Mr. Don Lockhart, Assistant Executive Officer of the Sacramento County Local Agency Formation Commission (LAFCo) gave a presentation at the monthly meeting of the Advocates for Arden Arcade on 11/16/2015. Mr. Lockhart explained what LAFCo does and mentioned its 7-member governing body. Pursuant to state law, there is a LAFCo in every County in California. The Sacramento County LAFCo consists of 2 County Supervisors, a representative from the City of Sacramento, a member from another city, two representatives from special districts, and a public member. Mr. Lockhart focused on LAFCo's processes for incorporation and annexation. His informative presentation, structured around this PowerPoint file, was well received.
Mr. Lockhart told the audience that formation of a new municipal government within an unincorporated area replaces the municipal services provided there by the County with the same (or better) level of municipal services provided by the new city. LAFCo will not approve an incorporation request that duplicates the delivery of municipal services. Before an incorporation proposal can go to the ballot, LAFCo must evaluate the proposed city's financial situation--governing the delivery of municipal services--and consider possible environmental impacts in case there are adverse effects that require mitigation. Mr. Lockhart said state law requires new cities to be financially viable. That includes consideration of negotiated payments to the County recognizing: 1) investments involved with the life-cycle of prior public works expenditures made by the County and 2) expenses related to the 1-year maximum mandatory transition period wherein County services continue until the new city establishes its own services and takes over the responsibility.
There is extensive information about Sacramento LAFCo online, including documents from the 2010 Measure D incorporation ballot measure for Arden Arcade. Mr. Lockhart noted that recently-incorporated cities in California typically needed several tries at the ballot box before they became cities. Mr. Lockhart mentioned several ways that Arden Arcade could incorporate if there is renewed interest in local self-determination. He added that economic circumstances have improved considerably in Arden Arcade since the baseline used for the Measure D fiscal analysis. Because the City of Sacramento has taken steps to enable some or all of Arden Arcade to become part of their city, he also went into detail about how Sacramento County LAFCo might handle an annexation request as well as what it would take to contest an annexation proposal.