Los Osos Water Recycling Facility - 2016.
Los Osos Water Recycling Facility - 2016.

New Financial Assistance Program for Low-Income Los Osos Residents

Author: Public Works
Date: 1/17/2018 12:00:00 AM

A new County program can help low-income Los Osos residents reduce their sewer bill by about 20 percent.

The Los Osos Low Income Financial Assistance Program was approved by the County Board of Supervisors in December 2017 and took effect at the start of 2018.

Enrollment in the program is an annual process. Only residents who participate in either PG&E’s California Alternate Rates for Energy (CARE) or Family Electric Rate Assistance (FERA) Programs can qualify. This includes tenants and homeowners. Proof of participation in either of these programs is required to qualify for financial assistance from the County. 

The County will send updated information to potential applicants via direct mail by Feb. 15. Anyone interested must submit the required documents by Apr. 30. Public Works staff will then determine eligibility and send notices to qualifying participants in June. Reimbursement checks will be mailed to participants in December. Property Owners will be responsible for paying the full amount of services charges due on their annual tax bills, and participants will receive a check for the offset amount at the end of the calendar year.

Owner-occupied applicants should send their most recent PG&E bill with the Assessment Parcel Number (APN) written on the front page. Tenant-occupied applicants must also include the Utilities Included in Rent Form. Send applications via email to the Public Works ([email protected]), via mail to County Department of Public Works, County Government Center, Room 207, San Luis Obispo, CA 93408, or dropped off in person at 976 Osos Street, Room 206 in Downtown San Luis Obispo.

Further details can be found on the County website: www.slocounty.ca.gov/pw/lo-lifap

The Los Osos Water Recycling Facility is financed by sewer service charges placed on the property tax bills each year. Between the sewer service charge and the capital assessment for the plant's construction, Los Osos households are paying an average of $1,968 per year for wastewater service.

The County of Public Works Department began efforts on the Los Osos Wastewater Project in 2006 following the passage of State Assembly Bill 2701 (Blakeslee) which allowed the County to assume responsibility for the development of a community wastewater system for Los Osos. In 2010, the property owners passed a sewer service charge ordinance (3209) per Proposition 218, which guides how the County calculates and collects the sewer service charges. Upon completion of the necessary environmental permit and funding approvals, the project began construction in May 2012. Construction was completed and assumed operation in March 2016.

In 2011, then-state Assemblyman Katcho Achadjian introduced AB 1125, authorizing SLO County to administer a Los Osos sewer discount program using outside funds. The Public Works Department identified several households that were eligible for the assistance program, with the number expecting to increase as the program is implemented. The program cost will be funded by the State Department of Water Resources.

The Public Works Department requested in a Board of Supervisors staff report dated December 12, 2017, for the program to go into effect in the current fiscal year and continue annually until ended by the Board of Supervisors or the funding amount is depleted. Service Charge rebates are available to eligible owner occupied and renters in the service area of the Los Osos Wastewater Plant.