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ANSWERS TO FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

* Click your choice or scroll down to view *

Recreation & Parks
(street tree maintenance, children's signups, swim lessons, fee info)
Police Department
(fingerprints, police reports, impounded vehicles, arrest information, paying tickets, disputing citations)
Fire Department
(smoke detectors, fire extinguishers, Knox boxes, insurance info, station tours)
Library
(library card, public hours, overdue items, renewing items, PIN number)
Utilities Department
(landfill hours, hazardous waste, garbage pickup, Landfill "Free Day' passes, leaky meter, water problem)
Administrative Services
(signing up for refuse and water service, when refuse service is required, obtaining a recycling container, refuse collection schedule, how often are utility bills mailed, paying via credit cards, paying via a checking account)
Community Development
(what requires a permit, what do I need to get a permit, how long does it take to get a permit, status of project inquiries)
Public Works
(How to report street problems, potholes, how to report malfunctioning street lights or street signals)
City Attorney
(What does the City Attorney do, finding legal advice, Code Compliance, mediation)
City Clerk
(Items on the City Council agenda, claims, birth/death/marriage/divorce papers, jury duty)
Human Resources
(information about City jobs, applications, GED certificates, typing certificate)
Affordable Housing/Rental Assistance
Cable Television

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Recreation and Parks Department

What are the age limits to participate in aquatics programs?
Age limits are based on the American Red Cross standards and recommendations. To enroll in Supertot, the child must be 3 years old before they take the class. To advance to level 1, the child must be 5 years of age.

What are the age limits for adult sports?
Volleyball participants must be at least 16 years of age during the summer season (June 1 to August 31, 2006).

Are uniforms required for volleyball or softball leagues?
There are no informs required for our volleyball/softball leagues. Basketball teams however, must wear same color shirts with permanent numbers placed on the back.

What is the basis for fees for the adult leagues?
League fees are used to pay for scorekeepers, staffing, facility maintenance, equipment, and the awards given to the top two teams in each division. Compared to other communities, our fees are still considered affordable.

What should I wear and bring when participating in youth sports?
It is recommended that participants wear comfortable gym clothing such as shorts, sweatpants, t-shirts, and tennis shoes. A water bottle is also highly recommended. Jewelry should not be worn during class time in order to prevent lost valuables.

My child is younger/older than the specified age requirement for a class. Can I still register her/him?
Each class requirement varies. The Recreation and Parks Department would need the approval of the instructor before accepting anyone who is not the required minimum/maximum age that is specified for each class.

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Police Department

Whom do I contact to schedule a Live Scan (fingerprint) appointment?
You may contact our Records Bureau at (805) 928-3781, ext. 590, to schedule an appointment. Fingerprinting on print cards is done from 11 – 5:00 P.M. Monday – Friday with no appointment necessary. Live Scan fingerprinting is by appointment only. A valid photo ID is necessary for both types of fingerprinting. NOTE: Fingerprinting for Immigration purposes is no longer done here; please contact the
Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in Los Angeles.

How much will a copy of my police report cost?
Costs for copies of police reports are $0.15 per page.

How can I pick up my vehicle that has been impounded/stored?
You must be the registered owner of the vehicle. If you are not the registered owner, you must have a notarized letter from the registered owner authorizing the release to you. The vehicle must have current registration and you must have a valid driver's license. There is a $147.70 fee for release paperwork, which does not include the fee that will be charged by the tow yard for towing and storage.

My friend/family member was arrested (just now, today, yesterday or last week), are they in your custody and when will they be released?
The Santa Maria Police Department does not have a jail facility. If someone is being held for questioning, we do not release that information. However, if they are being held for questioning, they will not normally be retained beyond four hours. If they are to be arrested, or have already been, you would need to inquire at the Santa Barbara County Jail, (805) 934-6159, as to when they might be released.

Where do I go to pay my ticket? How can I contact the court about my ticket?
Fines for traffic citations are collected by the Superior Court of California, Santa Barbara County. You may either go in person to the court located at Cook and Miller streets, or you may contact the Court at (805) 614-6590.

