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Chairman Ed Eilert

Board chairman delivers 2017 State of the County address

Board of County Commissioners Chairman Ed Eilert today presented his 2017 State of the County address.

“Our county has long been, and continues to be, the bread-and-butter economy for the state of Kansas and for those seeking careers and job opportunities,” Eilert said. “Our economy is far outpacing the state and nation.”

Key facts shared by Chairman Eilert in his 2017 address

  • Johnson County’s unemployment rate declined for the seventh consecutive year in 2016. At the end of the year, the county’s jobless rate stood at 3.1 percent. Kansas was at 3.8 percent; the metro, 3.9 percent and the national rate, 4.5 percent.
  • For the first nine months of 2016, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 3,181 new jobs were created in Kansas, and 2,680 of those jobs were in Johnson County. That means 84 percent of the jobs created in Kansas from January to September were created in Johnson County.
  • In the 2016 community survey, 96 percent of county residents reported feeling safe in their neighborhoods. The national rate is 89 percent. Ninety-six percent reported they were satisfied with Johnson County as a place to live. The national rate is 83 percent. Ninety-five percent were satisfied with the county as a place to raise children. The national rate is 79 percent.
  • More than 11,300 single-family homes were sold, 400 short of the record in 2005. Normal average inventory of homes for sales is six months in Johnson County; today, that inventory is about 2.5 months.
  • Nearly 1,700 new single-family home permits were recorded in 2016 and nearly 1,800 permits were issued for multi-family units.
  • New construction permits for office, retail and industrial buildings also grew, totaling more than 9.9 million square feet with a value of nearly $730 million.

Chairman Eilert shared updates on several new projects including Johnson County Wastewater’s Tomahawk Creek treatment facility, upcoming library and park projects, and the status of the new courthouse and coroner’s facility for which funding was approved by voters in November.

He also highlighted the county’s commitment to education and workplace development as keys to future economic success and recognized the role community leaders play in making Johnson County’s economy strong. Eilert honored the county’s many volunteers, noting that 14,200 residents gave nearly 370,000 hours of their time and talents in 2016 — a contribution valued at more than $8.5 million.

Eilert finished his remarks with an eye to the future, noting technology as a source of constant change in business and government.

“Thriving in the age of accelerations, that is our challenge,” he said. “We can meet those challenges by continuing to support and maintain community assets that provide our opportunities for success.”

More than 700 people attended the address and luncheon at the Ritz Charles in Overland Park. The event was hosted by the Shawnee Chamber of Commerce and sponsored by the Johnson County Public Policy Council.