FONTANA - Welcome to Fontana.

That's the message city officials will be sending to its 11,840 new residents.

The Local Agency Formation Commission on Wednesday approved Fontana's application to annex 2,507 acres of county land, but not without a handful of residents voicing their opposition to becoming a part of Fontana and not having a say in the process.

"This is our land. We should be able to do what we want," said property owner Victor Vollhardt, who joined others in arguing that residents should be allowed to vote on whether to be annexed.

But state law allows cities to annex islands of county land without the consent of property owners if each island is less than 150 acres. That law is scheduled to end Dec. 31.

Now, the city is preparing to roll out its welcome mat by mailing informational packets to its new residents. The annexation is expected to take place in 30 days.

The additional residents would push Fontana past Rancho Cucamonga and Ontario to be the second-most populous city in San Bernardino County behind San Bernardino with a population of roughly 180,000.

"What we're able to do is keep Fontana's revenues in Fontana," Mayor Mark Nuaimi said, noting local revenue that goes into county coffers can be spent elsewhere in the county.

The city is expecting $4.2 million in new annual revenue from various sources, including property and sales taxes.

The mayor recused himself from voting on the proposal as did county Supervisors Josie Gonzales and Dennis Hansberger in an effort to avoid a conflict of interest due to campaign contributions. Supervisor Paul Biane was absent because he was on vacation.

A decision on annexing an additional 289 acres into Fontana was postponed until November because of efforts to incorporate Bloomington.

LAFCO executive officer Kathleen Rollings-McDonald said property taxes will not increase due to annexation.

The city's 5 percent utility tax on commercial properties will not be placed on property in the newly annexed areas, she said.

Property owners will not be forced to hook into the city's sewer system if they have operating septic tanks. Residents who use the city's system will have their rates reduced to in-city charges. There will be no change in water service.

Also, Nuaimi said parks and recreation fees will be lower, and road improvements are being planned for the annexed areas.

Police protection will be transferred to the city from the county Sheriff's Department. But fire and emergency responses will remain the same because the city relies on the county department.

The cost of providing city services to the annexed areas is pegged at $4 million.

Late last year, the city set aside $3 million for its annexation efforts to pay for additional staff, including police officers.

Even though city leaders tout Fontana's preparedness for the annexation, residents insist city officials are not ready to be responsible for the additional land.

"They can't maintain their current infrastructure. They don't have a good policeman-per-thousand-residents ratio now. It'll be even less," Vollhardt said.

Although the city will now assume responsibility for the area, the county is not scaling back any of its efforts for the remaining unincorporated areas.

In theory, the county will be able to give greater attention to those areas, most notably the area around California Speedway, which is the largest chunk of unincorporated land in Fontana's sphere of influence, the area set aside for possible future annexation by the city.

The county plans to maintain its staffing levels at the sheriff's station, serving the area around Fontana with a total of 34 positions. Also, a newly opened code enforcement office in Fontana will remain with four code enforcement officers.

But residents are still concerned about land use and zoning issues.

"I still think it's driven by developers and not their efforts to make better services," Vollhardt said.

He fears land uses and zoning changes upon annexation.

Carl Atkinson is concerned the city's code enforcement will clamp down hard on him now.

"I'm the first on their list," he said.

The used tire dealer said county officials told him 22 years ago that his business was an appropriate use when he bought the property. However, he has since been informed it is an illegal, non-conforming use.

If it is illegal in the county, it will be illegal in the city.

The city has adopted a phased-in approach to code enforcement for the newly annexed areas. The first year will be an educational process, informing landowners what they need to do to come into compliance on land use. Then the city will begin processing issues. But current county enforcement cases will not receive a grace period.

City officials said there will be an opportunity after annexation to discuss zoning changes.

However, the city pre-zoned its sphere of influence in 2004 and those designations are required to be maintained for two years after annexation unless the City Council makes certain findings at a public hearing to change zoning.