Sedgwick County Commission to start reduced-meeting schedule

Sedgwick County commissioners’ new schedule of one fewer meeting a month goes into effect next week.

As a cost-savings measure, commissioners agreed during budget hearings last year to not meet the last week of every month. The move will save the county about $10,000 a year in its contract with KPTS, which broadcasts commission meetings to the public.

“We didn’t factor in the intangible costs,” county communications director Kristi Zukovich said Monday. “What we calculated was air time and closed captioning.”

Not meeting also will free up staff one Wednesday a month. Staff appear at commission meetings to make presentations about grants, staffing changes, new programs and other matters.

Commissioners still will meet with staff every week. The board meets at 9 a.m. Tuesdays with staff and then as a commission at 9 a.m. Wednesdays.

The Wichita City Council doesn’t meet the fifth Tuesday of the month.

Commissioner Jim Skelton, who will take over as chairman of the board next week, said “the possibility does exist that we will have longer meetings.”

He said he thought the commission could get its business done with one less meeting a month.

Commissioner Dave Unruh said “the total amount of savings doesn’t amount to much, but it seemed like it was one thing we could do to try to squeeze down the budget.”

The reduced schedule was suggested during budget hearings. County Manager William Buchanan noted that the commission sometimes canceled a weekly meeting because the board would not have a quorum due to outside meetings, other commitments and vacations.

Commission meetings and staff meetings are open to the public. Both take place on the third floor of the courthouse, 525 N. Main.