In the past, street lights in Cabrillo Estates were paid for through our county property taxes (approximately $10/ year). The money collected was paid to Los Osos Community Services District (LOCSD), who in turn paid PG&E. Cabrillo Estates was in effect its own Lighting District. Only Rodman and upper Cabrillo Estates were in this Lighting District--approximately 200 lots. Since the county deducts approximately 20% for administrative costs, LOCSD received about $1600 per year for lighting. Over time, the actual cost of the lights reached about $6600 per year, thus creating an annual shortfall of approximately $5000.
Before the bankruptcy and other problems that befell LOCSD, there was a deposit of approximately $100,000 that was controlled by LOCSD for maintenance of the drainage pond on lot 41 in the lower tract and other contingencies. Somehow that money disappeared with the LOCSD bankruptcy. The interest earned on that deposit had been used to make up the difference between the money collected from the county and the actual lighting bill. LOCSD discovered sometime in 2009 that it was losing about $5000/year on the Cabrillo Lighting District, and the new management at LOCSD, apparently unaware of the missing $100,000, assumed Cabrillo Estates was not paying its fair share for the street lights.
Thus in 2009 they drafted a ballot measure, in accordance with state law, that would in effect raise the taxes of those Cabrillo Estate lots in the lighting district to pay for actual cost of the lights. The measure proposed to collect about $11,000 per year ($55 per lot) with an increase each year dependent on the CPI. The difference between actual and collected would have covered their past losses and the cost of preparing the ballot measure and the actual ballot ($7000.00).
No one from LOCSD contacted CEPOA or our Board for input on the ballot measure, nor did they attempt to find out if the residents actually wanted the lighting. Shortly before balloting was to commence, representatives from LOCSD presented their plan to the CEPOA board of directors at our regular quarterly meeting. They were unable to adequately justify the difference between what they were collecting and the actual cost of the lights or the method for future increases. Subsequently the ballot measure was defeated by about a two-thirds majority. All street lighting in Cabrillo Estates was turned off, and the Lighting District tax has been removed from your county property tax bill.
In order to turn the lights on for the community as a whole, we would need to re-activate the Cabrillo Lighting District, create a ballot measure that was acceptable to the residents, and have a successful election on that ballot measure. Re-activating the district means working with the county to get the new district recognized and then set up the district as part of our yearly property tax bill (as it was before). We could use the ballot measure designed by LOCSD as a model for a new measure, thus avoiding the cost of preparing and designing a ballot measure in accordance with state law. This would also mean the formation of a committee to make the necessary changes to get the community’s support. Also, before we did anything we would need to be sure that we had a substantial majority of lot owners that wanted the lights back on. If we were to get all of the above accomplished, CEPOA would receive the tax revenue from the county and would be responsible for paying PG&E.
Current Solution: Adopt-a-Light
Individual street lights can be turned on by contacting PG&E and paying the annual fee for a single light. It is possible for a number of neighbors to get together and share this cost with one member being the contact with PG&E and responsible for the payment. You may contact Sandy Farber at 805-534-1356 or firstname.lastname@example.org if you need some assistance.
Call 800-468-4743 (Business Account, not Residential)
Speak to the person regarding street light maintenance. You will need the following information: (a) concrete pole, (b) number on the pole, about 10 fee up; if there is no number on the pole give the closest house address to the pole; (c) your address for billing.
The cost is about $10-$12 per month. This cost can be split by neighbors.
You can be billed monthly or yearly.
Create an account as to where the bill should be mailed.
They will give you a case number.
Save the case number if you need to contact them with questions.
The process can take up to two weeks for this to be put in motion and about another week for PG&E to schedule and activate the individual light.
If you should have any questions or need assistance Sandy Farber will be glad to help. She can be reached at (805-534-1356) or (email@example.com) She and her neighbors have adopted four lights on Rodman and one at the corner of Crocket and Travis. She collects once a year from them and coordinates the payments to PGE.