Section 303 of the City Charter stipulates that all regular and special meetings of the City Council shall be open and public, and all persons shall be permitted to attend such meetings, with the exception of closed sessions. Additionally, subject to the rules governing the conduct of City Council Meetings, no person shall be denied the right to be heard by the City Council.
The City Council Members also serve as current members for the Redevelopment Agency (RDA), the Huntington Beach Civic Improvement Corporation (CIC), the Huntington Beach Parking Authority, and the Huntington Beach Public Financing Authority (PFA). The following provides a brief description of the purpose of each of these entities:
Huntington Beach Redevelopment Agency
In all but sixteen agencies in California, either the City Council or the Board of Supervisors serves as the governing board of the Redevelopment Agency. The City of Huntington Beach created its Redevelopment Agency in 1969. The first successful effort to commence redevelopment began in 1982-83 when five project areas were adopted: Main-Pier, Huntington Center, Talbert-Beach, Oakview and Yorktown-Lake. Soon after the Main-Pier area was amended to increase its size from five city blocks to over 336 acres. In 1996, all five areas were merged to allow the tax increment generated in any sub-area to be used anywhere within the Huntington Beach Project Area, now totaling 619 acres. In 2002, the Southeast Coastal Redevelopment Project Area was adopted, allowing these additional 172 acres the use of the California Redevelopment Law to finance eligible projects with tax increment. Only 4.46% of the City is within a redevelopment area.
There are two project areas in the City: the Huntington Beach Project Area, with its five non-contiguous sub-areas and the Southeast Coastal Project Area.
Huntington Beach Civic Improvement Corporation (CIC)
This corporation was formed to provide for the defeasance of the Huntington Beach Public Facilities Corporation Leasehold Mortgage Bonds 1st Issue and provides funds for capital improvements. The City Council serves as the corporation's governing body. The Civic Improvement Corporation (CIC) is dependent upon the City for all of its operations. The CIC has title to the Civic Center complex and leases it to the City. It is a capital lease because title to the Civic Center complex reverts to the City at the end of the lease. The lease cannot be terminated if the City meets all its financial obligations.
The assets pledged for repayment of the certificates of participation and the related revenues and expenditures are recorded in the CIC's Debt Service Fund. Since the CIC is a part of the City's reporting entity, the capital lease is not shown on the combined balance sheet. There are no separate financial statements prepared for the CIC.
Huntington Beach Parking Authority
The Huntington Beach Parking Authority was established in 1967 to facilitate parking improvements within the City. Its governing body is the City Council. During the last several years this body has been inactive because there were no outstanding bonds and no funds in the corporation. This agency would become active again if the City Council decided to issue bonds under the corporation for parking improvements. Currently, no plans exist to activate this body.
Huntington Beach Public Financing Authority (PFA)
The Huntington Beach Public Financing Authority (PFA) was formed in March 1988 to issue debt to finance public improvements and other capital purchases for the City and Redevelopment Agency. The PFA's governing body is the City Council, which also adopts the annual budget. The PFA is financially dependent on the City. PFA activity is recorded as a debt service fund, in addition to a portion of activity in the Equipment Replacement Fund (a proprietary fund type), and the Pier Plaza Fund (a Capital Projects Fund). Financial statements for the PFA are prepared separately, and are available through the City's Finance Department.
Huntington Beach Community Facilities District (Community Facilities District) and the Reservoir Hill Assessment District (Assessment District)
These districts were formed in 1990 and 1991 respectively to construct public improvements within City boundaries. The governing board of both Districts is the City Council. The proceeds of debt issued and the expenditures for the public improvements are recorded in capital projects funds. Community Facilities District activity is not an obligation of the City and the moneys collected for the debt are recorded in an agency fund. Assessment District debt is recorded in a debt service fund. There are no separate financial statements prepared for these entities.
According to Section 303 of the City Charter, the City Council shall hold regular meetings at least twice each month at a time fixed by ordinance or resolution. The City Council may adjourn any regular meeting to a date and hour certain. This is referred to as an adjourned regular meeting. If any regular meeting falls on a holiday, the regular meeting shall be held on the next business day.
