How Your City Works

HOW YOUR CITY WORKS: How an idea becomes law in the city of Keizer

City ordinances are laws passed by the Keizer City Council. Ordinances can spring from the public (testimony before the council) or from the city staff (City Manager or department head).

The council votes on ordinances and resolutions, but what is the difference?

A general ordinance is used to designate a local law, duly enacted by the city council that prescribe general, uniform, and permanent rules of conduct, relating to the corporate affairs of the municipality.  A special ordinance governs in a limited way, such as an ordinance vacating a specific street or imposing a municipal lien. A local ordinance is a municipal legislative enactment. An ordinance passed in pursuance of express legislative authority is a law and has the same effect as a local law, and it may prevail over a general law upon the same subject. Therefore, an ordinance is equal to a municipal statute and it governs matters not already covered by federal or state law. An ordinance can be repealed only by another ordinance and not by resolution. 

A resolution, or order, encompasses all actions of the city council other than ordinances.  

A resolution or order deals with matters of a special or temporary character and an ordinance prescribes some permanent rule of conduct or government to continue in force until the ordinance is repealed.  

A resolution is an expression of opinion or mind or policy concerning some particular item of business coming within the legislative body’s official cognizance. An order usually is decision dealing with a specific issue such as an order approving a subdivision.