The City of Atwater is a general law city and was incorporated August 16, 1922, as a municipal corporation. General law cities operate under the California State Government Code and the Constitution of the State of California. The City also sets its own laws and policies by ordinance, resolution and minute action.
The methods of official actions of the City Council are: 1) a minute action which is a motion passed by a majority of the City Council; 2) a resolution which constitutes a written action, policy or decision of the City Council adopted by a majority of the City Council; 3) an ordinance which becomes a law thirty (30) days after adopted by a majority of the City Council. The action, resolution or ordinance cannot conflict with the laws and Constitution of the State of California or the United States to be effective and enforceable.
Municipal elections are held every two (2) years in November of the even-numbered years with City Council terms overlapping. The Mayor and two Council Members are elected at one election and the other two Council Members, the City Clerk and City Treasurer are elected at the next election.
The Mayor and Council Members are the governing body, the decision makers of the City. The City Council makes the laws and sets the policies. The City Clerk and City Treasurer have many duties outlined by law for which they are responsible, but they have no voting power.
The City has a City Council/City Manager form of government. The City Council makes the laws and sets policies and then it is the responsibility of the City Manager, with the assistance of subordinate officers, Department Heads, City Clerk, City Treasurer and City Attorney, to enforce and carry out the laws and policies set by the City Council.