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The City of Cape Coral operates under the Council-Manager form of government. City council members are elected at large from seven districts. The mayor is also elected at large and the eighth council member. The mayor presides over council meetings.

The City Council is the legislative body of the City. The state constitution, state law, and city charter identify their power and authority. Their primary responsibilities include creating public laws (ordinances) and policies (resolutions). They adopt an annual budget and manage the use of public funds. They also adopt the City’s comprehensive land use plan or comp plan. 

The mayor presides at all City Council meetings, is the chief elected officer, and serves as the ceremonial head of the government. The mayor’s powers are similar to other council members as he is a Cape Coral City Council voting member.

The Council appoints the City Manager, City Auditor, City Attorney, and the members of all boards and commissions. The City Manager hires all department directors and oversees the city's day-to-day operations.