Vol. 3, Issue 7                                        July 2018
It's Budget Season!
The budget process is getting close to the end now. We plan to adopt the final budget on August 15th. These last few weeks, commissioners have had opportunities to dissect and study the details of the County Manager’s budget proposal. Like many other things in life, there is never such a thing as a perfect budget. The manager does his level-best to talk with the commissioners and offer what he thinks represents the overall goals and desires of the commission. Obviously, some of the details in the proposed budget will need pubic discussion and possible adjustments. Overall however, I think the manager’s recommended budget is pretty close to where we’ll end up.  

Nevertheless, as a taxpayer of Sedgwick County, you have an opportunity to weigh in with any questions or concerns you may have. We want to know what you think and what changes you would like to see. I encourage you to take advantage of all the ways available for you to publicly voice your opinion or to simply reach out to me personally with thoughts or concerns. We will have our second and final public hearing on this budget Thursday, August 9th at 6 p.m. in the commission chambers (525 N. Main, Wichita). 

This budget as a whole is well balanced. It funds enhancements to public safety, 911 and EMS. It adds required security to the election office. This budget focuses more dollars in mental health and health department services. Much needed software upgrades for many departments are also funded in this budget. Finally, it recognizes our tremendous employees with $6.5 million for raises to attract and retain talent. 

Just like a personal budget, the County’s priorities are reflected in the spending plan. The County continues to do a great job keeping infrastructure and public safety at the top. Next to that, I think community services that impact community mental health as well as substance abuse and addictions have become much more important. Quality of life is also prioritized in this budget. We are pleased to have a great relationship with the Sedgwick County Zoo and Exploration Place and it’s great to see them both thrive under the multi-year funding agreements unanimously supported by the commission in the last couple of years. 

One area of concern is the lack of promised funding for a number of senior centers throughout the county. I have been advocating for the County to keep its word since the beginning of my term. The level of funding is supposed to be determined by performance measures accomplished by the various centers. Unfortunately, each year there has been a political disagreement among my colleagues on whether the County should provide full-funding according to the agreement. Once again, I am fighting for our Sedgwick County seniors and the centers that are working so hard to help keep our seniors both safe and independent in their homes as long as possible. What you think about this issue?

I look forward to hearing from you,

Commissioner Jim Howell
Bulky Waste Coupon Begins Aug. 1 
On August 1 Sedgwick County residents will be eligible to use a bulky waste coupon to dispose up to 1,000 pounds of bulky waste for free. Bulky waste may include furniture, rugs or carpet, toilets, showers and bathtubs, swing sets, tree limbs, and large appliances. The deadline to use the coupon is October 24. To apply for the coupon you can call 316-660-7200 or fill out an application on the Sedgwick County website under Environmental Resources. 
Sheriff’s Office Receives AAA Community Traffic Safety Award 
The Sheriff’s Office has been given the AAA Community Traffic Safety Award for the fifth year. AAA Community Traffic Safety Awards honors police and sheriff departments around the state for their commitment to traffic safety practices and programs. The program is conducted in cooperation with the Kansas Department of Transportation, Law Enforcement Liaisons, The Kansas State Sheriff’s Association and the Kansas Association of Chiefs of Police.
Sedgwick County Fire Receives Donations
Fire District 1 received an unsolicited anonymous donation of $5,216.08. They also received an unsolicited donation of $100 from Joan Graf-Tibbals. Denise and Phil Kline-Neubauer have had their house saved by firefighters three different times, to show their gratitude for the work firefighters do they provided lunch, music, and 600 pillows for SCFD1 firefighters, which were donated from My Pillow. 
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.235kelloggcentral.com and include:

  • Westbound US 54 is back to three lane traffic as the right lane is now open. 
Projects in District 5
Road construction on 87 th S. between Webb and Greenwich
  • Construction is ongoing. Expect completion in early August

Road construction on 73 rd S and 139 th W. near Cook Airfield
  • Asphalt paving expected to be completed in early August 
Crack Sealing select county roads
  • Roads open to traffic but expect significant delays
2019 Budget Reminder
The 2019 Recommended Budget, which includes $419,042,893 for Sedgwick County and $20,487, 728 for Sedgwick County Fire District 1 for a total of $439,530,621 will be adopted on August 16. There will be in-person public hearings at 9 a.m. on Wednesday, July 25 and at 6 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 9. There will also be a social media town hall at noon on Thursday, Aug. 2. An online forum is available at www.sedgwickcounty.org or via the Sedgwick County mobile app. 
  County sells Greyhound Park at Auction
Lange Realty presented two tracts of land owned by Sedgwick County at auction on July 17. These two tracts make up what is known as the Wichita Greyhound Park.

Tract 1 is 82 acres of commercial land with leased properties through 2039. This is what the Wichita Greyhound Park buildings and parking lot sit on. The winning bid of Tract 1 went to Mr. Phil Ruffin for $1.6 million.

Tract 2 is 34.86 acres of commercial land off of I-135. Mr. Johnny Stevens won the bid for Tract 2 for $150,000.

