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Annexation

What is Annexation?

Annexation is the process by which a city adds land to its jurisdiction. The city then extends its services, laws, and voting privileges to meet the needs of residents living in the annexed area.

Typically, annexation takes place in areas that are adjacent to a municipality, where the population already has expanded to densities found in urban areas. People living in an urban setting generally need services and facilities beyond those provided by state and county governments. In addition, annexation encourages orderly growth and provides standardized services to those who live in the annexed area.

Annexation Process Overview

The annexation process is a shared procedure. The City of Bakersfield bares most of the cost and staff work to complete an annexation. The City works directly with the County of Kern and the Kern County Local Agency Formation Commission (Kern LAFCo) to finalize each annexation application.

The annexation process is overseen by Kern LAFCo. The Kern LAFCo Board typically meets on the fourth Wednesday of each month at 5:00 p.m. in the County Administrative Center, 1115 Truxtun Ave, First Floor Board Chambers, Bakersfield, CA 93301. Please refer the Kern LAFCo website for the most current meeting schedule. The annexation process typically takes between one to two years to complete based on a variety of factors specific to the proposed annexation.

The annexation process generally consists of the following steps:

1. Request for Annexation - The applicant initiates annexation by requesting to annex property under the current land use and zoning or as part of a General Plan Amendment/Zone Change (GPA/ZC) or ZC request. The applicant may check “Annexation” on the Planning Application or provide written consent to annex property. The determination of eligibility is:

a. Is the property contiguous to the City limits?

b. Is the property within the City’s Sphere of Influence boundary?

c. Has the property been pre-zoned by the City (if not, the land owner will need to process a ZC to establish pre-zoning)?

Note: If any of the above cannot be met, or no logical solution can be done to make a connection with City limits, or the landowner does not want to process a ZC, then the annexation request will not be accepted.

2. Resolution of Application - After it has been established that an annexation request is eligible, Planning Division will prepare the Resolution of Application (ROA) requesting that the City Council approve of pursuing the annexation. The ROA includes: 1) staff report discussing staff's recommendation on going forward with an annexation, 2) map and legal description of the annexation area, and 3) Plan for Providing Services to be prepared by the Public Works Department.

Note: If the Public Works Department is to prepare the map/legal description, it usually takes somewhere between eight months to a year or longer to prepare due to their other on-going commitments. If the applicant hires an engineer or land surveyor, the timeframe is much shorter and can take anywhere from two to six months to prepare.

3. LAFCo Application - The Public Works Department prepares the LAFCo Application and submits it. Kern LAFCo has 30-days to review the application for completeness. Once the application is found to be acceptable, Kern LAFCo sets date of the hearing. When an annexation proposal is presented to the Kern LAFCo Board, the Board will:

a. Authorize proceedings to conclude without any further notice, hearing, or election if there is 100% consent of the landowners.

b. If not 100% property owner consent, either approve the project, subject to a protest hearing, or deny the project.

c. If approved and not 100% property owner consent, sets the annexation proposal for protest hearing within 35 days of the resolution date.

d. Mail a notice of the public hearing to all registered voters and landowners within the proposed annexation area. Any written protests must be filed with the Commission prior to the conclusion of the protest hearing, but not before the pasting date of the protest hearing notice.

e. Depending on the outcome of the protest, adopt a resolution based on the following results:

- Order the annexation if less than 25% of the registered voters OR if less than 25% of the landowners owning less than 25% of the assessed value of land file written protests.

- Order the annexation subject to an election if at least 25% but less than 50% of the registered voters file a written protest OR if at least 25% of the number of owners of land who also own at least 25% of the assessed value of the land file a written protest.

- Terminate the proceeding if written protests are received from 50% or more of the registered voters residing in the inhabited territory.

4. LAFCo Approves Annexation - LAFCo adopts Resolution Making Determination Approving Annexation and issues Certification of Completion, which is submitted to the County Recorder. When Certificate of Completion is recorded, then the territory is officially annexed into the City.

