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Survey Results, 2018 Survey FAQs

Our  streamways are a part of our community, connecting cities, parks and more.  Clean water is key to keeping streamways healthy, protecting people, animals and the environment. JCW cleans used water, also known as wastewater, and returns it to the streams and rivers. The system includes more than 2250 miles of sewer pipes, involves six treatment facilities, and treats about 50 million gallons of wastewater per day from more than 400,000 customers in 16 cities in Johnson County. 

There are several factors that affect wastewater rates.  Since wastewater is returned to streams and rivers, it must meet strict water quality standards to ensure the safety of fish, wildlife and humans. Rates for wastewater treatment have increased annually in recent years due to both inflation and increased water quality requirements.

Capital investment in renewing our infrastructure are also factors of wastewater rates.  The construction of the Tomahawk Creek Wastewater Treatment Facility will help keep rate increases smaller after its construction is completed in 2022.  

All these factors required an increase of $4.76 for the median household on each bi-monthly bill in 2018. JCW uses residents’ average winter water usage (AAWU), as read at the meter during winter months, to reasonably estimate the amount of water discharged to the wastewater system. This process avoids months where residents are watering their lawn or using water for other outdoor activities that would not use the system. More information on how to understand your JCW bill can be found on their website under Department News.

JCW continues to have one of the lowest wastewater rates in the region, due in a large part to the proactive asset management, maintenance and repair program that allows them to avoid expensive repairs and clean-up costs that are often the result of deferred maintenance. 

Typical monthly wastewater bill comparison

Property taxes are figured by multiplying the assessed value of the property by the mill levy. The mill levy is the “tax rate” that is applied to the assessed value of a property. One mill is $1 per $1,000 of assessed value. Most years, both the assessed value of the property and the mill levy change, resulting in a different amount for a resident’s property tax.

The assessed value of a property is established by the County Appraiser. By state law, property is appraised at fair market value, as it exists on Jan. 1 of each year. “Fair market value” means the amount that a well-informed buyer is justified in paying and a well-informed seller is justified in accepting for the property in an open and competitive market. The appraiser uses local market sales data to generate a property value and analyze the property based upon its age, size, style of construction and replacement cost. 

Chart showing comparison of sales price vs. appraised value of homes in Johnson County.

The appraisal process is a method established by Kansas statute. A property’s appraised value will go up or down depending upon the local housing market. When supply is low and demand is high for homes in the area, property values go up. When demand is low and supply is high, property values go down. The housing market directly influences a property’s assessed value. More information about the appraisal process and how to appeal an appraised value if it appears to be inaccurate is available on the Office of the County Appraiser’s page.

This chart shows a comparison between the average appraised value of single-family homes in Johnson County and the average sales value of those homes since 2011. The trend shows that sales values continue to increase; so assessed values through the appraisal process also continue to increase. 

While the assessed value depends on the housing market, the tax bill is impacted by the operating budgets of taxing jurisdictions. The various taxing authorities in the county must annually prepare and approve an operating budget for the next business year.  

A resident’s tax bill represents the amount of tax required for all taxing jurisdictions, not just the county portion. The bill displays those jurisdictions assessing taxes, their mill rate and their tax amount. A comparison of the previous years’ tax breakdown is also included. The combination of all jurisdictions make up the total tax amount due. 

The chart below shows what percentage of a resident’s tax bill goes to which taxing authority. Only about 15 percent of a resident’s property tax actually goes to county government. School districts account for just over 50 percent, cities and townships 16 percent and the state, special districts, Park & Recreation District, libraries and special assessments for two to four percent each.

Pie graph showing the distribution of tax funds by percent

Chart showing Johnson County tax as .64% of median household income. Sedgwick .84%. Wyandotte .99%. Shawnee 1.35%. Douglas 1.79%.

Johnson County continues to have the lowest mill levy rate in the state of Kansas. The Johnson County Board of County Commissioners reduced the county’s mill levy in 2018 budgets.

A resident’s property tax changes every year because the assessed value of their home and the operating budgets for the various taxing districts are determined on an annual basis. 

In October 2017, a new 3.5 mile trail along Coffee Creek in Overland Park opened. Many miles of new trails are planned in the coming years. An extension to Kill Creek Trail is under construction this year (2018), and a new trail along Cedar Creek in Olathe will be constructed in 2019-2020.

The width of JCPRD park roads is not sufficient to include bicycle lanes. However, bicycles are allowed on park roads and multi-use trails in county parks.

JCPRD has jurisdiction to construct trails only within its park properties. If a park is adjacent to a major road, a connection is made by JCPRD, if possible. Dog waste collection stations are provided along trails and in all off-leash dog parks. 

Through RideKC, Johnson County added new service in the Gardner/Edgerton area as well as in Lenexa in recent years. It also introduced on-demand service that covers a majority of the county in 2018. Route information, schedules and maps can be online at ridekc.org.
About 70 percent of county’s transit routes cross the state line and provide access to regional RideKC routes in Kansas City, Kansas, and Kansas City, Missouri. The county continues to explore possible opportunities for expanded mobility options in the region with partner organizations.


Johnson County Public Works takes care of maintenance on roads and bridges located outside of city limits across the county. City government public works maintain roads within city limits. The state of Kansas is responsible for interstates. 

After an initiative in 2008 to reduce the number of persons with mental illness in the criminal justice system, the county expanded Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) training and initiated a mental health co-responder program.

CIT is a collaboration designed to improve the way law enforcement and community partners respond to people experiencing mental health crises. The county’s CIT program is built on a strong partnership between law enforcement, the Mental Health Center, the District Attorney’s Office and individuals affected by mental illness. Johnson County’s CIT council facilitates a 40-hour training to equip officers through educational presentations, verbal de-escalation simulation and a panel of clients and family members who speak from their personal experiences. CIT training aims to enhance the officers’ skills in responding safely and creatively to mental health calls, reduce repeat calls for service and unnecessary arrests by connecting individuals with mental health crisis to appropriate treatment and reduce the likelihood of needing to use physical force.

The co-responder program pairs a Licensed Mental Health Professional (LMHP) with a trained law-enforcement officer at the scene to effectively triage the case. This partnership enables the mental health professional to conduct an immediate face-to-face assessment of the risk posed by individuals involved in a police encounter. Furthermore, the co-responder can provide effective intervention and link individuals to services right away to prevent the over-utilization of jails and emergency rooms.

Additionally, the Mental Health Center has partnered with local law enforcement to provide Mental Health First Aid (MHFA), which is an 8-hour course designed to provide specific skills to help someone experiencing a mental health issue or having a mental health crisis. To date, more than 300 officers from Johnson County law enforcement agencies have competed the training.