Committee recommends home rule in Vermillion

Committee recommends home rule in Vermillion by David Lias A mayor's committee has unanimously recommended that the city of Vermillion pursue a home rule charter. Home rule has been adopted by Beresford, Brookings, Elk Point, Pierre, Ft. Pierre, Sioux Falls, Springfield and Watertown.

Committee member Matt Fairholm said he and fellow committeepersons talked directly with representatives from five of those communities to learn about the advantages and disadvantages of home rule.

"We made a concerted effort to gather any information about any potential downside, and none of them could state any," Fairholm said.

Voters would ultimately decide whether Vermillion would be governed by a home rule charter through the referral process.

"Home rule, by and large, would allow communities to govern themselves more adequately without too many restrictions from state government," Fairholm said.

Home rule allows cities more latitude in such areas as transferring money between budget lines or the acquisition of utilities. "Home rule allows us to do everything that the state allows us to do," said City Manager James Patrick, "plus it allows the city to deal with gray areas in state law, should council decide to go that way."

The council agreed with Mayor Roger Kozak's suggestion that the city's policy and procedure committee further examine this issue.

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