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Wild or exotic animals are regulated by County and State law and shall not be permitted without a conditional use permit.
All animal-related home businesses (e.g. kennels, animals breeding, animal daycare, or selling animal products) require a conditional use permit.
Residents who have or plan to keep one or more chickens or other fowl, beehives, pigs, goats, other livestock, or exotic/wild animals should contact the City about obtaining the proper permits for existing animals.
The City contracts with Contra Costa County Animal Services Department for animal control services. Call the County Animal Services Department at 925-335-8300 to report stray, loose, or injured animals, make a nuisance complaint or report animal cruelty.
If the graffiti is on your property, you are responsible to remove the graffiti in a timely manner. Property owners who have been tagged are encouraged to report the graffiti to the Police Department’s non-emergency dispatch line, 510-233-1214. If you can take pictures of graffiti before it is removed, this will assist the Police Department. Please be sure to note the location of the tagging and the date the pictures were taken.
Graffiti is a crime. If you witness a crime in progress (including tagging), or want to report suspicious activity, call the Police Department right away.
City Council agendas are posted at City Hall (10890 San Pablo Avenue), El Cerrito Community Center (7007 Moeser Lane), and at the El Cerrito Library (6510 Stockton Avenue). They are also available online. You can subscribe to the eAgenda by subscribing to the City Council Meetings & Agendas Calendar at our Subscribe page.
You can watch City Council meetings live on Cable 28 or watch the rebroadcast Thursday of the same week at 12:00 noon, and again the following Monday at noon. Streaming video of meetings is also available 24/7 on the City's Website.
Pursuant to the California Public Records Act, the public may have access to a variety of documents held by the City. Written requests can be submitted to the City Clerk in person, by mail or by emailing the city clerk. Copy fees are $0.10 per standard size page. Oversize and bond documents are available at an additional cost.
The El Cerrito City Clerk’s Office has been designated by the U.S. Department of State as a Passport Acceptance Facility. We accept applications for new passports and for minor’s who need to renew. Adult renewals can be done by mail. Office hours are Monday - Thursday from 9:00 - 12:00. NOTE: Passport Services are suspended as of March 16, 2020 until further notice. Visit the Department of State’s website, Travel.State.Gov for more information, requirements and policies on passports.
A Charter City adopts a Charter, which is a document that outlines how a city is governed. Becoming a charter city allows voters to determine how their city government is organized and, with respect to municipal affairs, enact legislation different than that adopted by the state.
The power of home rule, granted by the California Constitution, makes available to charter cities a variety of tools to use to construct local policy and address local concerns. The voters of each charter city get to decide which tools to put in their tool box. With this Charter, El Cerrito will reclaim more local autonomy and expand the economic and fiscal independence of our City government to promote the health, safety, and welfare of all its residents. Therefore, we do hereby exercise the express right granted by the Constitution of the State of California to enact and adopt this Charter for the City of El Cerrito.
To become a charter city, a city must adopt a charter. There are two ways to adopt a charter:
In either case, the charter is not adopted by the city until it is ratified by a majority vote of the city's voters.23
League of California Cities. http://www.cacities.org/Resources-Documents/Resources-Section/Charter-Cities/Charter-Cities-A-Quick-Summary-for-the-Press-and-R.
21Cal. Gov’t Code § 34451.
22Cal. Gov’t Code § 34458.
23Cal. Gov’t Code §§ 34457, 34462.
On May 1, 2018, the Charter Committee recommended the draft Charter to the City Council. The City Council will hold public hearings on the Charter at the June 18 and June 19 Council meetings, and would then consider putting the Charter on the ballot in July for the voters to consider in November 2018.p>
A RPTT is a tax that is only paid upon the sale of property, and is traditionally split between the buyer and seller. Charter cities may adopt—with voter approval—a Real Property Transfer Tax at any rate.
The revenue could be used for: maintaining rapid 9-1-1 emergency response times; City parks, paths, and playfields; library programs for children, adults, and families; senior services; affordable housing; and long-term financial stability for the City and services.
No. Measure V asks voters to approve a Real Property Transfer Tax (RPTT). The RPTT is a one-time tax paid when property is sold or otherwise transferred in return for a payment to the owner. It’s not an ongoing, annual tax. If you own a home and don’t sell it, you won’t pay the tax. If you sell your home, Measure V allows you and the buyer to decide who should pay the tax. Measure V also rebates a portion of the tax to the seller or the buyer for making seismic upgrades or improvements that save water and electricity.
No. Measure V plainly states that the tax is calculated based on the amount paid as part of a sale or other transfer. If your home is transferred without any payment by the person or trust receiving it, there is no tax to pay. Measure V expressly exempts several transfers from the tax.
