State-Mandated Public Agency Established to Regulate the Boundaries of Cities & Special Districts


The Local Agency Formation Commission of Monterey County (LAFCO) serves Monterey County. The county encompasses 3,300 square miles and has a population of approximately 437,000 people. About 75 percent of county residents live in 12 incorporated cities. The large unincorporated area is home to 100,000 residents in more than 25 unincorporated communities, and is primarily open space or undeveloped, with large tracts of federal, state, or regional forest or parklands, and agricultural production areas. All County residents receive one or more local governmental services from 43 independent special districts and 47 dependent special districts formed to meet local needs.

Mandated by the State legislature, every county in California has a Local Agency Formation Commission to encourage the orderly formation of local governmental agencies, preserve agricultural land resources, discourage urban sprawl, and encourage the efficient delivery of local government services.

The Local Agency Formation Commission of Monterey County was established in 1963 and is an independent regulatory agency with quasi-legislative authority. The eleven-member Commission consists of seven regular commissioners from four different membership categories: two commissioners are members of the County Board of Supervisors; two members are city council members; two members are from special districts and one commissioner represents the public. In addition, there are four alternates to the regular members – one for each membership category. All commissioners serve four year terms. There is a standing Budget & Finance Committee, and other standing and ad hoc advisory committees are formed for special purposes. The approved Fiscal Year 2019-2020 budget is $1,080,419. The Commission is served by a fulltime Executive Officer and 3.5 FTE staff plus contract staff.

LAFCO is responsible for regulating the boundaries of cities and special districts, establishing Spheres of Influence, and conducting studies of local government services. The Commission coordinates logical and timely changes to local government boundaries including annexations and detachments of territory, incorporation of cities, formation of special districts, and consolidation, merger, and dissolution of special districts. LAFCO is also charged with reviewing and approving ways to reorganize, simplify, and streamline governmental organizations.

The Local Agency Formation Commission of Monterey County has been honored with numerous statewide awards for its professional excellence and innovation. Individual Commissioners were recognized by the California Association of Local Agency Formation Commissions in 2004, 2008, 2011 and 2013. The Commission and staff were recognized in 2012. LAFCO’s Executive Officer was recognized in 2011, and has received statewide CALAFCO honors for “Distinguished Service” and “Outstanding LAFCO Professional”.

Updated on September 30, 2019