Dave Unruh

Sedgwick County Commissioner disputes Wichita Eagle headline on audit

This week controversy arose surrounding a request by two Sedgwick County Commissioners for more information from the county's auditor, Allen, Gibbs & Houlik, L.C., a public accounting firm. The financial issue concerns the way that EMS employee pay is budgeted and its impact on the county's budget. Commission chair Karl Peterjohn and Commissioner Kelly Parks asked questions of the county's auditor on this matter, exercising what Peterjohn describes as due diligence. But the issue has grown to become political. In a Wichita Eagle news story, the county's chief financial officer said he expected to receive a bill from the auditor…
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In Sedgwick County, is there slack time?

As reported in the Wichita Eagle, the Sedgwick County Commission decided to reimburse the county for time its employees spent working on arena-related matters. The money will come from the sales tax that was collected to build the Intrust Bank Arena in downtown Wichita. The amount of money the commission decided to transfer is $1.6 million, although according to the Eagle, the total cost could reach $2.6 million. Here's something of concern to me in the story: "But he [Sedgwick County chief financial officer Chris Chronis] pushed for the money to remain in the arena and pavilions' operating and maintenance…
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Peterjohn presses taxpayer protection platform through Sedgwick County Commission

At today's meeting of the Sedgwick County Commission, commissioners revised the county's 2010 legislative platform, adding important and groundbreaking taxpayer protection to the platform. The split vote lets voters know without a doubt where commissioners stand on taxpayer protection issues. The legislative platform is Sedgwick County's "wish list" for the legislature. The items in the platform are not laws, but instead indicate the desires of the county commission. Commissioner Karl Peterjohn proposed new language to add to the legislative platform: "All local sales tax increases must be approved by voters under Kansas law. All property tax increases that raise the…
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Betty Arnold’s Sedgwick County Commission race: running uphill

Last week Betty Arnold, a member of the board of USD 259, the Wichita public school district, declared her intent to be a candidate for the Sedgwick County Commission. She'll be running for the spot currently held by Republican Dave Unruh, who has already filed for re-election. Arnold, a Democrat, faces an uphill battle, based on registration figures. In this district, my analysis of a recent voter file shows voter registration runs 29% Democratic, 45% Republican, and 26% unaffiliated. (The remainder are Libertarian and Reform party registrants.) Considering recent voters -- I defined this as those who voted in an…
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Sedgwick County solid waste fee criticized

Today's Wichita Eagle column by Rhonda Holman is a two-fer. Two issues for the price of one column, and two issues she's wrong on. The first issue is explained in Wichita water economics. She criticizes Commissioner Karl Peterjohn and Board Chairman Kelly Parks for the opposition of a solid waste management fee that would add a relatively small amount to property tax bills. (When writing about Peterjohn, do I need to disclose that he and I are friends, and that I helped manage his campaign last year? I'd feel more compelled to do so if Holman would start writing editorials…
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Hartman Arena ribbon cutting today

Today was the ribbon cutting ceremony for Hartman Arena in Park City, just north of Wichita. This privately-owned arena should provide some competition to the Intrust Bank Arena in downtown Wichita. Note the wind turbine to the right (north) of the building. Normally the announcement of a facility like this would be welcomed by government officials. That wasn't the case two years ago when this arena was announced. At that time Sedgwick County Commissioner Dave Unruh said he would prefer that this arena not be built. Assistant Sedgwick County Manager Ron Holt said "overall, it would not be in the…
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Sedgwick County Commission fails citizens

At yesterday's meeting of the Sedgwick County Commission, Commissioners Tom Winters, Tim Norton, and Dave Unruh failed to take an opportunity to stand up for good government. By ratifying the City of Wichita's defective public hearing, notice is given that it's open season on citizens. Their concerns are shoved aside. Commissioners say they were constrained by a very narrow range of action permitted by law. The reasons they voted against this TIF district in August are still there, though present in smaller measure. The problem is that these politicians want something so badly that they're willing to overlook major problems…
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