The City of Rocklin consideration for annexation of a 103 acre “island” of unincorporated land at a City Council was scheduled for November 12.
The island annexation area is located south of Interstate 80 off Aguilar Road and Greenbrae Road and is completely surrounded by land within Rocklin city limits. State legislation enacted in 2001 and amended in 2005 provide a streamlined process for cities to annex small, unincorporated islands of 150 acres or less.
Policies adopted by the Placer County Local Agency Formation Commission (LAFCO) also encourage annexation of these areas.
City Council members and staff have taken several steps to ensure residents in the area have information about the annexation and opportunities to ask questions. A packet of information was mailed to property owners and a community meeting will be held Wednesday, November 5, 2014 at 5 p.m. in the Public Safety Building Community Room at 4080 Rocklin Road. This meeting will allow dialogue between residents, elected officials, staff and utility representatives in a less formal setting than the City Council meeting. Outreach also included a “Walk & Listen” where City Council members and staff went door to door to speak with residents in the annexation area.
“Meeting face‐to‐face with residents is important,” said Council member Dave Butler. “This is the type of community Rocklin is. We want to hear any concerns they might have and make sure their questions are answered.”
Mayor Scott Yuill also participated in the Walk & Listen and believes the visits were well‐received. “It was clear that this was the first time for most residents that an elected official or municipal staff person had shown up on their doorstep, and the conversations were very productive and informative. The most common questions were related to concerns there would be changes in services they receive, new requirements or increased costs. We were able to explain that they would notice very little change and that in some cases, the level of service would improve.”
Once annexed, the city will provide services such as building inspection, public road maintenance and public works. Rocklin Police will be the responsible law enforcement agency rather than Placer County Sherriff, although through mutual aid agreements, Rocklin Police already provides emergency response. Utility providers will not change.
“Coordination of services between the county and the city is challenging,” noted Mayor Yuill. “Although residents might not be aware of the time spent by staff to coordinate services, it often means the delivery of services is delayed or can’t be easily resolved.” Mayor Yuill cited a conversation with one homeowner he visited whose property borders land already incorporated into the City, creating unique challenges. “It’s much quicker to resolve issues when the city can tackle problems without needing to coordinate with another agency. The proximity and access to city staff and direct dialogue with councilmembers alone makes it easier to get an issue taken care of promptly.”
Taxes paid by annexation area residents are collected by the county, none of which is redistributed back to the city. Because the area is surrounded by the city, residents of the county island benefit from many of the services and facilities paid in part by Rocklin citizen taxes, such as city parks. Annexation would allow a more balanced approach for the cost of providing services. Annexation into the city would not increase residents’ taxes, but rather a portion of the taxes they already pay would be reallocated to the city and used to support the services provided. In many cases, the city can use these additional tax dollars more efficiently and provide greater value to the annexation area residents. A public road that stretches across city and county boundaries, for example, can be repaved at a much lower cost if it is all done at the same time under the same contract rather than done as two separate projects.
City Manager Rick Horst noted that city staff has already been coordinating with county staff and other agencies to ensure a smooth transition. “We look forward to serving the residents in the annexation area,” said Horst. “In essence, this area is already largely considered part of the Rocklin community. By officially becoming part of the city, it will give these residents a voice in shaping the entire City of Rocklin.”