Watertown voters approve transition to city manager-led government

WATERTOWN, S.D. — Watertown voters have had enough of status quo in city government.

Dakota Radio Group reports voters approved sweeping changes by a wide margin on Tuesday.

Voters chose to transition to a city manager-led form of government beginning in 2021. The city manager will take over day to day operations of the city, and the mayor will take on a reduced role.

Kyle Lalim chaired a 21 member commission that recommended the change to a city manager. He says the election results were a, “good day for Watertown."

"I think that after the voters had the chance to get the information about the benefits of the city manager position, I think that they saw the ability that Watertown could have to continue to be progressive, and keep their eye on the prize," Lalim said.

The change won’t take effect until the summer of 2021, but planning for the change will begin immediately.

Along with the hiring of a city manager will come a smaller city council, which right now has 10 members and a mayor. It’ll be reduced to six council members and a mayor.

Every ward in Watertown approved the city manager question. The final tally was 1,431 in favor, and just 435 against.