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Sewer loan hits the skids 

Any garage sale enthusiast in SLO County knows that some of the best deals on second-hand curios are to be found on the sandy streets of Los Osos. But if the sewer-starved community loses its $135 million State Revolving Fund (SRF) loan - which seems more likely with each passing day - Los Osos might end up holding its biggest yard sale ever.

The Water Board met in Sacramento on Wednesday to consider a resolution of the Los Osos sewer saga, principally to determine the fate of the critical SRF loan.

Presenting the Los Osos CSD with a litany of conditions attached to long string of coulds, mights, and maybes, the Water Board has soundly rejected the difficult compromise negotiated last month under the guidance of Assemblyman Sam Blakeslee. The board is also demanding that the CSD work to overturn Measure B - the move-the-sewer initiate, which passed narrowly in September's elections - and insisting that the CSD resume construction at the Tri-W site with no further delay.

Water Board spokesman Bill Rukeyser has repeatedly used the analogy that "the train has left the station," and the longer the CSD waits, the farther out of reach the loan becomes. Eventually the $135 million will be allocated to other state projects and Los Osos will have lost the loan forever. The Water Board is giving the CSD until next Wednesday to accept its proposal.

Los Osos CSD directors, all of whom were elected on the platform of moving the sewer downtown, are demonstrating a great reluctance to overturn Measure B, and furthermore, they are not convinced that doing so will guarantee dispersal of the loan. Committed to finding a new site for the treatment plant, Director Julie Tacker has suggested that the CSD could begin selling its assets to fund construction.

The CSD meets tonight at the Community Center to hear from the public and to discuss the Water Board's ultimatum.



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