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City of Davis Municipal Government

Cities are “local” governments, voluntarily formed by and for their citizens, to provide for local self-determination of community issues. The City of Davis is a municipal corporation operating under the general laws of the State of California. It endeavors to create a livable community with a high quality of life through land-use policies and service provision that balance the need for housing, jobs, open space, and essential services. The City is a legally separate and fiscally independent agency. It can issue debt, set and modify budgets, collect fees for services, and sue or be sued.

Davis operates under the Council-Manager form of government with a five-member council, elected at large by city residents. The City Manager serves as the administrative head of city government overseeing the departments of Fire, Police, Parks and Community Services, Administrative Services, Community Development and Sustainability, and Public Works.

The primary government of the City of Davis includes the activities of the City as well as the Davis Redevelopment Agency (RDA) and the Public Facilities Financing Authority. Both of these are controlled by and dependent on the City.

The RDA was established to assist in the clearance and rehabilitation of city areas determined to be in a declining condition. The Agency has the same governing board as the City. Its activities are intended to finance capital improvements and economic development to benefit the City. All accounting and administrative functions are performed by city staff. City Council members serve as Directors of the RDA. The City Manager is the Executive Director.  In 2012, the State of California dissolved all local redevelopment agencies.  Since then, the RDA has been winding down operations, overseen by the Davis Redevelopment Successor Agency Oversight Board.

The Public Facilities Financing Authority was established solely to assist in the issuance of certain bonds for a series of Community Facilities Districts for the construction of infrastructure and improvements under the State Mello-Roos Act. The authority is controlled by and financially dependent on the City. Its financial activities are included in the capital projects and fiduciary funds.

Dedicated to citizen participation, the City has fourteen council-appointed commissions that are devoted to various aspects of community life including such elements as planning, recreation, finance and budget and economic development, natural resources and university student relations.  In addition, the City Council periodically creates committees to address specific projects or concerns, and participates in regular "2x2" meetings with other agencies and organizations, such as the Davis Joint Unified School District Board of Education and the Yolo County Board of Supervisors.

As a “general-purpose” city, Davis provides essential frontline municipal services. The City funds these activities through a variety of locally enacted revenues (parcel taxes, user and license fees, etc.) and with state shared revenues (property tax, sales tax, and motor vehicle license fees).