Vol. 2, Issue 1                                                                                    January 2017
Stormwater Solutions Require Commitment and Resources

Over several decades, Sedgwick County has studied flood issues and has developed a myriad of solutions to help mitigate stormwater damage. Unfortunately, most of those ideas have not been implemented mostly due to lack of commitment and funding. Now, with several large storm events this past year that have primarily impacted Mulvane, Derby, and Haysville, it highlights this broad issue as one to solve. It will never solve itself and the problems actually do become worse when ignored.  

This reminds me of the discussions that must have happened in Wichita back in the 1940’s.  There were some smart people that believed that a 33-mile long ditch (now known as the Wichita Valley Center Floodway) would protect the core of the city from flooding. This was an enormously expensive project that took years to engineer and a decade to construct.  In the end, the completed project has proven and paid for itself many times. Regardless, it seems unlikely that something of this magnitude would garner the political support today.

Recently, the Sedgwick County Stormwater Management Advisory Board highlighted Johnson County as the model for Sedgwick County on how to fund stormwater solutions. In 1987, the State allowed Counties to implement a 1/10 cent sales tax to fund stormwater improvements. The law that created the opportunity expired in 1990. Nevertheless, Johnson County chose to exercise this option and to this day, they continue to collect and fund many stormwater projects.  We can work to amend the law to allow Sedgwick County to do the same. This would provide about $10 million per year.  Even at this rate, it would take about 25 years to complete the projects already defined.  

As a fiscal conservative and as one that has rallied against government growth, I find myself at a crossroads. I believe in government doing the things that only government can do such as the development of the highway system.  I also believe in voter approval for any tax increases. The voters should decide whether a tax increase is necessary.  Only with voter approval would I head in this direction.   

If we think this is right for Sedgwick County, we would first need to pass legislation to recreate the opportunity. Secondly, we would want to amend the law to allow for a public vote. My question to you is, what should Sedgwick County do? What do you think? Let me know at jim.howell@sedgwick.gov

Program to Assist Rural Residents

Sedgwick County Fire District 1’s rural address marking program is available to residents in the unincorporated area of Sedgwick County to ensure that their property can be clearly identified. This helps first responders such as law enforcement, fire, and EMS,  quickly locate a specific property in the event of an emergency. Click here to watch a video about this program. 

More information can be found here: http://www.sedgwickcounty.org/fire/ramp.asp

EMS Receives Notable Reaccreditation
Sedgwick County EMS recently received accreditation from the Commission on Accreditation of Ambulance Services (CAAS) for compliance with national standards of excellence. Sedgwick County EMS is one of 178 ambulance services in the country and one of two accredited agencies in the state of Kansas.

 “Accreditation represents our firm commitment to our patients and community,” said EMS Director Scott Hadley. “We continuously strive to do our best and we view accreditation as another step toward excellence.”
Commissioners Celebrate Joint Road Project with Valley Center
Friday, Dec. 16, 2016, commissioners celebrated a joint road project on North 93rd Street West with the City of Valley Center.  The event was held at the corner of North 93rd Street West and Osage in Valley Center. 

Sedgwick County and Valley Center split the cost of construction for the project which totaled $1.3 million. The road was closed from October 17 to November 23, a total of 36 days. It is the first road in either jurisdiction to use Roller Compacted Concrete (RCC). 
Battle of the Badges Winner Announced
Congratulations to Sedgwick County EMS for winning the 2016 Battle of the Badges blood drive!  A total of 1,395 pints of blood were donated during the blood drive. 

The American Red Cross hosted the annual Battle of the Badges blood drive December 12 to December 3. People could donate blood, receive a t-shirt, and vote for their favorite public servant.  Sedgwick County EMS, Sedgwick County Fire District 1, Sedgwick County Sheriff, Wichita Fire Department, and Wichita Police Department participated in the event. 
Farewell to Commissioners
Commissioner Tim Norton and Commissioner Karl Peterjohn attended their final meeting as commissioners on Wednesday, January 4. A reception followed the meeting. Commissioner Norton has served since 2002 and Commissioner Peterjohn has served since 2008. 
County Hosts Legislative Forum
This week, Sedgwick County hosted the South Central Legislative Delegation for a dinner and public forum. Nearly 70 people attended the 90 minute forum. Comments centered on tax cuts, budget, and marijuana legalization. 
Contact Commissioner Jim Howell: 
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:
Keturah Austin, 316-660-9370
525 N. Main, Ste 343, Wichita, KS 67203