Each of the City's five wards has two representatives on the City Council. Elections are held each year to elect one Council member from each of the five wards for a "staggered" two-year term. However, in some instances when a Council member resigns or a seat is left vacant due to the death of a Council member, it is possible to have both seats from a ward up for election on the same ballot. In that case, the person elected by the Council to serve out the remainder of the immediate Council year can then file to run at the next general election to serve the remainder of the successor's two-year term.
In April, 1993, the voters of the City approved an amendment to the City Charter which would limit the time a person is allowed to serve on the City Council to a total of eight years. Those eight years do not have to be consecutive. For instance, if a Council member resigns after serving a portion of the eight years, he or she may at a later date run for election to serve the remaining years of his or her allowable term.
City Council members not only serve on the City Council, but are also appointed by the Mayor, with the consent of the Council, to serve on several Council committees as well as liaisons to City boards and commissions.
Article III of the City Charter defines in detail the duties and powers of the City Council.