CALAFCO University

Held September 14, 2020 via webinar.

Disruptive change of all kinds is accelerating for local government leaders, forcing officials to respond to new realities.  More than ever, local government agencies need adaptive leaders who can help their teams and organizations navigate a messy and uncertain world created by a convergence of new realities. This webinar explores things such as: what is the “new normal”; the need to manage and the need to lead; the nature of adaptive leadership; ten approaches for leading others in adapting to new realities; and tips for smart risk-taking.

Webinar is available for on-demand viewing for CALAFCO Members only. 

Held July 11, 2008 in Sacramento

The Golden State - California is one of the most agriculturally productive regions in the world. Not surprisingly, agriculture is also a vital local economic engine. This class will present examples of how and what LAFCo can do - given its charge by the Legislature to encourage orderly growth and development while balancing the sometimes competing state interests of discouraging urban sprawl, preserving open-space and prime agricultural lands, and efficiently extending government services.

Held October 24, 2008 in Los Angeles

So exactly what goes on in all those tanks, pipes and pumps?  LAFCos provide analysis on local agencies that offer waste-water collection and treatments facilities. But what exactly do you look for? What are the questions that should be asked? This class provides an introduction to waste-water facilities and processing. Aligned with LAFCo requirements for MSRs and reviews associated with changes in service levels or boundaries, participants examine the major infrastructure components and how to perform the analysis of the physical and financial capacity of the facilities. The course explores regulatory requirements of interest to LAFCo as well as capabilities and resources for expansion. Large file - please allow time to download.

Held September 14, 2012 in Sacramento

This intensive, practical workshop is designed to give LAFCo, city and special district staff the ability to prepare, initiate, administer, review and comment on environmental documents required by the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). Topics covered include: Current CEQA Guidelines; LAFCo responsibilities as a lead agency and a responsible agency; How to prepare categorical exemptions, initial studies and negative declarations; Preparation of requests for proposals for expanded initial studies, mitigated negative declarations and environmental impact reports; How to comment on environmental documents; How to use or amend environmental documents prepared by other agencies; and Relevant case law and new requirements.

Held March 17, 2006 in Sacramento and November 17, 2006 in Irvine

This intensive hands-on practical workshop is designed to give LAFCo Staff, and City and Special District Staff, the ability to prepare, initiate, administer, review, evaluate, and comment on a variety of environmental documents under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA).

Held June 29, 2012 in Los Angeles. 

This intensive one-day technical workshop is designed to give LAFCo staff, commissioners, city staff and other stakeholders an in-depth look at the process for consolidation and/or disincorporation of cities. Participants will discuss both the current LAFCo process for consolidation and disincorporation and possible changes to the law, LAFCo guidelines, procedures and terms and conditions.  Experts with a combined experience of more than a century with LAFCo will help lead the course.

Held July 15, 2019 in Sacramento.

This course explores how to efficiently solicit information needed for preparation of the MSR; writing for a range of agencies from well performing, struggling and not performing or fulfilling their intended purpose; writing determinations that will support spheres of influence and future actions. This very unique panel will also provide insight into source documents and areas of determination specific to water agencies and health care districts. Further we will hear the perspective of a special district that has been the subject of an MSR. Don’t miss this distinctive opportunity to learn techniques and strategies to streamline data collection, hone determinations specific to the agency under study and take your MSR’s to the next level.  

Held May 2, 2008 in Los Angeles.

Among the factors to be considered in the review of proposals is the timely availability of water supplies for projected needs. This class will focus on the recent and pending major legal, political and practical decisions which may dramatically affect the water supply throughout California. The session will explore approaches for LAFCo Commissioners and staff to take in assessing the sustainability of water supply and capacity in proposals.

Held January 13, 2020 in Orange County

This course covers the complex topic of legacy costs including CalPERS, OPEB, leave accrual payouts, claims liabilities and other known obligations. Analysis of these costs is instructive to determine potential impact on the financial capacity of the successor agency and tax payers, as well as informing conditions of approval for LAFCos. Estimating these costs and the length of time to amortize them is crucial to decisions by a city, district, LAFCo, JPA Board and third parties such as CalPERS.

This expert panel will share lessons learned from the perspective of LAFCo and special district practitioners, the mechanics and ramifications of amendment or termination of CalPERS contracts, amortizing unfunded liabilities and application of LAFCo terms and conditions related to legacy costs from legal and state perspectives.

Held August 24, 2009 in Sacramento. 

What makes a good development or pre-annexation agreement?  Why are there so many bad ones?  Should these agreements primarily benefit the developer, the jurisdiction, or both?  When should LAFCo have a seat at the negotiating table? This workshop includes presentations by veterans in the land use and development arena who have written and implemented some of California’s premier development and annexation agreements.  Both the successes and the horror stories will be discussed and dissected in what promises to be a lively, interactive workshop. So put on your green visor, roll up your sleeves, and check your ego at the door.  It’s time to sharpen your skills in drafting agreements that really work!

