Sanitation district pays Oceano, denies agreement

June 19, 2015

Oceano22During a heated meeting, the South San Luis Obispo County Sanitation District board voted to approve a one time payment of $11,000 to the Oceano Community Services District and then declined to enter into a billing agreement.

Oceano’s General manager Paavo Ogren had threatened to stop collecting bills for the South San Luis Obispo County Sanitation District if the agency did not agree to make an $11,000 payment to Oceano by the end of June. In addition Ogren, wanted the sanitation district to enter into a contract to pay Oceano $22,000 a year.

For years, the sanitation district paid Oceano $4,930 a year to add the sanitation bill on its water bills. Then, in 2013, during a change in leadership in both Oceano and the sanitation district because of allegations of theft and mismanagement, the district began paying Oceano $22,000 a year without having an agreement or detailed accounting of the charges.

Oceano Board President Mary Lucey has argued that Oceano should be compensated for the mental health damage of having a sanitation district in their town. The sanitation district three member board includes a representative from each member agency, Arroyo Grande, Grover Beach and the community of Oceano

Oceano Board Director Matt Guerrero said the sanitation district should pay the $11,000 bill and enter into a contract to pay Oceano $22,000 a year.

Arroyo Grande Mayor Jim Hill argued against both paying the bill and entering into an agreement with Oceano noting that California law requires member agencies charge only the cost of adding the charge to the bill. Enterprise funds are not permitted to make money, the funds can just cover costs.

Grover Beach Mayor John Shoals broke the tie voting to pay the $11,000 and then against entering into an agreement with Oceano. The board then directed sanitation district staff to negotiate equatable and quantifiable agreements with all three communities.

Oceano like the cities of Arroyo Grande and Grover Beach, does bill collecting for the sanitation district by adding the cost of sewer bills to customers’ water bills. For more than a decade, Oceano charged the sanitation district $4,930 a year for bill collecting.

Oceano collects sewage bills for about 20 percent of the sanitation district’s customers. Arroyo Grande, which has approximately 44 percent of the customers, charges the sanitation district $12,000 a year. Grover Beach collects bills from about 36 percent of sanitation district customers for $20,000.

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

1:40 into the June 10 OCSD Board meeting. OCSD Board President Mary Lucy discusses the costs associated with providing billing services for the Sanitation District.

“…The location of the plant has been costly to the community as a whole; you know, and it has been costly, to even the kids of this community have been taunted, have been called names, have been ridiculed, you know, on so many levels for having that plant here, nobody ever thinks about the damage that some of these plants do to the actual, you know, mental health of people, so I think that’s never been properly even spoke of…”

While there may be arguments in favor of paying the hijacking, as an aside, you can always count on a trough feeder like Shoals to toad for the system. What else to expect from someone on the PGE gravy train. Shoals should have stood fast to seek an injunction to STOP Paavo from the July 1 drop-dead date larceny while commencing conducting an AUDIT of the enterprise fund to establish a proper fee, instead of just paying ransom and $22K+ (probably) in perpetuity.

Just more vacant-cranium leadership from our county-wide dearth of quality.

Mary Lucey is delusional if she thinks most of the residents in this area even know there’s a sanitation plant in Oceano. To hear her rant about how the children in Oceano are emotionally traumatized, and made fun of is sad. Kids these days are more worried about having the latest gizmo or gadget. If their parents don’t realize Oceano has a plant, it’s a pretty safe bet their kids are also unaware.

Most residents DO know about Pismo’s plant, it’s clearly visible from 101, and sometimes you can smell it when you go by. Yet that doesn’t seem to stop a gazillion baseball games from taking place within a foul ball’s range.

As with many things, sometimes it’s all in how you choose to look at it. Perhaps Ms. Lucey should focus on rebranding Oceano as the only town in the district with the ability to make water once the recycling project is completed. Kids DO know about the drought, and when Oceano becomes the source of more water for the area they will be heroes

I predict the current Oceano plant won’t actually recycle water — ever. The feasibility study that is scheduled to be underway soon is set to analyze the potential development of a brand new “satellite” plant upstream from Oceano. Preliminary sketches show two potential locations for this sewer plant; one at the entrance to Oceano, near Hayashi’s vegetable stand (“Welcome to Oceano; the land of two sewer plants”) and the other near Arroyo Grande High School. Kids will love this…just ask the kids at Morro Bay High how they like learning next to a sewer plant — of course that one is on the move. This is a water supply project for the benefit of Arroyo Grande. Who will pay?

The idea is that some 800,000 gallon per day of flows from Arroyo Grande will be peeled off from the main trunk line (“scalped”) and treated to Title 22; maybe better for direct injection purposes. Most of that water will be treated at the location chosen and either injected or ponded into the ground for recharge of the basin and/or farmers may chose to use it for crop irrigation. Some water still has to flow to move the sewage and salts down to the 1600 Aloha Place, Oceano, plant for treatment and disposal. This will come at a cost of no less than $30 million with a $20 million “redundancy” project in front of it.

Sludge will continue to be dried there and hauled away in trucks. All the while, a continuous waste stream of highly concentrated brine from Pismo Beach (who has just partnered with Oceano CSD for its grant eligibility to fund their recycled water supply project that benefits Pismo Beach — not Oceano), Grover Beach, Arroyo Grande and Oceano and the brine that is being disposed of on a contract basis from places as far away as Los Osos will be sent to the ocean until someone comes up with a plan to reuse salt.

We’re a long way from seeing any “Hero’s”.

Oceano should have to compensate the other 2 cities for the mental health damage of having to deal with Lucey.

You’re traveling through another dimension, a dimension not only of sight and sound but of sand. A journey into a weird land whose boundaries are that of imagination. That’s the signpost up ahead – your next stop, the Oceano Zone!