Board votes to quit, close San Simeon services district

March 16, 2024

San Simeon Pier


Plagued by years of mismanagement, the San Simeon Community Services District Board of Directors voted unanimously on Friday to dissolve the district.

Formed in 1961, the San Simeon district currently provides water, sewer, street lighting and road maintenance for approximately 462 residents and up to 1,500 transient visitors. District officials want the county to take over all services.

However, that will take time. The next step is for the district to prepare a formal application for dissolution to submit to the San Luis Obispo Local Agency Formation Commission (LAFCO). After LAFCO accepts the application, SLO County Pubic Works will need to produce a study and cost analysis report for the SLO County Board of Supervisors to approve. LAFCO will then need to approve the application.

The process could easily take nine or more months to accomplish, though many believe it is the only solution.

At a projected cost of up to $10 million, the California Coastal Commission has ordered the district to move its wastewater treatment plant further away from the ocean. Because of past misconduct, the state is wary to approve grant funding to the district. The county, however, would be more likely to procure grant funding, according to the staff report.

In addition to financial concerns, the district has had difficulty getting residents to serve on the Board of Directors. Currently, there are only four directors on the five member board.

During the past 10 years, the district has faced investigations and penalties because of multiple conflicts of interest. Last year, a San Simeon official settled a lawsuit with the SLO County District Attorney’s Office for illegal business practices and false advertising.


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I see Paavo Ogren dusting off his resume to act as the interim manager.

Unfortunately, the design of the well-meaning authors of community services districts is flawed. Perhaps it wasn’t obvious more than half century ago, but it’s crystal clear now. The costs of government employees outpaces the ability of the tax payer to afford those same government employees. This isn’t limited to San Simeon, it’s pervasive in this county and will only get worse.

The answer always seems to be increased rates or taxes but never the core issue of reducing employee costs. Just look at what Bruce Gibson and Jimmy Paulding are attempting to do: They support gutting Prop 13 so they can increase taxes. Paulding even says despite taxpayers (his voters) in Oceano saying no to a tax increase, he wants to increase their taxes anyway. Oh and after proposing to increase taxes, they voted to give themselves (all 5 Board of Supervisors) a 26% salary raise.

Let’s send a message that we’re sick and tired and we’re not going to take it anymore…recall Bruce Gibson.

The Cambria Community Service District (CCSD) should be next. They have a deficit and continue to spend money like drunken sailors. The CCSD are definitely not fiscal conservatives – they love to spend ratepayer’s money… and lots of it.

Because its not their money, and there is always more ratepayers money regardless of how much they waste.