Vol. 1, Issue 9                                                                            December  2016
Dear friend,

As we wrap up another calendar year, we have much to reflect upon. It is hard to believe another year is almost gone. Working together, we have accomplished many great things in Sedgwick County this last year. Our work is not done yet and there is more to do next year. But for now, I want to take the time to say thank you. 

Thank you for giving me this privilege to serve you. I take this responsibility very seriously and I hope you are aware of some of the great accomplishments made in Sedgwick County in 2016.  For example, Sedgwick County funded and started construction on the new Sedgwick County Law Enforcement Training  Center after 17 years of indecision. It was great to reach an agreement with Wichita on an agreement for the Sedgwick County Fire District #1 to have fire-training access at the Regional Fire Training Center. Commissioners opened the new Sedgwick County Tag Office which also has been discussed for about 17 years. We also finally consolidated and merged the Wichita and County MABCD and MAPD offices after decades of vision. We started rebuilding one of the most dangerous Interstate interchanges in Kansas, namely the Kellogg and I-235 exchange. We revamped and streamlined our Comcare Detox and Mental Health Services into a one-stop operation and further established a charitable organization arm of Comcare.  We made significant enhancements in our Public Safety services including 911, EMS, DA, and Sheriff. A few months ago, we broke ground on another brand new EMS post. And in May, the community celebrated the opening of the 3rd largest Elephant Exhibit in the nation. As result, the Sedgwick County Zoo is experiencing record level attendance and revenue this year. Anyway, I hope you will agree with me that Sedgwick County is moving in the right direction. I am proud to live here and call this amazing county my home.  

As I continue to learn about our community, I am ever impressed at the sacrificial giving and friendliness most people who live here. Please continue this year to give generously to those with great needs. And finally, please spend some time this holiday season reflecting on the blessings we usually take for granted. Have a safe and joyous December.

Regulations Should Make Sense
The Board of County Commissioners has been working on several issues relating to sensible deregulation of certain codes and standards in Sedgwick County. Rest assured that the safety and security of our citizens is a high priority for the commission and these decisions do not affect that. 

The most recent decision centered on lowering stormwater quality standards.  If you have had flood damage this year or know someone that has, this might alarm you. You ask, why would we lower the quality standards on stormwater now? Will this increase the risk of future flooding? The answer is no, it will not. The fact is, stormwater quality and stormwater quantity are unrelated. 

Quality only refers to the pollutants or particles that are picked up in the stormwater. Quantity refers to the amount of stormwater collecting in streams and ponds that threaten our community with flooding.  There is no correlation between particles in the water and flooding. 

Reducing the regulation on stormwater quality puts us back in strict compliance with state and federal guidelines, nothing more, nothing less. 

An expanded stormwater quality code was adopted in November 2010. The primary reason this regulation was expanded was to simplify knowing whether a property was under the regulation or not. It was not expanded because the decision makers believed that more stormwater quality regulation would reduce flooding. 

We have technology today that can easily show whether certain properties are in the urbanized area and therefore under federal water quality guidelines. Historically, only about 10 applicants in the unincorporated area would approach the county in a typical year asking for permission to build something where this regulation comes into play. 

Most of the particulates or pollutants in the stormwater come from agricultural land which has always been exempt from these regulations. Reducing the regulation in the non-agricultural unincorporated area of the county will have a negligible effect on the amount of particles in the water. 

Again, smart governance means not expanding burdensome regulations needlessly. Our regulations must have purpose. Since we have no data that connects particles in the water to flooding, why would we arbitrarily expand these regulations for simplicity? That’s not a good reason when people’s private property rights are being limited especially when the regulation does not actually help anything. 

Please let me know what you think. 
COMCARE Offers Look Inside New Facility
This week Sedgwick County opened its doors on the COMCARE Community Crisis Center at 635 N. Main.  This one-stop facility offers crisis mental health and crisis substance (drug and alcohol abuse) addiction services through a partnership with the Substance Abuse Center of Kansas (SACK).  Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services Secretary Tim Keck spoke at the event along with Chairman Howell and a family member of someone who has received COMCARE services. 
Get Rid of your Turkey Grease - Safely!

Safely dispose the oil used to fry your Thanksgiving turkey at the Sedgwick County Household Hazardous Waste Facility, 801 Stillwell. This free service helps prevent hazardous material from polluting the environment. Click here for more information.

The facility is open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturdays.

A New Tool for Financial Transparency

Sedgwick County’s Open Finance initiative includes two website applications – Open Spending and Open BudgetOpen Spending allows the public to search and review Sedgwick County government's revenues and expenditures for the current year (updated weekly) and previous five years. Users can identify revenues and expenditures by category, fund, functional area or vendor, and can view a summary of any single transaction. Open Budget allows the public to see how actual expenses and revenues compare to planned revenues and expenses. Open Budget also includes information on larger Capital Improvement projects.

Christmas Tree Drop-off Locations Offered

Sedgwick County is partnering with different locations to allow residents the opportunity to safely dispose of their Christmas trees post-holiday.  Be sure to follow Sedgwick County on social media for reminders about drop-off locations and to find one near you!

County Offices to Close for Holidays
Sedgwick County offices will be closed for Christmas on Monday, Dec. 26 and for New Year’s Day on Monday, Jan. 2. Emergency services will be available by calling 9-1-1. 
Contact Commissioner Jim Howell:
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