Tuolumne County Special Districts Obtain LAFCO Representation

By Vanessa Gonzales posted 06-01-2020 03:19 PM


County_of_Tuolumne_LAFco.jpgA two-year process was completed on May 26 when two special district representatives were formally seated on the Tuolumne County Local Agency Formation Commission (LAFCo). Tuolumne County joins 30 other counties with special district representation on the LAFCo.

In May 2018, Tuolumne County districts held an initial meeting to discuss securing LAFCo representation. Since that time, additional meetings were held to discuss the process, allocate the cost share among districts, and work with the county and the City of Sonora to accomplish this goal.

The process of seating district representatives was streamlined through legislation sponsored by the California Special Districts Association and the California Association of Local Agency Formation Commissions in 2017. Assembly Bill 979, authored by Assembly Member Tom Lackey, simplified the process by enabling districts to solicit a vote for representation by the written request of a district representing 10% or more of the assessed value of taxable property in the county. After this request is submitted, LAFCo conducts a vote of the independent special districts selection committee. If a majority of committee members support representation, districts are seated on the Commission.

The Tuolumne Utilities District, representing 10% of more of the assessed value of taxable property in the County, made the initial request and a vote of the independent selection committee was convened. The vote was successful, and districts elected two regular representatives and one alternate. The elected individuals are:

  • Ron Kopf, Tuolumne Utilities District, Regular Member
  • John Feriani, Tuolumne City Sanitary District, Regular Member
  • Adam Artzer, Tuolumne Fire District, Alternate Member

The benefits of securing representation are significant. Districts will sit on this regional forum as a co-equal partner with their peers in the County and the City. They will also have a direct voice in decisions governing boundary changes, consolidations, annexations, formations, dissolutions, service extensions, and other LAFCo actions. On the Commission, districts will participate in the preparation and approval of Spheres of Influence and Municipal Service Reviews that are typically conducted on districts every five years. Finally, this vote demonstrates that special districts can effectively collaborate with their local government peers and enhances the stature of LAFCos as the appropriate forum to review (and ultimately make decisions) on how services are provided in each county.

The process would not have been completed without the dedication and persistence of district representatives, LAFCo Commissioners and staff, and other local agencies. CSDA thanks these participants for their work!

The Association also thanks Assembly Member Lackey for authoring AB 979 to provide a simplified process for districts to obtain representation.