Sedgwick county government

End this now. Nominate Sarah Lopez.

End this now. Nominate Sarah Lopez.

Sedgwick County Republicans have a chance to do the decent thing and avoid the spectacle of a rump county commissioner. Rump: a small or inferior remnant or offshoot especially: a group (such as a parliament) carrying on in the name of the original body after the departure or expulsion of a large number of its members (from Oxford languages) Now that the vote canvass is complete in Sedgwick County, Sarah Lopez has won the seat for Sedgwick County Commissioner, District 2. The vote count is 17,041 for Lopez and 16,777 for the incumbent Michael O'Donnell, a margin of 264 votes.…
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Intrust Bank Arena loss for 2019 nears $5 million

Intrust Bank Arena loss for 2019 nears $5 million

A truthful accounting of the finances of Intrust Bank Arena in downtown Wichita shows a large loss. The true state of the finances of the Intrust Bank Arena in downtown Wichita are not often a subject of public discussion. Arena boosters cite a revenue-sharing arrangement between the county and the arena operator, referring to this as profit or loss. But this arrangement is not an accurate and complete accounting, and it hides the true economics of the arena. What's missing is depreciation expense. There are at least two ways of looking at the finance of the arena. Nearly all attention…
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Intrust Bank Arena economic impact holds mistake

Intrust Bank Arena economic impact holds mistake

A report on the economic impact of the first ten years of operation of the Intrust Bank Arena in downtown Wichita incorrectly reported tax revenue. Recently Intrust Bank Arena in downtown Wichita promoted the results of an analysis of the economic impact of the arena through its first ten years of operation. [1. INTRUST Bank Arena Reports Economic Impact Study Results Through First 10 Years. February 14, 2020. Available at https://www.intrustbankarena.com/release/366/intrust-bank-arena-reports-economic-impact-study-results-through-first-10-years/.] The arena partnered with the Center for Economic Development and Business Research at Wichita State University to conduct the study. [2. Analysis by CEDBR, version 2, dated 1/6/2020. The…
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Wichita to Ghana, again

Wichita to Ghana, again

News of a Sedgwick County Commissioner's trip to Africa has raised some controversy, and something like this has been tried before. The Wichita Eagle reported this regarding Sedgwick County Commissioner Lacy Cruse's visit to the West Africa country Ghana: "She said she focused her efforts on economic opportunities related to aviation and education. She said she talked to Ghana’s minister of aviation about potentially establishing an aviation school and setting up an aviation maintenance shop at the Tamale International Airport in Ghana. She didn’t make any formal deals on behalf of the county or any local companies. She said forming…
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The finances of Intrust Bank Arena in Wichita

The finances of Intrust Bank Arena in Wichita

A truthful accounting of the finances of Intrust Bank Arena in downtown Wichita shows a large loss. Despite hosting the NCAA basketball tournament, the arena's "net income" fell. The true state of the finances of the Intrust Bank Arena in downtown Wichita are not often a subject of public discussion. Arena boosters cite a revenue-sharing arrangement between the county and the arena operator, referring to this as profit or loss. But this arrangement is not an accurate and complete accounting, and it hides the true economics of the arena. What's missing is depreciation expense. There are at least two ways…
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Sedgwick County Commission needs to slow down, get things right

Sedgwick County Commission needs to slow down, get things right

Sedgwick County needs to make sure past issues are known and settled before proceeding with hiring a new county manager, writes former commissioner Richard Ranzau. While most members of the Sedgwick County Commission are eager to move on from events of the past two years, it's important to know what really happened. Some important questions: A majority of commissioners wanted to fire former manager Michael Scholes, with chair David Dennis presenting Scholes with an ultimatum on September 28, 2018. Later, in November, the same commissioners hired an outside law firm to investigate Scholes so that a politically correct reason could…
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Retiring Sedgwick County Commissioner Dave Unruh praised

