The main government offices for the City of El Cerrito are housed in the city's relatively new, architecturally…More engaging City Hall, that opened in September 2008. At the customer service counter in the foyer, visitors can inquire about permits or licenses and request other information from friendly staff.
The building also houses the City Council chambers, formerly located at the El Cerrito Community Center, and has a special room, the Shadi Historical Room, set aside for the El Cerrito Historical Society. A wall in the second-floor walkway is provided by the city's Arts and Culture Commission for local artists to put their artwork on display. Interested artists may submit their work to the commission, which reviews submissions in May and November.
Incorporated in 1917, the city has a council-manager form of government, with the City Manager as the administrative head who is hired by and responsible to the city council. The council consists of five members serving overlapping 4-year terms. The Mayor is selected by the council from among its members to serve a 1-year term. Among the city's 13 boards and commissions, the only one required by law is the 7-member Planning Commission, which renders decisions on use permits and zoning variances and advises the City Council on planning and development for the city.
Among the city's key departments are:
Community Development -- oversees the city's planning, building and economic development divisions.
Environmental Services -- responsible for the city's robust recycling efforts, including its curbside program and recycling center and for programs dealing with green building initiatives, waterways, wastewater, air quality, bicycles and pedestrians.
Public Works -- takes care of streets, creeks, streetlights and city-owned buildings; also issues engineering permits.
Recreation -- housed at the El Cerrito Community Center; oversees parks, arts centers, senior centers and programs, youth camps and programs, swimming pool and childcare and after-school programs; rents out tennis courts, picnic areas and clubhouses.
Redevelopment Agency -- helps develop housing and business opportunities in urban areas beset by deterioration or other problems; El Cerrito's redevelopment area lies mainly along the San Pablo Avenue corridor.