Oceano fire tax appears to be failing

March 4, 2020


Oceano Community Services District’s plan to implement a $180 annual flat-rate special fire tax to property owners appears to have failed.

The tax measure, aimed at allowing Oceano to remain a part of the Five Cities Fire Authority, requires a two-thirds voter approval to pass, or 66.7 percent. On election night, 63.3 percent voted yes and 36.7 percent voted no. It is likely the special tax will fail.

The initiative would add $15 a month to property tax bills in Oceano and would raise an estimated $422,000 annually.

If rejected, it is likely Oceano will leave the fire authority, and San Luis Obispo County will take over providing fire services to the community.

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.

Recently, the fire authority closed its Oceano station several times because of a lack of funding and subsequent staffing shortages.

Three Oceano district board members claimed that if the tax did not pass, there would be a reduction in emergency services while others believe the county can do a better job.


Good on the people of Oceano, they’ve finally decided enough is enough. Their leaders squandered their resources for far too long by paying robbing Peter to pay Paavo his unsustainable salary. More money only allows the fiscal irresponsibility to continue. Let’s see whether their board now decides to do some real math and live within their means. Arroyo Grande and Grover Beach can’t afford to continue subsidizing Oceano’s share of the FCFA.


Why do people who DON’T own property, and are not affected by these taxes, able to vote on them? Really irritates me!


Of course, renters and poor people should have no say in issues that affect their communities.


Yep, KAG thinks only rich land owning taxpayers count for some reason, us renting peons in public service matter none.


The voters in Templeton aren’t as smart as the ones in Oceano apparently.


Stop slandering people’s intelligence because they voted for something you disagree with.


>> On election night, 63.3 percent voted yes and 36.7 percent voted no. It is likely the special tax will fail. << what's this, another California 'yes-means-no' election ruse?


The measure requires a 2/3rds vote to pass.

Mitch C

The Five Cities Fire Authority needs a Chief. I never understood the idea that to eliminate Oceano from the group would be economically beneficial to all the remaining Authority members. The current Chief player the “you will be without service” card by not staffing the Oceano station. What a sham – whatever financial assets that Oceano can bring to the table would far exceed what would be missing by Oceano pulling out. This is not a financial issue, it is a failure in leadership. The Five Cities Fire Authority deserves a Chief that can get the job done without without the gameplay that puts people’s lives and treasures at risk – this fine organization deserves this and it cannot happen too soon.


As long as his or her pay isn’t 250k a year, and to hold him or her accountable more than our Sherriff for loss of life, or other high paid EMS officials messing up. Who was responsible for the recent San Simeon uncontrolled burn fire? Are they “fired”? These things matter, and local fire agencies have a tough, but PLUSH job, speaking as an EMS person here. EMT San Luis starts at 15.50 hourly, they deserve way more for saving our butts, BUT…..Atown police chief=250k a year, a disgusting joke?!?! Parkinson is 275k, the guy only has an Associate Degree, no BA, MA or PHD, just community college and makes Nuero Surgeon pay!?!? That pay is not ok, they are not Drs.


Hold on Oldtimer- there’s more, much more: these “public servants” also receive a retirement calculated at 3% of highest salary, multiplied by the number of years of government employment, to be taken at a retirement age as early as 50. And don’t forget automatic cost of living increases. Most of these people retire at well over six figures. Moreover, some are suddenly “disabled” and that makes their six figure retirement tax-free.

Now you know why there is so little money for real services or decent pay for the EMTs. Most governments effectively have a second workforce of retirees that they need to support.

The next time some government entity asks for a tax increase to fund something, remember it just diverts that much money toward its retirement debt and really does nothing to improve anything. These “general” taxes only require 50% +1 vote to pass, and the local government is not obligated to do what it promised in the campaign to pass it, because it is a general tax not a specific tax.