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Los Osos sewer project gets approval 

SLO County supervisors are expected to confirm Los Osos homeowners' resounding vote of support for a sewer assessment at their meeting on Nov. 6.

The first indications of the community's overwhelming "yes" vote on the long-simmering sewer project--nearly 80 percent of the final tally--came early during the ballot counting at the County Government Center on Oct. 25.

With a few observers from Los Osos looking on, a staff member from the County Clerk-Recorder's office read out the ballot number and vote from each one of a stack of bundled ballots. As "yes" repeatedly rang out across the room, county staff and community members alike raised their eyebrows and cast sidelong glances at each other.

One observer kept a tally as the results were read out, and soon the "yes" side of her sheet of crosshatched marks was nearly full, while the "no" side filled just a quarter of the page.

Anyone from the public was allowed access to the work area where the votes were tallied. People signed in, picked up a sheet of instructions, and put on an official badge as a deputy sheriff kept an eye on the process.

Six county staff members sat at a table at the front of the audience area. As a staff member read the results out loud, another employee checked her accuracy. An adjacent worker wrote down the results, again checked by another staff. Two employees entered the results into computers, which automatically tabulated the responses.

As the group broke for lunch, Vicki Shelby of the County Clerk-Recorder's office announced the tally, with one-third of the ballots counted: 80.85 percent "yes," 19.15 percent "no."

Shelby said that out of 8,721 ballots sent out, around 6,000 were returned.

"We'd consider a 69 percent return good for any vote," she told the group.

The final count: 4,913 or 79.67 percent voted yes, and 1,181 or 20,33 percent voted no.

Los Osos homeowners were allowed to vote on a sewer tax assessment for their property under Proposition 218, known as "the right to vote on taxes act."

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