know that the numbers have not been fraudulently inflated by sweetheart deals to the likes of John Wallace and others.


racket

$1 per poop.


$300/month ÷ 30 days ÷ 3 craps daily for each household member.


Seems like a lot.


On the other hand, that shows the real value of our electeds, who are just full of shit.


Mr. Magoo

Just like you!


Silcad

We’ve heard this story before. The reason the cost is up to $200 to $300 is because we stopped the sewer once already. The current monthly sewer expense is for not only the current project, but also for the previous project that even though it was voted out, is an obligation the district contracted for. We are paying a double assessment.

Sure, it’s tough for many people. But at this point, having a high-priced sewer is better than having a HIGHER-priced sewer. We all know there will be a sewer in Los Osos whether we like it or not. Delaying it now will only add to this already high cost.


racket

The financial effect on the Osans for correctly disposing of their waste isn’t really germane to the conversation. Such an observation could easily be countered by pointing out that they’ve had THIRTY YEARS to save for this occasion.


But the that isn’t the main point.


The main point, is if not them, then who? Who should pay the costs of them flushing their toilets?


The $300/month figure is either grossly exaggerated, or indicative that Los Osos is not a good place for a community because it takes too much money to deal with sewage there.


BeenThereDoneThat

O.k. here we go AGAIN with the Los Osos sewer. My question to all in Los Osos that don’t want to pay, who do you propose pay for this?