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Sedgwick County Commissioners Adopt 2019 Budget

Evan Pflugradt
Sedgwick County commissioners approve the 2019 budget and capital improvement plan.

Sedgwick County commissioners adopted the 2019 budget and capital improvement plan at a meeting Wednesday.

The vote on the $419,042,893 spending plan was 3 to 2. Commissioners Richard Ranzau and Jim Howell voted against it.

Ranzau said he supports the budget overall, but did not like some parts of the capital improvement plan.

"I have some concerns about some of our bond funding," he said. "We had a plan to wean ourselves off some of the unnecessary bonding that we were doing for roads and bridges, but now some of that has been put back in [the capital improvement plan] unfortunately."

Howell tried to increase funding for four senior centers, but his motion to transfer $78,000 from the operating reserve did not pass.

The commissioners instead approved freezing current levels of funding for senior centers in the 2019 budget and setting a cap at $620,000 indefinitely.

They also directed the Advisory Council on Aging to study funding models for senior centers so the information can be used in the 2020 budget process.

Commissioner Dave Unruh said the 2019 budget restores some aging services funding that was cut in recent years.

"So we’ve had some reductions and the senior centers have stayed with flat funding," he said. "The recommended budget includes $100,000 in additional funding for in-home, community-based and physical disability services."

Unruh said the aging board will determine how to allocate the funding to help seniors with their great needs such as meal services, medication services and in-home behavioral health services.

Fourteen senior centers and four senior clubs are located throughout Sedgwick County.

The commissioners also unanimously approved a $20,487,728 operating budget for Fire District 1.

Follow Deborah Shaar on Twitter @deborahshaar. To contact KMUW News or to send in a news tip, reach us at news@kmuw.org.

Deborah joined the news team at KMUW in September 2014 as a news reporter. She spent more than a dozen years working in news at both public and commercial radio and television stations in Ohio, West Virginia and Detroit, Michigan. Before relocating to Wichita in 2013, Deborah taught news and broadcasting classes at Tarrant County College in the Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas area.