Currently, regular City Council meetings begin at 4:00 pm, with a study session on a specific topic. Time slots for a study session on a specific topic are requested by department heads or the City Council via the City Administrator. Items on the study session schedule are approved by the City Administrator and reserved months in advance.
Study sessions are followed by closed sessions (sometimes referred to as executive sessions). Closed sessions of the City Council are used to discuss confidential items pertaining to the city. Litigation matters or labor negotiations are often the types of items discussed during closed sessions. The City Attorney may choose to present a report to the public during open session of action taken during closed session, or at a later date to be determined.
Adjourned Regular Meetings
Often there is a need to hold additional meetings of the full City Council apart from the regular meetings. An example of when this typically occurs is during the months of August and September when additional meetings are scheduled by the City Administrator on off Council Mondays to review the city's budget. Other examples include anytime when there is a need to discuss a big issue that would require too much time at a regular City Council meeting. Finally, an adjourned regular meeting may be scheduled when the full City Council has expressed a desire to attend another meeting of one of the city's boards or commissions, or to attend a specific event that requires posting as a meeting as required by the Brown Act.
Special Meetings - Non Emergency
Special meetings of the City Council may be called at any time by the Mayor or by a majority of the members of the City Council. A special meeting requires a minimum of 24 hours notice to each member of the City Council and the media. No business other than what is described in the â€œCall for the Special Meetingâ€� notice may be considered at a special meeting. A special meeting may not be adjourned to a subsequent date; it may, however, be recessed and reconvened to consider the same subject contained in the original notice.
Special Meetings - Called in the Event of an Emergency
In the event of an emergency affecting the peace, health, or safety of the general public, a special meeting may be called with less than 24 hours written notice by the Mayor or Mayor Pro Tem (in the Mayor's absence), or by any member of the City Council in the absence of both the Mayor and Mayor Pro Tem, provided that the nature of the emergency is set forth in the minutes of the meeting.
City Council Meeting Agenda
The City Council agenda must be posted a minimum of 72 hours in advance of all regular and adjourned regular City Council meetings in order to comply with the Brown Act. This means that the agenda must be posted no later than 4:00 pm on the Friday preceding the 1st and 3rd Monday City Council meetings.
Provisions of the Ralph M. Brown Act prohibit the City Council from considering items not listed on their posted agenda unless specific conditions exist. Examples include, but are not limited to the need to act immediately provided an emergency exists or because the need to take action on an urgent matter came to the attention of the City Council after the posting of the agenda. In such cases, a two-thirds vote of the City Council members present must be obtained to add the item to the agenda before it can be considered. For a detailed description of the Brown Act requirements, please refer to the complete Act itself in the Reference section of this manual.
In addition to preparing and posting the agenda, the City Clerk's Office provides complete agenda packets with staff reports to the City Council on Wednesday afternoon at 5:00 p.m. five (5) days prior to the regular meeting. The agenda and staff reports are also available on the City's web site at http://huntingtonbeachca.gov/Government/Agendas/council_agendas.cfm . The website also offers archived agendas and minutes for Council meetings from January 2003 to the present.
DVDs of previous City Council meetings are available for viewing at the Central Library. If requested, the Clerk's Office can have a DVD copy of a specified meeting made for a reasonable fee. City Council meetings can also be viewed through live video stream on the City's website with archived videos of meetings dating back to December 19, 2005.
Description of Agenda Sections
After the City Council reconvenes from the closed session portion of the meeting, the following activities usually take place:
Report of Action Taken by the City Council in Previous Closed Session(s)
The City Attorney shall determine if any actions taken by the City Council or Redevelopment Agency in Closed Session shall require a reporting on those actions as required by law
Roll Call of the City Council - Called by the City Clerk
Pledge of Allegiance/Flag Salute
Invocation - At the discretion of the Mayor
Announcement of Late Communications -Reported by the City Clerk
A "Late Communication" is any document submitted in reference to specific items on the agenda following the distribution of the agenda packets to the City Council Members. Per the Brown Act, late communications introduced by Council and/or staff during the meeting must be made available to the public at the meeting. Late communications submitted by the public during the meeting must be made available the next morning at the City Clerk's Office. Examples of late communications include copies of staff PowerPoint presentations, letters by citizens with respect to specific items on the agenda, memos by staff, etc.
