City government creation is not found in the Federal or State Constitution. City government can be by Charter or General Law. Both are, basically, municipal corporations and are formed under a special category of corporate law.
Paso Robles is a General Law city. It was formed 1889. The Mayor and four councilmen comprise the Board of Directors of the corporation. The Mayor is separately elected to a four year term. The council members are elected in even numbered years, two at a time, for four year terms. There is no limit on the number of terms a person may sit on the council.
The Council determines the policies and priorities of the city. All actions of the Council are required to be in conformity with State and Federal law, as well as any special, current contractual obligations.
Those laws greatly limit the parameters within which local government can function. In California there is also a prices by which "the people" can make or repeal laws by a petition and vote at a general election within the jurisdiction.
Cities have very limited powers of taxation and many controls on certain "fees". The people of the State of California passed two initiatives that greatly restrict city funds: Propositions 13 and 218 which amended the State Constitution. Prop. 13 limits the amount of property taxes that can be collected and Prop. 218 puts severe restrictions on the city's ability to increase fees.
Paso Robles gets money for the General Fund from property taxes, sales taxes and transient occupancy taxes plus a number of transfers, charges for services, fines and some miscellaneous income accounts. The city's total estimated General Fund revenue for July 1, 2014, through June 30, 2015 was $27.2 million. Expenses from the General Fund were estimated at $27 million.
The General Fund is used for all general city administration, police, public safety, City Attorney (by contract), public works (outside of special projects money), community development and library and recreation services.
The city also gets grants in aid, loans, fees and fines from a variety of specific sources. Each of these sources, by law or conditions of transfer, must have a direct nexus to the manner in which the money is expended.
Paso Robles has a number of "Enterprises" that each have their own fund that, by law, must be kept separate from the General Fund. Those include Airport, Water, Waste Water (sewer) and Land Fill (dump). There are also special funds set up when grant or loan money is received for a specific purpose (i.e. the Transportation account). None of these funds may be used for anything other than the originally intended purpose. That purpose may be a specific project or a general, defined category. Examples are money from the State for bicycle paths on S. Vine Street and Union Road; State fuel tax money for street repairs and maintenance; and the park grants for City Park and the neighborhood park at the North end of the city. Those funds can only be spent on the defined and State approved project for which the money was requested and received.
Enterprises are funded through their independent accounts and pay to the General Fund for general administrative support services.
As of June 30, 2014, enterprise fund balances were (in millions):
The landfill is operated by contract and the contractor pays a contracted amount to the city.
While the City Council sets policy it is the Administration, under the direction and control of the City Manager, that implements the terms and conditions of the incorporation, State and Federal laws (including "mandates") and anything that is determined to be delivery of a project or service.
Some functions of administration and service are contracted. i.e. Landfill and landscape and lighting district maintenance + all large projects for which the city does not have the equipment or expertise to perform. i.e. building or re-building roads, building new water and wastewater treatment facilities, etc.
Pertinent State Codes:
Officers of The City
GOVERNMENT CODE SECTION 36501-36525
36501. The government of a general law city is vested in: (a) A city council of at least five members. (b) A city clerk. (c) A city treasurer.
(d) A chief of police. (e) A fire chief. (f) Any subordinate officers or employees provided by law.
36501.5. Every employee has the right to inspect personnel records pursuant to Section 1198.5 of the Labor
36502. (a) A person is not eligible to hold office as council member, city clerk, or city treasurer unless he or
she is at the time of assuming the office an elector of the city, and was a registered voter of the city at the
time nomination papers are issued to the candidate as provided for in Section 10227 of the Elections Code.
If, during his or her term of office, he or she moves his or her place of residence outside of the city limits or ceases to be an elector of the city, his or her office shall immediately become vacant.
(b) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the city council of a general law or charter city may adopt or the residents of the city may propose, by initiative, a proposal to limit or repeal a limit on the number of terms a member of the city council may serve on the city council, or the number of terms an elected mayor may serve. Any proposal to limit the number of terms a member of the city council may serve on the city council, or the number of terms an elected mayor may serve, shall apply prospectively only and shall not become
operative unless it is submitted to the electors of the city at a regularly scheduled election and a majority of the votes cast on the question favor the adoption of the proposal. Notwithstanding the provisions of this
subdivision, the provisions of any city charter that, on January 1, 1996, impose limitations on the number of
terms a member of the city council may serve on the city council, or the number of terms an elected mayor
may serve, shall remain in effect. Unless otherwise prohibited by a city charter, any city charter may be amended pursuant to this section or pursuant to the procedures specified in the charter, to include the
limitation authorized in this subdivision.
