Daily Archives: July 22, 2009

Commissioners set mill levy at existing rate — for now

In a move that’s purely legal and likely not what Sedgwick County commissioners ultimately will pass, the board this morning voted to keep the county’s mill levy the same as it was last year — roughly 30 mills.

Under state law, by today’s decision, the county can’t raise the mill levy beyond that level but can — and likely will — make it lower.

Commissioner to 4-H’er: Don’t run for my office

In a lighter moment during this morning’s Sedgwick County commission meeting, focused on a public hearing about next year’s recommended budget, two longtime 4-H members spoke about the importance of the Extension Center.

When the two young men, 19 and 18 years old, were finished talking about how 4-H has shaped their lives, commissioner Dave Unruh commended them for their presentation, joking: “Don’t run for my office.”

That drew laughs from the audience.

Sedgwick County residents speak out against funding cut to Extension Service

In addition to speaking out against a recommendation to close the Kansas Coliseum complex, Sedgwick County residents also are urging commissioners to keep full funding for the Sedgwick County Extension Service.

County manager William Buchanan’s recommended budget for next year includes a $100,000 decrease to the Extension Service, which would cut more than half of its operating budget.

Speakers have talked about how the Extension Service’s programs help families and children. “Through the 4-H program, children learn by doing,” one of the speakers, Rocky Schmied, told commissioners.

The recommended budget also includes $100,000 cuts to Exploration Place and the Sedgwick County Zoo.

Commission chairman Kelly Parks: ‘You may be surprised’

In responding to some people who have e-mailed him to show their support for Sedgwick County manager William Buchanan, commissioner Kelly Parks has responded that they may not know all the facts.

The Eagle e-mailed Parks asking to elaborate, to which he replied “You may be surprised.”

Sources say that Parks and commissioner Gwen Welshimer hope to fire Buchanan today during an executive session after the board’s regular meeting. Neither Parks nor Welshimer have commented. The agenda for the executive session says that the board will meet for personnel matters related to non-elected staff.

Commissioner Karl Peterjohn likely would be the swing vote on a decision to fire or keep Buchanan.

About 80 people show for pavilions hearing

About 80 people have shown up at the public hearing for Sedgwick County’s recommended budget for next year, which includes a suggestion to close the entire Kansas Coliseum complex, including the pavilions.

About 35 people have signed up to speak. People in the commission’s chambers are holding brightly colored signs that say “We oppose closing the pavilions.”

The county has set up an overflow room for the crowd.

Several groups that use the pavilions have expressed their concern about losing events at the Coliseum.