The county and Los Osos Community Services District will develop a plan in upcoming months to implement a state law that would lift financial pressure from low-income homeowners when they receive bills for the new Los Osos sewer.
John Waddell of the county Public Works Department told the San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday that officials will map out a program, including public outreach, to implement AB 1125, which Gov. Jerry Brown signed into law last week.
Waddell did not give a specific timetable, but the law takes effect Jan. 1, 2012.
The bill, introduced by Assemblyman Katcho Achadjian, R-San Luis Obispo, authorizes the county and the Los Osos Community Services District to come up with the program to offset costs.
Many low-income and very low-income Los Osos residents have said the cost of the new sewage collection system and plant would be so high it would drive them out of the seaside community.
The Achadjian bill would allow the county to find a way to mute those costs. It also would protect other ratepayers by prohibiting the county and district from financing the offset program using ratepayer funds.
Instead, the program will be funded using federal and state grants.
Achadjian’s bill was introduced at the request of the county board, of which Achadjian was a member before being elected to the Assembly last year.
Supervisor Bruce Gibson called the new law “a significant piece in the ongoing challenge” of getting a sewer system in Los Osos.
In 2007, the Legislature, prodded by then-Assemblyman Sam Blakeslee, R-San Luis Obispo, now the local state senator, authorized the county to take over the sewer project from the services district. During negotiations to secure state funding, the county agreed to develop a program to assist low-income residents.