Daily Archives: Dec. 15, 2010

Brownback to announce his pick for the Office of Administration

TOPEKA – Gov.-elect Sen. Sam Brownback will announce his pick for secretary of administration on Thursday morning.

The nominee will also oversee the Office of the Repealer, which Brownback promised to create during his campaign. The office will recommend eliminating statues and regulations that have “out-lived their original function, are in conflict with one another, or simply do not make sense.”

The Kansas Department of Administration oversees the state budget, state buildings — including those under lease — and other activities such as printing, computer services and purchasing.

The nominee must be confirmed by the Kansas Senate.

KDHE to hold meetings about smoke management plans Thursday

TOPEKA – The Department of Health and Environment will hold a meeting to discuss the Flint Hills Smoke Management Plan and answer questions on Thursday in Wichita.

The meeting will be 10 a.m. at the Sedgwick County Extension Education Center, 7001 W. 21st St. North, Wichita. It will include a presentation by KDHE and time for questions.

Nine cities that paid jail fees from start will get refund

The nine cities that paid an hourly fee Sedgwick County began charging in 2008 to house inmates in jail on municipal charges will get an 85 percent refund, commissioners decided today.

Staff had recommended refunding 80 percent of what those cities paid, or about $112,000 altogether. But a majority of commissioners today supported refunding 85 percent of the fees.

The county sued several cities, including Wichita, that refused to pay the fees. Those cities eventually settled to pay back fees from 2008 and 2009 at 26 to 37 percent of what they owed.

All cities have agreed to pay at 100 percent starting this year.

The city of Wichita recently settled at 37 percent, paying what it owed with land it has deeded to the county.

No push for voter approval of tax increases by county

After some confusion about Roberts Rules of Order from the bench, Sedgwick County commissioners have voted for a legislative agenda that does not include pushing for voter approval of any tax increases that raise the mill levy.

Commissioners Tim Norton, Dave Unruh and Gwen Welshimer voted for the platform without the measure. Commissioners Kelly Parks and Karl Peterjohn voted against the legislative agenda without it.

Unruh said voters elect officials to make decisions for them about how to best run the county. Welshimer said she has worked to reduce property taxes but concluded, after voters in her district did not re-elect her, that lower taxes were not important to her constituents. Wichita City Council member Jim Skelton, a Republican, won the District 5 seat, which represents parts of south Wichita and Derby and Mulvane.

Commissioners heard from several speakers who spoke in support of asking for voter approval of tax increases.

Commissioner debating legislative agenda

Sedgwick County commissioners are debating next year’s legislative agenda with some disagreement about whether to push for voter approval of tax increases that would raise the mill levy.

Board members Dave Unruh and Gwen Welshimer have spoken out against including that component in the legislative agenda. Welshimer said she has worked to lower property taxes for residents but concluded, after she lost her re-election bid, that residents in her district don’t feel that’s important.

With motions and subsequent motions, commissioners have gotten tangled up in procedure and are taking a 10-minute break.

Commissioners approve art garden plans

Sedgwick County commissioners this morning approved an art garden at Sedgwick County Park, agreeing to set aside land for the project and giving the go-ahead for the artists’ vision.

The artists plan to raise $250,000 privately for the project, which will feature a solar-lunar astronomical calendar made from about 100 pieces of native limestone.

With commissioners’ vote today, the county agreed to build a path compliant under the Americans with Disabilities Act to the art garden and to maintain the garden.

Sedgwick County commissioners to discuss refund of some jail fees to cities

Sedgwick County commissioners will meet at 9 a.m. today with a full agenda that will include a discussion about whether to refund about $112,000 to nine cities.

The county began charging cities an hourly fee in 2008 to house inmates in jail on only municipal charges. Nine cities paid immediately; others refused, and the county sued. Two cities did not incur any charges.

Those that refused to pay eventually settled with the county, paying amounts equal to 26 percent to 37 percent of what they owed for 2008 and 2009.

Commissioners want to refund 80 percent of fees paid by the cities that paid from the start, saying it’s the equitable way to do business.

The commission meets in its chambers on the third floor of the courthouse, 525 N. Main. Meetings are open to the public.