Background on the Santa Cruz City Council
The Santa Cruz City Council is a seven-member elected body that creates city laws, sets the city’s budget and oversees city functions including the Santa Cruz Police and the Santa Cruz Water Department.
The council has the power to:
- Decide where and how much housing gets built in the city’s General Plan.
- Set policies to address homelessness.
- Hire and fire the city manager.
- Propose taxes.
Council candidates must be a registered qualified city voter for at least 30 days. City council candidates must live in the district they represent. Other desirable qualifications for candidates include:
- A willingness to work with other council members to craft policies.
- An ability to understand complex budgets.
- A flexible schedule: Council members often spend 20 hours per week or more on their duties.
- Broad interests: The council’s oversight includes the city’s water and wastewater systems, contracts with city employee unions, the police and fire departments, planning for growth, and public buildings and facilities including the wharf.
Council members serve four-year terms and are paid $20,524 annually before taxes. The mayor also serves a four-year term and is paid $41,048 before taxes.
Santa Cruz City Council districts
The Santa Cruz City Council switched to a district election system in 2022. Six city councilmembers will represent six districts, and the mayor is elected directly. In the March 5 election, voters in Districts 1, 2, 3 and 5 will choose their district’s representative for the first time.
View an interactive map of Santa Cruz City Council districts.