Public Financing for City Council Elections

In 2002, Santa Rosa voters passed a City Charter amendment that provides public financing for City Council election campaigns. The purpose of public financing is to reduce the cost of Council election campaigns and increase the accessibility of Council candidates to the voters.

To qualify for public financing, a candidate must sign a Voluntary Election Campaign Spending Limit Agreement in which the candidate agrees to a campaign expenditure limit adjusted annually for inflation (the 2016 limit was $51,879). Candidates who qualified for public financing and agree to this expenditure limit are entitled to include candidate information on the City's website at and in a Voter Update (PDF) mailed to each Santa Rosa postal patron.

Public Financing of Council Election Campaigns

Santa Rosa City Code Chapter 10-33 (PDF) provides all eligible candidates for election to the City Council, regardless of financial resources, with a means to disseminate candidate information to the public. Eligible candidates are entitled to have candidate information included in a City Voter Update newsletter to be mailed to each household and posted on the City's public website.


To be eligible, a candidate must demonstrate a level of public support as evidenced by either contributions of $1,000 or more from contributors other than the candidate or have obtained the signatures of 100 registered voters of the City. The candidate must also sign a "Voluntary Election Campaign Spending Limit Agreement" in which the candidate agrees to a total campaign expenditures limit of $51,879 for the November 8, 2016.

Responsibilities of Eligible Candidates

All eligible City Council candidates who choose to accept and abide by the City's Voluntary Election Campaign Spending Limit for the next upcoming City Council Election must sign and file an agreement with the City Clerk.