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County Manager's Office

Phone: 913-715-0725

111 S. Cherry St., Suite 3300, Olathe, KS 66061

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county manager's office

The County Manager's Office is responsible to the Board of County Commissioners and the residents of Johnson County for the effective and efficient delivery of programs and services, using sound management and financial principles while emphasizing high ethical values, innovation, and continuous improvement.

Department News

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Protect your eyes during eclipse
August 16, 2017

You’ve most likely heard — the first total solar eclipse to cross America coast-to-coast in 99 years will happen on Aug. 21. A partial eclipse will be seen in Johnson County.

Many will watch the solar eclipse and have already purchased (or will) eclipse glasses or handheld solar viewers to do so. Some of these people may be at risk from counterfeit glasses and viewers sold by disreputable vendors trying to cash in on this rare event. Watching the eclipse with fake protective gear can cause permanent eye damage.

Only glasses and viewers verified by an accredited testing laboratory to meet ISO 12312-2 are safe to use when viewing the eclipse. This standard requires glasses and viewers to be thousands of times darker than typical sunglasses.

It may be hard to tell the difference between genuine protective gear and fake glasses/viewers as some counterfeit makers are placing ISO labels on them. The American Astronomical Society has guidance to help eclipse watchers determine if their eclipse glasses or handheld solar viewers are safe. NASA recommends that eclipse watchers refer to a list of reputable vendors selling solar glasses and viewers. The American Society of Retina Specialists compiled a comprehensive fact sheet about safe viewing.

If you're traveling:

  • Don't rely on GPS or map apps — cell phone service may be overwhelmed. Print out your directions.
  • Keep your gas tank full so you don't run out of gas if you are stuck in traffic.

If you're staying in town:

  • The partial eclipse will begin around 11:30 a.m., with totality for our region occurring shortly after 1 p.m. The eclipse will end by about 2:45 p.m.
  • Be prepared and stay informed. Have an emergency kit on hand, have a plan and monitor reliable news sources for emergency information. Additional information for emergency planning is available online.
Improving water quality
August 12, 2017

August is National Water Quality Month. Whether it is flowing from your faucet, or into the storm drain, all water matters and keeping our water clean is important, all year round.

Did you know?

  • A sprinkler leak about as small as the tip of a ballpoint can waste about 6,300 gallons of water per month.
  • Chlorine from swimming pools that drain to our lakes and rivers is poisonous to fish, even at very low levels. If it’s on the ground, it’s in our water.
  • Up to 50% of the water used outdoors is lost to evaporation due to inefficient lawn watering.
  • Used oil from a single oil change can pollute to one million gallons of freshwater.

Visit the Mid-America Regional Councils “Facts and Stats” page to learn how everyday behaviors can adversely affect water quality, including indoor and outdoor activities.

Commission adopts 2018 budget, includes mill levy reduction
August 10, 2017

The Johnson County Commission today adopted the county’s fiscal year 2018 budget. The budget includes about a quarter-mill reduction of the county general fund mill levy.

“This budget meets the county’s needs and allows us to reduce the county general fund mill levy,” said Ed Eilert, chairman of the Board of County Commissioners. “The budget the commission adopted today includes a quarter-mill reduction, and it increases the county’s reserves so it can better accommodate wastewater system improvements, weather a potential economic downturn and maintain our excellent credit ratings.”

The 2018 budget totals $1.06 billion, composed of $819.6 million in expenditures and $242.1 million in reserves.  

Of the $242.1 million in reserves, $106 million is for Johnson County Wastewater (JCW), a fee-funded utility, which does not receive property tax support and does not receive revenue from residents who are not served by JCW. The reserve is for the construction of a new treatment plant and additional costs associated with sending wastewater to Kansas City, Missouri, for treatment until the new facility is built.

The remainder of the reserves are as follows: $81.1 million for general fund, $12.1 million for county operations, $16.7 million for fee-funded services including stormwater operations, airport and 9-1-1 services, and $25.3 million for parks and libraries.

“The adopted budget increases resources to public safety and elections and allows the county to meet the ever-growing demand for our services,” said County Manager Hannes Zacharias. “This budget adheres to the commission’s direction to maintain a constant mill levy or reduce if prudent.”

The total estimated county mill levy is 26.276 mills — a reduced mill levy when compared to 2017. This includes an estimated mill levy of 19.259 for the county taxing district, 3.915 mills for libraries, and 3.102 mills for park and recreation.

The 2018 budget includes a Capital Improvement Program totaling more than $159.6 million:

  • $77.4 million for wastewater capital projects;
  • $15 million for the Stormwater Management Program;
  • $14.9 million for the County Assistance Road System (CARS) program;
  • $14.8 million for park and recreation capital projects;
  • $13.1 million for election office upgrades to voting machines.

Total estimated revenue from ad valorem taxes is $247.6 million, comprising $186.5 million for the county taxing district, $31.1 million for libraries, and $30 million for park and recreation.

The adopted budget funds a maximum of 3,949.72 full-time-equivalent employees (a total increase of 62.73 FTEs from 2017).

