The Coldwater City Charter provides for the council-manager form of government with authority and political responsibility vested in an elected council and centralization of administrative accountability in an appointed professional administrator.
Coldwater has four wards with two councilmembers representing each ward elected to staggered four-year terms and the mayor elected at large for a two-year term. The nine-member city council is the governing body of the City and determines all municipal policies, adopts ordinances (local laws) and approves the budget for carrying out all municipal operations. The mayor is charged with the responsibility of conducting the meetings of the council and also represents the City in ceremonial functions.
The city manager is appointed by the city council on the basis of merit, professional training, experience in city management and demonstrated ability. The manager is responsible to the council, insures that laws and ordinances are enforced and works with the department heads and employees so that municipal operations and functions are carried out efficiently. The manager and staff keep the council advised on the financial condition of the City, prepare the annual budget for council review, prepare the agenda for council meetings and through periodic reports keep the council and public informed on City operations.