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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.

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 (LAFCO) to finalize each annexation application. The Annexation process typically takes between one to two years to complete based on a variety of factors specific to the proposed annexation.  

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), which they would no longer have to pay if they annexed into the city.

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

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

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 sidewalks to be installed.

Will annexation change school district boundaries or the schools which 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 the County areas not within City of Bakersfield limits.

Will Fire protection change after annexation

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

Do I have to connect to the city sewer system immediately?

No. If our property currently utilizes a septic tank, the City does not require you to connect to the City sewer system. However, the septic tank and system must be operating properly and not be in violation health and/or building codes.  If you want to connect to the City sewer system 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 hook-up?

Yes. If you decide to connect to the City sewer system, the City offers a multi-year repayment program which 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 of Kern 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. The City of Bakersfield offers senior citizens a 50 percent rebate of the basic rate upon meeting certain conditions.

Will my Kern 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.

The annexation process is overseen by the Kern County Local Agency Formation Commission (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. Please refer the Kern LAFCo web site for the most current meeting schedule. 

What is a Sphere of Influence/Municipal Service Review update?

The Cortese/Knox/Hertzberg Local Government Reorganization Act of 2000 (CKH Act or Act) requires Local Agency Formation Commission (LAFCO) to update Spheres of Influence (SOI) for all applicable jurisdictions within the County including the City of Bakersfield. An SOI is defined by California Government Code section 56425 as “. . . a plan for the probable physical boundary and service area of a local agency or municipality. . .”  All City annexations can only occur within the adopted SOI. The LAFCO requirement to review and update the City’s sphere of influence is every five years. 

The Act further requires that LAFCOs conduct a Municipal Service Review (MSR) prior to, or in conjunction with, the update of an SOI. LAFCO has approved three MSRs for the City of Bakersfield (City), one in August 2004 and a second in January 2006. The City’s SOI was recently updated on May 25, 2016 by LAFCO Res. # 16-07 and the City included within the application an updated MSR analysis. The MSR can be found here. MSRs are to be prepared in accordance with Government Code section 56430 to identify and evaluate municipal services within the City’s SOI and any changes which would result from a change in the City’s SOI.

If you have a question or issue not addressed in this webpage, please contact:

Chris Huot
City Manager’s Office
(661) 326-3751

Debbie Lewis or Martin Ortiz
City Planning Division
(661) 326-3733