A categorical description of information that is included on regular, adjourned regular and special meeting agendas of the City Council/Redevelopment Agency/Public Financing Authority is listed below. This summary of information is intended to assist the public and staff to become more informed on an item prior to action by the City Council.
Awards & Presentations
Awards, presentations, and proclamations made by the Mayor on behalf of the City of Huntington Beach. The Public Information Office will coordinate the arrangements with the Mayor and submit the list of presentations through the City Administrator's Office.
Presentations are made for a variety of reasons (see Role and Function of the City Council).
Anyone who wishes to address the City Council/Redevelopment Agency/Public Financing Authority on any matter listed or not listed on the agenda. The City Clerk will call all speakers by name. There is a three-minute time limit per speaker. Time may not be donated to others. All proceedings are recorded. The policy of the City Council/Redevelopment Agency/Public Financing Authority is not to render any decision based on information presented or questions asked; instead the questions will be referred to staff for a written response.
All those wishing to speak should complete a pink â€œSpeaker Requestâ€� form and submit it to the Sergeant-at-Arms or the City Clerk (sample form attached). Speakers will be called in the order the requests are received.
The 3-minute time limit per speaker is calculated by the City Clerk and enforced by the Mayor. The Sergeant-at-Arms, if needed, will assist the Mayor in escorting a speaker that exceeds his/her time limit away from the podium.
Request for Follow-up of Public Comment
During â€œPublic Comments,â€� the City Council may occasionally wish to request follow-up on a particular concern expressed by a speaker. While the City Council may not act or discuss an item not listed on the agenda (Brown Act section 5954.2), they may briefly respond to statements made or questions posed by persons exercising their public testimony rights or direct staff to follow-up. Should a Council Member desire follow-up, they would advise the City Administrator via the Mayor at the completion of the comment that they would like staff to follow-up on the given concern.
The Sergeant-At-Arms keeps a stack of blue, "Public Comment Follow-up Cards" at his/her podium (sample form attached). This card provides the opportunity for the resident to describe the issue and to provide contact information. The Sergeant-at-Arms will route the card through the City Clerk to Administration for follow-up after the meeting. Administration coordinates the follow-up with the respective department by logging the item in a council follow-up database. Please be informed that items are only included on this listing at the direction of a City Council Member or the City Administrator. Typically, the follow-up concludes with a memo to the City Council, via the City Administrator, explaining the nature of the request and the response provided by the department. Council requests for follow up information are also tracked through this database.
City Council/Appointments/Liaison Reports And All AB 1234 Disclosure Reports
Informational updates, appointments, announcements and reports made by Council members who serve as Council liaisons to various committees. City Council Members wishing to make a report should submit the item in writing to Administration (sample report attached). The due date for submission of Council items is Agenda Review the Monday prior to the specific Council meeting that you wish to make the report.
Announcements of individual appointments to the City's boards and commissions that have a specified procedure for appointment are made during this part of the agenda and should be submitted in writing. Other board, commission and committee appointments are placed in the Consent Calendar section of the agenda.
City Administrator's Report
Updates and reports from the City Administrator for the information of the City Council and the public. The purpose of this section is to provide an opportunity for the City Administrator to report on items of interest and typically includes status updates of various public works projects and programs, updates of grants received, or noteworthy accomplishments by staff.
City Treasurer's Report
Updates and reports from the City Treasurer for the information of the City Council and the public. The City Treasurer provides a summary of the City's investments on a monthly and quarterly basis.
City Attorney's Report
Updates and reports from the City Attorney for the information of the City Council and the public.
City Clerk's Report
Updates and reports from the City Clerk for the information of the City Council and the public.
Public Hearings allow citizens the opportunity to speak in favor of or against specific items brought to Council by staff via your Request for Council Action (RCA). Staff may provide a presentation. The Mayor will open the Public Hearing to receive public comments on that specific item. Upon hearing all public comments, the Mayor will close or continue the Public Hearing. Council may then decide to engage in discussion and/or take action on the item.
Consent Calendar items are considered routine items that do not normally require separate consideration. The City Council/Redevelopment Agency usually makes one motion for approval of all the items listed under the Consent Calendar. Council may remove an item from the motion for discussion purposes.