36502.5. Notwithstanding the provisions of Section 36502, the city council of the City of Tustin may adopt by
ordinance a proposal to limit the number of terms a member of the city council may serve on the city council
without submitting the proposal to the electors of the city for approval, provided that a proposal containing
those same provisions was submitted to the electors of the City of Tustin at a regularly scheduled election and a majority of the votes cast on the question favored the adoption of the proposal.
Any ordinance adopted pursuant to this section shall apply prospectively from the effective date of this
36503. Unless otherwise required by Section 57379, a general municipal election shall be held on a date
prescribed by Section 1301 of the Elections Code. Except as otherwise provided in this title, all elective city
offices shall be filled by the city electorate at a general municipal election. City officers holding elective city office shall hold office for their prescribed terms from the date of the installation of officers following adoption by the council of the official canvass of their election and until their successors are elected and qualified.
36503.5. Notwithstanding any other provision of law, during the period commencing the day of a recall election pursuant to Division 11 (commencing with Section 11000) of the Elections Code, of an elective officer of a city, and ending upon certification of the election results pursuant to Division 15 (commencing with Section 15000) of the Elections Code, or, if the recall prevails, upon qualification of the successor declared elected
pursuant to Section 11385 of the Elections Code, an elective officer sought to be recalled shall not expend, or
participate in any action that would commit to expend, city funds.
36505. The city council shall appoint the chief of police. It may appoint a city attorney, a superintendent of
streets, a civil engineer, and such other subordinate officers or employees as it deems necessary.
36506. By resolution or ordinance, the city council shall fix the compensation of all appointive officers and
employees. Such officers and employees hold office during the pleasure of the city council.
36507. Before entering upon his or her duties, each city officer shall take and file with the city clerk the
constitutional oath of office, except that the councilmember elected at the incorporation election shall deposit
his or her oath with the county elections official of the county wherein the city is located, to be held by him or
her for delivery to the city clerk at the time as the city clerk officially assumes office.
36508. At any municipal election, or a special election held for that purpose, the city council may submit to the electors the question whether the elective officers, or any of them except council members, shall be appointed by the city council; provided, however, that the city council shall not submit such question to the electors more often than once in an 11-month period.
36509. The question shall be printed on the ballots used at the election substantially in one of the following forms:
(a) "Shall the offices of city clerk and city treasurer be appointive?"; or
(b) "Shall the office of city clerk be appointive?"; or
(c) "Shall the office of city treasurer be appointive?"
The words "yes" and "no" shall be so printed on the ballots that the voters may express their choice.
36510. If a majority of the votes cast on the proposition is for it, the city council shall appoint such officers at
the expiration of the terms of the officers then in office, and on a vacancy in any such office. Such officers shall hold office during the pleasure of the city council and, notwithstanding Section 36502 to the contrary, are not
required to be residents or electors in the city. The city council may by ordinance vest in the city manager its
authority to appoint such officers.
36511. The petition for incorporation of a city may provide for the appointment of the elective officers, or any of them except council members. If it does, a separate election upon the question need not be held, and upon
incorporation the city council shall appoint those officers.
36512. (a) If a vacancy occurs in an appointive office provided for in this chapter, the council shall fill the
vacancy by appointment. A person appointed to fill a vacancy holds office for the unexpired term of the former incumbent.
(b) If a vacancy occurs in an elective office provided for in this chapter, the council shall, within 60 days from the commencement of the vacancy, either fill the vacancy by appointment or call a special election to fill the
vacancy. The special election shall be held on the next regularly established election date not less than 114 days from the call of the special election. A person appointed or elected to fill a vacancy holds office for the
unexpired term of the former incumbent.
(c) Notwithstanding subdivision (b) and Section 34902, a city may enact an ordinance that does any of the
(1) Requires that a special election be called immediately to fill every city council vacancy and the office of mayor designated pursuant to Section 34902. The ordinance shall provide that the special election shall be held on the next regularly established election date not less than 114 days from the call of the special election.
(2) Requires that a special election be held to fill a city council vacancy and the office of mayor designated
pursuant to Section 34902 when petitions bearing a specified number of verified signatures are filed. The
ordinance shall provide that the special election shall be held on the next regularly established election date not less than 114 days from the filing of the petition. A governing body that has enacted such an ordinance may also call a special election pursuant to subdivision (b) without waiting for the filing of a petition.
(3) Provides that a person appointed to fill a vacancy on the city council holds office only until the date of a
special election which shall immediately be called to fill the remainder of the term. The special election may be held on the date of the next regularly established election or regularly scheduled municipal election to be held throughout the city not less than 114 days from the call of the special election.
(d) (1) Notwithstanding subdivision (b) and Section 34902, an appointment shall not be made to fill a
vacancy on a city council if the appointment would result in a majority of the members serving on the council
having been appointed. The vacancy shall be filled in the manner provided by this subdivision.
