Daily Archives: April 13, 2010

Sheriff: Jail consultant’s e-mail ‘deceptive’

jailinmatepicSedgwick County Sheriff Robert Hinshaw says a jail consultant’s e-mail telling commissioners that he would not share information was “deceptive.”

He e-mailed commissioners about his concern Tuesday, a day before commissioners were to vote on whether to allow Justice Concepts Inc. to continue its work on jail overcrowding and pay it about $46,167 remaining on its  $124,616 contract.

Hinshaw pointed to a Sept. 23 e-mail The Wichita Eagle obtained in which consultant Nancy Insco told commissioners Kelly Parks and Gwen Welshimer “the sheriff, despite his vow to work with me, has now returned to his allegiance with the remainder of the staff. He will not now communicate with me, nor has not shared his presentation (9/15) with me nor the new recent budget request.”

Hinshaw said he had not seen that e-mail until The Eagle’s Web site, www.kansas.com, published it online. Read More »

City hires HDR to review water finances and aquifer recharge project

watering The future of Wichita’s marquee water supply project is in the hands of HDR Engineering Inc., an Omaha-based firm with vast experience on water projects.

City council members unanimously approved a contract worth up to $185,000 this afternoon with very little discussion. (See The Eagle’s prior coverage.)

Over the next 30 days, HDR will try to answer perhaps the most difficult question in City Hall:  How can the city ensure adequate water for the next 50 years without piling double-digit rate increases on regional water users every year for the foreseeable future? Read More »

Decision on more money for downtown development is on hold

Exchange Place

Exchange Place

The future of a $51 million downtown development remains up in the air.

Wichita City Council members today put off decision on whether to give prominent downtown developers, Real Development, $2.3 million more in tax increment financing.

The council plans to vote next on the increase next week after a third party appraiser is hired to reevaluate how much property tax the project can generate. It’s unclear who that third party will be.

The deferral came after more than two hours of complicated and, at times, confusing dialog between council members, developers and those who oppose the project.

Council member Janet Miller said that the big question is whether the project can generate $2 million more than initially planned by adding more apartments that would become condos and increasing the amount of public parking in the high-tech garage developers plan on.

“I think the project itself, at face value, is a good project,” Miller said.

Want more background? Check our previous post with links to even more Eagle coverage.

Child Advocacy Center working toward national accreditation

The Child Advocacy Center of Sedgwick County is working toward national accreditation, which will enable it to apply for federal grants.

The center’s executive director, Diana Schunn, updated county commissioners this morning about how the center is working to stay open and help more children.

The center aims to help child abuse victims and their families during the process of investigation, including interviews by law enforcement.

The county is helping fund the center, which had hoped to operate without government funding.

Jeff Longwell is the new vice mayor

Longwell

Longwell

Last year, Wichita City Council members used a secret ballot to elect Jim Skelton as vice mayor in a 4-3 vote and violated the open meetings act.

Not the case this year. Mayor Carl Brewer asked the city clerk to read their ballots out loud and say who voted for who. Everyone picked Jeff Longwell, who is the most senior council member who has not yet been vice mayor.

Vice mayor is a mostly ceremonial position in Wichita. The vice mayor leads meetings when the mayor is gone and often stands in for the mayor at ribbon cuttings and other public events.