Petaluma is a Charter City, meaning it was incorporated by a Charter that acts like a constitution for the City. Cities that have not adopted a charter are general law cities. General law cities are bound by the state’s general law, even with respect to municipal affairs. Of California’s 478 cities, 108 of them are charter cities.
The charter city provision of the State Constitution, commonly referred to as the “home-rule” provision, is based on the principle that a city, rather than the state, is in the best position to know what it needs and how to satisfy those needs. The home-rule provision allows charter cities to conduct their own business and control their own affairs.
A charter maximizes local control. A city charter, in effect a city’s constitution, need not set out every municipal affair the city would like to govern. So long as the charter contains a declaration that the city intends to avail itself of the full power provided by the California Constitution, any city ordinance that regulates a municipal affair will govern over a general law of the state.
How do I subscribe to city notifications so that I am notified about Council Meetings, Agenda items, and other City news?
To receive city notifications, please go to cityofpetaluma.org/subscribe and then complete and submit the form there. If you are not able to complete the form online, please send your contact information to [email protected].
How do I register for Domestic Partnership?
The City of Petaluma’s Domestic Partnership Registry allows unmarried couples to formally declare and record their self-described status as domestic partners and to obtain written certification. Review the Domestic Partnership page and registration forms below.
To request City Public Records, please complete the Request for Public Records Form online. Or download and print the paper Request for Public Records Form, then complete and return to the City Clerk in person or by postal mail (11 English Street, Petaluma, CA 94952) or by email to [email protected]ityofpetaluma.org. Turnaround times and copying charges are listed on the form.
The City Clerk is in charge of putting on elections, managing City records, and coordinating all aspects of City Council meetings (including agendas, public comment, and technical support). Many of the Clerk’s duties are prescribed by Federal, State, and local laws., either in general terms (e.g., the Clerk must have a system for managing records) or specific terms (e.g., the Clerk must respond to a public records request in a certain way and in a certain number of days). To learn more about City Clerks and their important role in government, go to the City Clerks Association of California website at https://www.californiacityclerks.org/what-is-a-city-clerk.