The City Council takes official action in one of two ways - by ordinance or resolution. An ordinance is passed to enact regulations of a general and permanent nature. A resolution is passed to express the opinion of the Council on some matter of a temporary or advisory nature, or to handle administrative business of the Council.

Ordinances and resolutions are collectively referred to as 'bills.' Most bills are drafted by a City attorney. Others are drafted by the Research Division. Ordinances and resolutions can only be introduced for consideration by the Mayor, individual Council members or by a Council committee. Before a bill can be considered by the Council, it must be approved by a City attorney to ensure it is in a legal and proper form.

When the introducer has a bill properly drafted and ready for introduction, it is then submitted to the Legislative Services Division for processing and placement on the Council agenda. Every bill has a unique number and a file that contains all backup information submitted to the Council, the Council Secretary or the Legislative Services Division.

If the bill receives a majority vote of the Council, it is sent to the Mayor, who may sign it into law, allow it to become law without his signature, or veto the bill. A veto may be overridden by a two-thirds vote of Council members present, or by a simple majority vote of the Council.

Bills that become effective are entered into the permanent records of the Council, and ordinances affecting the City's Ordinance Code are collected and sent to the City's codifier for inclusion in the Duval County Municipal Code.