How do I dispute a citation if I do not think I was wrong?
Citations must be disputed through the Superior Court. You may request a court trial (where both you and the officer appear in person in front of the Traffic Referee and each give your side of the situation); or, you may request a trial by declaration (where both you and the officer send in your individual written statements to the Traffic Referee, who will review both statements and render a decision in writing). The Court will provide you with all of the necessary information. Once the officer issues a citation, the proper forum to dispute the citation is through the court process.

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Fire Department

My smoke detector keeps going off and I don't know why. Can you help?
If the smoke detector is sounding an intermittent beep, this typically indicates that the battery is low and needs to be replaced.

If the smoke alarm is going off and you do not see or smell smoke:

  • Try changing out the battery. Most smoke detectors will beep when they detect a low battery to let you know that you need to change out the battery. If that does not work;
  • Try vacuuming the smoke detector. Occasionally dust or cobwebs will block the sensor, causing the smoke detector to activate. Take the cover off the smoke detector and carefully vacuum it with the crevice tool attached to your vacuum. If the smoke alarm continues to sound;
  • Call 9-1-1. There may be smoke in an attic or crawl space that you have not seen or smelt. The 9-1-1 dispatcher will dispatch an engine company to come and investigate.

The Fire Department advises that you change out your smoke detector batteries twice a year in conjunction with daylight savings time. We also recommend that you test your smoke detector the first Saturday of each month. Most detectors have a "Test" button to press to let you know that the detector is still working.

What type of fire extinguisher should I get and where should I put it?
The Fire Department recommends a 2A10BC fire extinguisher for your home. Typically the extinguisher would be mounted near the kitchen where it is readily available and easily accessed.

The requirements for fire extinguishers for businesses varies dependent on the type of business, the size of the building and the layout. Most small business, such as doctors' offices, small stores, etc., require a 2A10BC extinguisher. Extinguishers should be mounted with the top of the extinguisher a minimum of 48 inches from the floor. Extinguishers are typically mounted in an easily accessible area that does not require a person to travel more than 75 feet from any area of the building.

Larger businesses, and those dealing with hazardous materials, have specific requirements for extinguishers and the Fire Department should be consulted for the appropriate size, number, and location.

I was told I need to order a Knox Box for my business. What is a Knox Box and how do I order it?
A Knox Box is a secure box that is mounted to the exterior of your building with a key to your business locked inside. The Fire Department is able to utilize a special key to access the box in case of a fire or other emergency, when a representative of the business is not present. This allows the Fire Department to enter the business without having to break a door or window.

To order a box, you may go to our web site under Fire Prevention/Emergency Management and print a hard copy of the application. Or you can pick up an application at our Fire Administration Office located at 314 W. Cook Street #8, Santa Maria, CA 93458.

Once you have completed the application, you must submit the application, along with a check payable to "Knox Company" or include a credit card # and signature on the form, to our Fire Administration Office. An authorized representative of the Fire Department must sign the application prior to it being submitted to the Knox Company.

The Knox Box will usually be sent within 7 to 10 business days. Once you have received the box you must mount it to the exterior of your building. The box should be located near the main entrance of the business at 84" above the finished grade.

When the box has been installed and you have a spare key to your business (labeled appropriately) available, you would contact our Fire Administration Office at (805) 925-0951 ext. 255 to schedule a time for a Fire Department representative to come out and place the key in the box and lock the cover.

Remember to contact the Fire Department if you change the locks and a new key needs to be placed in the box.

I am buying a new home in Santa Maria and my insurance company is asking me which Fire Department is responsible for responding to my address, where the nearest fire hydrant is located, and what protection class my address falls under?
If the house you are buying is located within the corporate city limits of Santa Maria, the Santa Maria Fire Department will respond to your address.

Fire hydrants are located every 400 feet in residential areas, so you are never more than 200 feet away from a hydrant.

