Skip to main content


Sphere of Influence Update and Municipal Service Review Program

See: Approved Municipal Service Reviews (MSR Reports, below) &

MSR Status Summary


The Cortese-Knox-Hertzberg Local Government Reorganization Act of 2000 (Act) requires LAFCo to review and update, as necessary, each local agency’s Sphere of Influence (SOI) before January 1, 2008, and every five years thereafter.  As part of the SOI update, the Commission must consider and prepare a written statement of its determinations which are summarized as follows:

  1. The present and planned land uses in the area, including agricultural and open-space lands.
  2. The present and probable need for public facilities and services in the area.
  3. The present capacity of public facilities and adequacy of public services that the agency provides or is authorized to provide.
  4. The existence of any social or economic communities of interest in the area if the commission determines that they are relevant to the agency.
  5. For a city or special district that provides public facilities or services related to sewers, municipal and industrial water, or structural fire protection, the present and probable need for those public facilities and services of any disadvantaged unincorporated communities within the existing sphere of influence.

Prior to, or in conjunction with an agency’s SOI update, LAFCo is required to conduct a Municipal Service Review (MSR) for each agency.  A MSR is a comprehensive review of an agency’s ability to provide service(s) to those persons and businesses within its current boundaries.  Per the Act, the Commission prepares written statements of its determinations with respect to each of the following factors:

  1. Growth and population projections for the affected area.
  2. The location and characteristics of any disadvantaged unincorporated communities within or contiguous to the SOI.
  3. Present and planned capacity of public facilities and adequacy of public services, including infrastructure needs or deficiencies.
  4. Financial ability of agencies to provide services.
  5. Status of, and opportunities for, shared facilities.
  6. Accountability for community service needs, including governmental structure and operational efficiencies.
  7. Any other matter related to effective or efficient service delivery, as required by commission policy.

The Commission's Municipal Service Review Policy establishes the MSR Program's goal:

"...To provide cities and special districts with an assessment on their provision of services, make recommendations regarding areas of improvement, and determine whether or not an agency is equipped to effectively provide services within its existing or expanded SOI."

The Commission determines the SOI boundary for local agencies under LAFCo's jurisdiction. The SOI is a planning boundary outside an agency's service area that means, a plan for the probable physical boundaries and service area of a local agency.  The Commission adopts, updates, and evaluates an SOI using a 20-year planning horizon.  An SOI is the Commission's best estimate of the probable service area for an agency over time, depending upon information collected during the MSR update process.  (For text of the law, see the Government Code, Sections 56425; 56430; and Fresno LAFCo Policies, Standards and Procedures Manual - Policy 107.)