Friday, March 23, 2018
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(PDF ♦ Last Updated: 03/28/18)
In May 1996, the Kern County Board of Supervisors resolved that "[t]he County of Kern is committed to providing complete and factual information to
citizens regarding the annexation process and the effect of annexations on citizens in order to assist [them] in making informed decisions as to whether
to support or oppose an annexation proposal ..." and "[t]he County of Kern supports the will of the people in territory proposed to be annexed by providing
information upon request regarding the annexation process, timing, requirements, and sample documents that may be used by either proponents or opponents to
an annexation ..."
On August 18, 1998, the Kern County Board of Supervisors established the Citizens' Advisory Committee on Annexations. Members of the Board had received numerous
complaints regarding the lack of easily obtainable, complete, and timely information about the annexation process. Additionally, many constituents also perceived
that they were being denied their right to participate in the annexation process.
The information posted on this site, provided by the Board-appointed Citizens' Advisory Committee, is designed to assist the Board in providing information to County
residents and others affected by the annexation process. It is revised periodically to reflect changes in local annexation policies and procedures as well as the State
law governing annexations, the Cortese-Knox-Hertzberg Local Government Reorganization Act of 2000. This site is intended to help readers understand the annexation process,
but should not be construed as providing comprehensive legal or other advice. The Local Agency Formation Commission (LAFCo) can provide technical guidance regarding
annexations; legal advice should be obtained from an attorney.
The Board resolution creating the Committee defines its sphere of influence as encompassing the geographic area contained in the Metropolitan Bakersfield General Plan.
Members of the Advisory Committee must also reside in this area.
Citizen participation at Advisory Committee meetings is both welcomed and encouraged. Scheduled meeting information may be obtained by contacting the
Kern County Administrative Office at 661-868-3198.
The Advisory Committee and its individual members are pleased to entertain inquiries about the annexation process and the applicability of State law to proposed annexations.
Readers who have comments on this site or questions about the annexation process are invited to contact the County Administrative Office at 661-868-3198 or
Additional Committee Information
The Kern County Board of Supervisors has maintained a policy of strict neutrality toward annexations. In 1996, this policy was formalized by a Board resolution.
The Board and its State-mandated affiliate, the Local Agency Formation Commission (LAFCo), provide information to the public about the process as well as the fiscal
and policy consequences of annexation in order to help residents potentially affected by an annexation decide whether to support or reject the annexation of their
View resolution establishing the neutrality policy.
The resolution may also be obtained by contacting the County Administrative Office at 661-868-3198 or the Clerk of the
Board of Supervisors at 661-868-3585. Fees for copying and/or mailing services may apply.
Yes. LAFCo's current policy is to send a USPS "mailed notice to all landowners and registered voters on public hearings for all [annexation] applications and on all protest hearings." Contact LAFCo at 661-716-1076 for further information. In addition, State law requires LAFCo to publish a notice in the newspaper and post a notice near the door of the room in which the first public hearing (the Notice of Application Hearing) and the later Protest Hearing will be held.
In February 2002, the Bakersfield City Council adopted resolution #029-02 which established a pre-application process to handle annexations prior to the involvement of LAFCo. The City resolved to:
Thus, while State law does not obligate the City to provide any notification about annexation proceedings to affected residents and property owners in the area, its current policy is to provide this information to them.
For the full text of the resolution or for further information, contact the City at 661-326-3767 or search online for "City of Bakersfield Annexation Resolution.
Property owners and/or registered voters within an inhabited territory proposed for annexation have the right to protest the annexation (see Q5 below). Property owners and voters who do not oppose the annexation are not required to take any action.
The protest of a proposed annexation is a legal procedure described in the Cortese-Knox-Hertzberg Act. It must conform to specific requirements of the law as to form, wording, procedure for submission and the time frame within which it is submitted to LAFCo, the agency in Kern County that oversees annexations.
The annexation process officially begins after the Bakersfield City Council has passed a "Resolution of Application" to annex the area described in the resolution.
The resolution and other documents are sent to LAFCo. After LAFCo's Executive Officer has determined that the application package for the annexation is complete,
a Notice of Filing is issued and a date is set by LAFCo for the first of two public hearings.
The first public hearing is the Notice of Application hearing at which LAFCo Commissioners vote to determine if the annexation process should proceed.
If they do not reject the proposal, it proceeds to the second public hearing, commonly referred to as the "protest hearing."
