Q. When can you use a resolution and when do you have to use an ordinance?
A. When deciding which action to take, a town can either use a resolution or an ordinance.
Ordinances An ordinance however is used to enact regulations of a general and permanent nature, enforceable by local law.
Since the total budget is passed by ordinance, in order to make changes to the approved budget, an amendment must be made. Amendments require the same publishing and hearing provisions as the original budget. Amendments need to take place before any expenditures that will overspend the budget total. The total approved budget can be thought of as permanent for the year and would need passed by ordinance. Another example of an ordinance is fixing utility rates.
Resolutions Typically a resolution is used to express an opinion, handle matters of a temporary nature, or take care of administrative business.
The governing body may by resolution transfer any unencumbered or unexpended appropriation balance or part thereof from one (1) fund, department or account to another (W.S. 16-4-112). Transferring money from one account to another is done to resolve a deficit on a particular line item and can be passed by resolution. The transfer does not affect the total approved budget. Another example of a resolution is approving each year the approved depositories which is an administrative task.