SANTA MARIA - The City of Santa Maria prides itself on being one of the leanest and most efficient cities with a population of 100,000.
And despite the Presidents Day holiday it was business as usual at the City Utility office inside Santa Maria City Hall.
There was a steady flow of residents coming in to pay their utility bills.
"Its really good that they're open", says city resident Dina Rangel, "a lot of businesses, they are closed, this is something that we have to do, we have to pay our bills."
Its a fact of life in Santa Maria not lost on City management.
"We receive on a typical day 500 to 600 transactions for utility billing payments", says City spokesperson Mark Van de Kamp, "this is a community where we know a lot of our customers like to pay in cash, by check and we can accommodate them again today."
Unlike other local governments, the City of Santa Maria recognizes only seven legal holidays in one calendar year.
"We don't observe all the federal holidays", Van de Kamp says, "some other government agencies do, they recognize upwards of ten, 13 maybe even more, but our number one priority is service to the public and the community and you can't do that if we're not open."
Staying open for business on a holiday is how business gets done in Santa Maria.
"Everybody closes on the holiday", Rangel adds, "so we get to come and do what we do, pay our bills."
All city offices and departments were open for business as well including the Public Library.
Meantime the City of Santa Maria has been in negotiations with the SEIU, the union representing more than half of all city workers, to extend Mandatory Time Off (MTO) or furlough days for 2013.
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