Making Democracy Work

Intergovernmental Cooperation

Adopted 1974, Updated 1975

The League of Women Voters of Santa Clara County supports:


  • The cooperation and coordination of the county, cities, and special districts in Santa Clara County. 

  • Efficient and economical performance of government services, and reduction of duplication and overlapping jurisdictions.

  • Annexation of developed unincorporated areas surrounded by cities.

  • Appropriate special districts meeting specific criteria.

  • The county taking responsibility to provide adequate information to residents re­garding functions of the county.

To achieve the stated positions, we believe the county should:


  • Define and delineate the responsibility of the cities in planning, coordinating, and supplying services.

  • Work with cities to develop regional solutions to transportation, sewage, solid waste disposal, and growth patterns.

  • Annexation:

    • Aid the cities and special districts in reducing any hardships on residents that result from annexation.

    • Assume a greater role in educating citizens on facts of costs and regulations.

    • Continue to provide minimum property-related services to non-urban ar­eas.  If a higher level of services is desired, the property owners should bear the cost of these services.

    • Discourage the formation of new special districts and encourage consoli­dation and elimination of existing special districts that do not meet the criteria.

To achieve the stated positions, we believe that the cities should:


  • Contract to provide service to unincorporated areas if they can do so more efficiently than the county.  The residents of the unincorporated areas would pay the cost.

  • Annexation:

    • Keep annexation from becoming an economic hardship to the residents. Keep standards flexible, with health and safety the only criteria for forced improvements.  Assessments should be arranged for payment over a long period of time.

    • Assume a greater role in educating citizens on facts of costs and regulations.

    • Have the right to initiate annexation proceedings for unincorpo­rated areas surrounding the city.

  • Work with the county and other governmental entities to develop re­gional solutions to transportation, sewage, solid waste disposal, and growth patterns.
To achieve the stated positions, we believe that a special district should:
  • Meet these criteria (in order of priority):

    • Be the only or best way to provide service to an area
    • Produce sufficient revenue from the area served to provide the service.
    • Not conflict with the logical expansion of adjacent governmental agencies.
    • Consider general plans of cities and county.
    • Have a governing board that is directly responsive to the electorate.
    • Encompass an area that is easy to service.
    • Have boundaries that are not in conflict with existing governmental agencies that supply similar services.  (See LAFCO guidelines for creating new special districts in League publication What's So Special About Special Districts, pages 1 & 2.)
    • Have a mandatory review mechanism for evaluation and have the capability to dissolve the district if it is no longer needed.

  • Respond to the electorate by:

    • Having open meetings, with time and place well publicized.
    • Meeting in places readily accessible to the public.
    • Publicizing of appointments to be made well in ad­vance.
    • Publicizing filing and election dates well in advance.
    • Including names of candidates on ballot, even if unopposed.
    • Ascertaining that all records (minutes, budgets, annual reports, etc.) are readily accessible to the public.

  • Interrelate with other governmental bodies for effective operation by one of the following methods:

    • Having a coordinating body that could determine best methods for interrelating.

    • Being represented as a group on an intergovernmental body (such as LAFCO) that coordinates their functions, and determines their responsibility and authority.

    • Making efforts on their own through special districts association to cooperate and coordinate their own activities.


What is a position?