Politics & Government

Jim Howell: Core services at heart of Sedgwick County Commission’s mission

Jim Howell, chairman of the Sedgwick County Commission
Jim Howell, chairman of the Sedgwick County Commission File photo

At Sedgwick County, our mission is to assure quality public services that provide for the present and future well-being of the citizens of Sedgwick County.

Over the last year, we have worked to identify our core public services, as we see increasing demands for service and flat sources of revenue. As we work through 2016 and plan for our 2017 budget, we will continue to focus on establishing our core services that we can provide within our resources.

Sedgwick County will begin a 2017 budget process soon, working toward our budget adoption in August, which helps us to evaluate the citizens’ priorities for public safety, infrastructure, human services and quality of life. I know that our citizens expect us to be judicious with their tax dollars – and we take that responsibility seriously. I encourage you to follow our budget discussions and to provide your input as we move through the process.

We have several exciting projects coming to fruition in 2016 ensuring better service delivery and improving the lives of our citizens.

▪ The Sedgwick County treasurer will have a larger, central tag office to serve citizens. The renovation of the 2525 W. Douglas building will be complete by late spring.

▪ The completion of the consolidation of the Metropolitan Area Building and Construction Department and the Metropolitan Area Planning Department into the 271 building is expected this fall.

▪ Work on the Kellogg and I-235 interchange has begun. We stepped up to be a partner with the Kansas Department of Transportation in Phase I, so we can leverage the support of state tax dollars to get this massive project underway.

▪ The Sedgwick County Election Office recently conducted an open house and public demonstration of proposed voting equipment. The new voting equipment being considered for purchase will be implemented for 2017 elections.

▪ The new elephant exhibit, with six new elephants on their way to the Sedgwick County Zoo, has a highly anticipated grand opening scheduled for May.

▪ We’re currently in the design phase to expand Fire District 1 Station 36 to make room for a new EMS station to serve southeast Sedgwick County.

▪ We are finally making progress on the Law Enforcement Training Center after years of discussion with our chief partner, the city of Wichita. It’s estimated to open in late 2017.

▪ Improvements are being made to county land known as the Northeast Sedgwick County Park. An opening to the public will be coming soon.

We think it is critical to gain your trust by being transparent and available to you. We will be looking for ways to possibly hold evening meetings in the commission districts once we’ve checked into the logistics and demand for this type of meeting. Also, commission newsletters delivered straight to your inbox will begin in a few weeks. You can sign up today on our website at www.sedgwickcounty.org.

As your elected county commissioners, we are here to serve you. Please feel free to contact us at 660-9300 with your ideas on how we move our county forward. We are working for you.

Jim Howell is chairman of the Sedgwick County Commission. He can be reached at 316-660-9300 or jim.howell@sedgwick.gov.