State of the County
The State of the County is an annual address given by the chair of the Board of County Commissioners. During this address, the chair will share a recap of the past year in Johnson County, including key successes and initiatives.
2022 State of the County Address
Chairman Ed Eilert gave his 2022 State of the County address on Tuesday, March 29 at the Overland Park Convention Center. This was his final address as chairman, before his retirement from the Board of County Commissioners in 2023.
Recap his address below, including the livestream and recap of the address, as well as accompanying videos highlighting three specific areas.
2022 State of the County Address: Recap
It’s been two years since the COVID-19 pandemic began in spring 2020. During that time, more than 1,200 Johnson County residents have lost their lives due to the virus. But there’s one big positive: vaccines. More than 142,000 vaccines were administered last year, proving that Johnson County is stronger together.
Thank you to Dr. Sanmi Areola, Dr. Joseph LeMaster and all of the county staff for their all-hands-on-deck approach to combatting COVID-19. This includes an aggressive campaign to share accurate, up-to-date health information, including news conferences, a webpage, COVID dashboard and more.
Employment, Housing and Taxes
At the end of 2021, more than 340,000 workers were employed in Johnson County, an increase of 4,500 over the past year. This resulted in just a 1.7% unemployment rate at the end of the year. As of now, nearly 1 in 5 employed Kansans work in Johnson County.
The average price of homes also grew, by 13%, in the past year. It’s the second-most homes sold in a year in the county’s history. Building permits issued also grew by 30% in 2021, the highest number in 15 years.
Johnson County has the lowest mill levy rate of any county in Kansas. In 2022, the county saw a quarter of a mill levy reduction. That means a reduced “tax rate” on your property’s assessed value.
Budgeting for the Future
Johnson County has recently supported a variety of key public improvements, notably the new Johnson County Courthouse, which opened in early 2021. The new courthouse is expected to serve the county’s justice system for 75 years – with almost 136,000 visitors already in the first year. The green space was then dedicated as the Johnson County Square.
- The new Cedar Niles Park opened in 2021 and will be dedicated on April 9.
- A renovated Central Library reopened in early 2022.
- The Tomahawk Creek Wastewater Center expansion will celebrate its completion with a ribbon-cutting event set for May 4.
- The Nelson Wastewater Treatment Facility improvements are entering the design phase this year, pending long-term financing and the start of construction.
Serving the Vulnerable
Johnson County Government continues to provide services to the most vulnerable members of the county’s population, supporting their needs in these ways:
- Aging and Human Services: Serving Johnson County’s aging population, AHS is the central safety net and lifeline for older adults.
- Johnson County Mental Health Center: Critical to community health, JCMHC has seen increased demands during the pandemic.
- Johnson County Developmental Supports: JCDS serves residents with intellectual disabilities and their families.
There’s plenty of good news in Johnson County. The county’s population continues to grow, increasing by 12% over the last 10 years. The Johnson County Museum won an award for its COVID response, and events took place for the anniversaries of 9/11 and Veterans Day. Also, the Charter Commission didn’t propose any amendments to the Home Rule Charter.
A lot of exciting things are coming up this year, too. A Juneteenth recognition is happening in June, featuring numerous events throughout the county. In addition, the Thunderbirds are returning over Labor Day, and the Johnson County Old Settlers celebration makes its comeback the following week.
Thank You, Chairman Eilert
Eilert grew up on a farm in Kansas and went to a school with just 100 students. He attended college and then stared a career in public service as the Mayor of Overland Park. He is grateful for his work with City Manager Don Pipes, community leader Ben Craig and many others throughout the county.
Eilert has spent his career working with community and local government leaders to strengthen the community, and he hopes to see this work continue. Be sure to vote for the next Chairman, who will give the 2023 State of the County address, in the fall election.
Chairman Eilert's Bio
Ed Eilert has served as Johnson County’s publicly elected, at-large chairman since Jan. 10, 2011, after serving as the Board’s Fourth District commissioner for four years. Prior to his duties as county commissioner which began in 2007, he was elected to the Overland Park City Council in 1977 for four years and became the mayor of Overland Park in 1981, serving six four-year terms before retiring in 2005.
Eilert served as the first chairman at the Johnson County Education Research Triangle Authority, completing two four-year terms.
He was a financial counselor from 1966 until February 2008 when he retired from A.G. Edwards & Sons, Inc.
He is a graduate of Emporia State University with a B.S. degree (1961) in business administration and a M.S. degree (1962) in business education, a former business teacher at Shawnee Mission East High School (1965-1966) and Lebo (Kansas) High School (1962-1965), and a former instructor at the K.U. Adult Education Program.
Eilert and Jan, his wife, have lived in Overland Park since 1965.