Resolutions and ordinances
The City Council, city manager, City department, resident or group may request resolutions and ordinances. Resolutions and ordinances are the tools the City Council uses to implement policies.
Resolutions state the opinion or the feeling of the City Council and are used to dictate policy to City employees, congratulate an organization or a person, express sorrow at the death of a well-known person or urge another governmental body, such as the U.S. Congress, to take a desired action. An ordinance authorizes the spending of City money, sets tax levies or establishes regulations that govern the actions of City agencies and residents.
Matters before the City Council are read once each week for three weeks. A reading consists of reading aloud the number of the resolution or ordinance and a brief description of its purpose. When a measure is introduced (its first reading), it is assigned to one of the committees: Finance and Audit; Legislative; Public Safety and Neighborhood; Housing; Planning and Zoning; and Transportation and Infrastructure committees. These committees hold weekly public hearings as necessary to receive testimony from people who support or oppose the resolutions or ordinances being considered. Testimony helps the committees decide to recommend passage or defeat.
After a committee reaches a decision on a resolution or ordinance, it is returned to the full City Council. The following week, it is read for the third time and unless there is a delay, the full City Council will take a final vote. Most ordinances and resolutions require seven votes for passage.
An ordinance usually goes into effect 10 days after passage. The City Council may declare an ordinance an emergency measure, in which case it goes into effect immediately.
The City Council often bypasses the required three readings, which can be done if at least nine members agree and if the ordinance does not make a grant, renew a franchise or regulate a utility charge.