Oceano fire tax headed for a recount

March 30, 2020

The San Luis Obispo County Clerk-Recorder’s Office will conduct a recount of ballots  cast for and against the Oceano fire tax initiative, which narrowly failed to pass.

Measure A-20 was supported by 66.12 percent of voters, while 33.88 percent voted against it, according to the official tally released last week. A two-thirds vote, or 66.7 percent, was needed for the initiative to pass.

Following the final tally, the Oceano 911 Committee for Measure A-20, a group supporting the tax initiative, requested the clerk-recorder’s office conduct a recount.

A recount will take an estimated time of two days at a cost $808 per day, according to SLO County Clerk-Recorder Tommy Gong. The Oceano 911 Committee for Measure A-20 says it plans to pay for the recount with funds raised by its volunteers.

If Measure A-20 were to pass upon a recount, it would add $15 a month to property tax bills in Oceano and would raise an estimated $422,000 annually. If the final tally holds, 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 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 if the tax did not pass, there would be a reduction in emergency services. Critics argue the county can do a better job at providing fire services.


Would somebody please tell me why when we have a non life threatening incident does the fire department, police, and ambulance all have to show up. Seems to me that unless the person is on fire there is no need for the fire department. Seems to me it’s just a lot of make work. I know there must be a reason that everyone and the dog catcher must show up.

Kevin Rice

Maybe you should ask why people call 9-1-1 for a non life threatening incident.


I would like to discourage these citizens from throwing their hard earned money away at a recount.

In 2014 Shelly Higginbotham, Pismo Mayor, threw money at a recount for the race that only had 2 votes separating the candidates. The vote county came back correct. She won by two(2). This Fire Tax vote is separated by eleven (11) which is a long way from 2. The clerks office does a great job counting votes, it is highly unlikely the count is at all wrong, let alone off by 11 or 12 to win.


A quarter of million a year for Paavo plus lifetime 100%+ pension and benefits, certainly no mis-management there. “THIS IS NOT OUR ELECTION RESULT”……


I don’t understand why more people don’t see that as a problem? 250K? Lifetime pension and benefits???

That’s crazy.


Instead of asking us for more money, why don’t we investigate exactly what “Over the past decade, the fire authority has experienced financial challenges” means? Sound like mismanagement to me, just sayin…