This hearing may be continued for cause. Based on the number of written protests received at the protest hearing, the Commission makes a finding as to whether
the annexation process continues, is subjected to voter approval, or is terminated. The Cortese-Knox-Hertzberg Act specifies strict time frames, notification requirements
and procedures that must be followed at each step in the process. For further information about legal procedures and time frames involved in the annexation process,
view the "Citizen's Guide to Annexations by Cities".
The Guide can also be obtained from the Clerk of the Board of Supervisors at 661-868-3585 or from the County Administrative Office at 661-868-3198.
Fees for copying and/or mailing services may apply.
Samples of protest letters that will be deemed acceptable by LAFCo's Executive Officer are available on the Documents and Forms tab of this Web page.
The outcome of the protest hearing on the proposed annexation of an inhabited are depends on the relative number of registered voters and/or owners of property in the area who submit protests in the legally binding and timely manner described in Question 5 above.
Yes, your Supervisor will continue to represent you after annexation. The County provides and funds many services to all residents of Kern County, including residents of the City of Bakersfield. To find out who your County Supervisor is, call the Clerk of the Board at 661-868-3585 or visit the Find Your County Supervisor application.
If you are annexed, the Bakersfield City Council member for your ward will represent you only in matters that affect the residents of the incorporated area. Many of the services that the City provides are also provided in unincorporated areas. With annexation, you do not lose these services; they are simply administered by a different elected governmental body.
To find out who your City Council member would be if you are annexed, call the City Clerk at 661-326-3767 or go to http://www.bakersfieldcity.us/ and click on "Mayor & City Council" in the "City Government" drop-down menu.
Perhaps. Under California law, your property cannot be taxed at more than 1% of its assessed value. However, because many other charges appear on your tax bill,
your total bill may be higher or lower than what it is in the unincorporated area.
After annexation, you will pay a 1% monthly surcharge on your PG&E utility bill. This fee is not imposed in unincorporated areas. You may also incur additional charges, such as annual home alarm permit and registration fees and penalty charges for false alarms, that are billed separately and that you would not incur in an unincorporated area.
Special assessments apply in both the City and the County. Current assessments, many to pay off bonds issued through the years by entities such as school districts, the Kern Community College District, North of the River Recreation and Park District, Kern Mosquito and Vector Control, and the Kern County Water Agency, will remain the same after annexation. However, depending upon your property's location, special assessments for some services may continue or may be removed from your property tax bill.
Yes. When an unincorporated area is annexed to the City of Bakersfield, the County transfers 37.5% of its General Fund property tax revenue from that unincorporated area to the City in order to finance the cost of services that will now be provided by the City. The County retains 62.5% of your property taxes to pay for services such as libraries, public health, human services, property assessment and tax collection that are provided to all residents of Kern County in both unincorporated and incorporated areas.
The City of Bakersfield and the County of Kern have a Joint Powers Agreement covering fire protection and other specified emergency services that are provided by both the County and City Fire Departments. Property taxes collected to fund these activities go to the jurisdiction that is the "first responder" to these emergencies. If the fire station closest to you is maintained by the County, your taxes for fire protection are already allocated to the County and will be retained by the County. If the fire station closest to you is maintained by the City, a portion of your property taxes has been going to the City for this service and will continue to do so upon annexation.
Perhaps. While the City has its own trash collection trucks, it also contracts with franchised trash haulers, as does the County. If you are annexed to the City, your trash collection might be serviced by the same trash hauler that previously serviced your neighborhood, or a City of Bakersfield truck might do the collection.
Perhaps. All property owners in the Greater Bakersfield Metropolitan Area, whether in unincorporated territory or the City, have two separate charges on their property tax bill for trash services. One is for trash collection. Property owners in the County have a "Central Refuse" charge on their tax bills. For property owners in the City, the charge is listed as "Bkfld-Garbage Chg." The governing bodies of each jurisdiction (the Board of Supervisors for the County, the City Council for the City) set the trash collection fee for everyone within their respective jurisdictions regardless of who the actual hauler is. While these fees are similar, the charge on your property tax bill could be higher or lower if you live within the City than it is in the unincorporated territory.
The City of Bakersfield offers a 50% rebate of garbage collection fees to people who provide verification that they are at least 65 years old, are not delinquent on their property taxes and who are owner/occupants of the address at which the trash is collected.
The second charge on your property tax bill is a solid waste disposal fee listed as "KCSWMP Land Use." This fee is for the County operated landfill, where solid waste from both unincorporated areas and the City is disposed. This fee is the same for residents of both the unincorporated areas and the City, and will remain on your property tax bill after annexation.