Held January 16, 2009 in Sacramento

Has disorganization taken over your office? Do you feel bombarded by multiple projects with competing deadlines?  Are you finding it difficult to accurately track your agency’s projects?  Have certain staff members gone AWOL? With a rich library of prebuilt solutions, Office Access can start tracking contacts, issues, projects and maybe even staff immediately!  Key forms and reports can also easily be customized through Access to meet the specific needs of your LAFCo. This class provides a hands-on session for customizing Access functions to match LAFCo responsibilities.  Participants will be working at computer stations learning how to customize Access for their own needs.  

Held June 5, 2009 in San Diego; April 13, 2010 in Santa Rosa, and November 5, 2010 in Modesto.

Today’s fire service agencies are looking closely at cooperative arrangements to maintain adequate and cost effective services.  LAFCos can play a vital role in helping fire agencies confront multiple challenges and plan for the future. This course features an impressive list of speakers who will discuss functional and full consolidations, contracts for service, and governance models such as joint powers authorities. The discussion will include operational, financial, legal and service level issues and processes, advantages and disadvantages, and presentations of peer-to-peer case studies.  Special topics will address local fiscal and policy control, health and retirement benefit plans, volunteer-based services, ambulance services, cost-sharing, and much more.  

Held July 25, 2006 in Costa Mesa. 

There are an estimated 6 million people living their American Dream inside communities regulated by one of California’s estimated 40,000 homeowners associations. This one-day workshop is designed to give participants an in depth look at the nexus between HOAs and other public agencies. Where do HOAs end and local governments begin? What are the issues between the factions and what efforts are underway to address them? The class will explore these questions and much more. 

Held November 9, 2015 in Sacramento.

Senate Bill 88, one of the 2015-16 budget trailer bills, authorizes the State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) to order consolidations of water systems that consistently fail to provide an adequate supply of drinking water in disadvantaged communities. It also allows for certain CEQA exemptions with respect to well permitting or changes in land use and would exempt from CEQA the adoption of the initial regulations by the state board. So what does all of this mean for LAFCo? How will existing MSRs be used by the State as a resource?  What if LAFCo is already involved and there is a pending action? What will the consulting process between LAFCo and the SWRCB look like? What happens after the consolidation is finally ordered? Who does what and who files what? Join us for a discussion with the SWRCB and the Office of Research and Planning (OPR) to better understand how SB 88 will actually be implemented and how these changes may impact LAFCo. There will also be an opportunity to offer ideas on policy clean-up legislation.

Held February 22-23, 2007 in Sacramento and June 28-29, 2007 in Los Angeles. 

This intense two-day workshop is designed for LAFCo commissioners and staff, county officials, proponents, and stakeholders to renew and share expertise on incorporations. From legislative intent to the election, this seminar covers the breadth of incorporating new cities in California. Topics include roles and responsibilities of LAFCo, the proponents and the county; working with potential applicants; petition requirements; setting proposed boundaries; conducting studies and hearings; CEQA review; revenue neutrality agreements … and many others. Case studies and experienced instructors highlight successful strategies and pitfalls to avoid. Changes in the laws since 2003 will be discussed. 

Held June 29, 2015 in Costa Mesa.

This very informative session focuses on the sometimes perplexing and always complicated world of LAFCO litigation. This session provides important insights to prepare your LAFCO when litigation is anticipated, as well as key strategies for what to do once the lawsuit arrives. A panel of skillful Executive Officers will discuss their experiences when their respective LAFCOs were involved in litigation, followed by some of the best LAFCO attorneys addressing the litigator and public agency perspective.  The session concludes with speakers providing “do’s and don’ts” for LAFCOs relative to handling litigation.

Held December 8, 2014 in Sacramento.

The purpose of this session is to have an engaging discussion about LAFCos, the law, and how to interpret those laws. Uniquely designed by the topics LAFCo Executive Officers requested, we will hear about legal issues pertaining to 56133 and the drought, as well as a myriad of other water issues; SOI updates (CEQA) and amendments; Prop 218 issues; island annexations; DUCs; conditions of approval; and protest proceedings, among many other topics that will be covered. Can you stump the attorney? Bring your toughest LAFCo legal challenge and challenge the best of the best!

