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Commissioners Pass 2016 Sedgwick County Budget

Sean Sandefur
KMUW/File Photo

The Sedgwick County Commission passed a budget Wednesday after weeks of public feedback--most of which was negative.

The public protested the cuts in the budget, which threatened a free clinic, the zoo, Exploration Place, the Arts Council and many other programs. Some of the affected organizations have agreements with the county for not only continued funding but for some increases.

A block of three commissioners--Jim Howell, Richard Ranzau and Karl Peterjohn--passed the budget, which now has some restorations to some of the programs.

The reason for the belt-tightening is a decision by the three that the county should no longer pay for roads and bridges through bonding, but use cash for the work. Commissioner Dave Unruh says this philosophy is at the heart of the issues.

Related: Breaking Down Sedgwick County's Numbers Ahead Of Budget Vote

Commsioners Unruh and Tim Norton voted no on the budget. The two had earlier announced their alternative budget plan, which was voted down Wednesday.

Adjustments to the budget included:

  • $150,000 from the commission contingency for the Sedgwick County Zoo
  • $175,000 to Project Access
  • $40,000 to Exploration Place 
  • $10,000 to Economic Development
  • $25,000 to Wichita Area Technical College