No. After annexation, the CSA charge on your property tax bill will be replaced by a City street landscape maintenance charge. This charge will vary depending on where you live.
No. Many unincorporated neighborhoods have street sweeping services that are paid for through a County Service Area (CSA) assessment that appears on the property tax bills. In County areas in which this is not provided, a majority of property owners can form a County Service Area for street sweeping. CSAs can also be formed to obtain other amenities like street lighting and landscape maintenance. For more information, contact the Kern County Engineering, Surveying and Permit Services Department at http://esps.kerndsa.com/ or at 661-862-5100. The City does not charge separately for street sweeping, but will include it in the bundled Bakersfield Garbage charge on your property tax bill if you are annexed.
Perhaps. If your property is already connected to a sewer line, the County Service Area (CSA) or Kern Sanitation Authority (KSA) charges on your property tax bill for sewer service will be replaced by City charges which may be slightly higher or lower than the CSA or KSA charges. Some Sanitary Sewer District customers will continue to pay District charges following annexation to the City.
In many cases, no. If you live outside the City limits but
you may connect to that sewer system. In order to connect you must pay the mandatory initial fees to the City or District, abandon your septic system, and connect a line from your property to the sewer system. This can cost several thousand dollars.
Property owners within the unincorporated territory of CSA 71 who do not have ready access to a City or NOR sewer system can vote to establish a County Service Area (CSA) and incur the cost of a new sewer system to connect to the nearest working system. This requires approval of the majority (50% + 1) of the voters in the proposed service area. If approved, each property tax bill will then reflect a separate and additional assessment for that owner's share of the cost to build and maintain the sewer system. This can cost several thousand dollars. However, each property owner can then decide whether or not to incur the additional costs required to connect the property to the new sewer system. Some moderate and low income neighborhoods may qualify for Federal grants to help them afford to install sewers.
More information about converting from a septic system to a sewer system can be obtained from the Kern County Engineering, Surveying and Permit Services Department at http://esps.kerndsa.com/ or at 661-862-5100.
Not at this time. Neither the County nor the City can require you to have sewer service if you are using a properly operating septic system. However, if your septic system violates State and/or local health and building codes, both County and City ordinances require most homeowners to connect to a sewer system if one is available within 200 feet of the property. The City may allow an exception to this rule if a homeowner repairs or installs a properly operating septic system that has first received the approval, by permit, of the County Environmental Health Services Department and has then obtained another permit from the City of Bakersfield's Building Division at 661-326-3720.
Yes. If you decide to connect to a sewer system, you must pay connection and permit fees for all necessary work, a sewage treatment fee for the first year, as well as the contractor costs to abandon the septic treatment system and connect the property to the sewer system. Conversion can cost several thousand dollars per residence.
The City's sewer installation requirements vary depending upon a neighborhood's location. To determine availability or the specific sewer requirements for a particular area, contact the Wastewater Division of the Bakersfield Public Works Department at 661-326-3249 or visit their Web site.
Yes. The governmental jurisdiction in which the sale takes place is the recipient of sales tax revenue. Upon annexation, a store or gas station in an unincorporated area of the County will have its tax revenue allocated to the City rather than to the County, unless the City and County enter an agreement that states otherwise. Where you shop, rather than where you live, determines who gets your sales and gasoline tax money. Annexation does not affect the amount of sales and gasoline taxes that you pay.
Yes. The Bakersfield Police Department (BPD) will provide law enforcement services after annexation. Otherwise, the Kern County Sheriff's Department (KCSD) will continue to provide protection. Both agencies provide comparable levels of service. Law enforcement response times vary by neighborhood, the proximity of the responder, and the nature of the call. KCSD and BPD both dispatch at least two officers to priority 1 (life-threatening) calls.
No. The "Joint Powers" agreement between the County and the City requires the closest fire station within the Metropolitan
Bakersfield area to respond to the call, whether it occurs in the City or the County and regardless of which jurisdiction maintains and staffs the station.
Each agency provides comparable services.
Yes, but final costs are similar. The County's building permit fee for a typical residence within the Metropolitan Bakersfield area is somewhat higher than the City's fee; however, the County does not charge a fee for a zoning check while the City does. City fees for remodeling/renovation, additions and separate residences are slightly lower than County fees. If you are in the middle of a building project when your property is annexed, the County will continue to inspect the work if the project is near completion.
No. Both the County and City require a minimum 60-inch high fence as well as inspection of in-ground steel and gunite pools.
