Oceano officials take another run at implementing a fire service tax

March 19, 2022


Two years after narrowly failing, an Oceano fire tax measure will be back on the ballot in the upcoming primary election.

In 2020, the Oceano Community Services District attempted to implement a $180 annual flat-rate special fire tax on property owners that could increase by no more than 2 percent yearly after the first year. For it to pass, the initiative required two-thirds voter approval, or a 66.7 percent vote. Following a recount, the final tally for the 2020 initiative was 66.1 percent in favor of the fire tax and 33.9 percent against it.

Recently, the Oceano CSD board voted to put the same fire tax proposal on the ballot in the June 7 primary election. The initiative is now called A-22. Two years ago, it was A-20.

Officials say the annual property tax is needed in order to fund the staffing of firefighters at the Oceano fire station. Authorities have temporarily shuttered the Oceano fire station on numerous occasions because of a lack of funding.

During the closures, the Five Cities Fire Authority sends first responders from Grover Beach or Arroyo Grande to Oceano, adding about six minutes to the response time.

Opponents of the returning ballot measure have argued against the necessity of another tax or against the equity of the proposal, which would require large and small property owners to pay the same amount.

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No new taxes

Why not, water rates going up, trash rate hike, electricty cost up, Spectrum raising rates, gas through the roof, inflation at a all time why should property tax be left out, even if it is an unfair tax by taxing a empty small parcel the same as one large one with several million in developed value.

NO MORE TAXES. Figure out how to split up the money we already pay. That’s your job.

Looks like history is repeating itself. There was a time when, if your house was burning, the fire department would show up and “negotiate” a price for which they would put it out.

If the 5CFA really needs more funding (which I doubt), then have rolling closures of fire stations such that all south county residents are equally imperiled. Why pick on Oceano? Then people served by each fire station could decide if they want to pay to keep their fire station open all the time.

I seriously doubt there was ever a time in California history, or U.S. history for that matter, when a ”fire department” responded to a structure fire and haggled over a fee to extinguish the blaze. During colonial times, 250 years ago, fire suppression organizations were privately formed as Mutual Fire Societies, brigades or co-ops and were sponsored by insurance underwriters. In those times there may have been instances when a ”non-subscriber” had to quickly negotiate with a private fire company for fire suppression efforts if they weren’t associated with that particular fire company. That ancient history is hardly relevant to the state of emergency services in the Five Cities. The citizens of Oceano need to step up like the residents of Templeton did and fund their fire department.

Gee, I thought that’s what I’m paying property taxes for.