Vol. 3, Issue 3                                         March 2018
Property Taxes Stink!
"'Tis impossible to be sure of any thing but Death and Taxes”, so said Christopher Bullock in his performance of The Cobler of Preston in 1716.

Using a newer quote, in the movie, The Terminator , when the main character Kyle Reese says, “Listen, and understand. That terminator is out there. It can’t be bargained with. It can’t be reasoned with. It doesn’t feel pity, or remorse, or fear. And it absolutely will not stop, ever, until you are dead.” The Terminator reminds me of the government when we consider property taxes. We can squirm all we want but in the end, property taxes will be paid one way or another, no matter what, even if we die.

In 2016, Sedgwick County property taxpayers racked up nearly $10M of delinquent tax. That’s 1.7% of the $589M billed. However, for the 2013 taxes, only 0.13% remains delinquent. All delinquent real property taxes are also accruing 10% per year interest penalty. The pipeline of total delinquent tax remains fairly level from year to year. As back taxes are eventually paid, other delinquent tax gets added to the rolls.

If a property falls more than three years behind, the government initiates a foreclosure sale to recoup the back taxes, interest, and fees. The property cannot be legally transferred to a new owner without the back taxes and fees being paid in full. Bullock was right, the government always gets paid.

There are those that advocate for a delinquent property tax crackdown. It seems wrong for so much money to be in limbo. We know some property taxpayers habitually pay late (despite the penalties). It is not possible to differentiate between those that intentionally pile up several years of back taxes and those who are behind because of financial hardships.

If the state law was changed to shorten the pipeline, the government would reap a one-time influx of revenue but that windfall would be quickly spent. That puts the government right back in the same game but the shortened timeline would result in hurting those in the midst of life struggles, losing their homes even more quickly. Let’s remember that home ownership is the American dream and we should not aggressively strip that away.

We likely agree that property taxes, among all taxes, are the most despised. Nevertheless, it is best to pay them on time. Nobody wants the terminator to get upset.
E-waste residential recycling events: Dispose of your electronic waste safely and free of charge
Environmental Resources will host two events in April so residents can safely dispose of e-waste for free. This 2018 residential collection will be from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. April 5-7 and from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. April 12-14; both events will be held at the Sedgwick County West Yard, 4701 S. West St.
 
Sedgwick County residents may bring items such as computers, laptops, printers, televisions, cell phones, batteries, tablets, network devices (routers, modems, etc.), VCRs, DVD players, video games, scanners, fax machines, and more to the collection free of charge for recycling or proper disposal. A complete list can be found online. The collection is intended for individual households.   
Crews continue to work on the Kellogg/ I-235 interchange rebuild. This first phase is scheduled to be completed in 2019.
Update on Kellogg/ 235 interchange
Project updates can be found at www.235red.org and include:

  • On Monday, April 2, the northbound I-235 ramp to westbound US 54 will close. A marked detour will be available. The ramp will be demolished to allow the reconstruction of the westbound US 54 Ramp to northbound I-235.

  • On Monday, April 2, the right lane from West St. to I-235 and the left lane from I-235 to Dugan will be closed on westbound US 54 from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m. Two lanes of traffic will be open.

  • On Tuesday, April 3, from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m., the right lane from Dugan to the West St. exit on eastbound US 54, will be closed. 
Projects in District 5
Pedestrian Crosswalk Signal on MacArthur between Hillside and Oliver (R347).
  • Work began on March 19, 2018
  • Expected to be complete by early April 2018

HAWK light installation on MacArthur between Oliver and K-15.
  • Project is on schedule
  • Expected to be complete in early April 2018
New notification system for protecting real estate investments
The Sedgwick County Register of Deeds is proud to announce  Property Activity Alert, a new service free of charge for property owners in Sedgwick County. This alert will not prevent all fraud from occurring, but can provide an early warning system that activity has occurred with your real estate in Sedgwick County.
 
As a subscriber, you will be alerted if a deed or a mortgage is recorded in your name with the Sedgwick County Register of Deeds office, and you will receive notification by email from their office containing a link to their online document search within 24 hours of the document being recorded.
To subscribe please click on the following link:  https://roddocs.sedgwickcounty.org/rodsearch/alertsubscription.aspx .
 
You will be able to view, download and print the document from your home at  http://www.sedgwickcounty.org/deeds/document_search.asp.  Once you have been notified, it will be up to you to take the necessary corrective measures should fraud occur.
 
Sedgwick County also reminds residents that if you suspect deception, unconscionable conduct, or certain instances of fraud the Consumer Protection Division of the District Attorney’s Office can advocate on your behalf. You can file a complaint at consumer@sedgwickcounty.gov or call 316-660-3669. 
Purchasing outreaches to disadvantaged business entities
Sedgwick County Purchasing hosted a vendor matchmaker event in early March to outreach to several DBE/MBE (Disadvantaged Business Entities/Minority Business Entities) to assist them with how to do business with Sedgwick County and other public sector entities (City of Wichita, USD 259, Wichita State University).