The Santa Maria Fire Department currently has an ISO protection class rating of "4". This rating is determined by the Insurance Services Office and is based on a scale of 1 to 10 with one being the highest level of protection and ten being no fire protection. The Fire Department's rating is based on a variety of criteria, including water supply, fire station locations, 9-1-1 communications, etc.

I am a teacher and would like to bring my class to the fire station for a tour. Is this possible?
In order to schedule a tour of the Fire Station, you will need to contact the Fire Administration Office at (805) 925-0951 ext. 255. We need at least two weeks notice for a tour and you should have at least two dates available. We try our best to schedule tours that meet your schedule, but our firefighters have daily tasks they are responsible for and often have training scheduled. You should be prepared to be flexible with your schedule. We ask that your group be 30 people or less. If you have more than 30 people we will ask you to split the group and schedule a second tour.

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Library

How do I get a library card?
You need to bring a government issued picture identification. and something showing your current address (if your I.D. doesn't have it listed.) to the front desk at the library, or you may apply online at
www.ci.santa-maria.ca.us/3091.html#cards .

Where is the library located and what are the hours?
The library is located at 421 S. McClelland, Santa Maria, CA 93454

    Public hours are:
    Monday 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.
    Tuesday 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.
    Wednesday 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.
    Thursday 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.
    Friday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
    Saturday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
    Sunday Closed

I've forgotten when my books are due. How can I find out?
You can access your record of items you have checked out from your home computer using the Library's catalog or you can call us, or you can check the date due slip we place in every batch of items you check out.

How can I renew my items (via phone or online)?
You may renew books and other library materials twice if there are no holds on the items. You can also renew items using the online library catalog under the "view your own record" option, or by calling (805) 925-0994.

What is a PIN Number?
A PIN (patron identification number) is a unique four-digit combination of numbers and/or letters that you create while placing a hold or accessing your account. The PIN allows you to view your own library account, and to place your own holds, but prevents anyone else from doing so, even if they should have your library card number. The number is encrypted so if you forget your PIN, the Registration Desk can erase your current PIN from your record, but cannot tell you what it is. You will have to create a new one.

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Utilities Department

What hours is the landfill open?
The landfill is open 7 a.m. to 4 p.m., seven days per week, except holidays.

Where can I learn more about the City’s Green Waste Recycling Program?
Click here for more information

When and where do I take household hazardous waste?
Residents may simply bring their unwanted household hazardous waste (paint, oil, batteries, and more) - click here for more information) to the facility, located at the Landfill, 2065 E. Main Street. Upon arrival, they'll see 5,000-square-foot metal canopy providing cover, where trained Utilities staff will help unload their household hazardous waste. Load limits are five gallons or 50 pounds. The facility is open every Wednesday from 10 am. to 1 p.m. and every Saturday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

What can I do if my garbage was not picked up?
If your container is missed for any reason call 925-0951, ext. 7270 and we will arrange for a pickup. There may be an extra haul charge if the container was not out when the driver serviced the location.

How do I obtain a "Landfill Free Day" pass? (I did not receive one in the mail or it was lost)
For City residents who did not receive a "Landfill Free Day" card in the mail, they may present proof of City residency with a driver's license and a current utility bill (water, phone, gas or electricity) at the Utility Billing office located at City Hall. Your information will be verified and a pass will be mailed to you. However, if a pass is needed sooner, you may go to the Santa Maria Regional Landfill Administration Office, between 8:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m., Monday through Friday. You will need to present a driver's license and a current utility bill. A pass will be given to you at that time. Please call the Utilities Department at 925-0951 ext 7270 for more information.

There is a leak at my water meter. Who do I call?
Contact the Utilities Department at 925-0951, ext. 7270 and we will arrange for a customer service representative to contact you regarding the leak.

Who do I call if my water has an odor or taste problem?
Contact the Utilities Department at 925-0951, ext. 7270 and we will arrange for a customer service representative to contact you regarding the problem.

