Vol. 1, Issue 2                                                                                       May  2016
How Your Sedgwick County Commissioners are Working for You
I am truly excited about all the great things happening in Sedgwick County. Over and over I hear from you about how important it is to have efficient, well run government services. Knowing how your taxpayer dollars are being used and maximized for the greatest potential is crucial in understanding how our county works and what resources we provide.  You want your government to live within its means just like you.  

Just a few weeks ago, the Board of County Commissioners voted in a new debt policy. For decades the county has had a debt limit of 20%, thankfully, the county has never accepted that level of debt. We have at times operated above 14% however. The new policy states that our new debt authority is now limited to 9% and in 2019, it will be further reduced to 8%. 

 Additionally, a new resolution set a maximum mill levy (equal with this year’s rate) for the next 6 years and then in 2023, it will be reduced by 0.601 mills. These two steps encourage improved fiscal health and ensure that we cannot tax and spend at a higher rate in the future. 

While updating building codes, we took the opportunity to reduce the regulatory burden of government in 70 different areas, choosing to allow more freedom and personal responsibility.  

Finally, an EMS post in Park City which has been in partial use since Fire District #1’s departure was scheduled to be completely rebuilt.  The original recommended action to build an entirely new building would have cost the taxpayers more than $2 million and required more debt.  Our staff carefully looked at all available options. Instead, we chose to repair and update the existing station for about $400,000 which is $200,000 less than what the interest alone would have been with a new station. 

These kinds of actions- spending within our budget, lowering the tax burden, reducing burdensome regulations, and implementing creative cost saving solutions are exactly what I promised I would do when running for this commission seat.  I continue to be committed to keeping to these principles. I look forward to sharing even more good things with you in the future. 

Please remember that while controversy helps the media make money, good news rarely does. I am always willing to have a respectful discussion about county issues.  

I will also be attending a Public Health Sister Cities site visit in Tulsa later this month. Through this visit, I hope to learn more about Tulsa's public health strategy and see if we can incorporate some of their successful programs into our own Health Department.  
Commissioners Attend IHOP Opening
This week, Chairman Jim Howell and Commissioner Tim Norton welcomed a new IHOP while attending a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the I-135 and 47th St. interchange in Wichita.   Thanks to our partners at the City of Wichita for sharing this photo!
County Supports Law Enforcement
Saturday, April 23, Sedgwick County participated in the Support Local Law Enforcement parade.   Chairman Jim Howell, Commissioner Karl Peterjohn, and County Manager Mike Scholes walked in the parade along with many Sedgwick County employees. 

Commission Establishes School Speed Zone
Commissioners established a school zone limit of 40 miles per hour on 143rd Street East from 700 feet north of Pawnee to a point 2900 feet north of Pawnee in front of Christa McAuliffe Academy.  The school zone limit will be effective only on days school is in session and only during the times when students are en route to and from school. 

The Sedgwick County Engineer erected traffic control devices giving notice of the school zone speed limit.  All law enforcement officers with jurisdiction in Sedgwick County has authority to enforce the school zone speed limit.  Your cooperation is greatly appreciated as we work to ensure the safety of our children.   
Sedgwick County Saves $1.6 Million on EMS Post
Sedgwick County Commissioners voted to renovate an existing EMS post rather than build new.  The original proposal for a new EMS Post was projected to cost over $2 million but by renovating a current county facility the costs were kept to just over $400,000.  Commissioner Ranzau who recently toured the facility commented, "by doing this instead of building a new facility and borrowing money we're going to save the tax payers about $1.6 million." 

The post in Park City is a combined use facility for EMS, Emergency Management vehicles and storage, and Sheriff's Office large vehicles.  The facility has been in partial use since Fire District 1's departure from the facility, placing maintenance on hold until the recent decision to renovate.   Click here to watch the video.  
Severe Weather Season -- Are You Ready? 
Severe weather season has hit Sedgwick County. It’s no secret that our community would like rain but do you know what to do in the event that a light rain shower turns into something more severe? 

Sedgwick County Emergency Management has developed some tools to help you and your family prepare for severe weather.

Make a Plan - Involve your family members in developing a plan, then remember to post the plan somewhere everyone can see the details.   Discuss the dangers of fire, severe weather, hazardous materials spills, floods and other emergencies.   Talk about the ways in which you will respond to each situation.  Identify two ways out of each room in your home. Talk about where your family will meet if you have to evacuate. Teach children how and when to call 9-1-1.

Build  a Disaster Kit – This kit should include a three day supply of food and water for every family member, a complete change of clothes and footwear for each person, battery operated/ non-electronic tools and supplies, and a first aid kit. Include copies of your important documents like birth certificates, social security cards, and insurance information. Don’t forget about your pets and their needs!

Stay Informed – In emergency situations such as severe weather, flooding, and other disasters, Sedgwick County Emergency Management will be able to report information and developments to the Emergency Operations Center (EOC). This information will be posted to the Emergency Log. NOAA Weather Radio, local television and radio stations, and social media are other methods to help you stay informed. Be sure to like and follow Sedgwick County to get up to date information about local government and emergencies in our area! 

More details about emergency preparedness can be found on our website
Work Zone Awareness
You may have noticed an increase in road construction on your regular commutes.  Many cities, counties, and states across the United States have started road construction projects that may impact travel plans.  It is important to practice safe driving particularly when driving through work zones. 

Last year, according to the Kansas Department of Transportation (KDOT) there was an average of four work zone crashes every day in Kansas resulting in four deaths.  The number one reason for work zone crashes is inattention.  It is trailed by following too close and driving too fast for the conditions among a few others. 

This spring and summer, please use caution and remember the following tips when driving through work zones: 
  • Stay alert and watch for workers
  • Follow traffic control and obey the posted speed limit
  • Allow plenty of space between vehicles – don’t tailgate
  • Be patient and expect delays

Sedgwick County Public Works tracks these County projects and you can find out more information on the department’s website
Attend the 9-1-1 Citizen's Academy on May 21st!

Sedgwick County Emergency Communications gives residents opportunities to experience the emergency system from a call-taker's perspective through the 9-1-1 Citizen's Academy. Residents who participate will get an inside look at the system, listen to live 9-1-1 calls and radio traffic, and observe dispatch operations. Classes are offered quarterly. Sign up to participate in the next 9-1-1 Citizen's Academy by May 7, 2016. Click here for 9-1-1 education opportunities. 

525 N. Main, Ste 320, Wichita, KS 67203

Contact Interim Public Information Officer:
Kate Flavin, 316-660-9370
525 N. Main, Ste 343, Wichita, KS 67203

Contact Corporate Communications Manager:
Jill Tinsley, 316-660-9370
525 N. Main, Ste 343, Wichita, KS 67203