Administrative Items are considered by the Council/Agency separately and require separate motions. These actions are normally of a non-routine nature, and frequently require a staff presentation.
As a rule, Ordinances require two (2) readings before the Council. At the first reading, the ordinance is introduced, the ordinance is then adopted at a subsequent meeting. Per the City Charter, at least five days must elapse between introduction and adoption. Ordinances typically become law thirty (30) days after adoption. However, an emergency ordinance may be adopted at its first reading and become effective immediately.
A staff report accompanies the ordinance under consideration, as well as a legislative draft of the ordinance showing the changes under consideration.
Council Member Items
Items of business presented by Council/Agency/Authority members. These items include a brief written statement of the issue, as well as a recommended action for consideration by a City Council member. All Council Member items should be submitted to Administration by Agenda Review the Monday prior to the specific Council meeting at which you wish to make the report.
This section of the agenda also provides the opportunity for City Council Members to briefly report on items not listed on the agenda that are of interest to the community. No action or discussion may take place on these items except to provide direction for staff to report back or to place the item on a future agenda.
The Agenda Process is a schedule of activities that occur prior to securing approval for an item to be placed on the City Council/Redevelopment Agency agenda. The Agenda Process Flowchart (attached) loosely depicts activities that occur during the agenda process including scheduling of a public hearing, preparation of a staff report (RCA) and related material [attachments/exhibits, Request for Legal Services (RLS), Fiscal Impact Statement (FIS), resolution or ordinance]. Departments must submit complete RCAs to the City Administrator for review and approval. The City Administrator may request modifications to the RCA. Once approved by the City Administrator, the RCA is submitted to the City Clerk for addition on a future agenda.
Once the deadline to collect RCAs has expired, the City Clerk prepares a draft agenda and presents it to the City Administrator, City Attorney, and department heads at Agenda Review which is held the Monday preceding each regularly scheduled City Council meeting. Typically, the Mayor and Mayor Pro Tem attend this meeting. This meeting is designed to provide an opportunity to share information, ask questions, and to make recommendations about an agendized item.
Following Agenda Review, RCAs are duplicated and assembled into agenda packets for the City Council Members. Agenda packets are normally delivered to the Council offices by 5:00 p.m. on the Wednesday preceding a regularly scheduled City Council meeting (If an agenda cycle includes a holiday, the City Clerk will make every effort to get the agenda packet to the City Council Member desks by 5:00 p.m. the Wednesday preceding the City Council Meeting but may take until 5:00 p.m. on Thursday if necessary.) When complete, all agenda material is made available to City staff and the public through the internet by posting it on the City website. The City Clerk's office also provides copies of the agenda packet to a number of subscribers.
Submittal of Council Items
While staff is available to assist in the drafting of Council Member items, existing practice is for City Council Members to write their own text. The City Council Administrative Assistant is available to format the item and deliver it to appropriate staff.
Council Member Items should be discussed with the City Administrator prior to submission for inclusion on the agenda. A copy of the item will be included in the agenda packet and become an official record of the city.
In order to comply with the deadlines associated with the timely delivery of the agenda packets to all City Council Members, Council Member items and reports should be submitted to Administration no later than Agenda Review the Monday prior to the specific Council meeting that you wish the item to be considered.
Following every City Council Meeting, the City Clerk's Office prepares an Action Agenda. The Action Agenda summarizes the number of comments made by citizens during the Public Comments section of the agenda, highlights the votes taken by the City Council Members to inform staff and the public whether an item was approved, approved with conditions, denied, continued or deferred, and delineates any additional requests or actions taken by Council requiring follow-up by staff.
The Action Agenda is distributed electronically to a list of interested parties
City Council Meeting Minutes
The City Clerk's Office prepares the minutes of all City Council Meetings. The minutes are approved as part of the Consent Calendar.
Related Resource Material:
- Sample Council Member Report
- Sample Council Member Request
- Public Comment Follow-Up Card
- A Guide to City Council Meetings Brochure
- Rosenberg's Rules of Order (A easy guide to parliamentary procedures)
- The Ralph M. Brown (Open Meetings) Act
- League of CA Cities - Guide to the Brown Act