Sedgwick County Commission Chairman David Dennis commended the process stating he was, “thrilled with the sale of these two properties. I look forward to seeing this area develop in the future under the ownership of Mr. Ruffin and Mr. Stevens.”

These two entities will assume ownership of their respective properties upon closing, on or before August 17, 2018. Sedgwick County has owned these two tracts for decades.  
New License Plate Process Announced
The State of Kansas announced it will implement changes to the new license plate delivery process beginning August 15, 2018. Residents who wish to tag a newly purchased vehicle can register it at one of the Sedgwick County tag offices then the official metal plate will be mailed to the individual from the State within 10 business days.

If a resident does not receive their tag in 10 days, they should contact the Kansas Department of Revenue at 785-296-3621. The attached poster will be given to all Sedgwick County residents who register a newly purchased vehicle. 
COMCARE and USD 259 Selected for Mental Health Intervention Pilot Program 
Recently, Commissioners approved a funding agreement with USD 259 and COMCARE in the amount of $1,029,000 for mental health services provided to children and their families. This is part of a mental health intervention pilot program funded by the 2018 State Legislature. The program will be in six school districts and community mental health centers in Kansas including USD 259 and COMCARE.

The goal of the program is to improve the social-emotional wellness and outcomes for students by increasing schools’ access to mental health treatment providers. This one year pilot program will have a team of a school liaison employed by the school district, master level clinicians/therapists, and bachelor level case managers employed by COMCARE.

“This is a great opportunity provided by our Legislature,” said Commission Chairman David Dennis. “I am glad that this program will help bring mental health treatment to students and families in Wichita schools.”

In Wichita, COMCARE will embed teams within 22 of the USD 259 district schools and will be staffed by 34 clinicians/therapists along with 45 case managers. Their projected goal is to serve 800 students within the first year. Funding from the State General Fund will be used to serve those without insurance or are underinsured. COMCARE will bill for services through Medicaid or commercial insurance when available.

COMCARE will begin hiring additional staff members in July and the program will begin in August.
Fight the Bite this Summer
Fight the bite this summer and protect yourself against mosquitos. Sedgwick County Division of Health suggests following the three Ds to avoid mosquito bites this summer. Drain standing water; the insects breed in standing water. Use mosquito dunks or mosquito-eating fish in ponds and stagnant water. Use insect repellent that contains DEET; this offers the best protection against mosquito bites. Dress appropriately: wear loose-fitting clothing when outdoors, especially at dawn or dusk when the insects are most active.

Mosquitos can cause serious health problems and spread diseases like West Nile Virus to humans and animals. For more information about West Nile Virus and mosquito bite prevention, contact the Division of Health at (316) 660-7300 or visit www.sedgwickcounty.org
County Fire on Social Media
Sedgwick County Fire District 1 is on Facebook! This new platform will help the Fire District communicate and interact with residents in a new way. Click here to like and follow the new page .
Evening Reporting Center Now Open
On July 13, the Division of Corrections held an open house on their newly remodeled Evening Reporting Center from on July 13. The Juvenile Residential Facility is a place for youth to live while waiting for court, home-based supervision and/or placement. The facility can house up to 24 you between the ages of 10 to 18. Here the clients can wear their own clothes, have families come and visit, and earn fun prizes such as X-Boxes and gift cards for good behavior!  
 Primary Election - Aug. 7
Primary Election Day is just around the corner! Polling sites will be open on August 7 from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. To find out where your polling location is click here.
 NCAA Basketball returning in 2022
Commissioners and County leaders attended a press conference announcing INTRUST Bank Arena will host the Women’s NCAA Basketball Regional Rounds in 2022!
As the top outdoor family attraction in the State, the mission of the Sedgwick County Zoo is to inspire discovery, appreciation, and respect for animals and nature. It is home to 3,000 animals and nearly 400 species. The Reed Family Elephants of the Zambezi River Valley exhibit is the third largest elephant habitat in the United States. 
Exploration Place, Kansas’ premier science center, inspires a deeper interest in science through creative and fun experiences for people of all ages. Through its permanent and travelling exhibits, education programs, Digital Dome Theater films and special events, visitors can enjoy learning about science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. For example, the all-new, 5,100 square foot Design Build Fly exhibit celebrates our community’s aviation industry. Visitors encounter dozens of hands-on activities that focus on manufacturing and engineering to reveal what happens behind-the-scenes in our aircraft plants.   
The Kansas African American Museum endeavors to make the Kansas African American experience resonant with EVERY Kansan. Located in the venerable Calvary Baptist Church, visitors may expand their knowledge and understanding of the Kansas African American story. 
Residents and visitors can gain an understanding of our community and cultural heritage at the Wichita – Sedgwick County Historical Museum. By collecting, preserving, and interpreting materials which reflect the area’s heritage visitors can experience different facets that shaped the community we live in today.  
County Information
Contact  Commissioner Jim Howel l: 
525 N. Main, Ste 320, Wichita, KS 67203
Contact Interim Strategic Communications Director:
Tania Cole, 316-660-9370
525 N. Main, Ste 343, Wichita, KS 67203 
Contact Public Information Officer:
Kate Flavin, 316-660-9370
525 N. Main, Ste 343, Wichita, KS 67203