The City of Huntington Beach is a full service city. Founded in the late 1880s, Huntington Beach was incorporated as a Charter City in 1909 and has a City Council/City Manager form of government. Since its incorporation, Huntington Beach has made a name for itself through open, responsive city government. Its major departments include the City Manager's office, Building and Safety, Planning, Library Services, Public Works, Community Services, Information Services, Human Resources, Finance, Economic Development and Police and Fire. The residents of Huntington Beach are represented by ten elected officials: the seven City Council Members and the City Attorney, City Clerk and City Treasurer. The elected city council adopt laws, sets standards, approves contracts, determines municipal policy, and appoints a city administrator to be responsible for the day-to-day operation of the city.
City Council Members are elected to four year terms and subject to term limits that restrict them from serving more than two consecutive terms. The Mayor and Mayor Pro-Tem are selected from among the City Council Members. The largely ceremonial posts are determined by seniority on the City Council and the number of votes a Council Member is elected with. The City Council meets the first and third Monday of each month. Unless otherwise announced, the meetings are held in the City Council Chambers and typically begin at 4 P.M. with a study session or closed session meeting. The televised portion of the City Council meeting starts at approximately 6 P.M. and can be viewed on cable television on channel 3. Council meetings are web cast live and also archived on the city's website. The Civic Center, including the City Council Chambers, is located at 2000 Main Street, Huntington Beach, CA 92648.
The City Attorney , City Clerk and City Treasurer are also elected offices. These three elected officials also serve four year terms, but are not subject to term limits. The City Attorney represents the City in all legal matters and before administrative bodies. The City Clerk is the City's official Custodian of Records and preserves and maintains, in protective custody, all documents certifying City Council actions. The City Treasurer receipts all transactions for the City's annual budget of approximately $329 million and manages an investment portfolio of over $200 million.
The City of Huntington Beach operates with 15 departments. Three departments are headed by elected officials (City Attorney, City Clerk, and City Treasurer). The other 12 departments report, and are accountable, to the City Manager. The City Manager's office is responsible for the city's day-to-day operations and oversees city departments. The City Manager and two Deputy City Manager are accountable for the overall management of the city's 1,100 employees and $348 million budget. Huntington Beach's City Manager directs and coordinates the city's day-to-day operations, and works with the elected City Attorney, City Clerk, and City Treasurer to effectively manage the city. Working closely with the City Administrator are two Deputy City Administrators
A total city budget for each year is approved by City Council. The general fund makes up about 50 percent of this budget figure. Other funds include: water, capital projects, redevelopment, internal service, transportation, debt service, refuse, and other enterprises. Projects and services are budgeted from these resources. The largest source of revenue for the general fund is property tax at $30.9 million, making up 22% of the general fund. The next two highest resources are sales tax at $26.6 million, 19% of the city's general fund, and utility tax at $19.1 million, 14% of the general fund.
The City receives 1% of the taxable sales collected on retail purchases. Sales tax is one measurement of the City's economic vitality. Car sales and the sale of auto supplies comprise the City's largest retail segment contributing to the City's sales tax base. A Transient Occupancy Tax (TOT) is the tax paid by guests staying in hotels. Huntington Beach is fast becoming a destination resort area. The 10% TOT amount has increased as additional hotel and motel rooms have been added. This revenue source is expected to increase further as proposed downtown hotels and conference facilities are completed and operational.
Fire protection in Huntington Beach is provided by the Huntington Beach Fire Department. The Huntington Beach Fire Department is a modern, well-equipped force that specializes in fire fighting, emergency medical, ambulance transport, fire prevention, and environmental protection. Fire prevention is crucial in a city with major oil production facilities and ongoing commercial and industrial development. Professionally trained Fire Department firefighters and paramedics respond from all eight fire stations, helping make Huntington Beach a safer, more secure community. The voluntary FireMed Program, available to community residents, has over 26,000 households as members. FireMed provides part of the critical financial support for paramedic and ambulance services. The City sponsors a Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) and has classes for volunteers to help citizens provide aid in their own neighborhoods in the event of a disaster. The Fire Department also has a cadre of volunteers including a senior's home inspection program (SHIP) that provides fire safety education to senior citizens.
Law enforcement is provided by the Huntington Beach Police Department. Huntington Beach is fortunate to have state-of-art communications and operations equipment to support the City's law enforcement efforts. Each patrol vehicle is equipped with a mobile data computer. Modern, turbine-powered police helicopters patrol the City day and night. The Police Department is staffed with well-trained, well-educated officers, and has its own full-service crime laboratory that allows for quick processing and evidence analysis. Huntington Beach is regularly included among the 15 safest communities in the United States, according to FBI statistics.