(2) The city council may call an election to fill the vacancy, to be held on the next regularly established
election date not less than 114 days after the call.
(3) If the city council does not call an election pursuant to paragraph (2), the vacancy shall be filled at the
next regularly established election date.
(e) (1) If the city council of a city that elects city council members by or from districts elects to fill a
vacancy on the city council by appointment as a result of a city council member resigning from office, the
resigning city council member may cast a vote on the appointment if the resignation will go into effect upon the appointment of a successor. A city council member shall not cast a vote for a family member or any other
person with whom the city council member has a relationship that may create a potential conflict of interest.
(2) If a city council member elects to cast a vote under this subdivision, the city council member shall be
prohibited from the following actions for a period of two years after the appointment of a successor:
(A) Advocating on any measure or issue coming before the city council in which the city council member may have a personal benefit.
(B) Entering into a contract of any kind with the city or a city vendor.
(C) Accepting a position of employment with the city or a city vendor.
(D) Applying for a permit that is subject to the approval of the city council.
(3) This subdivision shall not apply to any city council member who is resigning from the city council due to
charges of, or conviction for, corruption or criminal behavior, or who is subject to a recall election.
36513. (a) If a city councilmember is absent without permission from all regular city council meetings for 60
days consecutively from the last regular meeting he or she attended, his or her office becomes vacant and shall be filled as any other vacancy.
(b) Notwithstanding subdivision (a), if a city council meets monthly or less frequently than monthly and a
city council member is absent without permission from all regular city council meetings for 70 days
consecutively from the last regular meeting he or she attended, his or her office becomes vacant and shall be
filled as any other vacancy.
36514.5. City council members may be reimbursed for actual and necessary expenses incurred in the
performance of official duties. Reimbursement for these expenses is subject to Sections 53232.2 and 53232.3.
36515. The compensation of a city council member appointed or elected to fill a vacancy is the same as that
payable to the member whose office was vacated.
36516. (a) (1) A city council may enact an ordinance providing that each member of the city council shall
receive a salary based on the population of the city as set forth in paragraph (2).
(2) The salaries approved by ordinance under paragraph (1) shall be as follows:
(A) In cities up to and including 35,000 in population, up to and including three hundred dollars ($300) per
(B) In cities over 35,000 up to and including 50,000 in population, up to and including four hundred dollars
($400) per month.
(C) In cities over 50,000 up to and including 75,000 in population, up to and including five hundred dollars
($500) per month.
(D) In cities over 75,000 up to and including 150,000 in population, up to and including six hundred dollars
($600) per month.
(E) In cities over 150,000 up to and including 250,000 in population, up to and including eight hundred dollars ($800) per month.
(F) In cities over 250,000 population, up to and including one thousand dollars ($1,000) per month.
(3) For the purposes of this subdivision, the population of a city shall be determined by the last preceding
federal census, or a subsequent census, or estimate validated by the Department of Finance.
(4) The salary of council members may be increased beyond the amount provided in this subdivision by an
ordinance or by an amendment to an ordinance, but the amount of the increase shall not exceed an amount
equal to 5 percent for each calendar year from the operative date of the last adjustment of the salary in effect when the ordinance or amendment is enacted. No ordinance shall be enacted or amended to provide automatic
future increases in salary.
(b) Notwithstanding subdivision (a), at any municipal election, the question of whether city council members shall receive a salary for services, and the amount of that salary, may be submitted to the electors. If a
majority of the electors voting at the election favor it, all of the council members shall receive the salary
specified in the election call. The salary of council members may be increased beyond the amount provided in
this section or decreased below the amount in the same manner.
(c) Unless specifically authorized by another statute, a city council may not enact an ordinance providing for
compensation to city council members in excess of that authorized by the procedures described in subdivisions
(a) and (b). For the purposes of this section, compensation includes payment for service by a city council member on a commission, committee, board, authority, or similar body on which the city council member
serves. If the other statute that authorizes the compensation does not specify the amount of compensation, the maximum amount shall be one hundred fifty dollars ($150) per month for each commission, committee, board, authority, or similar body.
(d) Any amounts paid by a city for retirement, health and welfare, and federal social security benefits shall
not be included for purposes of determining salary under this section, provided that the same benefits are
available and paid by the city for its employees.
(e) Any amounts paid by a city to reimburse a council member for actual and necessary expenses pursuant to Section 36514.5 shall not be included for purposes of determining salary pursuant to this section.
(f) A city council member may waive any or all of the compensation permitted by this section.
