The City of Needles was founded in 1883 and incorporated October 30, 1913. A city is created only at the request, and with the consent of its residents.
The people met the requirements for charter established by the State of California for incorporation, thus Needles is a charter city. The authority provided in the state constitution to organize as a charter city is extended only to an existing city. Although general law cities now have nearly equal powers, charters are adopted by cities where special conditions create needs that cannot be adequately met by the state's general laws.
An advantage of the charter form of government stems from the potential breadth of local authority that may be exercised. Since the powers of a charter city are not restricted to only those outlined in the general state municipal law, a city can adopt a charter and custom-tailor its organization and elective offices to provide for unique local conditions and needs.
A charter can only be adopted or changed by a majority vote of city residents--not by a vote of the city council. Citizens can establish the terms and number of council members and impose other limitations upon their city council through a charter provision.
Needles has a Council-Manager form of government.