Government and Municipal Services
Considered a pro-active government, the mayor and city council’s hands-on approach to running the city is one of the key driving forces behind Fresno’s most recent successes. The elected officials’ responsiveness to public need and the professionalism of a city manager who oversees day-to-day operations allow the city to function effectively and efficiently.
This is most recently evidenced in the credit ratings upgrade issued to the city. The ratings upgrade is based on a positive economic outlook for the city, including a balanced budget, a current stable financial position (that includes maintaining a healthy case reserve) and moderate and acceptable debt levels.
The mayor and seven-member council are responsible for voting on policies and procedures designed to keep municipal services at their very best. Responsibility for the implementation of these policies and procedures rests with the department directors and ultimately the city manager.
City departments include Public Works; Parks, Recreation and Community Services; Economic Development; Public Affairs; City Planning and Development; Finance; Public Utilities; Personnel Services; Office of Education; City Clerk’s office; Fresno Area Express (FAX); General Services; Housing and Community Development; Information Services; Police and Fire.
The police and fire departments (along with the Parks, Recreation and Community Services Department) are among the most visible departments in the city.
Recognizing that people are what make the difference in any organization, the Fresno Police Department relies heavily upon community involvement, and does so through such programs as Crime Stoppers, Neighborhood Watch, Citizens on Patrol and Citizens Police Academies. Working closely with the police department, AmeriCorps volunteers provide assistance with several of the crime prevention programs.
One of the newest programs is the Fresno Safe and Proud Neighborhoods, which began in 2004. This service is the culmination of efforts by a broad coalition of local agencies designed to support the first-responder agencies for improved community-wide safety.
City officials pride themselves on the services offered to residents, and public safety is at the top of the list. This is attested to by the fact that the city received an “Outstanding Site Involvement” award from the National Safe Place Program for the city’s implementation of its Safe Place program. This award honored Fresno for having the first transit agency in the country (the city’s Fresno Area Express) to implement the Safe Place program. Since FAX’s inception in 1997, buses have assisted more than 300 youths by giving them a free ride to a safe location.
The city’s fire department, which is one of the oldest fire departments in the country, is a full-service department with more than 280 permanent positions (including chief officers, firefighters, inspectors and support personnel), and responds to more than 30,000 calls. The fire department also has received national recognition for its innovative and progressive approach to alternate methods of providing municipal fire protection, such as a municipal fire sprinkler ordinance.
Both the police and fire departments are the lead agencies for all local emergency response efforts, and personnel have received specialized training in dealing with various forms of emergencies — including terrorist threats and hazardous material alerts.