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Administrative Services

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Community Development

What requires a permit?
Basically anything that involves electrical, mechanical, plumbing or erecting of walls. When in doubt, you are welcome to call our office at (805) 925-0951 ext. 244 for Planning or ext. 241 for building.

What do I need to obtain a permit?
A permit application and plans are required.

How long does it take to get a permit?
Plan check reviews take approximately four weeks. If you are required to resubmit plans, it can take longer.

What is the status of my project?
This requires us to view our computer. Once the Community Development Department has received responses on your project from all necessary City departments, the Community Development Department either generates a correction notice if there are corrections, or prints a permit if the project has been approved.

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Public Works

City Lights / Traffic Signals
Report inoperable streetlights and traffic signal concerns by contacting (805) 925-0951 ext. 229. After hours or on weekends you may leave a message on the City's Streetlight Hotline - (805) 925-0951 ext. 804.

City Sidewalk / Potholes
Report a damaged, raised or hazardous City sidewalk or a pothole by contacting (805) 925-0951 ext. 229. Use the City's Streets and Facilities Hotline at ext. 805 for after hours or weekend reporting.

City Facilities
Report inoperable streetlights and traffic signal concerns by contacting (805) 925-0951 ext. 229. After hours or on weekends you may leave a message on the City's Streetlight Hotline - (805) 925-0951 ext. 804.

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City Attorney

What does the City Attorney do?
The City Attorney serves as legal advisor to the Council, City Manager and other City officials. The City Attorney approves all proposed ordinances, resolutions and other legal documents, and represents the City in all legal actions.

What is the difference between the City Attorney and the District Attorney?
The City Attorney's office enforces the Santa Maria Municipal Code, but has no authority to address State law violations. The Santa Barbara County District Attorney's office enforces State laws, including most misdemeanors and felonies.

Who can I go to for legal advice?
City residents with limited funds who seek legal advice or counsel should contact the Legal Aid Foundation at (805) 922-9909 or California Rural Legal Assistance at (805) 922-4563. The City Attorney's office does not represent individual residents of Santa Maria.

What is the Code Compliance division? Where can I get a Code Compliance Service Request Form?
In order to maintain the quality of life in Santa Maria, the Code Compliance Division of the City Attorney's office enforces and investigates certain complaints on private property. If you wish to request Code Compliance services you can either visit or call the City Attorney's office at 925-0951 ext. 420 to obtain a Service Request Form. You can also find the form by
clicking here.

Can I solve my dispute without involving the City Attorney?
Yes. Mediation is a low-cost, low-risk way to reach an agreement and to resolve all kinds of disputes. A community mediation program brochure is available at the City Attorney's office. Or call the Community Mediation Program of Santa Barbara County at (805) 349-8943 (North County) or (805) 963-6765 (South County) for more information.

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City Clerk

How do I get something on the City Council agenda?
City Council meetings are the first and third Tuesday of each month. Any member of the public may attend and address the Council under public comment. The Mayor or a member of the Council can then request that an item be placed on a future agenda for full discussion. Or you can complete a Request to Place an Item on the City Council Agenda form, available at the City Clerk's Office, which outlines your request/concern. These forms are referred to the City Manager who reviews them and determines if the request/concern can be handled at a Department level or needs to be scheduled for the next available City Council meeting.

How do you file a claim against the City for damages?
Claim forms are available at the City Clerk's office at 110 E. Cook Street, 925-0951, ext. 306, or on the City's Web site at
http://www.ci.santa-maria.ca.us/3009.shtml.

Where do I get a copy of a birth certificate, death certificate or a marriage license?
Birth certificates, death certificates and marriage licenses are obtained from the Santa Barbara County Clerk-Recorder at 511 E. Lakeside Parkway, 346-8370.

I need to change my court date? Where do I pay a traffic ticket? Who do I call about jury duty?
Traffic fines and all court matters are handled by the Santa Barbara County Courthouse at 614-6590 or 614-6414.

