The City of Waco establishes and administers law through a council-manager form of government. Citizens are represented on the city council by six elected members; five from single-member districts and a mayor who is elected at-large.
The city council appoints one of its members as mayor pro tem to chair the council in the absence of the mayor. All of the council members are volunteers and receive no pay for their service. The mayor is recognized as head of city government for ceremonial and emergency purposes and is a voting member of the council.
The city council conducts the legislative functions of the city, sets the tax rate, approves the budget, plans for capital improvements, adopts all city ordinances, selects citizens to serve on city boards and commissions, approves major land transactions, and appoints the city manager, city attorney, city secretary and municipal court judge.
The city council works closely with the city manager to formulate the city's yearly management goals. Council members are elected for two-year terms. Elections for the mayor and council members from Districts I and III are held in even years and elections for council members from District II, IV and V are held in odd years.
The city manager has the ultimate responsibility for the budget, day-to-day operations, personnel, and overseeing the following departments: General Administration, Budget/Internal Audit, Finance and Municipal Information.