Sturgis' strategic plan under city manager tackles long-term goals

Overlooking the City of Sturgis.

BLACK HILLS, S.D. (KOTA TV) - The majority of communities across the nation have forms of government with a city manager, and as Rapid City takes one step closer to adopting Home Rule, we could be getting a city manager too.

"It would really change the way we do business, it would create a more definable separation between policy and operations, the city manager would handle all the operations management, there would still be a mayor, who would be a part of the city council and the mayor would be largely ceremonial," said Steve Allender, mayor of Rapid City.

Although the city of Sturgis does not operate under Home Rule, its form of government does include a city manager.

"What we've been able to see in Sturgis is that there's more of a focus now in a community toward long-term goals and how we can not necessarily just focus on reacting to what occurs every day but instead trying to be proactive to ensure that the community 10 years from now is similar to what we actually envision it to be," said Daniel Ainslie, city manager of Sturgis.

Earlier this month Rapid City's mayor said the most important part of the city manager form of government is that it requires a strategic plan.

"And now we have all types of plans, we have a comprehensive plan, a downtown master plan, we have all types of this type of planning but no strategic plan that puts them in a year by year sequence of what our goals are for the year, what our shared vision is for making it to the end of this year, into next year," said Allender.

As a city with a strategic plan in place for years, Ainslie said it has made a huge difference.

"You can see a huge growth as a community from that, and I think for any community that's a very positive thing, the more you can start looking longer term to say where do we want to get to and what are those hard decisions that need to be made but still need to be made so that we can actually embrace what our future holds for us," Ainslie said.

Most cities without city managers are larger communities with more than 750,000 people.

Ainslie said city managers are less common in the Dakotas and Wyoming, but with the Home Rule committee applications due next week in Rapid City, that could be changing.