City of Salinas Government

City of Salinas Government

1. Charter: Support of the charter city status for Salinas and of a charter which is clear, concise, useful and flexible, containing basic guidelines, including:

a. The council-city manager form of government, and the city manager to be hired or fired by a majority of the full council;
b. Authority by the city manager over department heads, including hiring and firing authority;
c. An independent external audit in addition to the accounting procedures and internal auditing;
d. Omission of references to dollar amounts wherever possible.

2. Elections: Support of:

a. Non-partisan local elections;
b. Council member election by districts;
c. Four year terms for council members;
d. Campaign spending and contribution limits and a local Fair Political Practices Code;
e. An appointed independent commission for redistricting.

3. Public Safety programs shall take into account population-based standards and shall cover the entire city and include prevention measures.

4. Public Access: Support of:

a. Use of audiovisuals materials, web sites, emails, and handouts to assist the public in understanding issues;
b. Publicizing agendas and decisions in local newspapers;
c. Making agendas, minutes and council packets available at the city libraries as well as at the city clerk's office;
d. Including in council packets correspondence related to items on the current or previous agendas;
e. The council seeking community input prior to city policy decisions, including use of:
i. Citizen advisory committees
ii. District or area-of-interest meetings which include department staff, council members, and other government agencies as appropriate.
f. Providing a clear, concise, and prompt response system to handle citizen inquiries.

5. Commissions: Support of

a. An application and appointment process for commissioners stated in the Municipal code that includes:
i. announcement of opening
ii. open application process at the end of each term
iii. notifying applicants of time requirements and attendance rules
iv. council screening committee
v. recommendation to an appointment by the full council
vi. a system for district representation.
b. Attendance requirements for all commissions, enforced by the chairperson and staff.
c. Criteria for selection of commissioners, such as community service history, background and expertise in the subject of commission, and ability to make the necessary time commitment;
d. In-depth and on-going training, to include both general and commission specific information;
e. A periodic review by the council and commission members, to include:
i. the continuing need for the commission
ii. its performance
iii. costs vs. benefits
iv. the appointment process.

6. Finance: Support of

a. Assessment districts to finance capital outlay and infrastructure maintenance;
b. User fees to augment the operating budget;
c. Public input and council priority setting before budget development by staff, including:
i. district or area meetings to discuss service priorities and budget,
ii. public input regarding particular service enhancements for which the public is willing to pay extra taxes or user fees;
d. Working toward the goals of
i. increasing reserves to 5% of the operating budget,
ii. setting aside a percentage of the operating budget for future capital outlay and infrastructure maintenance;
e. Fiscal policies covering accounting standards, reserves, administrative fees, revenues, operating budget, capital improvement programs, debt, and risk management: These policies to be reviewed annually; The city actively seeking to inform the public of the costs of services provided and of revenue sources, including a budget summary (Budget-in-Brief) and other finance facts;
f. Restructuring of government finance to achieve adequate, reliable, efficient funding at the local level.