MARICOPA, Calif. (KERO) — A new report could lead to Maricopa being unincorporated and city operations turned over to Kern County.
The Kern County Grand Jury conducted an inquiry into the management and operations of the City of Maricopa, specifically the city's lack of funding for fire protection services.
The city of approximately 1,200 people has declined over the last three years with a poverty rate of over 25% and an unemployment rate of over 13%. Less than half the population own homes and the Maricopa Unified School District only has less than 300 students total. It lacks a police department and only has three businesses within city limits.
Maricopa receives fire protection services from the Kern County Fire Department and budgets just over $25,000 for those services. However, in 2017-2018 the costs for the station serving the city were over $2 million. A 7-year plan to increase spending on fire protection has the city paying over $1.5 million by the year 2028.
However, according to 202 financial statements, show the city has an operating revenue of just over $300,000 and expenses of over $246,000.
The Kern County Grand Jury determined that "if the City of Maricopa and the Kern County Board of Supervisors are unable to reach a viable agreement on Fire Protection Service costs, it is recommended the City of Maricopa initiate procedures to disincorporate."
Disincorporating would mean the city government would be shut down and operations would be moved to Kern County.