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Fair Oaks Cemetery District et al v. County of Sacramento et al

March 2, 2012


(Super. Ct. No. 34-2010-00068616-CU-MC-GDS)

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Blease , Acting P. J.

Fair Oaks Cemetery Dist. v. County of Sacramento



California Rules of Court, rule 8.1115(a), prohibits courts and parties from citing or relying on opinions not certified for publication or ordered published, except as specified by rule 8.1115(b). This opinion has not been certified for publication or ordered published for purposes of rule 8.1115.

Although not characterized as such, this is an in rem reverse validation action by plaintiffs Fair Oaks and Sylvan Cemetery Districts (Fair Oaks and Sylvan, respectively) challenging the validity of the 1981 annexations of additional territory to the districts. The plaintiffs seek a share of the property tax revenue received by the defendant County of Sacramento (County) from the annexed territories, which they claim should have been apportioned to them for services rendered to residents in the territories from 1981 to date.

The action comes 30 years too late. The applicable statute of limitations for the filing of the validation actions was 60 days from the date of execution of the certificates of completion of the annexations. (Gov. Code, § 56103, Code Civ. Proc., § 863.) That occurred on March 18, 1981, when the Local Agency Formation Commission (LAFCO) recorded certificates of completion of the annexations for the two cemetery districts.

The trial court sustained the defendants' demurrers without leave to amend. The trial court agreed with defendants that the complaint was barred by the statute of limitations and the plaintiffs appeal. Plaintiffs' primary argument on appeal is that the time for bringing a validation or reverse validation action never commenced because the annexation of territory was invalid. They claim that the validation actions were invalid because of the failure of the parties to enter into tax-sharing agreements.*fn1 We disagree.

Because the point of bringing a validation action is to determine the validity of a public agency's acts, the period for bringing suit begins to run when the act of the agency is deemed complete. For purposes of the annexation of territory, the annexation was deemed complete when LAFCO executed certificates of completion of the annexations. Where, as here, no reverse validation action was filed within 60 days, the annexations became valid whether or not the proceedings leading up to the annexations were in fact legally valid.

We shall affirm the judgment of the trial court.


Fair Oaks and Sylvan are public cemetery districts located in Sacramento County. In October 1980, the two districts met with LAFCO to discuss annexation of new territory to the districts.

In November 1980, Fair Oaks adopted Resolution No. 22 to initiate the application proceedings before LAFCO to annex new territory to the district. The resolution recited that the proceeding was pursuant to the District Reorganization Act of 1965, commencing at section 56000 of the Government Code.

On January 7, 1981, LAFCO adopted Resolution No. 756 approving Fair Oaks's application for annexation. The LAFCO resolution directed Fair Oaks to "initiate further proceedings in compliance with this resolution and applicable law[,]" and "initiate annexation proceedings with notice and hearing, as specified under Government Code Section 56430, et. seq." The following month, Fair Oaks initiated the annexation proceeding by resolution.

However, Fair Oaks never passed a resolution for the exchange of revenues relative to the annexation. An unsigned resolution recited that Revenue and Taxation Code section 99, subdivision (b) required the County to establish a formula for the exchange of property tax revenues with respect to all properties subject to the jurisdictional change. The unsigned resolution further stated that LAFCO adopted the resolution approving the annexation with the understanding that no property tax base or growth increment was to be exchanged as a result of the annexation. A handwritten note at the bottom of the unsigned resolution stated that the Board of Trustees of Fair Oaks refused to sign the resolution.

Despite Fair Oaks's refusal to agree that the annexation would not involve a property tax exchange, LAFCO sent a Statement of Boundary Change for Fair Oaks to the Sacramento County Assessor and Recorder. The complaint alleges that despite an assertion to the contrary in the Statement of Boundary Change, no copy of Fair Oaks's resolution approving the annexation was ever attached to the Statement. The complaint alleges that Fair Oaks never adopted any such resolution.

Most importantly for purposes of this action, on March 18, 1981, LAFCO recorded a certificate of completion for the Fair Oaks annexation that set forth the legal description of the territory annexed.

On July 7, 1981, the County Board of Supervisors adopted a resolution that no property tax base or growth increment would be exchanged between Fair Oaks and the affected taxing entities within the tax rate areas included in Fair Oaks's district.

On July 22, 1981, LAFCO wrote a letter to Fair Oaks stating that "your annexation of territory cannot be considered legal or complete" until Fair Oaks signed an AB8 property tax exchange agreement.*fn2 The letter stated: "Until your AB8 agreement is complete, your annexation is not final and, ...

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