The city's lifeguards are recognized as some of the best in the world with a top notch safety record. Lifeguards patrol the 3.5-mile shoreline from dawn to dusk, 365 days a year. Lifeguard Services, a part of Huntington Beach's Marine Safety Operation, provides public safety from Beach Blvd. north to Sea Point Ave. Marine Safety Staff provides public safety through a variety of functions and responsibilities. The Ocean Lifeguard performs a vital role in providing frontline protection of life, limb, and property. Marine Safety Officers patrol and respond to ocean rescues, major medical and law enforcement incidents from their emergency vehicles and vessels. Marine Safety staffs are highly skilled experts in aquatic rescue and incident command. They are trained and equipped to respond to a variety of rescue incidents within and outside of their primary jurisdiction. This training and equipment make Marine Safety Specialized Rescue Teams a valuable resource for the city, and to other agencies requesting mutual aid assistance.
Voting - All United States citizens 18 years or older who have established residency in the city for at least 30 days are eligible to vote. To be eligible to vote in a particular election, voters must be registered at least 30 days prior to an election. Voters must re-register upon change of address. The City Clerk's Office, located on the second floor of City Hall at 2000 Main Street has voter registration forms available for the public. Residents can pick one up in person, or contact the office by phone at (714) 536-5227 and request that the form is mailed. Once the registration form is received, simply take a few minutes to fill it out and drop it in the mail. Voter registration is also available on the Orange County Registrar of Voters website at www.ocvote.com.
Communications - Four newspapers generally cover the Huntington Beach community: The Orange County Register, The Los Angeles Times, the weekly Huntington Beach Independent, and the weekly Huntington Beach Wave. The Huntington Beach Independent regularly publishes the official public notices for the City of Huntington Beach. HBTV-3, a city operated government channel, broadcasts City Council and Planning Commission meetings. Commercial radio, television, telephone, and Internet connections are widely available.
Health Care - Several medical clinics and a full service hospital are located in Huntington Beach. The Huntington Beach Hospital is a 133-bed facility centrally located in the city on Beach Boulevard. Medical centers, doctor, and dental offices are located throughout the community and serve a wide variety of specialties. The Huntington Beach Community Clinic and Dental Offices help meet the medical and dental needs for uninsured or low-income residents.
Animal Control - Animal Care Services promotes responsible pet ownership; health and safety of people and animals; and spay/neuter programs. The Animal Care Center provides temporary shelter and medical care for "lost" owned or stray animals and opportunities for adoption of these animals. Animal Care Services is a division of Orange County Health Care Agency. Animal Care Services provides pet licensing and patrol services to 19 contract cities, including Huntington Beach, and all the unincorporated areas of Orange County. Animal Care Services Care Center houses and provides medical care for impounded dogs, cats and exotic animals. Adoption services are also available. Animal Care Services is located at 561 The City Drive South, Orange, CA 92868. You can reach Animal Control Services at (714) 935-6848.
Utilities - Utilities in the City of HB include: Southern Edison Company, Southern California Gas Company, Municipal Water, Verizon Telephone and Video, and Time Warner Cable.
Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) - The nearest DMV offices are located in Costa Mesa and Westminster. Services provided by DMV offices include Vehicle Registration, Driver License and Information (ID) Card Processing. Generally, DMV offices are open Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday 8am to 5pm and Wednesday 9am to 5pm. Many DMV offices are open one Saturday per month from 8am-noon. For faster service, make an appointment online at www.dmv.ca.gov, or by calling 1-800-921-1117 or 1- 800-777-0133 before you visit a DMV office. To schedule a driving test appointment, you must call 1-800-777-0133 between 8:00 am and 5:00 pm PST and speak to a DMV representative.
Post Office - United States Post Services has several offices in Huntington Beach including: 316 Olive Ave., 92648; 6771 Warner Ave., 92647; and 7328 Center Ave., 92605. For more information or locations, call 1-800-ASK-USPS or visit www.usps.com
Social Security Office - The Social Security Office for the City of Huntington Beach is located at SOCIAL SECURITY, SUITE B, 17075 Newhope Street, Fountain Valley, CA 92708. For hours and services, contact the office at 1-800-772-1213 or visit their website at www.ssa.gov.
Huntington Beach Chamber of Commerce -- The Huntington Beach Chamber of Commerce is a strong business leader in the community. The Huntington Beach Chamber is intrinsically involved in the plans, strategies, programs, and services that promote a favorable business climate, improve the quality of life, and support orderly growth and development. The Chamber has over 1,000 members and promotes these businesses through ribbon cuttings, networking events, community events, marketing, and other services. For more information call (714) 536-8888 or visit their website at www.hbchamber.org.
Huntington Beach Small Business Assistance Center -- The Huntington Beach Small Business Assistance Center (HBSBAC) goal is to provide entrepreneurs with an overview of management, marketing, and financial information and resources necessary to compete in today's challenging business environment. The Huntington Beach SBAC assists new or existing businesses to learn more about basic business principles through seminars, one-on-one counseling, and resource materials. For more information or to schedule a free appointment with the SBAC counselor, call (714) 536-8888.
Business Development -- The City Economic Development Department's Business Development Division seeks to attract new businesses and support existing business through retention and expansion efforts. The Business Development Division works on one of the City's primary goals of maintaining a viable business environment throughout the community. The City works closely with commercial brokers, retail and industrial businesses, the Huntington Beach Chamber of Commerce, and other business organizations. For business assistance in Huntington Beach, call (714) 536-5582 or visit the comprehensive Economic Development Department website at http://huntingtonbeachca.government/departments/ed/.
