About Our Government


Adopted in 1966, the City of Vermillion operates under the Council-Manager form of municipal government. This form combines the strong political leadership of elected officials with the strong managerial experience of an appointed manager. All power and authority to set policy rests with an elected governing body, which includes a mayor and members of the City Council. The governing body in turn hires a nonpartisan manager who has very broad authority to run the organization. The Council-Manager form promotes effective management within a transparent, responsive, and accountable structure. Since its establishment, the Council-Manager form has become the most popular structure of local government in the United States. The form is also widely used throughout the world. The Mayor and City Council represent the community and develop the long-range vision for the future of Vermillion. They establish policies that affect the overall operation of the community and are responsive to residents' needs and wishes.

In 2020, the citizens of the City of Vermillion in order to establish a home rule municipal government that will provide for the public welfare and establish a more representative and effective city government, voted to adopt a Home Rule Charter in accordance with the home rule power granted in Article IX, Section 2 of the South Dakota Constitution and the procedural requirements of SDCL Chapter 6-12.

Governing Body

Vermillion's governing body is made up of nine members. Eight City Council members are elected from four wards, with two members representing each ward. The Mayor is elected at-large and presides over City Council meetings. All terms are for four years and are staggered with an election taking place in even-numbered years. The mayor may vote on all matters coming before the governing body. View the Ward Map (PDF).

Commissions & Function

With the consent of the City Council, the Mayor appoints individuals to serve on several boards and commissions.

Library Board

The Library Board oversees the operations of the Vermillion Public Library and appoints a Library Director. All services and programs provided by the library are overseen by the board.

Planning Commission

The Planning Commission is charged with overseeing the long-range planning of the community, including zoning issues, conditional use permits, subdivisions and formulation of the Comprehensive Plan. The Planning Commission serves a vital role in recommending major policy changes to the governing body for the development of the community.

Business Improvement District #1 Board

The Business Improvement District #1 Board is composed of a board of directors who make recommendations to the governing body concerning the use of funds generated by an occupation tax. The occupation tax is imposed upon rooms rented by a lodging establishment to transient guests. City ordinance allows for a $2 per occupied room, per night lodging fee through the creation of a business improvement district.

Business Improvement District #2 Board

The Business Improvement District #2 Board is composed of a board of directors who make recommendations to the governing body concerning the use of funds through assessing property owners within the district boundary for their share of improvements made as part of the Downtown Streetscape Project.  The City Council allocated $1 Million of 2nd Penny Funds towards the Downtown Streetscape project in the 2019 Budget and a new Business Improvement District will help to raise additional funds towards this project.

Joint Powers Solid Waste Advisory Board

The Joint Powers Solid Waste Advisory Board is composed of a board of directors for a Joint Solid Waste System to address and mitigate the rising cost of integrated waste management. The City of Vermillion implemented a Joint Powers Agreement for the ownership, management and funding of the system with Clay County, the City of Yankton, and Yankton County for the management and funding of an integrated solid waste system for the region. The joint operations include the Vermillion Landfill, the Missouri Valley Recycling Center in Vermillion, and the Transfer and Recycling Facility in Yankton.

Historic Preservation Commission

The Historic Preservation Commission is composed of seven members to preserve, promote, and develop the historical resources within the City of Vermillion. The Commission educates about historic preservation, helps document sites, promotes the conservation of sites, and offer guidance on preservation. Four members of the Commission are property owners in a historic district. The three-year terms are staggered. 

Human Relations Commission

The Human Relations Commission is composed of seven members who disseminate information and conduct public meetings regarding diversity recognition and anti-discriminatory practice, engage and cooperate with persons in organizations interested in similar objectives, and otherwise act to promote human and civil rights for all citizens and visitors of Vermillion.  The Commission also receives complaints related to discrimination in employment, labor organizations, housing, providing public accommodations or services, banking, and in general circumstances. The Commission is comprised of six individuals serving staggered three-year terms. A one-year term for an individual enrolled in post-secondary education is also provided.

Vermillion Housing Authority

The Vermillion Housing Authority Board is composed of a board of directors who oversee the Housing Authority, its operations, and overall well-being.  The Board establishes and approves policies, oversees and hires an executive director, and is involved in participant appeal. 

Tree Board

The Tree Board is composed of appointed community members, a City Council representative, and staff who review policies relating to maintaining and improving a healthy forestation program in Vermillion.