Retiring Sedgwick County Commissioner Dave Unruh praised

The praise for retired Sedgwick County Commissioner Dave Unruh can't be based on our region's accomplishments under his guidance. That is, if people are informed and truthful. In January a group of Wichita business leaders submitted an op-ed to the Wichita Eagle to mark the retirement of Sedgwick County Commissioner Dave Unruh. I quote portions here, with emphasis added: He easily won re-election because his constituents and the rest of us knew he was dedicated to strengthening our community, region and the state. ... In economic development Commissioner Unruh was chairman in 2006 when the board voted to build a…
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Unruh recollections disputed

Unruh recollections disputed

A former Sedgwick County Commissioner disputes the narrative told by a retiring commissioner. By Karl Peterjohn A version of this appeared in the Wichita Eagle. Lame duck county commissioner Dave Unruh’s recent commentary ("It’s time to set the record straight." December 14, 2018 Wichita Eagle.) is an attempt to re-write county commission history. Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan said, “You are entitled to your own opinion, but you are not entitled to your own facts.” Here are county commission facts correcting the commentary fiction: Commissioner Unruh was deeply involved in both the hiring, and recent firing, of county manager Scholes by…
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Taxpayers will miss Richard Ranzau

Taxpayers will miss Richard Ranzau

When a county commissioner's questions produce a reversal of the county manager's spending plans, you know we have good representation. That's what happened in 2013 when the county manager wanted to spend $47,000 to clear some trees. Commissioner Richard Ranzau thought the expense should be the responsibility of the neighborhood that would benefit from what he thought was a thinly-veiled request to shove off spending to the county. What did the county manager say after Ranzau's questions? “We got out in front of ourselves without doing much critical thinking, and I take full responsibility for that,” Sedgwick County Manager Bill…
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Sedgwick County tops $434K in extra personnel costs

Sedgwick County tops $434K in extra personnel costs

Sedgwick County has spent $434,663 in costs relating to the separations of two members of top management. Through December 21, 2018, Sedgwick County had spent $434,663 on matters relating to former County Counselor Eric Yost and former County Manager Michael Scholes. The bulk of the costs were severance payments to both. There was also $89,375 for a study of matters related to county management. Additionally, there were attorney fees for Yost, Scholes, and all county commissioners except Michael O'Donnell. Click here to view the report prepared by county financial staff.
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Sedgwick County tax exemptions

Sedgwick County tax exemptions

Unlike the City of Wichita, Sedgwick County has kept track of its tax exemptions. As part of an effort to increase efficiency and management of Sedgwick County government, former county manager Michael Scholes implemented numerous changes, as detailed in the document Efficiencies in Sedgwick County government. One management accomplishment was described as this: Developed a tax system and business intelligence query to identify Industrial Revenue Bonds (IRB) & Economic Development (EDX) tax exemptions and report foregone property tax revenues for Governmental Accounting Standards Board (GASB) 77 reporting. The report provides the ability to report by tax authority, company, and real…
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Efficiencies in Sedgwick County government

Efficiencies in Sedgwick County government

A document that hasn't been made public details savings achieved in Sedgwick County over a recent period of nearly three years. A document prepared within the Sedgwick County Division of Finance details savings of $6,308,097 over a period of almost three years, starting in November 2015. That is the month when Michael Scholes joined Sedgwick County as County Manger. His last day as manager was November 30, 2018, after being dismissed by the county commission. This document is dated August 29, 2018. An example of a savings is: "Eliminated 6.0 FTEs and associated funding due to the outsourcing of EMS…
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Sedgwick County Manager epitomizes duty, honor, country

Sedgwick County Manager epitomizes duty, honor, country

Statement to Sedgwick County Commission By Karl Peterjohn As a Sedgwick County citizen and taxpayer, I have been distressed to see news reports about the scandals, FBI and other legal investigations, that involve this county commission. The details of this appalling topic shall remain for another day. Today, I am here to praise four county employees who deserve public commendation. On May 12, 1962, five star General-of-the-army, Douglas MacArthur, an army officer during World War I, World War II, and the Korean War, gave his famous speech to the army cadets at the West Point military academy. MacArthur, then in…
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Déjà vu scandals in Sedgwick County government