Like most of the City’s revenues, funds from Measure V are general in nature and can be used for all the services the City provides. Each year, during the public budget process, the City Council adopts a budget based on the priorities of the community, which regularly change. As part of the City’s general funds, Measure V revenues can be allocated based on changing needs and priorities for police, fire, recreation, economic development, infrastructure and many other services desired by our residents.
Yes. The City’s budget is balanced. Additional funds will now be available for increased disaster preparedness, police and fire prevention, parks, facilities and open space and recreation programs in amounts determined annually and publicly by the City Council to reflect community priorities and needs.
For better or worse, home values have gone up dramatically in El Cerrito and in neighboring cities such as Berkeley and Albany—both of which are also charter cities that have a real property transfer tax. The real estate agent who served on the Charter Committee said during public meetings that the tax had not hurt the market in either of those cities. There’s no evidence that a RPTT has hurt the real estate market in the area. For a median priced home in El Cerrito in 2018, the tax would only equal about 1% of the sale price. Long time El Cerrito homeowners currently and historically have enjoyed the steadily increasing equity of what they initially paid for the homes.
Measure V allows buyers and sellers of property to decide who will pay the tax. Traditionally, it is split between the buyer and the seller. As an incentive to make seismic upgrades and energy and water-saving improvements to property, it includes several potential rebates of the tax for either the seller or purchaser. Sellers or purchasers who pay the tax will be able to recover a portion of it for making specified improvements to property that reduce the risk of damage and injury in earthquakes, save water, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
There is no documented causal connection between charter city status and bankruptcy. There are very few instances of California cities filing for bankruptcy. Both charter cities and general law cities have used bankruptcy proceedings. The proposed El Cerrito Charter authorizes the City to use additional tools to raise revenue for important services but makes no changes to existing local law that would alter how the City spends its funds. The City is audited annually by an independent auditor and has a Financial Advisory Board of residents that looks at the City’s budget, audits, and financial policies. Additional revenues can help to build a reserve fund and long-term financial stability we need.
The Real Property Transfer Tax is a one-time tax paid when property is sold. It does not create a new annual expense for landlords. There is no documented connection between the Real Property Transfer Tax and the level of rents.
Yes. If the Real Property Transfer Tax had been in place in 2017, sales of commercial properties on San Pablo Avenue would have resulted in an additional $500,000 in revenue for the City. Those funds could have been used for disaster preparedness, police staffing, parks, senior services, and other important local services.
The City has been open—from the very first City Council meeting about the issue in November 2017—that the Real Property Transfer Tax would meaningfully increase revenue to support the community’s priorities for local services like disaster preparedness, police, fire, parks and open space, and senior services. Under current California law, only charter cities can collect a Real Property Transfer Tax.
In 2014, voters in the City of Emeryville similarly approved a limited charter that expanded their ability to raise revenue, including a RPTT. The proposed El Cerrito Charter leaves in place local law, other than to give the City more options for raising revenue and authorizing a RPTT. The City has explained this at every public meeting at which the proposed El Cerrito Charter and Measure V have been discussed. El Cerrito voters will decide whether they want additional revenue to meet their priorities for local services.
A Conflict of Interest Code is a set of rules and regulations adopted pursuant to the Political Reform Act. The Act requires all California cities to adopt and implement a Conflict of Interest Code.
Each Conflict of Interest Code designates positions required to file a Statement of Economic Interests - Form 700, and assigns disclosure categories specifying the types of interests to be reported. The Form 700 is a public document. In the City of El Cerrito, disclosure requirements for positions and commissions designated in the City’s Conflict of Interest Code are identified in Appendix A. Disclosure requirements are stated in Appendix B. City Councilmembers, the City Manager, City Attorney, City Treasurer and Planning Commissioners are required by state law to file at the highest level. The types of interests that must be disclosed depend upon the responsibilities of the designated position. The disclosure requirements may include the reporting of investments, business positions, interests in real property, income and other financial interests. The Political Reform Act contains specific provisions setting forth the circumstances under which employees and commissioners must disqualify themselves from making, participating in or influencing a governmental decision. The City Clerk administers the Conflict of Interest Code at the local level and notifies elected officials and each designated employee and commissioner of his or her filing obligation. State law requires cities to conduct a biennial review of the Conflict of Interest Code to ensure that designated positions and disclosure requirements are kept current. Codes and code revisions are adopted by City Council resolution.
