Santa Barbara is managed by the Council/City Administrator form of government. City government services are provided by thirteen departments: Administrative Services, Airport, Community Development, Finance, Fire, Human Resources, Information Technology, Library, Parks and Recreation, Police, Public Works, Sustainability and Resiliency, and Waterfront. The City Administrator is also the appointed City Clerk/Treasurer. Santa Barbara has 1,064 full-time equivalent employees, a $378 million budget for fiscal year 2022, and eight recognized bargaining units. The seven-member City Council is elected by district except the Mayor, who is elected at-large.
The City provides a full scope of services to the community, including public safety (fire and police), library, parks, recreation, planning, engineering, water, storm drain, refuse, and wastewater; and includes a municipal airport, golf course, and harbor.
Santa Barbara serves as the county seat as well as the county’s financial and retail center.
Research and development, high tech, and light industry businesses play an important role in Santa Barbara’s economy. Year-round tourism also produces jobs and revenue to the City.