By Raiza Giorgi
After more than 100 years of existence, Los Olivos made some more history when board members of its first local government, the Los Olivos Community Services District, met on May 24.
“We are really excited to get to work and provide our community with the needed infrastructure we can agree on, not what some other entity might have imposed,” said LOCSD Director Lisa Bertero Palmer.
The LOCSD was created in January with 73 percent approval in a vote-by-mail election that drew 75 percent turnout of the district’s 484 registered voters.
It will be governed by a five-member board of directors who were elected on the same ballot. Directors Palmer, Tom Fayram, Mike Arme, Julie Kennedy and Brian O’Neill are now responsible for the planning, construction and operation of a community wastewater system.
The unincorporated community of about 1,000 people has been labeled a “special problems area” since the 1970s because of failing septic systems but has not had any local government to deal with the issue other than the county Board of Supervisors.
Wastewater and septic systems have been a decades-long issue because of the town’s high water table, which increases the risk that septic tank effluent will pollute groundwater.
“I am looking forward to looking at all the costs and make sure we get the best system for what our town needs. I was elected because I ran on finding the most economical and practical solution, and that’s what I intend to do,” Fayram said after he was made board president.
The directors broke into subcommittees to investigate and bring back information on topics such as retaining legal counsel, hiring a general manager, securing district insurance and coming up with a 2018-19 budget.
When voters formed the district, they also approved a special tax to fund the operations. The directors will be meeting with the Santa Barbara County Treasurer’s and Tax Assessor’s offices to set up the district’s tax roll for the next fiscal year and determine how much revenue they are projected to receive.
The directors also listened to an ethics and Brown Act lecture by Deputy County Counsel Johannah Hartley, and an update and potential timeline from Paul Hood of the Local Agency Formation Commission (LAFCO).
LOCSD doesn’t have a website yet, but Palmer said anyone who wants information or notes from the meetings can contact the directors until a website is established.
The next LOCSD meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. Thursday, June 21, in Room 602 at Los Olivos Elementary School.