Six Oceano residents have applied for two open seats on the Oceano Community Services District board — vacancies the current three-member board could fill on Wednesday.
The vacancies were created by the sudden resignations in March of Oceano board President Jim Hill and member Carole Henson. Hill cited numerous issues with General Manager Raffaele Montemurro’s management of the district.
Their resignations left three board members — Lori Angello, Mary Lucey and Matthew Guerrero — to guide the community of about 7,200 residents. The Oceano district oversees water, sewer, street lighting and fire services; it is the only form of local government aside from the county.
The applicants include Rick Searcy, who was first elected to the board in 1985 and served a total of 16 years, most recently from December 2000 to 2004.
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A few other applicants have been critical of the board’s discussions about whether to sell some of its water supply to local developers and one of its neighbors. Applicant Cathy Young was one of five residents who gathered enough valid signatures on an initiative to require the local services district to ask voters to approve any permanent sale of the community’s water.
That initiative will be placed on the Nov. 6, 2012, general election ballot for voter approval.
Applicant Elizabeth Raye, who has lived in Oceano for more than two years and on the Central Coast for 42 years, said she opposed both the sale of water as well as recent water and sewer rate increases.
Raye also said she feels there has been a breakdown in communication between the community and the board.
“Oceano is a small district, it’s a small town,” she said, “and there should be some source of connection between the people and the ones representing them.”
In a letter indicating her interest in a seat, Oceano resident Giselle Naylor wrote: “This is a particularly significant period in Oceano’s history because it marks a major shift in leadership and management of the town’s water resources. The decisions which are made at this time will affect Oceano for decades to come.”
Two other residents submitted applications: Felma Hurdle, who first moved to Oceano in 1970; and Kenneth Lua, who bought a house in the community in 2009.
According to the San Luis Obispo County Clerk-Recorder’s office, Lua is currently registered to vote in San Luis Obispo. Clerk-Recorder Julie Rodewald said Lua could update his registration before Wednesday’s meeting. Lua could not be reached for comment.