Held February 4, 2011 in Sacramento

How many times have you found yourself trying to bring parties together to find common ground on an agreement, application, policy or study?  LAFCo staff can play an important facilitative role to encourage local agencies, community groups, neighborhoods and others to have a conversation with each other to address differences and seek solutions together.  Facilitation requires a specific set of skills. This course provides hand-on practices and techniques in effective facilitation. Participants will learn: The facilitative process; Establishing expectations: yours and theirs; How to prepare yourself and the parties; The art of constructing an agenda; Roles and responsibilities of the facilitator; Techniques to guide discovery, discussion and agreement; Practices to handle conflict, resistance and stalls; Moving a facilitation to closure and we will use a San Luis Obispo LAFCo case study.

Held October 28, 2011 in Sacramento

This course will explore the roles, authority and dynamics of LAFCos engaged in policy, planning and regulatory activities in their regions.  Learn about opportunities for LAFCos to enhance working relationships with public and private entities to address the broad environmental, economic and social challenges of our time. Timely topics will include: (1) encouraging LAFCos to take a holistic approach to food production, open space, mineral resources, energy production and watershed planning; (2) working with the interagency California Strategic Growth Council and its grant programs, data and information in support of  local and regional sustainability; (3) understanding the roles and authority of LAFCos to undertake and participate in regional and statewide studies, projects and other public and private initiatives; and (4) informative case study experiences of LAFCos in Sacramento, the San Francisco Bay Area, Southern California and the San Joaquin Valley.    

Held January 22, 2018 in Sacramento

LAFCo’s often take on a multitude of activities related to government services. Over the last couple years the legislature has generously provided LAFCo with additional opportunities to serve. This course will explore the new responsibilities and requirements given to LAFCo. We will also look on the evolving topic of transparency, how are we doing, and what’s on the horizon. So let’s look at:

  • 2016 Laws: SB 239, SB 272, SB 1266, AB 2257
  • 2017 Laws: AB 1361, SB 448, AB 979
  • Little Hoover Commission Recommendations
  • Transparency: How are we doing? Where are we going?
  • Complete a Transparency Checklist

This course will explore the various roles and how different LAFCos accomplish the goal of serving our many constituents. Given all the transparency requirements for local government these days, we will also take time to review what LAFCos should be doing in this area and provide you with a checklist to ensure you are up to date on requirements.

Held August 11, 2014 in Sacramento.

This is an informative and robust discussion on LAFCos role in the preservation of Agricultural Resources in the state of California. The ability for LAFCos to fulfill this part of their mission is tested and challenged regularly. So what’s new in the world of Ag Preservation and Mitigation? This session will focus on various viewpoints of that question – from the state level to the local LAFCo level. These discussions will allow sharing of new and updated information from all levels from experts on the topic. We will hear new research data from the American Farmland Trust, and gain insight into the state’s perspective on current and future agricultural resources. We will also hear from several LAFCos throughout the state on their successful efforts in the area of developing and executing Ag Policies for their regions. Hear first-hand what the challenges were and how they were overcome to develop and implement these best-practices policies. We will also hear from highly experienced legal counsel on the latest legal issues and case law pertaining to Ag mitigation. 

Held November 6, 2009 in Los Angeles 

Everyone is looking for the money. Here’s a down-to-basics workshop designed to help unravel the mysteries of local government finance and budgeting. If you have ever mixed up a “net asset” with a “program revenue,” or wondered how property and sales tax revenues trickle down to local governments in California, this is the class for you! Let our team of financial wizards provide you with an overview of: Local government finance in California; How to really understand your own LAFCo budget; Why audits are important; and How to read and understand audited financial statements with confidence. In these stressed-out economic times, it’s more important than ever to have a basic understanding of local government finance and budget issues. Admit it – it’s probably worth the time and investment to sharpen the pencil and increase your financial IQ. We’ve assembled a great team to do just that!

Held August 6, 2020 via webinar

This session covers LAFCo 101 topics such as the authority and purpose of LAFCo; the LAFCo review process; the laws involved in LAFCo decisions and updating Spheres of Influence and Municipal Service Reviews.
Webinar is available for on-demand viewing for CALAFCO Members only. 

Held February 13, 2014 in Ontario

This session is focused on the new protest provisions found in the Cortese-Knox-Hertzberg Act. The new provisions consolidate old sections into a more user friendly organization and allow for waiving of the protest process under certain circumstances. The panel will help us understand just how “friendly” the new version is and why the changes are an improvement from the past process. We will also discuss some case studies regarding the use of the protest provisions. The session will end with a discussion about how these provisions can be changed to make the process even more practical and understandable.

Held October 10, 2013 in Sacramento. 

This course explores using performance measures as part of Municipal Service Reviews (MSRs) to help decision makers better understand a particular factor or issue related to a jurisdiction’s services. Performance measures provide a quantifiable metric that assists in determining how well a function is being completed by an organization. Panelists will provide examples of how they are using performance measures in the MSRs being prepared in their Counties. Don’t miss this exciting opportunity to learn about performance measures and how they might make MSRs a more useful decision-making tool.