Normally five to seven entities are invited to attend and present an overview of their business which includes showcasing their products and services at this annual event. 
Enjoy the outdoors with Take a Walk in the Park Day
Friday, March 30 is National Take a Walk in the Park Day. Sedgwick County has two parks to for your recreational fun. Sedgwick County Park is located near the Sedgwick County Zoo and is great for fishing, biking, and play. While you’re there, stop by the Boundless Playscape, a multi-generational park with amenities that can be enjoyed by people of different ages and abilities. This playscape was developed as a service project of the Sunrise Rotary Club of West Sedgwick County. 

Or, if you want to travel a bit farther, just outside of Goddard is Lake Afton. Its 720 acres of land is made for boating, fishing, camping, water skiing, and more. The Lake Afton Public Observatory is located nearby. 
Reminder: April Burn Ban
Sedgwick County Fire District 1 reminds residents that a burn ban imposed by the state of Kansas will be in effect in Sedgwick County during the month of April. New open burn permits will not be issued during the month of April and no current permit holders will be allowed to conduct open burns after March 31, 2018. Open burns can resume after April 30, 2018.

The ban includes all open burning of any waste, including vegetation and wood waste, structures, or other material on any premises. Exceptions to the open burn ban include pasture, crop, range and wildlife or watershed management. The allowed burning operations will still require a valid permit from Sedgwick County Fire District 1. Burn permits may be requested online at www.sedgwickcounty.org or by calling 316-660-3473.

Always call 911 before you burn. The Kansas Department of Health & Environment open burning regulations (K.A.R. 28-19-645 through K.A.R. 28-19-648) apply. Questions regarding the burn ban, or fire safety in general, should be directed to the office of the Sedgwick County Fire Marshal at 316-660-3473.
Severe Weather Awareness Week - Be Informed
Sedgwick County recognized Severe Weather Awareness Week March 4-10. To help the community prepare for severe weather, Emergency Management is holding free severe weather safety classes throughout the County. The presentations are designed to teach attendees the about severe weather and ways to stay safe. A list of classes can be found online.

As with any emergency, preparedness can make the difference. As severe weather season approaches, remember to:
  • Get a Kit – Gather necessary items and information for your family's emergency preparedness kit.
  • Make a Plan – A thorough and practiced plan can help you keep track of family members in any emergency.
  • Be Informed – Stay tuned to sources of information before, during, and after an emergency.
  • Get Involved – We all have a role to play in keeping our hometowns safe. Contact local volunteer organizations to find out how you can contribute.

More information about each of these preparedness steps may be found at www.sedgwickcounty.org.
Gift from Sedgwick County to support B-29 Doc Hangar and Education Center
Commissioners approved a $200,000 contribution to Doc’s Friends, Inc. for a permanent home for Doc. Board members and volunteers joined commissioners to celebrate this gift for a permanent hangar and education center for the aircraft in late February.  

“Sedgwick County is proud to support a permanent home for Doc, one of only two B-29 that are flying today,” said Sedgwick County Commission Chairman David Dennis. “That B-29 was built here in Wichita and the crews trained here in Kansas. It is part of this region’s history and part of a bigger story that will be preserved and told to future generations.”

The new home for Doc will be an interactive B-29 hangar and education center, giving generations to come a one-of-a-kind opportunity to enjoy and experience this prominent figure in our nation’s history. Major construction on the estimated $6.5 million project was expected to begin in early March and it’s estimated that construction will be mostly complete within eight to 10 months.
 
County leaders celebrate Spirit AeroSystems milestone
Earlier this month Spirit AeroSystems announced it had delivered its 10,000 shipset to Boeing for its 737 program. National, state, and local elected officials joined community leaders and Spirit to mark this milestone achievement for the company. 
As the top outdoor family attraction in the State, the mission of the Sedgwick County Zoo is to inspire discovery, appreciation, and respect for animals and nature. It is home to 3,000 animals and nearly 400 species. The Reed Family Elephants of the Zambezi River Valley exhibit is the third largest elephant habitat in the United States. 
Exploration Place, Kansas’ premier science center, inspires a deeper interest in science through creative and fun experiences for people of all ages. Through its permanent and travelling exhibits, education programs, Digital Dome Theater films and special events, visitors can enjoy learning about science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. For example, the all-new, 5,100 square foot Design Build Fly exhibit celebrates our community’s aviation industry. Visitors encounter dozens of hands-on activities that focus on manufacturing and engineering to reveal what happens behind-the-scenes in our aircraft plants.   
The Kansas African American Museum endeavors to make the Kansas African American experience resonant with EVERY Kansan. Located in the venerable Calvary Baptist Church, visitors may expand their knowledge and understanding of the Kansas African American story. 
Residents and visitors can gain an understanding of our community and cultural heritage at the Wichita – Sedgwick County Historical Museum. By collecting, preserving, and interpreting materials which reflect the area’s heritage visitors can experience different facets that shaped the community we live in today.  
County Information
Contact  Commissioner Jim Howel l: 
316-660-9300
525 N. Main, Ste 320, Wichita, KS 67203
 
Contact Public Information Officer:
Kate Flavin, 316-660-9370
525 N. Main, Ste 343, Wichita, KS 67203
 
Contact Corporate Communications Manager:
316-660-9370
525 N. Main, Ste 343, Wichita, KS 67203