The often-heated Los Osos sewer debate spilled out of its regular home at the South Bay Community Center and into county supervisor chambers on Sept. 21. Before a healthy crowd of Ososites, the Local Agency Formation Commission (LAFCO) mulled over whether to dissolve the bedroom community's controversial Community Services District.
Taxpayer Watch a group objecting to the wastewater solutions being pursued by the current CSD board filed for the agency's dissolution earlier this year. That motion arrived three months after a tide-turning recall election that ultimately halted a sewer plan already under construction.
With building costs on the rise and no new plan officially drafted, members of the group accused the post-recall board of pissing away public funds.
Last week, LAFCO staff released a report recommending the agency's board not dissolve the CSD.
"We are dealing with the largest per capita public bankruptcy in California history," former director Richard LeGros said to the board at the meeting. "I believe that staff has failed to express to you the dire condition of our services."
However, the opposition's arguments fell short in convincing the commission to dissolve the district, after a staff report from several days earlier advised maintaining the CSD to protect county taxpayers from its bulky liability. The commissioners voted unanimously to keep the agency intact.
"We have a really great alternative solution that's going to be cheaper and more environmentally friendly," CSD president Lisa Schicker said after the LAFCO meeting. "Why wouldn't people want to hear about that?"
Retiring North Coast County Supervisor Shirley Bianchi a frequent critic of the actions of the current CSD showed up to oppose the dissolution on the grounds that it sets a bad precedent in local government. Still, the departing District 2 supe took her parting shots.
"The prior board used to ask me for help, but the help was [based on] obeying the law," Bianchi said. "I was appalled when the new board wanted help to avoid the law."
"That was pretty disturbing I don't know why she would say something like that," Schicker responded. "Several of us work for the government in our regular jobs. The last thing we think about is breaking the law."
Bianchi has not attended any CSD meetings or wastewater presentations since angry Ososites argumentatively escorted her to her car on several occasions this past winter.