The essential terms of a Conflict of Interest Code are found in the Code's main body, which includes such provisions as the manner of reporting financial interests, disqualification procedures, and other information. The Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC) recommends that agencies incorporate FPPC Regulation 18730 by reference because the information required to be in a code's main body is complex and may change over time. Regulation 18730 contains all the necessary provisions. The FPPC periodically amends this regulation to include legislative and regulatory changes. By incorporating FPPC Regulation 18730 by reference, the body of the code automatically stays in compliance with Political Reform Act Regulations.
B. Designated PositionsA Conflict of Interest Code must specifically list positions that make or participate in making decisions. Typically, positions that involve voting on matters, negotiating contracts, or making recommendations on purchases without substantive review must be included in the Code. Persons holding positions listed in Government Code Section 87200 are considered "statutory filers." Such persons, include the Mayor, City Councilmembers, the City Manager, the City Attorney, the City Treasurer, Planning Commissioners and persons who manage public investments.
C. Disclosure CategoriesThe primary purpose of the Conflict of Interest Code is the requirement to disclose types of financial interests, business positions and property that may be affected by the decision-making of persons holding designated positions. Each position designated in the Conflict of Interest Code is assigned a unique disclosure requirement.
For more information on this subject please review resources provided on the City’s website and the FPPC’s website.
An individual hired for a position not yet covered under an agency’s conflict-of-interest code must file the Form 700 if the individual serves in a position that makes or participates in making governmental decisions. These individuals must file under the agency’s broadest disclosure category until the code is amended to include the new position unless the agency has provided in writing a limited disclosure requirement.
By law, original Form 700s filed by the Mayor and City Council, City Manager, City Attorney, City Treasurer and Planning Commissioners are sent to the FPPC and copies are kept on file by the City Clerk. All other original forms are retained by the City Clerk.
El Cerrito City Clerk
Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC) - http://www.fppc.ca.gov/ Information available from the FPPC website:
Other Resources California Attorney General's Pamphlet on Conflict of Interest Law.
There are two organizations that provide a variety of small business resources, the Contra Costa Small Business Development Center and the West Contra Costa Business Development Center.
Please contact Jennifer Peat in the Community Development Department if you are interested in locating or growing your business in El Cerrito at 510-215-4362 or email.
Yes, El Cerrito does have a property transfer tax. Information on Ordinance No. 2018-03, can be found here. Please check out our Frequently Asked Questions page.
Beginning Jan. 1, 2018, California Senate Bill 1186 requires cities to collect an additional $4 fee for a local business license. The additional state fee of $4 is imposed on any applicant for a local business license or equivalent instrument or permit, or renewal thereof, for purposes of increasing disability access and compliance with construction-related accessibility requirements and developing educational resources for businesses to facilitate compliance with federal and state disability laws.
Opengov is a platform that transforms data into interactive reports that make it easy to view, analyze and download information.
Each report's title is in the top left corner and common views of each report can be seen by clicking on "views" on the left-hand side of the screen.
Once you've chosen a tile from above, to focus on specific data such as a fund, department, or an expense type, use the menu on the left-side panel. The "show" and “broken down by” drop-downs allow you to specify which breakdown you want the graphs and table rows to represent on the graph.
Hover over any area of the graph to see actual or budgeted amounts for that period; or, just scroll down to see a table with detailed information.
Data can be viewed in various ways - in the upper right-hand corner there are options for different graphs and tables. There are five graph types overall. In addition, there is a table below the graphs which allows you to zoom in on the detailed data selected.
There are "share" and "download" buttons in the upper right corner. You can share any view on a social network or by email. There are also options to download the displayed date in a spreadsheet or image format.
Select the "filter by" option to view the data filters - these filters will allow you select only the data you want to include in your graph or chart.
Use the "help" menu on the top right corner and select "contact" to send a message or email us at email@example.com.
Starting July 1, 2016, the minimum wage is $11.60 per hour.
Starting January 1, 2017, the minimum wage will be $12.25 per hour.
Starting January 1, 2018, the minimum wage will be $13.60 per hour.
Starting January 1, 2019, the minimum wage will be $15.00 per hour.
Every January 1 thereafter, the minimum wage will be adjusted based on the prior year’s Consumer Price Index.
(4) Maintain payroll records for a period of three (3) years, including employee’s name, hours worked, pay rate, and service charges collected and distributed; Upon request, provide employee with a written copy of their records within ten (10) days(5) Permit access to work sites and records for authorized City representatives for the purpose of monitoring compliance with the Ordinance and investigating employee complaints.The Minimum Wage Ordinance prohibits retaliation or discrimination against any person seeking to enforce the rights provided by the Ordinance.
