What Is a Resolution?

Photo of author
Written By SmarterrMoney.org

The latest in personal finance to help you make smarter money choices. 

A resolution is an official body’s authorized expression of opinion or intent to act that often addresses a temporary or particular matter.

Some jurisdictions allow resolutions to issue debt.

Resolutions are often less formal than ordinances in introducing and enacting them. In most instances, resolutions go into effect immediately. Also, they can be adopted by a majority of the membership present, assuming a quorum is reached and generally need not be published.

Municipalities typically use resolutions for deciding on surplus public property, directing the executive to take specified actions, adopting council or board rules of procedure, or adopting personnel policies. An “order” is also sometimes used when instructing a specific action to be taken. Once complied with, order no longer have an effect.

What’s important here?

In many jurisdictions, governing members can introduce resolutions that can pass in a single meeting. In contrast, most jurisdictions must separate the introduction and enactment of an ordinance into two gatherings.

Most municipalities have statutes or charters governing when it is appropriate to use a resolution versus an ordinance in any given situation. That said, any member of a governing body can introduce either one.