Managing Oceano’s water supply and reconnecting with the community were two goals mentioned by a few of the six people interested in filling two open seats on the Oceano Community Services District board.
The board on Wednesday will hear from the applicants and nominate two of them to the open positions.
The vacancies were created by the sudden resignations in March of Oceano board President Jim Hill and member Carole Henson. Hill cited numerous issues of General Manager Raffaele Montemurro’s management of the district.
Their resignations left three board members — Lori Angello, Mary Lucey and Matthew Guerrero — to lead the agency, which provides sewer, water and fire protection services to the community of about 7,200 residents.
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 2000-2004.
A few other applicants have been critical of the board’s discussions about whether to sell some of its water supply rights to local developers and one of its neighbors.
Applicant Cathy Young was one of five people who gathered enough valid signatures for an initiative to require the 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.
Young said she wants to see “that everyone on the board and in the public is treated equally and fairly.”
Applicant Elizabeth Raye, who has lived in Oceano for more than two years, said she opposed the proposed sale, 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 moved to Oceano in 1970; and Kenneth Lua, who bought a house in the community in 2009. They couldn’t be reached for comment, nor could Searcy.
According to the San Luis Obispo County Clerk-Recorder’s Office, Lua is registered to vote in San Luis Obispo. Clerk-Recorder Julie Rodewald said Lua could still update his registration before Wednesday’s meeting.