Daily Archives: Oct. 6, 2010

County commissioners vote that grocery store TIF would adversely affect county

Sedgwick County commissioners voted unanimously that a tax increment financing district for a grocery store in Planeview would have an adverse effect on the county.

Commissioners heard from several residents who were against supporting the TIF district, which was tentatively approved by the city recently. Residents said developer Rob Snyder would have an unfair advantage over the owners of ethnic grocery stores that serve the area.

Commissioner Gwen Welshimer appeared to change her mind during testimony. She said she felt torn because Planeview residents struggle with transportation issues and deserve a new grocery store. But she also said that she typically has not supported such financing, which diverts a portion of property taxes to the developers.

Read more in Thursday’s Eagle.

Sedgwick County’s incarceration rate higher than national rate

Sedgwick County’s incarceration rate is higher than the national rate, a Wichita State University professor told commissioners this morning.

Delores Craig-Moreland, an associate professor of criminal justice at WSU, said that by 2004, the county’s incarceration rate exceeded the national rate by 16 percent. From 2004 to 2008, the national incarceration rate rose by 6 percent while it rose by 11 percent here, she said.

In 2008, the incarceration rate per 100,000 residents nationally was 258 and 318 in Sedgwick County.

“It continues to rise,” Craig-Moreland said, adding that the “main contributing factor is legislation that makes certain crimes” punishable by time in jail.

Stay on Kansas.com for updates.

Commissioner: If you can use a cell phone, you can fly a personal aircraft

A Sedgwick County commissioner running for re-election is making a presentation this morning about her idea to jumpstart the area’s economy by getting into the personal aircraft industry.

She said anyone who can use a cell phone can operate such aircraft.

Commissioner Gwen Welshimer said no place is better suited to engineer and build planes that can fold up and be stored in a garage than the Air Capital of the World.

With the area suffering hundreds of layoffs in recent weeks, Welshimer said, it’s time to “walk through new doors.”

A Democrat, Welshimer said the community needs to think ahead to its future.

“These are not normal times. Can we be innovative in Sedgwick County?” she asked.

Welshimer requested that the county’s communications department send out copies of her plan to the media.

Commissioner Kelly Parks said even new subdivisions are thinking about putting in runways at houses. He said Welshimer was ahead of her time. He said it was a great idea for the county to “get in on the ground floor” of the industry.

He said it’s a good thing that Comcare, the county’s mental health agency, didn’t exist when the Wright Brothers were innovating because people thought they were “crazy” too.

“I think the work Commissioner Welshimer has done on this is great,” Parks said.

Commissioner Karl Peterjohn said the county needs to create a positive environment for entrepreneurs to realize their dreams. He said it’s not government’s skill set to pick “losers and winners.”

Commissioners to discuss tax district for Planeview grocery store

Sedgwick County commissioners today will discuss a proposed tax increment financing district for a grocery store in Planeview.

They also will hear from board member Gwen Welshimer, who is running for re-election, about her plan to jump-start the area’s economy by bringing companies that build personal aircraft.

A representative from the Criminal Justice Coordinating Council also will make a report to the board.

The commission begins meeting at 9 a.m. in its chambers on the third floor of the courthouse, 525 N. Main. The meeting is open to the public.