Frequently Asked Questions

Note: Not all questions may be applicable to your specific annexation.

Will annexation cause my property to be reassessed?

No. Property values are not reassessed when annexation occurs.

Aren’t City taxes much higher than County taxes?

No. The total taxes that a residential property owner would pay if their property were annexed are generally very similar to those they are already paying in the County. In most cases, residents in the County are likely paying for an assessment district or County Service Area (CSA) fee (e.g., for streetlights, crossing guards, etc.), which they would no longer have to pay if they annexed into the City.

Will my property taxes be higher in the City than the County?

No. State Proposition 13, approved by California voters in 1978, limits property taxes to 1% of the assessed value regardless of the property’s location in the City or County.

Will I see changes on my property tax bill?

Yes. You may notice a difference in the special taxes, assessment districts, or fees normally listed on your property tax bill. Many of these taxes or fees will be removed or reduced with a charge assessed by the City.

Will the City require curbs, gutters, and sidewalks be installed in my neighborhood or on my street?

No. There is no requirement to install additional curbs, gutters, and/or sidewalks upon annexation. As long as there is no substantial redevelopment of the property, the City does not require curbs, gutters, and/or sidewalks to be installed.

Will annexation change school district boundaries or the schools that my child attends?

No. Annexation of property from the county into a city has no impact on school district boundaries or the schools that children in the annexed area attend. School district boundaries are established by each individual school district.

Will police protection change after annexation?

Yes. The City will provide police services to residents located within annexed areas. The Bakersfield Police Department maintains a staff of professionally-trained, sworn officers and civilian personnel to provide both general law and traffic enforcement operations. The Bakersfield Police Department also has a variety of crime prevention programs available to residents and businesses within annexed areas. The Kern County Sheriff’s Department provides general law operations and the California Highway Patrol provides traffic enforcement operations in County areas not within City limits.

Will fire protection change after annexation?

No. The City and County have a Joint Powers Agreement whereby each entity shares the fire protection services in the metropolitan Bakersfield area. Thus, regardless of jurisdiction, the currently designated City or County fire station will continue to respond to emergencies in your area.

Do I have to connect to City sewer immediately?

No. If your property currently utilizes a septic system, the City does not require you to connect to City sewer. However, the septic system must be operating properly and not be in violation of health and/or building codes. If you want to connect to City sewer, there are both initial connection and annual costs incurred by the property owner. These costs vary depending on your situation. City staff can address any specific questions.

Does the City offer financing options for the installation of a sewer hookup?

Yes. If you decide to connect to City sewer, the City offers a multi-year repayment program that allows the property owner to spread the costs of installation over a period not to exceed eight years. The annual amount due will be collected on your property tax bill each year you are enrolled in the repayment program.

Does the City benefit from annexation?

Yes. The use of property and sales tax dollars will be more efficiently spent within the uniform boundaries of the City. For example, City road crews will be able to repair longer stretches of roadways without having to omit sections that remain in the County. The City receives a predetermined amount of property tax from the County and all sales tax generated from commercial transactions within the City limits. The City also receives federal and state money based on any current or future increases in population.

Will there be any change in my garbage collection or trash hauler?

No. The standard for garbage collection in incorporated areas is once per week for normal waste and once per week for recycled and green waste.

Will my County building permit be honored by the City?

Yes. Prior to and during the annexation process, if you receive a building permit from the Kern County Building Department, it will be honored by the City. All inspections shall continue to be performed by the County until construction is completed. Upon annexation, all permits will be received from the City.

If I own a business, will I have to obtain a new business license?

Yes. The City requires each business operating within City limits obtain and maintain a current, valid business license. The City’s Treasury Division oversees the business license process.

If you have additional questions, please contact:

City Planning Division | Steve Esselman, Principal Planner | (661) 326-3733

Updated: 8/7/18