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johnson county government

The Johnson County Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) is responsible for enacting legislation, levying and appropriating taxes and setting budgets, and Johnson County residents are strongly encouraged to engage with county government and have their voices heard. Weekly BOCC meetings are open to the public and streamed online. Many of our departments and agencies have advisory boards that depend on citizen participation. Johnson County residents who are registered to vote elect the BOCC members, District Attorney and Sheriff, so the more you know, the more empowered your vote. This is a great place to get educated and start engaging.

Government News

Johnson County Airport Commission Board Meeting - Wednesday, May 27, 2015

The Johnson County Airport Commission Board meeting will be held on Wednesday, May 27, 2015 at 9:00 a.m. in the Board Room of the Johnson County Airport Commission, One New Century Parkway, New Century, Kansas.

Core4 featured in Kansas City Star

Johnson County is one of four local governments that make up the Core4, and collaborate on issues that cross city, county and state boundaries. You can learn more about Core4 in this article in today's Kansas City Star.

BOCC approves new public art for Justice Annex

As part of Johnson County's 1% Public Art initiative, Kansas City artist Beth Nybeck's proposed artwork "Tapestry" was selected for the Justice Annex building courtyard at 588 Santa Fe in Olathe. "Tapestry" is a set of five large, plant-like aluminum figures, one as large as 11-feet tall. Each piece will feature letters, sentences and phrases that tell stories associated with the people who work at, and frequent, the Justice Annex buidling. "Tapestry" will be commissioned for $75,000. The sculpture is schedule for completion in November 2015.

Johnson County Government's 1% Public Art program, established in 2006 by the Board of County Commissioners, is funded through a dedicated stream of revenue generated by County capital building projects. This Program commits 1% of the building cost of newly constructed County buildings to public art. Projects range in size from $75,000 to $1,000,000; however, the County maintains a trust fund that can be spent on smaller projects of the County’s choosing.

Nybeck is an internationally-acclaimed artist who primarily creates large, metal sculptures. Her work can be seen in airports, office buildings, sports complexes and other high-profile places around the country. Headquartered in Kansas City, Mo., Nybeck works out of a studio in the West Bottoms.

Employees recognized for public service at special event

More than 450 active employees and 64 retirees will be honored today at Johnson County Government's Annual Employee Appreciation Reception. The event recognizes employees for years of service from five years to 40 years. This year's group of active employees represents 5,990 years of public service to Johnson County, while the retirees represent 1,340 years of service. Eleven employees honored at this year's event have served the County for more than 35 years.

The reception starts at 3 p.m. at the Ritz Charles in Overland Park, and will feature remarks by Board of County Commissioners Chairman Ed Eilert, County Manager Hannes Zacharias and Bureau Chief Joe Waters. Honorees will receive certificates and pins and other recognition items based on years of service.

Johnson County Government has more than 3,800 employees who serve in a wide range of roles for the nearly 40 departments. The dedication and spirit of service exemplified by the County's employees helps make Johnson County such a great place to live and raise a family, and contributes to residents receiving such top-notch county government services.

Chairman Eilert gives 2015 State of the County

Ed Eilert, chairman of the Johnson County Board of County Commissioners, presented his 2015 State of the County Address today. Nearly 650 people gathered at the Ritz Charles in Overland Park for the annual luncheon and address. The Johnson County Public Policy Council co-sponsors the event, and it was hosted by the Lenexa Chamber of Commerce.

The news release and the full address are both available in our media room. We also have posted the video of Chairman Eilert's address on our YouTube channel.

You can also view the videos shown at the State of the County:

Chairman Eilert showcases Johnson County Community College
The BOCC highlights workforce development programs at our public schools

BOCC approves Johnson County Arts and Heritage Center

Two Board of County Commission votes today paved the way for the new Johnson County Arts and Heritage Center (JCAHC), which will open in 2017. It will serve as the new home for the Johnson County Museum, an indoor theatre for The Theatre in the Park’s off-season productions, and space for expanded arts programming provided by the Johnson County Park & Recreation District (JCPRD).

First, the Johnson County Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) voted to establish a capital project to renovate the former King Louie building at 8788 Metcalf in Overland Park for use as the new JCAHC. The project was approved by a majority vote with three commissioners voting in opposition.

Second, the BOCC, operating as the Public Building Commission (PBC), adopted a resolution to issue lease purchase revenue bonds in the amount of $21,960,000 to pay for the renovation and refunding of the short term loans to purchase and affect initial repairs to the building.

Plans for the Arts and Heritage Center

  • The Johnson County Museum, currently located in a 1927 structure with numerous additions that suffers from water infiltration and other inadequacies, will move into the lower level of the center.
  • A flex theater, along with rehearsal space and a workshop, will be the new off-season (spring, fall and winter) home for The Theatre in the Park. Those spaces will be available for other performing arts organizations and others to use when The Theatre in the Park is not using them.
  • Space will be designated for advance voting and election worker training.
  • Event space, including an outdoor patio area and catering kitchen, will be available for community rentals.
  • More classroom space will be available for JCPRD classes, programs and camps that focus on dance, music and the arts.