Where do I file divorce papers or get a copy of my divorce decree?
You will need to contact the Santa Barbara County Courthouse at 614-6414.

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Human Resources

Where can I find information on job openings with the City of Santa Maria?
You can find information on job openings at the City's website at
http://agency.governmentjobs.com/santamaria/default.cfm or at the City Hall Bulletin Board.

Where do I turn in my completed employment application?
Applicants are required to apply online. Hard copy application packets will not be accepted in lieu of applying through the online process. However, persons who believe they are qualified under the Americans with Disability Act (ADA) or California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) may request a reasonable accommodation to participate in the recruitment process. The request must be received by Human Resources with sufficient time prior to the final filing deadline, to allow for the request to be considered through the interactive process

Should I attach a resume to my employment application?
A resume is not always required, but it can be helpful. It gives you the opportunity to further detail your education and experience. Check the requirements detailed on each individual job flyer to determine whether a resume is required or optional.

What is a cover letter?
A cover letter is a formal letter to the recruiter of the agency to which you are applying. While there is no one standard, a cover letter does have some or all of the following elements: it is an introduction to your application packet, tells the employer why you are applying to their agency, why you stand out as an applicant; what you have accomplished that can be similarly beneficial to their organization, and contains information that expands from (but doesn't duplicate) your resume and/or application information. It is typically one page, so it is best to be succinct. We recommend that applicants not familiar with cover letters use the internet to search for examples, then develop your own letter for each employer/position of interest.

How do I obtain a General Education Development (G.E.D.) Certificate?
Examinations are given through on site educational facilities such as Allan Hancock College, 800 South College in Santa Maria. Call the G.E.D. Hotline at (805) 922-6966, ext. 3080 for test dates and times.

Do I need a typing certificate?
Some positions require a typing certificate. It is the applicant's responsibility to obtain a typing certificate when required, and it must be attached upon submittal of your application packet with each recruitment of interest to you. Please see Typing Certifications.

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Affordable Housing/Rental Assistance

I am low-income and need help finding affordable housing. What are my options?
If you are in need of rental assistance, such as Section 8 or public housing, you should contact the Housing Authority of the County of Santa Barbara, that manages those programs within the City and the County. If you are elderly or developmentally disabled there are several affordable housing projects available within the City that provide various levels of care. You will need to contact those projects directly to get on a waiting list as follows:

  1. Union Plaza (apartments for seniors) - (805) 925-5226
  2. Valentine Court (apartments for seniors and developmentally disabled adults capable of independent living) - (805) 925-6373
  3. SMILE (group homes for developmentally disabled adults) - (805) 922-6845
  4. Vandenberg Senior Residence (apartments for seniors) - (805) 922-6631
  5. Marian Residence (seniors) - (805) 922-7731
  6. Maria Del Sol (seniors) - (805) 925-8713
  7. Arbor View Retirement Community (seniors) - (805) 928-2662

If you are interested in purchasing a home as a first-time homebuyer, contact the County of Santa Barbara Housing and Community Development Department at (805) 934-6295, ext. 3523. Also, Peoples' Self-Help Housing Corporation has several rental and self-help home ownership projects for low-income families in the area. They can be reached at (805) 781-3088.

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Cable Television

Which companies provide cable television service to Santa Maria?
Comcast Cablevision is the only company providing cable television within the City limits.

I want to dispute my Comcast bill or request other customer service. Who do I call?
Call Comcast at 1-800-COMCAST. Comcast in Santa Maria discontinued its local customer service number in early 2005. That call center was staffed during weekdays. The 800 number is staffed seven days a week, 24 hours a day. There is a public counter at the local Comcast office located at 2323 Thompson Way, Santa Maria (off McCoy). After you first contact Comcast, you also may call the City's cable company liaison at 925-0951 ext. 372.

Can the City tell Comcast to change its rates or its programming?
No. Under Federal law, the City is prohibited from telling the cable company how to set its rates or what programming to offer.

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