February 2020
Much of the news has been taken up with concerns about COVID-19, or as the news calls it Coronavirus. As the Board of Health for Sedgwick County, the Commissioners are watching this issue carefully. Our Health Department is putting out the latest information as it becomes available. Although the current flu shot does not protect against COVID-19, it does protect you from other variations of the flu. Please take precautions to stay healthy.

To prevent illness:
  1. Wash your hands often with soap and water - use hand sanitizer if soap isn’t available
  2. Avoid close contact with people who are sick
  3. Cover your nose and mouth when you cough or sneeze
  4. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth
  5. Clean and disinfect surfaces and objects that may be contaminated with germs
  6. Stay home when you are sick

The Mental Health and Substance Abuse Coalition continues the important work of finding the right solutions for Sedgwick County. The Commissioners recently attended a Summit for Coalition partners to look at what has been accomplished and recommend action steps for the future. Sedgwick County’s highest legislative platform requests involve Behavioral Health initiatives from the State of Kansas. The Coalition leadership recently provided an update on the newly adopted Strategic Plan at an En Banc meeting between the City and County. It allowed elected members to better understand the scope of the issue and where we are going in the future.

The Sedgwick County Treasurer recently acquired kiosks for routine auto tag renewals to make that process more convenient for our citizens. Since both tag offices are located East of the geographic center of the county, we are looking to place at least one of the new kiosks in my district to provide more convenience for citizens in Western Sedgwick County. As soon as we have identified the location and reached a memorandum of understanding with the city, we will begin installing the hardware, internet connections and power. Hopefully, we will have this accomplished before my next newsletter comes out.

This past week we heard the latest proposal on a new administration building. As the county grows, the court system, District Attorney, and Sheriff support to the courts also grow. The proposal is to turn the current courthouse completely over to those functions and relocate all non-court related activities. We have been discussing this for about three years now. Hopefully, we will finalize a solution that solves the space issues at a reasonable cost.

Other issues that impact my district include the continuation of studies on the proposed Northwest Bypass, the Dry Creek detention to prevent flooding in far West Wichita, and safety concerns with trucks leaving the ethanol plant in Colwich going North and trying to turn into the Westbound lanes on K-96.

It is an honor to serve the citizens in West Sedgwick County. Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions. One final note is that my Citizen’s Advisory Board meeting for March will be held on March 9 at the Goddard School District Conference Center.  
ICT-1: Where are we now? 
The joint City/County Integrated Care Team (ICT -1) has responded to more than 250 calls in the Wichita area since its launch in late 2019. A pilot program, ICT-1 is a collaboration between COMCARE, Sedgwick County EMS, Wichita Police Department, and Wichita Fire Department that operates from 2 p.m. until midnight, Tuesdays through Friday.
 
After reviewing the current data, the team was able to treat 51 percent of calls where there was a client at the scene; additional agencies were called in to care for the client about 18 percent of the time; and clients were transported to various community resources including area hospitals nearly 31 percent of the time.
 
ICT-1 is designed to improve operational efficiencies and officials estimate that more than 375 public safety units were available to respond to other calls for service.
 
Leadership will continue finding ways to document care on one central platform and rotate members in three teams to ensure that participating employees stay current in their respective fields outside of ICT-1. 
Mental Health and Substance Abuse Coalition Moving Forward
City and County elected officials recently received a report from the Mental Health and Substance Abuse Coalition outlining its five-year strategic plan. The Coalition's work began in earnest in 2019 by bringing together leaders from law enforcement, health care, behavioral health programs, education, nonprofits, and private business. These agencies had been working on mental health, substance abuse, and homeless separately for years.
 
The final strategic plan identified a comprehensive vision statement, an aspirational mission statement, and achievable goals for the Coalition. The first priority identified was increased support for individuals (high utilizers) who are experiencing homelessness and a mental health crisis, and have substance abuse history.
 
Now formally organized, the Coalition will be able to create policies, measure benchmarks, and focus resources in our community to address needs using best practices. Moving forward, the group will also work on facilitating access to care, coordination of services throughout the continuum of care, funding, and workforce demands.
2021 Budget Development Underway
This month, the Board of County Commissioners and County leaders met to begin shaping Sedgwick County’s 2021 budget. They reviewed the area’s financial forecast, Sedgwick County’s forecast, and the impact of the Mortgage Registration Fee on the County budget. Commissioners also received an update on the County’s employee compensation analysis and the impact of State funding over the past decade.

Departmental budget hearings are tentatively slated for May. The Recommended Budget is scheduled to be released July 15. There will be two public hearings (9 a.m., Wednesday, July 22 and 6 p.m., Monday, August 3). Commissioners are expected to adopt the budget on Wednesday, August 12.  
Appraiser’s Report: 2020 Real Property Value Trends
At a recent Board of County Commissioners meeting, County Appraiser Mark Clark shared the 2020 Annual Real Estate Mass Appraisal Report. From 2019 to 2020 there were 1,835 new parcels appraised, covering residential parcels, commercial parcels and agricultural parcels. When compared to years past, the Appraiser’s data showed some challenges for the housing market in Sedgwick County.

Building permit applications are down compared to previous years due to tight labor markets and the need for more workers in the construction industry. Despite that, there were 1,177 new homes built in in Sedgwick County in 2019, including duplexes and triplexes. The median home sale price was $169,900 and most homes were on the market less than one month before selling. Clark said this indicates a strong imbalance between the supply and demand of residences.

Residential property represented about 57 percent of the total assessed value in Sedgwick County in 2019. While the Appraiser’s Office takes a conservative approach to the valuation of properties, the Appraiser said 81 percent of residential property owners saw a slight to moderate increase in property values over the last year.

Commercial and agricultural property valuations also increased in 2019. Fifty-three percent of commercial properties’ rose in value, while one-third of all agriculture properties increased by 29 percent. When calculating appraisals for ag properties, the Appraiser’s Office uses land valuations established by the Kansas Department of Revenue, which sets the value of ag land for the whole state. As of 2019, less than one percent of the total assessed land in Sedgwick County was devoted to agriculture. 

Property appraisal information will be available March 1 both online and at the Appraiser’s Office. Value notices will only be mailed to property owners who experience a change in appraised value or classification in 2019. Property owners who wish to appeal their valuations have 30 days from the date listed on the front of the notice to submit their intent to appeal.

316-660-9300
525 N. Main, Ste 320, Wichita, KS 67203