Vol. 3, Issue 8                                       August 2018
Elections can be Complicated
Elections can be complicated. The number of details coming together to conduct an election is staggering. In Sedgwick County, the primary responsibility to make it all come together is the appointed election commissioner. Considering the fact that Sedgwick County recently purchased all new equipment and we only get a large-scale live run at this once in a while, it is great to get this recent election behind us. 

One obscure responsibility a county commissioner has is to canvass each election. That means we have the responsibility to look at ballot issues that inevitably develop during an election. For example, sometimes people change their name or perhaps they move to a new residence. When that happens, they can still vote. But in Sedgwick County, because their name does not match their name and address on record, they are given a provisional ballot. All that means is, whatever the issue, canvassers have an opportunity to double check that the voter submitted an updated registration card and is a legal voter. Once that is verified, the provisional ballot is processed. Because of my canvassing experience, my appreciation for the election process has grown over the years. 

One curious anomaly, highlighted by a local statistician in recent years, really underscored the need to have standard election audits after each election. With that goal, Sedgwick County spent time lobbying and working to pass legislation that would allow for routine random audits of each election to provide confidence in the equipment and in the automated tabulation processes. Furthermore, the audits should be conducted in the midst of actual elections. Unfortunately, the law does not apply to this fall’s election cycle. The provisions in the new law kick in January 1, 2019. 

We knew a couple of years ago, when we started to look at election machinery, that having equipment designed to be audited was a must. After spending about $7 million modernizing the election equipment, we have been anxious to start auditing. 

Despite waiting for the new law, a great thing happened: a close race in County Commission District 4 and the request for a manual recount gave us the opportunity to conduct a verification of the processes and equipment. After two days of manual sorting and manual counting by bi-partisan election workers, the recount totals matched exactly the automated scanner totals. That is tremendous. This particular race was represented by a fifth of the county and included about 60 precincts. This recount request gave us something we have wanted to do for years. With that positive result, we should celebrate that the processes and equipment being used in Sedgwick County’s elections can and should be trusted.
Back to School Safety Tips to Remember
Sedgwick County Fire District 1 would like to remind you to follow driver safety tips to protect your kids and other students travelling to and from school. 
  1. Be on the lookout for children and school zones. 
  2. Always follow the school zone speed limits. 
  3. Always stop for school buses that are loading and unloading children. 
  4. Watch out for school crossing guards and follow their signals. 
  5. Be aware of and watch out for children near schools, bus stops, sidewalks, in the streets, and in school parking lots. 
  6. Never pass a stopped school bus. 
  7. Never text while driving, especially in a school zone. 
  8. Avoid using a cell phone while in a school zone. 
  9. Exercise patience while driving, dropping off kids, and picking up kids from schools. 
EMS Recognizes Fallen Providers 
In early August, a team of local bicyclists from Sedgwick County EMS presented dog tags to families of five Kansas EMS providers who died either in the line of duty or non-line of duty events. This team also participated in the National EMS Memorial Bike Ride earlier this summer. Teams from across the country rode more than 500 miles from Boston to Washington, D.C. to honor 74 EMS providers who had passed away. The presentation of dog tags to the families is the final act to honor the Kansas providers. 
EMS Post 8 Remodel to be Completed Soon
The renovation and repair at Sedgwick County EMS Post 8 on 53rd St. North is nearly complete; the north end of the building is being renovated to accommodate additional future EMS crews. Please join us Thursday afternoon, Sept. 20 for the official ribbon-cutting.  

The original total estimate for a new EMS Post was $1.9 million. After looking at additional and alternative options, the current project to repair and remodel was revised and its current budget is $427,219. Compton Construction and Hanney and Associates were selected as the contractor and architect for this project respectively.
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.235kelloggcentral.com and include:

  • A full closure of the interior lanes of the interchange is planned for a weekend in late September or October to replace the bridge approaches over the Wichita – Valley Center Floodway, eastbound and westbound US 54 bridges, plus remove bridge construction forms over US 54 and I-235 lanes of traffic. More details to come closer to the closure. 
Projects in District 5
NovaChip Asphalt Overlays on select county roads
  • Construction expected to begin in late September
  • Roads open to traffic but expect delays
County's 2019 Budget Adopted:
Enhances Public Safety and Human Services
Commissioners adopted the 2019 Sedgwick County Budget and the 2019 Fire District 1 Budget on Wednesday, Aug. 15. The operating budget for Sedgwick County totals $419,042,893 and will be supported with a property tax levy of $142,756,344. This will require an estimated mill levy of 29.359 mills. Sedgwick County Fire District 1 operating budget totals $20,487,728; it will be supported with a property tax levy of $16,994,713. This will require an estimated mill levy of 18.131 mills. The exact mill levy rate for both entities will be set by the County Clerk in November. The 2019 overall budget totals $439,530,621.

