Black Hills Knowledge Netowork

Pennington County - Government & Citizenship

Pennington County is a county in Western South Dakota that covers 2,784 square miles and borders Wyoming to the west. In 2016, Pennington County had a population of 109,372 and is the second most populous county in South Dakota. Large communities include Rapid City, Hill City, Wall, Box Elder, New Underwood, and Keystone. The county is governed by a five-person Board of Commissioners. Each commissioner represents one of the county’s five districts and are elected by all county voters to serve a four-year term. The commission meets on the first and third Tuesday of each month at 9am in the Commission Chambers at the County Administration Building, located at 130 Kansas City Street, Rapid City. Find agendas, meeting minutes, and voting districts for Pennington County here.


Pennington County budgeted a total of $84, 712,601 for the calendar year of 2016. According to the County Auditor’s budget summary, the largest areas within the budget were the Pennington County Jail with $12,285,621, Road & Bridge funds with $11,220,789, Law Enforcement with $9,064,745, and the Health Care Trust with $5,756,435. Find more budget information at the Pennington County Auditor’s Office page.

Philanthropy & Nonprofits

According to the National Center for Charitable Statistics, Pennington County has 17 private foundations with over 199 million dollars in combined assets reported for 2013. The ten largest foundations from largest to smallest are as follows.

  1. John T. Vucurevich Foundation
  2. Dakota Charitable Foundation
  3. Gwendolyn L. Stearns Foundation
  4. Black Hills Corporation Foundation
  5. Chiesman Foundation for Democracy
  6. Durnill Charitable Trust
  7. Rapid City Community Development Corporation
  8. Walter J. and Joanne Rouleau Foundation
  9. Brande Foundation
  10. Soaring Eagle Foundation

Elections Find Pennington County Election Information here and see results from recent elections at the South Dakota Secretary of State’s website.

Public Safety

The Pennington County Sheriff’s Office employs 372 people and has an annual budget of approximately $28 million. The PCSO serves over 100,000 citizens spread out over Pennington County, including a large number of visitors and tourists. It manages Law Enforcement, County Jail, Juvenile Services, and Alcohol & Drug Programs. The Pennington County Fire Administration does not provide any direct fire suppression services, but serves as a resource to the County Commission and local volunteer and career fire departments on all fire-related issues.

Veterans & Military Affairs

The Pennington County Veterans Service Office assists area veterans and their dependents and survivors in applying for veterans' benefits including benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs and the State of South Dakota.

Public Notices

Public notices from Pennington County can be accessed through the South Dakota Newspaper Association's public notices website.  Select Pennington County from the dropdown menu to find notices on advertisements for bids, adoption of ordinances, financial reports, hearings, and other government activities in the county.

More Information

Pennington County began inspecting septic tank systems following the passage of a new county septic ordinance in August 2010. As of October 2011, inspectors had visited nearly 750 homes. Roughly a third of these violations were “minor,” but 105 homes had major violations. These major violations fell into three general categories: pit privies where human waste is dumped directly into the ground, leaking septic systems that allow sewage to seep into the earth, and systems that rely on unapproved materials to contain waste.

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