There is more good news in Sedgwick County! Just last week, Sedgwick County celebrated another long overdue milestone. We came together to cut the ribbon on a new (to us) facility. The vision for this project started decades ago and now it’s finally open.
In 2014, Commissioners made a decision to purchase the former IRS building at 271 W. 3rd St. in Wichita. Then a few weeks ago, the commission wanted to give the building some personality and unanimously voted to name it The Ronald Reagan Building. It is perfectly located right across the street from Wichita City Hall.
This consolidated office demonstrates once again, another healthy working partnership between Sedgwick County and the City of Wichita. Co-locating Planning with Metropolitan Area Building and Construction enhances efficiency which saves taxpayer dollars as well as provides streamlined customer service for the users.
When the building was considered for purchase in 2014, the total cost for the purchase including financing, refurbishment and furnishing was estimated to be nearly $21 million. We made a choice to use existing equipment and furnishings to fill the building. We also reduced the cost of bonding by using some cash. In the end, we were able to reduce the total cost to about $10.8 million saving the difference in our Capital Improvement Project (CIP) budget.
Last week we also voted to upgrade the County Courthouse lobby to construct a place to house security lockers. This transition zone will cost about $64,000 and provides a safe place for people to lock up a personal firearm.
What I found interesting was the fact that spending $64,000 in CIP was widely reported but saving $10.2 million in CIP was not. Saving $10.2 million was a tremendous accomplishment. Spending $64,000 to enable citizens the right to protect themselves when traveling to a government facility is a great balance between citizen’s right to protect themselves and the government’s responsibility provide adequate security measures in our facilities. Taken together, we still saved about $10.15 million.
As your commissioner, I was elected to defend your Constitutional right to protect yourself and provide for your safety. I’m also doing what I can to make Sedgwick County an efficient and effective government that’s fiscally responsible.
Hopefully, you will appreciate the good news as well as my continued commitment to these principles. Let me know what you think.