Huntington Beach Conference and Visitors Bureau -- Huntington Beach is increasingly becoming a visitor destination. There are eighteen hotels and motels in the City, including the new 517-room Hyatt Regency Resort and Spa, with accommodations in a wide budget range. The Huntington Beach Conference and Visitors Bureau plays a vital role in promoting the City. The Bureau operates a Visitors Center that handles thousands of call-in, walk-in and email inquiries every year. It publishes and distributes an annual 68-page Visitor Guide, a Meeting Planners Guide, and a four-color rack brochure available in major cities across the western U.S. The Bureau is responsible for www.surfcityusa.com, the official travel, lifestyle and entertainment website for the City, including the most comprehensive Calendar of Events listing of HB special events available anywhere in the world. The Bureau also is responsible for advertising and public relations programs aimed at generating overnight guests coming to Huntington Beach, funded entirely by a special Business Improvement District assessment. For more information call (714) 969-3492 or visit www.surfcityusa.com.
Houses of Worship - All of the major religious affiliations are represented in Huntington Beach in over 50 houses of worship. The Greater Huntington Beach Interfaith Council (GHBIC) represents all faiths and religions who come together to host special events, such as the Annual Procession of Lights, and other gatherings.
The City of Huntington Beach is located within Orange County, CA. The mission statement for Orange County reads: Making Orange County a safe, healthy, and fulfilling place to live, work, and play, today and for generations to come, by providing outstanding, cost-effective regional public services. Popularly known as the OC, Orange County is a top business and leisure destination located in the heart of Southern California between Los Angeles County and San Diego County.
The Orange County Board of Supervisors oversees the management of County government and many special districts including Flood Control, Development Agency, lighting districts, county service areas and sewer maintenance districts. The five Supervisors are elected by districts to four-year terms by the citizens of Orange County. Board members serve residents in districts of different sized areas, but the areas have approximately equal population. The Supervisors' offices are located in the Hall of Administration, 333 W. Santa Ana Blvd., corner of Santa Ana Blvd. and Broadway, Santa Ana. The Orange County government website is http://www.ocvote.com/registration/register-to-vote/
The State of California is governed as a republic, with three branches of government, the executive branch consisting of the Governor of California and the other elected constitutional officers, the legislative branch consisting of the Assembly and Senate, and the judicial branch consisting of the Supreme Court of California and lower courts. The State also allows direct participation of the electorate by referendum, recall, and ratification. California's constitution is one of the longest collections of laws in the world, taking up 110 pages. Part of this length is caused by the fact that many voter initiatives take the form of a constitutional amendment. Many of the individual rights clauses in the state constitution have been construed as providing rights even broader than the Bill of Rights in the federal constitution.
Huntington Beach is represented on the state level by the state legislature. The California State Legislature is a bicameral body consisting of the lower house California State Assembly, with 80 members, and the upper house California State Senate, with 40 members. The State Legislature meets in the California State Capitol in Sacramento.
The judicial system of California is the largest in the United States, with about 1,600 judges hearing over 8 million cases each year (with the assistance of 19,000 staff members and 400 judicial "equivalents" like commissioners and referees). In comparison, the federal judicial system has only about 840 judges. California's system is divided into three levels, with the Supreme Court and Courts of Appeal serving as appellate courts reviewing the decisions of the Superior Courts. The California Supreme Court consists of a Chief Justice and six Associate Justices, who are appointed by the Governor and confirmed by the California Commission on Judicial Appointments. Justices are also ratified by the electorate at the next general election following their appointment and at the end of each twelve year term. The Supreme Court's decisions are binding on all lower state courts. The California Courts of Appeal were added to the judicial branch by a constitutional amendment in 1904. The courts are organized into six districts, the First Appellate District in San Francisco, the Second District in Los Angeles, the Third District in Sacramento, the Fourth District in San Diego the Fifth District in Fresno, and the Sixth District in San Jose. The districts are further divided into 19 divisions sitting throughout the state at nine locations, and there are 105 justices serving on the Courts. Unlike the state supreme court, the Courts of Appeal have mandatory review jurisdiction under the informal legal tradition in common law countries that all litigants are entitled to at least one appeal. Each county in California has a Superior Court that hears all civil and criminal cases. The City of Huntington Beach is represented in the Fourth District with a courthouse located in Santa Ana.
Above the state government, the City of Huntington Beach is also a part of the federal government of the United States. The federal government of the United States is the body that carries out the roles assigned to the federation of individual states in the U.S. Constitution. The federal government has three branches: the executive, legislative, and judicial. The President of the United States presides over the federal government with the Vice President. http://www.whitehouse.gov. The United States Congress is the legislative branch of the federal government. It is bicameral, comprised of the House of Representatives and the Senate. The House of Representatives consists of 435 members, each of whom represents a congressional district and serves for a two-year term. House seats are apportioned among the states by population; in contrast, each state has two Senators, regardless of population.