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

The City Council enacts ordinances and resolutions, adopts the budget, comprehensive plan and land-use regulations. The Council appoints the City Manager, City Auditor and City Attorney, as well as the members of all boards and commissions. The City Manager hires all department directors and oversees the day-to-day operations of the city.