For example, the California Industrial Welfare Commission Order No. 4-2001 establishes wage requirements for workers who supply their own hand tools and equipment. These same requirements apply in El Cerrito, except that the El Cerrito minimum wage applies rather than the California minimum wage. For more details, read the Minimum Wage Regulations For Employees Using Their Own Tools & Equipment Handout
The Contra Costa County District Attorney is responsible for all criminal prosecutions in Contra Costa County. When a police department makes an arrest based on probable cause, they complete the investigation and send it to the District Attorney for review. The District Attorney is not obligated to file charges against suspects in these cases. In fact, the District Attorney’s Office frequently decides not to file charges against suspects if, in their determination, it is in the interest of justice. The District Attorney does not report to any City Council in Contra Costa County. Instead, she is an elected official and is responsible to the people of Contra Costa County as a whole. You can find out more about the District Attorney’s Office here: https://www.contracosta.ca.gov/7284/District-Attorney.
When the El Cerrito Police Department develops probable cause that leads officers to believe that a particular person committed a particular crime, officers write up the facts of the case and send it to the District Attorney for review. We send all cases in which probable cause has led to the arrest of a person to the District Attorney. The Police Department does not pick and choose which cases to send over when probable cause exists. If the ECPD decided to pick which cases should be reviewed by the District Attorney, then the police would be acting in the role of the judicial system and deciding who should or should not be held accountable for their crime. If we chose who should face the judicial system, we would rightfully be opening ourselves up to claims of bias. The police should not take actions that usurp the role of the judiciary.
“Broken Windows” Policing is a philosophy often associated with the New York Police Department in the 1990’s. Proponents of the philosophy believe that visible signs of crime and lawlessness lead to an environment that further encourages crime and disorder. These proponents believe that focusing on enforcement of minor crimes such as public drinking, jaywalking, vandalism, and fare evasion, help to create an atmosphere of order and lawfulness, thereby reducing crime. For more information, you can read this article: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Broken_windows_theory.
The El Cerrito Police Department has not adopted a “Broken Windows” style policing philosophy. The ECPD believes that the health of our neighborhoods and our community is important. However, the ECPD also understands the effects that law enforcement intervention can have on a person’s life. While we do not focus on low level criminal incidents, we also do not completely ignore them. In the last two years, the police department has dramatically de-emphasized responses to low level offenses, reducing arrests by almost 50%.
El Cerrito is a small city with great opportunities for credible accountability and oversight. The City Council of El Cerrito are elected representatives of residents tasked with providing leadership and policy direction for the City. Under the policies established by the City Council, the City Manager is responsible for the professional management of all operations of the City. The City Manager is the City’s chief executive, hired by and directly responsible to the City Council. The El Cerrito City Manager has oversight over all City departments responsible for implementing programs and delivering public services. In particular, the City Manager is responsible for hiring, supervising, and firing the Chief of Police.
The City Manager is developing new practices to ensure that Police Department complaints, internal investigations, and uses of force are properly and thoroughly reviewed by her office. Each month, the City Manager will review new complaints and/or uses of force that have occurred as well as the dispositions of investigations. In her role as a direct report to the City Council, she may review significant incidents with the City Council for direction.
The El Cerrito Police Department will begin annually reporting statistics and data related to the use of force in the summer of 2020 and thereafter in the department’s annual report.
Although some residents have requested that all internal investigations and complaints be made public, state law prohibits this practice. Currently, state lawmakers are considering legislation that may change the confidentiality of some police investigations. State Senator Skinner has sponsored SB 776 that seeks to make all uses of force and complaints of dishonesty and sexual misconduct public records, regardless of whether the allegations were sustained.
The ECPD posts our complaint form online and offers several ways for community members to make complaints about police officer behavior. Community members can complain in person at the El Cerrito Police Department, they can contact the department by phone at either (510) 215-4400 (during business hours) or by calling dispatch after hours at (510) 233-1214, or they can complete a complaint form and either mail it or drop it off at the Police Department or City Hall. Some residents choose to make their complaint by email. For those interested in using email, they can send their complaints directly to the Chief of Police at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information, please visit our Professional Standard Page.
