The Budget Could Be Balanced Without the Cuts!
“It’s a budget that, in many ways, begins the process of transforming what this government is, what it does and how it serves our community.” Chris Chronis, Sedgwick County CFO
The question we need to answer boils down to “Is this the Sedgwick County we want?” We watched as three county commissioners turned down a $2M grant for the health of our community. We watched as three county commissioners chose to remove tobacco control from our public health department, even though tobacco is still the #1 cause of preventable death. Now the new county budget proposed includes cuts of around $1M in health and human services spending, as well as an almost $1.8M cut in economic development and $500,000 in cultural and recreation funding.
The initial budget released in June was a balanced budget without the cuts. This budget was edited to its current form by a majority made up of Ranzau, Peterjohn, and Howell. Commissioner Jim Howell states the county needs to focus on core functions and have a more responsible government.
Is it responsible to cut $780,000 for programs at the health department that provide free health screenings, immunizations, and promote health education? Is it responsible to cut the entire $200,000 for Project Access that provides uninsured people with medical care? Is it responsible to put off building structures for ambulances in Derby and Northeast Wichita, even after staff warned that this could worsen response times and stress the EMS system?
Are we going to continue to watch as our county commissioners cut important programs that touch every member of our community? The cost of these programs that focus on prevention is minimal compared to the tax burden for each of us when these important services are not available. Commissioner Unruh opened the door by proposing the county continue to bond the expenses related to bridges and roads. And thanks to a vote yesterday by Commissioners Norton, Unruh, and Howell, we still have a chance to bring an end to the cuts in quality of life for all residents of Sedgwick County. But we have to quit watching and act.
Please let your commissioner know that you support bonding the roads like before to give time for community discussion about a vision for our county. This will also give organizations time to plan if the choice not to bond is made for next year.
By posting a comment:
FIRST DISTRICT – Dave Unruh firstname.lastname@example.org or @DaveUnruhSedgCo
SECOND DISTRICT – Tim Norton email@example.com or @TimNortonSC
THIRD DISTRICT – Karl Peterjohn firstname.lastname@example.org or @KarlPeterjohn
FOURTH DISTRICT – Richard Ranzau email@example.com
FIFTH DISTRICT – Jim Howell firstname.lastname@example.org or @Howell4KS
By attending a hearing:
Wednesday, July 29 at 9:00 am Sedgwick County Courthouse
Thursday, August 6 at 6:00 pm Sedgwick County Courthouse