El Cerrito is in western Contra Costa County and forms part of the highly urbanized area along the eastern shore of San Francisco Bay. El Cerrito has a population of approximately 25,508 and covers an area of 3.9 square miles. It is a community of highly educated residents due primarily to the proximity to UC Berkeley and the San Francisco Bay Area high-tech economy. It is known for its temperate climate and breathtaking views of San Francisco Bay and the Golden Gate Bridge from the hillside areas. Interstate Highway 80 passes near the western boundary of the community, while the crest of the Berkeley Hills and Wildcat Canyon Regional Park define the eastern boundary.
The Hillside Natural Area is approximately 102 acres of City-owned open space in the center of the City, surrounded by residential homes. As a community adjacent to extensive wildland areas, El Cerrito contains a very high fire hazard severity zone making fire prevention a priority. The community is served by AC Transit and the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) system, with two stations near both the northern and southern boundaries of the city. In addition, several other transit agencies also serve the El Cerrito del Norte BART station, providing excellent public transportation to the entire Bay Area. The City of El Cerrito is a safe, connected, and environmentally focused Bay Area destination with vibrant neighborhoods, businesses, and public places, and provides diverse cultural, educational, and recreational opportunities for people of all ages.
The City of El Cerrito was originally incorporated as a General Law City in 1917 and became a Charter City in November 2018. The City is organized as a Council-Manager form of local municipal government. The City Council consists of five members elected at large for four- year, overlapping terms. The Council selects the Mayor for a one-year term from among its members. The City Manager is appointed by the City Council and is responsible for administration of municipal affairs. All municipal departments operate under the supervision of the City Manager. The City Council also appoints the City Attorney. The City provides police and fire services as well as recreation, streets and roads, recycling, economic development, public improvements, building, planning and zoning, and general administrative services. Library services are provided by Contra Costa County. The FY 2022 total budget is $54 million, including a General Fund budget of $39.9 million. The City’s Strategic Plan serves as a valuable foundation for the budget process and key policy considerations. This plan is tied to other key planning documents and efforts including the General Plan, San Pablo Avenue Specific Plan, Climate Action Plan, and Economic Development Action Plan. To view the most recent Strategic Plan, visit: www.el-cerrito.org/ strategic plan.