Woodside is a general law town operating under a council-manager form of government. This provides the Town with public direction from the Town Council and professional administration through the Town Manager.
The general law system of municipal government provides that the Town has no powers except those it receives under a constitutional or statutory grant of authority. The powers so granted are enumerated in Article XI of the California Constitution, which provides two kinds of powers for general law towns. These kinds of powers are the power to regulate people's actions (known as regulatory power) and the power to provide services for the benefit of the Town's inhabitants (known as commercial power). Section Seven of Article XI states that the Town government has the authority to enact regulatory ordinances for the benefit of its citizens so long as those ordinances are not in conflict with state or federal law. Section Nine of Article XI provides that the Town may also establish and operate public works to furnish its inhabitants with light, heat, power, transportation, water, and means of communication.