In both jurisdictions, inspection of the completed pool is required.
Yes. The cost of doing business in the City of Bakersfield can be substantially higher than in the unincorporated areas of the County of Kern.
The City charges retail business owners a business license fee that depends on the amount of gross sales receipts. There are also annual license
fees for other types of businesses, including professions. For additional information visit the related links below or call the City of Bakersfield
Treasury Division at 661-326-3762.
With few exceptions, the County does not require a license or fee to operate a business in unincorporated areas. For more information,
contact the Business License Unit of the Kern County Sheriff's Department at 661-391-7690 or view the
County's Ordinance Codes (Title 5, Business Licenses and Regulations).
Yes. Both the County and the City require a Home Occupation Permit that will allow you to operate a business, subject to certain restrictions
to ensure compatibility with other permitted businesses and with the residential character of the neighborhood.
The City has more rigorous requirements than the County does. For example, the City does not allow business-related signage,
more than one client at a time, or any merchandise visible from the street. For more information about City requirements and
obtaining a Home Occupation Permit, call the Planning Division at 661-326-3733 or visit their
No. Neither the County nor the City require property owners to install these improvements. The County and the City may use Federal grant funds to install curbs, gutters and storm drains in low and moderate income neighborhoods that lack them. For property owners who want curbs, gutters and/or sidewalks installed where their property, annexed or not, fronts on City streets, the City will perform engineering, design and grading, charging the property owner only the contractor's cost for concrete work.
No. Both the County and the City operate "code compliance" programs to maintain public safety and property values and to encourage property owners to comply with local ordinances covering topics such as dilapidated structures, weeds, animals, noise, home-operated businesses and other aspects of property use and/or neglect. Both the County and the City code compliance programs are complaint-driven as well as staff-initiated. The chief goal of both the County and City programs is compliance rather than punishment, although penalties may be imposed to gain compliance.
Yes. Whether you live in the County or the City, the number and types of animals you are permitted to keep on your property depends on the zoning district in which you live.
If you are annexed, any animals that are permitted under County zoning will also be permitted by the City without a conditional use permit, even if they result in a
non-conforming City use, provided that you maintain the same number and type of animal without an interruption of use for more than one year. You may not reinstate
this use if it has been abandoned. If you sell your property, the new owners may not keep any animals that violate current City regulations, including those animals
on the property at the time of sale.
The County permits up to 12 chickens and/or roosters in residential districts; the City specifically excludes them. In residential "estate" districts, the County permits
large animals like horses with the number dependent on property size; the City excludes them.
Both the County and the City limit or prohibit certain animal husbandry activities.
Primarily because of noise considerations, the City limits property owners to three dogs. In unincorporated areas of metropolitan Bakersfield, a three-dog limit applies only to lots of ¼ acre or less except for those dogs in excess of three living on the property and licensed before July 1, 2003.
A moderately long list of animals considered as domestic pets (including pygmy goats, pot-bellied pigs, tarantulas and guinea pigs in addition to dogs, cats and rabbits) are permitted by the City in residential areas. Horses, cattle, poultry and other animals not considered as normal household pets are specifically excluded in residential areas of the City but are not prohibited in certain residentially zoned County areas.
For specific information about keeping animals in residential areas of the City, contact the Permit Center for the City of Bakersfield Planning Division of the Development Services Department at 661-326-3733 or at
or visit their Web site.
Yes. While the County and the City each allow two yard sales per household per year, the County allows sales lasting three consecutive days while the City limits sales to two consecutive days.
No. It won't make a difference because the County and the City both have an equal obligation to satisfy State requirements to approve the construction of a minimum number of low and moderate income housing units within their jurisdictions.
The general information number for the County is 661-868-3140; for the City, it is 661-326-3000.
You can find a listing of County and City Departments with their direct phone numbers on the LAFCo contacts page. On that page there are also links to contact information for both County Supervisors and City Council Members.
Public Records Request Form
Landowner Protest Form
Landowner Protest Sample Letter
Registered Voter Protest Form
Registered Voter Protest Sample Letter
County Annexation Policy
Full text of 1996 resolution adopted by the Board of Supervisors
declaring a policy of neutrality toward proposed annexations of
unincorporated territory by cities.
Compensation Disclosure - 2016 Year End
A Citizen's Guide to Annexations by Cities
Information on procedures, public notifications and hearings regarding
the annexation of territory by a city, as well as rights of property
owners and voters in territory proposed for annexation.
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