Held April 5, 2011 in Ventura

LAFCos work to solve major issues that cover a wide variety of objectives.  Because the process is collaborative, LAFCo staff often work with experts in several disciplines, including planners at city, county, regional and state levels. This course provides an overview of contemporary planning and land use laws and practices in California, and how they pertain to LAFCos.  Learn about State planning and land use laws, and how cities and counties implement them.  Understand how these laws and practices intersect with the Cortese-Knox-Hertzberg Local Government Reorganization Act, the similarities and differences, and effective ways to participate in local planning processes.  Topics include:  General Plans; specific plans, pre-zoning, and zoning; land use entitlements such as subdivision maps, conditional use permits, variances and development agreements; environmental review process; eminent domain, regulatory takings and exactions; redevelopment; initiatives, referendums.  Knowledgeable instructors will illustrate the relationships between these topics and municipal service reviews, Spheres of Influence, annexations, and other LAFCo functions.    ​

Held July 21, 2006 in Sacramento. 

This intense workshop will give LAFCo staff, Commissioners and stakeholders an in-depth look at the techniques for analyzing and making LAFCo water decisions. Hands-on discussion will focus on assessing data, questions to ask water providers, and the resources that may be available to find information. Class highlights include LAFCo case studies, determination guidelines, current law changes, background information, where to find data, and your questions.

Held March 12, 2009 in Los Angeles and March 27, 2009 in San Jose

SB 375 refers to Sustainable Communities Strategy, California Air Resources Board, Regional Targets Advisory Committees, Scoping Plans, Regional Housing Needs Assessments, CEQA streamlining, Regional Transportation Plan, current planning assumptions and transit priority projects. Huh? What does it mean for LAFCo’s municipal service reviews and sphere of influence updates? How do the goals of SB 375 align with LAFCo’s legislative mandates? How can we increase coordination and reduce the potential for disagreements with all the agencies involved? Should LAFCo ensure that our actions are consistent with the SB 375, regional strategy, regional housing or greenhouse gas reduction targets?  This workshop will try to answer some of the questions on what SB 375 will mean to LAFCo.  The process of implementing SB 375 will be explained by experts from agencies involved. Case studies will be used to focus the discussion on SB 375’s impacts to LAFCos and LAFCos’ role in implementation.

Held April 24, 2012 in Murphys

Given California’s slow and protracted economic recovery from the recession, the times are calling for local governments to reevaluate and retool how they conduct business and maintain service levels to the public with less resources and escalating costs.  This course presents a timely discussion on the fiscal stability of local governments today and the opportunities and mechanics for taking advantage of economies of scale and scope through shared service delivery models and functional consolidations.  

Held August 13, 2020 via webinar.

This session covers LAFCo Clerk and Analyst best practices, taking an application from receipt through to hearing and completion, Brown Act and Public Records Act and how to effectively respond to the needs of your Executive Officer, Commissioners and the public all while keeping your sanity.
Webinar is available for on-demand viewing for CALAFCO Members only. 

Held February 3, 2012 in San Jose.

This course presents a timely understanding of the dynamics of health care district regulations, challenges and trends, and the role and methods by which LAFCo can evaluate and regulate these public agencies. It features a distinguished list of legal, health care, economic, finance, policy and LAFCo experts. 

Held January 18, 2008 in Sacramento.

This hands-on workshop will give LAFCo staff, consultants and stakeholders an in-depth look at the techniques for analyzing and preparing LAFCo staff reports and recommendations. Participants will explore the elements of a LAFCo review of applications including the required information for SOI and MSR determinations, plan for services, CEQA review, timely availability, and potential LAFCo actions and conditions. Participants will be introduced to a number of case studies, including how to analyze Urban Water Management Plans and other water supply assessments. Other class highlights include where to find supply and demand data, implications of recent water decisions and adjudications on availability determinations, assessing water rights, and your questions.

Held June 26, 2017 in Sacramento
Great minds don’t always think alike. So just what happens when the opinions of your LAFCo Commissioners, Legal Counsel and Staff do not align? Join us for what promises to be unique learning opportunity as we explore this provocative topic. We will hear from a panel of expert LAFCo attorneys who will provide insights into the legal recommendations they make to Commissions. We will also focus on the legal and policy issues faced by Commissioners when deliberating and making their final decisions. We will then delve into specific LAFCo case studies in which great minds did not think alike. Attorneys will also cover a number of important topics:

  • Conflicts of interest; I can vote on that-really!?
  • What is Quasi-Legislative?
  • Current case law review and update
  • Broad conditioning – How broad?
  • Broad discretion in light of the record