Déjà vu scandals in Sedgwick County government

The Sedgwick County Commission scandals are an outrage for me. I must speak out against the appalling revelations that provide explicit evidence of illegal misconduct in our county government, writes Karl Peterjohn. Déjà vu scandals in Sedgwick County government By Karl Peterjohn During the Watergate scandal the press repeatedly stated that the campaign break-in was not the primary crime, but the cover up involving the White House was. These scandals eventually led to criminal convictions, and ultimately, to the resignation of the president. Sedgwick County government now appears to have multi-part scandals. It is not clear whether these scandals will…
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The Pete Meitzner era in Wichita

The Pete Meitzner era in Wichita

Wichita City Council Member Pete Meitzner (district 2, east Wichita) is running for a position on the Sedgwick County Commission. He’s running on his record of economic development. His website says: “Pete’s seven years on the City Council has proven to be a large part of the positive momentum we have recently experienced.” Let’s take a look at the record. Click here to view a presentation of the numbers.
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Pete Meitzner for Sedgwick County?

Pete Meitzner for Sedgwick County?

In normal times, Republicans may be reluctant to vote for a Democrat for the Sedgwick County Commission. But these are not normal times, and a vote for Pete Meitzner sends a message that we just don't care about our economy. If you've been following analyst James Chung -- and it seems like everyone has -- he's delivered a sobering message: The Wichita economy has not been growing. "[Wichita has been] stuck in neutral for about three decades, with basically no growth, amidst the landscape of a growing U.S. economy," he said. (In 2017 the Wichita economy shrank from the previous…
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From Pachyderm: Sedgwick County Commission candidates

From Pachyderm: Sedgwick County Commission candidates

From the Wichita Pachyderm Club: Republican Candidates for Sedgwick County Commission. Appearing, in order of their initial appearance, were: Richard Ranzau, District 4. Pete Meitzner, District 1. Jim Howell, District 5. This was recorded September 7, 2018. Shownotes Election Day is Tuesday November 6, 2018. The last day to register to vote is October 16. In district 1, the candidates are Republican Pete Meitzner (campaign website peforsedgwickcounty.com) and Democrat Renee Duxler (www.reneeduxler.com). A map of the district is here. In district 4, the candidates are the Republican incumbent Richard Ranzau (www.voteranzau.org) and Democrat Lacey Cruse (www.laceycruse.com). A map of the…
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Taxers prefer Hugh Nicks for Sedgwick County Commission

Taxers prefer Hugh Nicks for Sedgwick County Commission

Those who supported higher sales taxes in Wichita also support one Sedgwick County Commission District 4 Republican candidate exclusively. In 2014 the Wichita Metro Chamber of Commerce, now known as the Wichita Regional Chamber of Commerce, managed a campaign to persuade voters to institute a sales tax in the City of Wichita. The sales tax was to be one cent per dollar for five years, estimated to raise about $400 million in total. Of that, $250 million was to pay for enhancing the ASR water supply project, $80 million for job creation, and lesser amounts for bus transit and street…
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Wichita Chamber PAC spends heavily for Hugh Nicks

Wichita Chamber PAC spends heavily for Hugh Nicks

The Wichita Regional Chamber of Commerce PAC dedicates a large portion of its spending on placing its crony in office. In the contest for Sedgwick County Commission District 4, the Wichita Chamber of Commerce is spending heavily on one candidate. Through its political action committee, the Chamber has spent $45,148 on political candidates through August 1 of this year. (There could be more spending before the August 7 primary. We don't know.) Of that, $36,665 was spent in favor of one candidate, Hugh Nicks. (The Chamber PAC's finance report designates these expenditures as in favor of Nicks.) That's 81.2 percent…
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