“The adopted budget includes funding for necessary public safety and human services,” said Commission Chairman David Dennis. “It will maintain our organization’s financial future while supporting services our citizens deserve and depend on.” 

Highlights from the adopted budget include:
  • Addressing public safety service needs, including the addition of six additional call takers to 911 and the addition of an EMS crew to Fire Station 39;
  • Improving community health by adding a public health educator position, adding five positions for suburban school district mental health support, and providing continued support for service provider capacity through the Community Developmental Disability Organization;
  • Addressing systemic issues in our behavioral health and public safety areas through the addition of two Community Collaborator positions to work with regional partners; and
  • Technology equipment and software upgrades including radio replacements and a records management system. 

The 2019 Capital Improvement Plan totals $25,872,231 which funds a number of projects such as renovations in the main courthouse to accommodate the District Attorney and renovation and expansion of the Adult Detention Facility for the Sheriff. The CIP will fund outdoor warning device installation and/or replacement as well as repair and maintenance to the M.S. “Mitch” Mitchell floodway. 

The road and bridge CIP fund allocation includes 100 lane miles of preventative maintenance, 10 bridge repairs or replacements, and includes targeted bonding of $4 million for bridge repairs or replacements. 
Official Election Results Available Online
Commissioners and County leaders participated in a vote canvass on Monday, Aug. 13 and Tuesday, Aug. 14 to certify the Aug. 7 Primary Election results. The Board of Vote Canvassers reviewed over 1,000 provisional ballots to determine if they should be included in the final results. 

A recount was called on the Commission District 4 GOP candidate race once the election was certified. After several days of counting almost 7,000 ballots, a bi-partisan board of 16 people found the same vote totals as was certified on Tuesday, Aug. 8. This information was shared at a vote canvass on Friday, Aug. 17.

This was the second time the Election Office had a recount called with its new election equipment. The new equipment generates a paper ballot which can be hand-counted during a recount, if requested. It has proven the integrity of the election process in Sedgwick County, showing that the equipment counts what is on the paper ballot.  

Official election results can be found at this link: https://www.sedgwickcounty.org/elections/election-results/2018-primary/.
Reminder: New License Plate Process in Effect
The State of Kansas implemented changes to the new license plate delivery process on Wednesday, Aug. 15. Residents who wish to tag a newly purchased vehicle can register it at one of the Sedgwick County tag offices. The official metal plate will be mailed to the individual from the State within 10 business days.

If a resident does not receive their tag in 10 days, they should contact the Kansas Department of Revenue at 785-296-3621.   
Register of Deeds offers Property Notification Alert
The Sedgwick County Register of Deeds announced its Property Activity Alert earlier this year. This service is offered free of charge for property owners in Sedgwick County. The 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.
Senior Expo Coming Soon
Join us next month for the 33rd Annual Senior Expo! Saturday, Sept. 27 the Central Plains Area Agency on Aging will hold its annual event for senior citizens and caregivers to learn about programs and services available, participate in a fashion show, receive health screenings, and more. This event will be held from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Wichita Art Museum, the Advanced Learning Library, and Botanica, the Wichita Gardens. 
Is Your Dog Licensed?
Did you know that all dogs are required by law to be licensed in the City of Wichita and Sedgwick County? Most area veterinary clinics will assist you with your dog license requirement. Having a license is a sign of responsible pet ownership!

For more information, please contact a local veterinary clinic, City of Wichita Animal Control at 316-350-3360, or Sedgwick County Animal Control at 316-660-7070.
Frontiers in Flight Open House
Next Month
McConnell Air Force Base is hosting its Frontiers in Flight open house and air show the weekend of Sept. 8 - 9. Watch performances by the Thunderbirds, Tora Tora Tora, demos and flybys, and many more! Additional event details can be found at www.frontiersinflight.com
County to Participate in Chili Cook-Off
This year Sedgwick County is partnering with The Kitchen for the 2018 Wagonmasters Downtown Chili Cook-Off. Find our booth on Saturday, Sept. 22 and enjoy some delicious chili! 
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 Interim Strategic Communications Director:
Tania Cole, 316-660-9370
525 N. Main, Ste 315, Wichita, KS 67203 
 
Contact Public Information Officer:
Kate Flavin, 316-660-9370
525 N. Main, Ste 315, Wichita, KS 67203