Vol. 2, Issue 12                                         December 2017
There are good things happening in Sedgwick County
For more than a decade, Sedgwick County has been challenged with safely managing the growing population of jail inmates without demanding an equivalent increase in budget. Keeping your taxes low while providing excellent community services is one of my principle goals. So it brings me great satisfaction when creative people in the county successfully brainstorm innovative proposals for the organization to become more efficient or effective. 

Recently, Sedgwick County Sheriff Jeff Easter along with Corrections Director Glenda Martins and Corrections Administrator Jay Holmes developed a proposal to more fully utilize two of the county’s facilities to improve the success of the work-release program. There are two steps to the change.

First, the county will repurpose the nonoperational Sedgwick County Youth Program (SCYP) facility to become the county’s work-release building. We typically have around one hundred individuals in work-release but the facility they currently use is fitted for about 180 people. By relocating them to the SCYP building at 623 E Elm St., they will be housed in facility more closely fitted to their population and that is more efficient. Along with a new location, positive teaching such as substance abuse education, workforce development, and testing will be part of the program which we believe will make this program more effective.

Secondly, by repurposing the old work-release facility at 701 W. Harry St. to be a local jail annex will allow us to house up to 197 inmates locally that would have been transferred to out-of-county facilities. This change provides greater efficiency for the Sheriff and saves taxpayer money. Without this facility, the Sheriff must transfer up to 250 inmates to many locations as far as Meade County which is four hours away.

Last Wednesday, commissioners approved the two-step proposal and committed $1,026,981 to upgrade the facilities and implement the plan. The full transition will take between 6 to 9 months but once the transition is complete, we estimate $800,000 savings per year just in out-of-county jail housing fees. Adding in other overhead costs such as labor, fuel, and vehicle depreciation to transport inmates back and forth will make the savings closer to a million taxpayer dollars per year.

Our county is blessed to have staff that continually looks for ways to be more efficient and do the daily tasks of good government in more innovative ways. This way of thinking benefits us all as taxpayers and we are grateful. 

May you have a Blessed Christmas and a Happy New Year. 
County invests in Spirit AeroSystems expansion
Leaders from the State of Kansas, Sedgwick County, and the City of Wichita stood with Spirit AeroSystems’ President and CEO Tom Gentile as he announced plans at a press conference to significantly grow the company in Wichita. This project includes 1,000 new jobs and $1 billion in capital investment and expansion over the next five years.

The Wichita City Council and Sedgwick County Commission approved an investment of up to $14.5 million for joint ownership in a building and other required infrastructure needs.

Sedgwick County Chairman Dave Unruh said, “What a great announcement from a great company. We are so fortunate Spirit AeroSystems is a leader in this industry and in our community. Their commitment to grow here is a big win for the region and the state, and we are so pleased to be able to partner with them. It also shows that further developing our technical training capabilities, such as through our commitment to the National Center for Aviation Research more than a decade ago, was the right investment, and to reach these employment numbers, we must continue these important educational programs.”

The community is fortunate that Spirit AeroSystems’ leaders recognized the importance of the aviation ecosystem in Wichita, especially partnership with the National Center for Aviation Training at the WSU Campus of Applied Sciences and Technology and the National Institute for Aviation Research, both affiliated with Wichita State University.
 
Stay safe over the holidays with these tips from Sedgwick County Fire District 1
Members of Sedgwick County Fire District 1 want to wish you and your family a safe and happy holiday season. There were 19 house fires reported last December in Sedgwick County – most were caused by careless disposal of fire place ashes. Click on the photo for a brief video by SCFD1 for holiday safety tips.  
EMS supports U.S. Olympic team
Sedgwick County EMS participated in a flag raising ceremony on Tuesday, Nov. 28. This was to support the U.S. Olympic bobsled and skeleton teams who will compete in the 2018 Winter Olympics. First responders across the U.S. are participating in this flag relay to show teamwork and resilience. The flag is flown for one day at each location and will make its way across the country before going to South Korea for the games. 
Holiday treats at the Zoo
Animals at the Sedgwick County Zoo recently received special holiday treats. Mitch (black bear), Dora (deer), Lincoln (elk), Mallory (grizzly bear), and Jalapeno (pronghorn) especially enjoyed them.

Zoose, the resident Elf on the Shelf, was spotted getting kisses from Tao (orangutan) and hiding in C.C.’s stocking in the Downing Gorilla Forest. Thanks to the Sedgwick County Zoo for sharing these photos.
Tree recycling program offered by Environmental Resources
Once you are finished enjoying your live Christmas tree, convert it to mulch! From Friday, December 22 to Tuesday, January 23 numerous locations are offering you the opportunity to safely dispose of your Christmas tree. Remember to remove decorations and lights before dropping it off at one of the locations. Take advantage of the free mulch for your landscaping too.  
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:

  • In early January, weather permitting, steel bridge beams for the north bound I-235 ramp bridge to west bound Kellogg will be placed over traffic lanes. Detours will be used since Kellogg under I-235 and I-235 over Kellogg will be closed.
Projects in District 5
Bridge Replacement on 87th S. between Webb and Greenwich
  • Road closing next week.
  • Expected to reopen January 2018.
Commissioners celebrate new area partnership
Next fall, students attending Butler Community College can begin taking courses for an associate degree in unmanned aircraft system (UAS). Kansas State Polytechnic will teach courses in aviation, UAS, and small unmanned aircraft maintenance. Commissioner Jim Howell and Commissioner Michael O’Donnell,II attended the announcement of this new partnership earlier this week at Cook Airfield. 
We're moving!
Several Sedgwick County offices are relocating to the Ronald Reagan building at 271 W. 3rd. Follow Sedgwick County on social media for details about the relocations and a future open house. 
  • The Appraiser’s Office can be found on the 5 floor. 
  • The Division on Aging reopened to the public on Dec. 12 on the 5 floor. 
  • COMCARE administration and records moved to the 6 floor. 
  • Geographic Information Services (GIS) will move to the facility in January. 
County employees give back to community
This holiday season employees across the organization gave back to the community by supporting nonprofit organizations. The Sedgwick County Sheriff’s Office Benefit Fund filled boxes of perishable items for residents in need of assistance. They delivered food items to 600 families in two days. 

The Register of Deeds office volunteered with Salvation Army’s gift distribution on December 15. Staff guided families to each station and made sure each child left with two gifts and each family had at least one turkey. 
County offices to close for holidays
Sedgwick County offices will be closed on Monday, Dec. 25, 2017 and Monday, Jan. 1, 2018. Emergency services will be available by dialing or texting 9-1-1. Emergency Communications (9-1-1) will operate the non-emergency line this New Year’s Eve from 9:00 p.m. on Dec.31, 2017 to 1:00 a.m. on Jan. 1, 2018. Dial 660-6011 for non-emergencies (i.e. noise complaints). From our family to yours, have a happy and safe holiday season! 
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:
Keturah Austin, 316-660-9370
525 N. Main, Ste 343, Wichita, KS 67203