San Luis Obispo County to provide fire services for Oceano

September 13, 2023


The San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously on Tuesday to assume fire services for Oceano, with a plan to contract with the Five City Fire Authority (FCFA).

Oceano, Arroyo Grande and Grover Beach formed the FCFA in 2010. By combining their fire departments, officials planned to improve service levels and cut costs. In 2010, the FCFA was to operate under an approximately $3.3 million yearly budget.

As costs skyrocketed and services dwindled, the Oceano Community Services District put fire tax measures on the 2020 and 2022 ballots. Both failed.

Earlier this year, the Oceano district board voted to leaving the FCFA with plans to divest emergency services to San Luis Obispo County. Without Oceano, FCFA revenues will drop by $1.1 million.

In addition to other funding sources for Oceano to remain with the FCFA, SLO County estimates it will have to take $500,000 from its general fund to provide fire services for Oceano.

While the supervisors agreed they have a moral obligation to provide Oceano with fire services, supervisors Bruce Gibson and John Peschong argued over a proposed county-wide fire tax to fill the funding gap.

Gibson said the county needs to pass a county-wide fire tax, which he believes would only levee charges on those rural residents needing county fire services.

Peschong disagreed, pointing out that the county-wide state water tax is levied on all county properties, including the residents of cities such as Paso Robles which do receive state water.

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Why can’t the Board directly tax the City or CSD incurring the cost for the Fire Service?

They, the citizen’s, voted to leave the fire dist. after voting down a measure to pay for it. Now they can pay the cost for the new county protection. Hope it is less.

The county should contract with Cal Fire, continuing with the failed FCFA just props up a system that has proven to be poorly run and a financial money pit. The sooner the FCFA is ended the better for all that funded this failed experiment.

Cal Fire is out of control with their “controlled burns” and constant clearing of natural habitat. All in the name of “potentially reducing greater fire risks”. What a joke. More like “potentially ensuring higher wages and job security”. Has anyone else noticed what they’ve done to multiple local habitats? MDO in particular has been ripped up and burned down and continues to be to this day! Over a year of clearing…

We do not need any further tax. Gibson is hyper-left in spending money and taxation. I suggest that the Board prioritize, next time a highly paid position becomes vacant see how real necessity that position is and if it can be eliminated or combines with other positions, use the money saved to fund other priorities. SLO County has too many highly paid individuals. Gibson, leave the taxpayer’s wallet alone.