The definition of militarized equipment can vary from person to person. All of the equipment used by the El Cerrito Police Department is designed for law enforcement use. Some pieces of equipment may also be used by branches of the United States Military. Here are some examples of police equipment used by the ECPD that are commonly available on the civil market in the United States:
The following is a list of items sometimes used by ECPD, that are restricted to law enforcement in California:
The El Cerrito Police Department does not have any armored vehicles and has not received any equipment from the public safety procurement program, formerly the 1033 program. (https://www.caloes.ca.gov/cal-oes-divisions/law-enforcement/public-safety-procurement-program/leso-program)
Currently, the El Cerrito Police Department responds to a number of incidents that do not necessarily constitute a crime. For example, the ECPD may send officers to calls of suicidal people, welfare checks on people laying down on the sidewalk, homelessness issues, neighbor disputes, domestic arguments, and parenting help, to name a few. The officers and supervisors assigned to these calls carefully review the nature of the incident and may decide that a law enforcement response is not required. The ECPD prioritizes calls for help in which a person may be in physical danger or in medical distress.
Because responses to non-criminal matters are infrequent, staffing a 24-hour response at the City level would not be cost effective. Instead, a regional approach would make more financial sense.
El Cerrito is working with other cities to partner with Contra Costa County or a non-governmental organization to create a more robust response to non-criminal incidents. Ideally, a team of EMTs and social workers will be available to the region around the clock to respond to low risk calls involving mental health, homelessness, addiction issues and many more. The City of El Cerrito is in the early stages of developing a response concept.
El Cerrito Police regularly participates in training on the topics of De-escalation, Racial Profiling, Communication, Crisis Intervention, and Implicit Bias. All recruits complete a basic police academy, certified by the Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training.
The El Cerrito Police have previously released a document regarding how El Cerrito Police practices compare to the recommendations by Campaign Zero and their 8cantwait campaign. You can find the ECPD policy positions here: https://www.el-cerrito.org/DocumentCenter/View/14317/ECPD-Letter-regarding-8cantwait-
The ECPD is currently reviewing policing positions relating to requiring the use of de-escalation techniques, prohibiting officers from shooting at moving vehicles, and tracking the display of a firearm as a use of force.
When the ECPD seizes assets pursuant to a criminal investigation, the Department coordinates the seizure with the Contra Costa County District Attorney’s Office. Asset seizure cases are not automatic and involve a judicial process. The use of funds seized in these cases is restricted by California Law. The Legislative Analyst’s Office created a very helpful summary of how asset forfeiture works in California. You can find the LAO’s report here: https://lao.ca.gov/Publications/Report/4128
All internal investigations in El Cerrito comply with section 3300 of the California Government Code. This means that officers are afforded some procedural guarantees when they are the subject of an investigation. The section outlines employer requirements, such as allowing an officer to have a representative present, telling an officer the nature of an internal investigation, and restricting how many people can ask questions during an interrogation. These protections are required by law and are also extended to all ECPD employees because they provide reasonable guidelines for how an investigation should be conducted.
The labor contract for law enforcement in El Cerrito does not require binding arbitration. This means that employees can not require the use of an arbitrator if they disagree with the outcome of an investigation or recommended discipline.
Some have asked why officers continue to be paid while they are under investigation. This is because the state requires that agencies afford employees “due process” before terminating their employment. An investigation is considered one of these “due process” systems.
Some have called for the Police Department budget to be reduced by an unspecified amount. As part of the City’s strategy to reduce expenditures, the ECPD has faced an equivalent reduction in funding compared to other City departments. The City Council has not yet completed their review of the City budget for the current fiscal year and additional cuts are likely, across the City.
The City is also evaluating what other programs might provide additional services to community members in El Cerrito. As part of the process, the City will work to identify the costs associated with these programs and where funding may come from.
Campaign Zero, the publishers of the California Police Scorecard, selected which agencies they wanted represented in their study. They did not select El Cerrito.
In 2020, the ECPD began using a drone to support field operations, after a period of public input in 2019. The police department owns a DJI Mavic Pro, a civil drone equipped with a camera. The drone allows officers deploy a camera in the sky to take crime scene photographs and assist with search operations. Since the program began, the Police Department posts a log online of how the drone was used, for the public to review. You can find out more information about drone police and aerial operations at: http://el-cerrito.org/1400/Aerial-Operations.
7007 Moeser Ln. El Cerrito, CA 94530
Community Center Phone: (510) 559-7000
Swim Center Phone: (510) 559-7011
Address: 7007 Moeser Lane, El Cerrito, CA 94530
"Fire resistant plants" is a relative term used to describe plants that are "more resistant" or "less resistant" than other plants to fire. Given enough heat, all vegetation will burn. Yet plants in fact differ in how fast they burn, how high a flame they produce and their ability to survive fire. Fire resistance is enhanced by higher amounts of moisture within twigs and foliage. Fire-resistant plants can lose this quality altogether if not properly maintained and irrigated. A partial list of fire resistant and highly flammable plants is available from Diablo Fire Safe Council and the El Cerrito Fire Department.