My first six months as chairman of the Board of County Commissioners have been very busy! The commission has implemented many great changes for the community.
Building Code Regulations: We approved updates to the unified building code which reduced the regulatory burden for construction and home owners.
Voter Empowerment: Throughout the legislative session, Sedgwick County championed legislative changes to the local property tax lid. The election provisions are now workable thus empowering the voice of the voters.
COMCARE Nonprofit: We began a public-private partnership to support COMCARE. This nonprofit entity will be to expand public awareness of COMCARE's services, promote volunteerism, act as a fundraising arm to support COMCARE's services, and to utilize private sector expertise in the operation of the organization.
Debt Policy and Mill Levy: We amended our debt policy to limit the amount of debt Sedgwick County can incur from 20 percent to nine percent. Commissioners also agreed to set a target mill levy rate essentially freezing the current tax rate through 2022.
Public Safety Training: Sedgwick County and the City of Wichita agreed to move forward on building a new joint law enforcement training center on WSU’s Innovation Campus. As the Governing Body of Fire District No. 1, we also voted to enter into an agreement with the City of Wichita for joint training opportunities at Wichita’s Regional Fire Training Center. Now, the two Chiefs can work together to promote training at the facility and strengthen our partnership.
Tag Office: The main tag office has found a new location at 2525 W. Douglas. This fantastic location allows for more customers and updated amenities.
Elephants: The zoo welcomed six elephants from Swaziland earlier this year. Sedgwick County donated half of the $10.6 million needed to develop this wonderful exhibit.
Juvenile Justice: The Judge Riddel’s Boy and Girls Alternative Program had its first graduation this year. This program replaced the former boys’ ranch at Lake Afton. The program is successfully helping medium and high risk juvenile offenders engage life opportunities and further keep them from incarceration.
Openness: New opportunities exist for you to engage your commissioners. In-district evening meetings and eNewsletters give you a chance to directly hear from us and engage us personally.
Watch my six month report on Sedgwick County’s YouTube channel. There’s more great county news on the horizon so stay tuned to see how we are working for you!