36516.1. A mayor elected pursuant to Sections 34900 to 34904, inclusive, may be provided with compensation in addition to that which he or she receives as a council member. That additional compensation may be
provided by an ordinance adopted by the city council or by a majority vote of the electors voting on the proposition at a municipal election.
36516.5. A change in compensation does not apply to a councilman during his term of office; however, the
prohibition herein expressed shall not prevent the adjustment of the compensation of all members of a council
serving staggered terms whenever one or more members of such council becomes eligible for a salary increase by virtue of his beginning a new term of office.
36517. The city clerk and the city treasurer shall receive, at stated times, a compensation fixed by ordinance
36518. Before entering upon the duties of their offices, the city clerk and city treasurer shall each execute a
bond to the city.
Except as otherwise provided, the bonds shall conform to the provisions of this code relating to bonds of public officers. The penal sum of the bond shall be in a reasonable amount recommended by the city attorney and
fixed by the city council, by resolution, and may be changed during their terms of office.
36519. The city council may require bonds of any other officer or employee of the city.
36520. The city council shall approve all bonds. When approved, the clerk's bond shall be filed with the mayor, and other bonds shall be filed with the city clerk.
36521. Except as otherwise provided, all laws relating to the official bonds of officers apply to bonds required
by this chapter.
36522. Any officer or employee collecting or receiving any money belonging to, or for the use of, the city shall deposit it immediately in the treasury in the manner prescribed by ordinance for the benefit of the funds to
which it belongs. He shall report such deposits to, and settle with, the city clerk, or director of finance if that office has been established by ordinance, on the first Monday in each month or at such shorter intervals
as are prescribed by ordinance.
36523. By ordinance or resolution, the city council may provide for a treasurer's departmental trust fund into
which collections of the police department and other officers authorized to make collections may be deposited at frequent intervals during each month. Officers or employees shall advise the city treasurer upon making each
36524. The city treasurer shall make withdrawals from such a fund only on order signed by the proper
department head and for the following purposes:
(a) Making a refund of bail, which has been exonerated, or other refundable deposits.
(b) Revolving fund advances authorized by the city council.
(c) Correction of clerical or ministerial errors in the receipt of payments to the city.
(d) Making settlements with city funds at the end of each calendar month for collections accumulated during
36525. (a) As used in this section "city auditor" includes an elected or appointed officer or full-time employee of the city who is compensated, but does not include an independent contractor.
(b) All books, papers, records, and correspondence of the city auditor pertaining to his or her work are public records subject to Chapter 3.5 (commencing with Section 6250) of Division 7 of Title 1 and shall be filed at any of the regularly maintained offices of the city auditor. However, none of the following items or papers of which these items are a part may be released to the public by the city auditor, or his or her employees:
(1) Personal papers and correspondence of any person providing assistance to the city auditor when that
person has requested in writing that his or her papers and correspondence be kept private and confidential.
Those papers and that correspondence shall become public records if the written request is withdrawn or upon
the order of the city auditor.
(2) Papers, correspondence, memoranda, or any substantive information pertaining to any audit not
(3) Papers, correspondence, or memoranda pertaining to any audit that has been completed, which papers,
correspondence, or memoranda are not used in support of any report resulting from the audit.
CITY MANAGER FORM OF GOVERNMENT:
GOVERNMENT CODE SECTION 34851-34859
34851. An ordinance establishing a city manager form of government may be:
(a) Enacted by the legislative body; or
(b) Submitted to the electors by the legislative body at any municipal or special election; or
(c) Submitted by the people as an initiative measure.
34852. The ordinance shall define the powers and duties of the city manager and may fix his compensation or the minimum
amount he is to receive.
34853. Where the ordinance is submitted by the legislative body, the proposition shall be printed on the ballots substantially as follows: "Shall Ordinance No. ____ providing for a city manager form of government be adopted?" followed by the words "yes" and "no," so printed that the voters may express their choice.
34854. If a majority of the votes cast at the election is in favor of the ordinance, it shall go into effect on the tenth day after the canvass of votes.
34855. Within sixty days after the effective date of the ordinance, the legislative body shall appoint a city manager, who need not be a resident of the city at the time of his appointment.
34856. The city manager may appoint and dismiss the chief of police and other subordinate appointive officers and employees
except the city attorney. When the offices of city clerk and city treasurer are made appointive, appointments to such offices shall
be made by the city council unless the city council vests such appointing power in the city manager by ordinance.
34857. Upon appointment of the city manager, the terms of subordinate officers over whom he has power of appointment and removal cease, unless they are reappointed by him.
34858. Any city adopting the city manager form of government may abolish it in the manner in which it was adopted.
34859. All ordinances establishing a city manager form of government, enacted prior to September 19, 1947, are confirmed, validated, and declared legally effective.