Rapid City looking at home-rule charter for city government

RAPID CITY, S.D. (KBHB) — Rapid City Mayor Steve Allender has unveiled a new initiative for change in Rapid City: the move to a home-rule charter for city government. The mayor on Monday released a letter he had previously sent to city council members, expressing his intent to begin the process. Allender says that the mid-month council meeting in December could see the start of a six to nine-month process.

At the CSAC building Monday, Allender told reporters that the switch in operating rules means that the city would have more flexibility to operate than under current law. He says the city could act based on what state law allows, rather than on what it prohibits.

Allender says that the 2018 Civic Center Referendum process could have been more streamlined and feature more public input had home-rule been in force. Allender says the first step will be setting up a citizen task force.

Another aspect of going to Home-Rule, is a restructuring of city government, with a possible change in the size and makeup of the City Council, which currently has 10 members, two each from the city’s five wards. Allender says council members themselves are in favor of considering a reduction in size.

Allender says the move to Home-Rule could also result in a move to a City-Manager government model, which he says will also improve the city’s governance.

Allender says the city council could start the process of assembling a citizen committee for home-rule in mid-December.