Oceano residents rally in support of tax measure A20
A group of concerned citizens rallied in Oceano on Saturday in hopes to raise support for tax measure A20. The tax would go to the Oceano fire department and keep the city covered under 5 Cities Fire Authority. Oceano has struggled to pay its share of Five Cities Fire Authority costs, therefore the tax measure has been placed on the March 3rd ballot.
They call themselves the Oceano 911 Community.
“What we are trying to do is to pass a ballot measure that will slightly increase our property taxes,” said Oceano 911 Community member Brenda Lowe.
According to city officials, if approved the initiative would add $15 a month to property tax bills.
Around $180 a year.
“Since we joined 5 cities fire, 10 years ago, our services have become much more professional and staffed 247,” said Lowe.
Some residents say prior to Oceano joining the Five Cities Fire Authority, getting efficient fire services was difficult.
“As a retired fireman, I am well aware of the importance of response times, and how important it is to have our fire department get there as quickly as possible,” said retired fireman Troy Smith.
Officials report the tax will raise an estimated $422,000 annually.
“We citizens have to pay our way,” said Lowe.
But not all citizens feel they should be forced to pay.
“That's a lot of money to pay yearly. Not everyone can afford that. Receiving the services is important but the city needs to explore other places to get the funding from,” said Cory Berg.
The fire authority previously closed it's Oceano station several times due to a lack of funding and staffing shortages. If Oceano is removed from the authority SLO county may provide their fire services.
The Oceano 911 Community say they plan to be watchdogs to the city to ensure the funds go only to the fire department and emergency service needs.