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Oceano CSD considers tax to pay for fire services

Posted at 9:37 PM, Oct 11, 2019

The Oceano Community Services District is considering a special tax to be able to continue paying for the 24/7 emergency services the Five Cities Fire Authority provides.

The measure will be voted on in March 2020.

If approved, Oceano residents can expect to pay an additional $15 a month or $90 for each of their two semi-annual property tax bills.

That translates to residents having to pay $180 a year.

Officials said that would generate about $420,000 for fire services.

"Call volume has increased. Expenses to maintain a constant level of service has increased," said Five Cities Fire Authority fire chief, Steve Lieberman. "The community service district, the way it is funded, it is very limited in its ability to generate additional revenues."

According to Oceano leaders, one of the main goals is to maintain rapid response times for 911 medical emergency and fire incidents.

If the proposed measure fails, Oceano would have to look to other agencies for assistance.

"I mean Cal Fire could take over, there are other things that are possible, but it is kind of an unknown. What we have now is really really good," said Karen White, vice president of the Oceano Community Services District.

A study conducted this year evaluated the responses of more than 150 Oceano residents regarding how they felt about community services.

One of the items they were asked about was the measure to increase taxes for fire services.

Just over 47 percent said they were very satisfied with the service provided by the Five Cities Fire Authority, and 29.5 percent said they were somewhat satisfied.

A public hearing for the measure will be held October 23.