Oceano officials relaunch the implementation of a tax on firefighters

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March 19, 2022

By JOSH FRIEDMAN

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

In 2020, the Community Service District of Oceano attempted to implement a special $180 annual lump sum fire tax on property owners, which could increase no more than 2% per year after the first year. For it to be adopted, the initiative required the approval of two-thirds of voters, or a vote of 66.7%. After a recount, the final tally for the 2020 initiative was 66.1% in favor of the fire tax and 33.9% against.

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 to fund the staffing of firefighters at the Oceano Fire Station. Authorities have temporarily closed the Oceano Fire Station numerous times due to a lack of funding.

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

Opponents of the return ballot measure argued against the need for another tax or against the fairness of the proposal, which would require large and small property owners to pay the same amount.

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