State of the County

2024 State of the County, presented by Chair Kelly

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 and share his vision moving forward.

2024 State of the County Address

The 2024 State of the County took place in person on Tuesday, April 9 at the Overland Park Convention Center, 6000 College Blvd., Overland Park, KS.

2024 State of the County Address: Livestream

2024 State of the County Address: Recap

Lighting the Way

Administration Building and parking garage in downtown Olathe

Johnson County is the heart of America, and we stand apart. The numbers tell the story, as our county is home to:

  • More than 1 in 4 jobs in the state of Kansas
  • 46% of the region’s job growth
  • 30% of our state’s GDP
  • An unemployment rate of 1.8%
  • Wage growth exceeding 7% three years in a row

Johnson County is the economic engine of our state, a regional leader in job growth, and a central hub of development and innovation. Our county is well-positioned to light the Way.

Economy and Infrastructure

Partly constructed grey warehouse building

Once again, Kansas has attracted more business investment per capita than any other state in the country.

New Century Commerce Center generates more than a billion dollars annually in direct and indirect economic benefits to Johnson County – and a third building is expected to be fully leased this year. Then there’s the Panasonic development: a 300-acre facility, employing 4,000 people, creating another 4,000 jobs for supporting suppliers and businesses.

Wherever growth happens, our infrastructure must keep up. Last year, the Kansas Department of Transportation broke ground on the U.S. 69 modernization project. The new express lanes are still scheduled to open next year, with all construction being completed by 2026.

Additionally, the county’s largest-ever infrastructure investment is currently underway at the Nelson Wastewater Treatment Facility in Mission. Through collaboration and planning, we have saved more than $210 million on the project.

Sustainability and Safety

Members of the Sustainability Coalition raise their hands as they're sworn in during a joint kickoff meeting

Johnson County is working on a variety of sustainability initiatives. The county has applied for more than $200 million in grants for our region through the Climate Pollution Reduction Grant – which can be used to reduce energy usage, protecting natural resources and more.

The county has earned LEED certification for 12 of our county buildings, including two platinum designations. We also opened a new Household Hazardous Waste Facility in Overland Park last year. Last spring, we learned that our community has reduced our greenhouse emissions by 30% between 2013 and 2020.

Last year, the county launched two new community coalitions: the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Coalition and the Sustainability Coalition. The county is also expanding MED-ACT operations to keep up with our growing population, with new facilities in Lenexa, Shawnee and Olathe.

In 2023, the county allocated more than $100 million to the Sheriff’s Office, with the Board of Commissioners approving an additional nearly $18 million throughout the year. The county also launched a behavioral health court and an adult drug court, modeled after the successful veterans treatment court.

Housing and Public Health

A Papercrete Works artist works on his sculpture

The Board has also identified housing as another one of our priorities. Johnson County is making significant progress towards a year-round emergency housing facility.

Additionally, the county is addressing the growing need for public health, mental health and aging services within our community. Design and construction work continues on a new state-of-the-art Health Services Building, co-locating services for all three needs. The Board is also piloting a new program for property tax relief for seniors.

Johnson County Developmental Supports is continuing to make an impact. People who received employment support from JCDS earned more than $1 million in 2023. Last year, the county embedded Mental Health responders with 911 dispatchers, another example of co-locating services to better serve residents.

Parks, Libraries and County Staff

Front entrance and walkway of Merriam Plaza Library

In 2023, Johnson County Library had almost 1.8 million visitors, a 12% increase from the previous year. Not to be outdone, Johnson County Park and Recreation District attracted more than 10 million visitors and participants last year.

The county has also made several park and library improvements. The new Merriam Plaza Library opened this year, replacing the Antioch Library. The library also went fine-free last year, increasing access to materials. Three phases have been completed at the Mid-America Sports Complex, and improvements are coming on trails and at Theatre in the Park.

Investments in our community are made possible by more than 4,000 county employees. In 2023, Johnson County undertook a comprehensive salary and benefit study, using that data to make immediate adjustments, prioritizing first responders and front-line workers. Since then, the county has seen a significant drop in turnover and vacancy rates.

Looking Ahead

Election Office building with American flags lining the fence

The county can invest in staff thanks to its strong fiscal management – and it’s done with the lowest general tax level in the state of Kansas. For more than 15 years, Johnson County bonds have had a Triple-A rating from all three credit rating agencies.

2024 is a presidential election year. By expanding access to voting options – such as early in-person voting, mail ballots and dropboxes – the county is innovating to enfranchise more eligible voters.

Johnson County will light the way when the world comes to our doorstep in 2026 for six World Cup matches. Our community will welcome millions of fans to our hotels, restaurants and shops. There’s a lot to do to make it happen, but it’s a challenge our county can meet.

Johnson County is America’s Heartland, and we are lighting the way.