“This project solves problems Johnson County has been facing for many years,” said County Manager Hannes Zacharias. “The main driver for the purchase of this iconic building is to provide an appropriate home for the Johnson County Museum. We are pleased to be able to also offer Johnson County residents more opportunities to create and consume art, provide a permanent home for advance voting on the Metcalf corridor, and continue to build a community where people want to live, visit, and work.”

Financing the project

The PBC approved lease purchase revenue bonds in the amount of $21,960,000 which will cover:

  • $18,630,000 for capital expenditures to renovate, equip and furnish the building.
  • $2,900,000 to pay off the outstanding balance on the purchase and initial renovations of the building to prevent additional weather damage.
  • $430,000 in costs associated with the issuance of the debt.

The next step in the process will be a public hearing on the issuance of bonds on April 16 at 10:30 a.m. in the Board of County Commission Chambers (111 S. Cherry St., Olathe).

Operating the facility

In 2017, the first full year the JCAHC is open, its operational costs will be $570,000 (building, operations and maintenance, utilities, grounds and custodial). Both the JCPRD board and the BOCC have approved a concept to consolidate the Museum staff with Park and Recreation District staff. Staff will develop the consolidation agreement that will ultimately be voted on by the BOCC and the JCPRD Board.

More information about the Johnson County Arts and Heritage Center can be found here>

Sharon Watson named Director of Public Affairs and Communications

Johnson County Government’s new Director of Public Affairs and Communications, Sharon Watson, brings nearly 25 years of experience in governmental public affairs and communications, crisis communications and journalism (including broadcast and print reporting in the Kansas City metro). Watson joined the County Manager’s Office as Director of Public Affairs and Communications on February 2, 2015.

“I’m honored to have the opportunity to serve Johnson County,” Watson said. “I look forward to using my experience in government service in this wonderful community where I’ve lived for nearly 20 years.”

Most recently Watson spent eight years as the Public Affairs Director for the Kansas Adjutant General's Department, serving as the department spokesperson and overseeing all media relations for the Kansas National Guard, Kansas Division of Emergency Management and Kansas Homeland Security. She managed the state Joint Information Center during emergencies and conducted media/crisis communication training for local and state officials and National Guard public affairs officers.

Prior to that, Watson worked as Communications Director for the Kansas Department of Health and Environment for five years. There, she handled a number of crisis communication issues including the emergence of West Nile Virus in the U.S. and Kansas, and plans for public smallpox vaccinations, as well as controversial state environmental issues.

Watson began her career in journalism. Her experience in the Kansas City metro includes news anchoring and reporting at WDAF-AM and KMBZ-AM radio stations and writing for the Olathe Daily News. Her journalism career also includes work in the Topeka, Springfield, Mo. and Cape Girardeau, Mo./Paducah, Ky. markets.

“We are so pleased to bring someone into this position that possesses such a wealth of communications, public affairs and media experience that will benefit not only our organization, but all of the residents of Johnson County,” said County Manager Hannes Zacharias. “Sharon has an impressive amount of expertise in the crisis communications arena, so much so that she teaches seminars in crisis communications and disaster response all over the country.”

Watson has a bachelor’s degree from William Jewell College with a double major in Communications and Public Relations. Watson completed a master’s degree in Homeland Security through the Naval Post Graduate School’s Center for Homeland Defense and Security in Monterey, Calif. in March 2012. Sharon currently serves as the Region VII Director for the National Association of Public Information Officers. She served as the co-chair of the Regional Association of Public Information Officers in the Kansas City metro and as president of the Kansas Association of Public Information Officers from 2013-14.

Happy Kansas Day!

Kansas Day is celebrated annually on January 29 to commemorate the anniversary of the 1861 admission of Kansas into the Union. Kansas Day is not a public holiday, but it is a state-wide observation. It was first celebrated in 1877 by schoolchildren in Paola.

Annual Kansas Day celebrations include school field trips and special projects to study the history of Kansas, special visits by students to the Statehouse in Topeka, performances of Home on the Range, the Kansas State Song, and special proclamations by the Governor of Kansas and members of the Kansas Legislature.

Today Kansas is 154 years old (Johnson County was founded six years earlier, on August 25, 1855).

Former Sprint, HCA Midwest Health exec joins JoCo

Brad Reinhardt has been selected as Johnson County's new Director of Facilities Management.

Most recently, Reinhardt spent five of his 15 years at Sprint as the Real Estate Manager of National Facilities Management, overseeing facility management services for a national portfolio of commercial, retail and technical facilities. His career experience prior to Sprint included Director of Engineering/Plant Operations for HCA Midwest Health, and prior to that, a combined 15 years as a consulting engineer with Henderson Engineers, Inc. and Black & Veatch.

He received a Bachelor of Science degree in mechanical engineering from Kansas State University and a Master of Business Administration from the University of Kansas. A long-time resident of Johnson County, Reinhardt is a member of the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers and spent three years on the Blue Valley School District Facilities Planning Committee.

More information is available here.

County offices closed Jan. 19 for Martin Luther King Jr. Day

Johnson County Government offices will be closed on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, Monday, Jan. 19, 2015. Offices will be open for business again on Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2015.

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