Positons added include:

  • Johnson County Library’s request to hire 38 new positions for the new Monticello branch in Shawnee set to open in 2018, plus four information specialists, a civic engagement coordinator, collections clerk and IT analyst.
  • To facilitate the opening of new parks and facilities, the Park and Recreation District has budget approval to fill 10 FTEs, including regional park managers and assistant park managers, park workers, an administrative assistant, recreation coordinator, facility maintenance supervisor and natural resources technician.
  • Johnson County MED-ACT will fill 12 FTEs, all paramedics, under the 2018 budget. Seven of these positions are to support staffing of two Overland Park MED-ACT ambulances that Johnson County will assume operations of in 2018 and the remaining five positions will enhance current MED-ACT operations to meet call volumes.
  • The District Attorney’s office will hire two assistant district attorneys and an investigator in 2018.
  • Emergency Management and Communications will fill two emergency communications specialist positions in the next fiscal year.

The county’s budget includes a 13.3 percent increase in the county general services expenditure budget — 6.8 percent of the increase comes from the voter-approved public safety sales tax to fund a new courthouse and coroner facility. The sales tax sunsets in 2027.

On average, residential property owners will pay $885 in county property taxes for 2018 — about $74 per month, based on the average home value in the county which is approximately $293,000.

The new budget must be approved and certified to the county clerk by Aug. 25. The county’s department of Records and Tax Administration (RTA), acting in the capacity of county clerk, must calculate mill levies and taxes for certification to the county treasurer for collection on or before Nov. 1.

The final setting of the 2018 mill levy will be established by the county clerk with new property valuations by RTA.

Johnson County’s fiscal year begins Jan. 1. FY 2018 budget documents are available online at jocogov.org.

Fishin' in the dark
August 9, 2017

On Aug. 12, grab your fishing pole and lantern for an overnight (11 pm - 6 am) fishing opportunity at Kill Creek Park, 11670 Homestead Lane Road, Olathe, KS 66061! The park will be open for fishing only and park police officers will be on duty throughout the night. The next scheduled event will be at Shawnee Mission Park on Aug. 19, also from 11 pm to 6 am.

Before fishing, area anglers ages 16-74 will need to have a valid Kansas fishing license, a Johnson County Park & Recreation District fishing permit, and all appropriate boat tags, if applicable. For more information about the overnight fishing program and to register, please call 913-888-4713.

 

‘Hot’ tips for summer lawn care
August 9, 2017

Summer arrived on June 21. As weather patterns change day-to-day, Johnson County Research and Extension offers steps to help your lawn survive an onslaught of summer heat.

Mow high

First, check your mowing height. Cool season grasses such as bluegrass and tall fescue should be mowed high during warm periods. The recommendation is no lower than 3 inches. Mowing high decreases heat and drought stress by increasing the natural defense mechanism. Longer leaf blades provide a shading of the soil helping to reduce the soil temperature and moisture loss. These conditions favor root growth which is vital for increased summer tolerances.

Mowing higher reduces the amount of water used by the plant, and the grass stays green longer. In fact, if you do not believe this is beneficial, do your own test. Mow a strip at 2 inches and another area at 3 inches. Wait for the first signs of stress to appear and see which wilts first. You will be amazed how this works and it is so easy.

Keep the mower blade sharp

In addition to the proper mowing height, make sure the blade is sharp. A dull blade rips the grass blade resulting in increased moisture loss and excess browning to the grass leaf. A dull cut often leaves the grass with a whitish appearance to the lawn. Sharpen or replace the lawn mower blade on a regular basis as a part of regular overall turf and mower maintenance.

Don't fertilize in summer

Lastly, for summer maintenance, avoid the use of fertilizers. Fertilizing cool season grass during the summer greatly increases the lawn’s need for moisture and decreases its adaptability to high temperatures.

The best time to fertilize bluegrass and tall fescue is in the fall months, September and November. In fact, spring applications should be avoided unless the lawn will be well watered during the summer months. Spring fertilization provides little benefit to the grass plant except to make the grass green, often resulting in lush growth. This lush growth increases mowing requirements.

Learn more at the extension office’s website.

Child care business info fair Aug. 19
August 8, 2017

Are you interested in starting your own licensed, in-home child care business in Johnson County? Learn the basics about how to get started during our information fair on Aug. 19! 

  • Learn from local leaders in quality child care and early learning; get your questions answered.
  • Make contacts and connections with organizations that can help support you.
  • Find out exactly what steps you need to take to establish in-home day care.
  • Save money! Johnson County Government will pay the licensing fees for anyone who attends the fair and starts his or her own day care business (up to $287 value).
  • During the fair, learn how you can take Parents as Teachers Free Family Child Care Business classes for free. The classes are presented in Spanish and valued at $700! Also includes all State required classes and incentives.
  • Information during the fair will be available in both English and Spanish.

Between 10 a.m. to noon, each partner agency will give a brief presentation and afterward the experts will stick around to answer your questions. The partner agencies hosting the child care information fair include Johnson County Department of Health and Environment, The Family Conservancy, Johnson County Early Learning Collaborative, Kansas Department for Children and Families, Olathe Fire Department and Olathe Schools Parents as Teachers.

If you have questions about the information fair, please call 913-715-2113. View the event flier on jocogov.org for further details. 

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