Pursuant to the provisions of Chapter 19 of the Kansas Statutes Annotated and in accordance with all applicable laws and regulations, and under the authority of the Home Rule Charter of Johnson County, the legislative and policy-determinant powers of the county government are vested in the seven-member Board of County Commissioners. The Board has exclusive power to enact, amend, and repeal local legislation within the jurisdiction of the county; to levy and apportion taxes, to make appropriations, and to adopt budgets; to establish strategic plans that guide organizational development and performance; and to appoint certain offices, boards and commissions.
The Board of County Commissioners monitors the execution and implementation of its policies and directives through the various county agencies and departments.
Oversight refers to the function of reviewing, monitoring, and supervising organizational performance by and through the County Manager and the agencies and departments within the administrative structure of County Government. It is the mechanism through which the Board of County Commissioners monitors the execution and implementation of its policies and directives, ascertains that budgeted funds are used according to established policy, and provides direction in accordance with its strategic plan.
As an outgrowth of this function, the Board:
- Improves the efficiency, economy, and effectiveness of governmental operations;
- Reviews policy proposals affecting the services and programs of Johnson County Government;
- Checks the administration by monitoring and evaluating the performance of agencies and departments and ensuring compliance with original legislative or policy intent;
- Informs the general public about available services and ensures that administrative policies reflect the interests of the community; and
- Conducts studies or undertakes investigations deemed to be in the best interests of the community.
First and foremost, County Commissioners are elected representatives of the community; in particular, the residents of their districts. Consequently, Members spend a great deal of time and energy responding to the myriad requests they receive for assistance or information.
Interacting with citizens, soliciting public opinion on various issues, attending community meetings, facilitating access to government agencies and departments -- this is just a small sample of the types of activities that Members undertake on behalf of their constituents. These types of activities are generally referred to as "constituent services," a generic term that is used to encompass a wide range activities intended to assist citizens with their interactions with and connection to County Government.
Members are supported in these efforts by the constituent services team, which is charged with providing convenient, timely, and accurate responses to all citizen inquiries or requests so that people receive the information or services they need in a timely and professional manner.
Citizen Services receives and responds to public requests for information or assistance and facilitates access to community resources through timely referrals to appropriate service providers. It also networks with social services agencies, businesses and private sector interests, nonprofit agencies, and civic groups to promote civic engagement initiatives. The goal of citizen services is to ensure that County Government remains accessible and responsive to all citizens.
Johnson County is a body created and existing under the Constitution and Laws of the State of Kansas, and is endowed with the rights and powers of a municipal government. As a municipality, Johnson County possesses the right of self-government through the exercise of home rule authority and, except as expressly limited by state statute, the Board of County Commissioners has and exercises the powers, authorities, and duties provided under K.S.A. 19-101, 19-101a, and 19-212, and other statutory provisions.
To promote the effective administration of government services, the Board of County Commissioners has the authority to:
- Adopt resolutions, policies, directives, rules and regulations deemed necessary and advisable to provide for the effective administration of government services.
- Provide for the administrative structure of the county government by creating, organizing, altering, merging, or abolishing offices, agencies, departments, divisions, or other functional units deemed advisable to implement and administer the policies, regulations, and laws for the county.
- Apportion and order the levying of taxes, make appropriations, adopt budgets, and incur indebtedness for the purpose of carrying out the duties conferred or imposed upon county government.
- Fix and collect charges and fees for services performed and require licenses and permits when necessary in the enforcement of regulations and fix the amount thereof.
- Examine and settle the accounts and expenses of the county government and issue county orders for all accounts chargeable against the county.
- Establish land use policies and zoning regulations and codes and provide for the enforcement of the same.
- Superintend the property and facilities belonging to the county government and construct, improve, and maintain the community’s infrastructure grid and various infrastructure components.
- Provide or contract for the protection and promotion of the general public health and welfare of the community.
- Appoint members of various subordinate boards and commissions attached to or affiliated with the agencies and departments of the county government.
The Board of County Commissioners is the final authority on spending by county agencies and departments, and the budget is the centerpiece of its local policymaking authority. Through the budget, priorities are established, resources are allocated, and the policy agenda for the ensuing year is determined.
Johnson County's fiscal year runs concurrent with the calendar year. Under the provisions of the Home Rule Charter, the County Manager is responsible for preparing and presenting the annual operating and five-year capital budgets, which are submitted for an extensive review before final consideration by the Board of County Commissioners.
Land Use & Zoning
The Board of County Commissioners guides future growth and development to ensure the most beneficial and coherent relationships among the residential, commercial and nonresidential, and public areas of the community. The Board's authority includes the power to create or adopt master plans for development; to review and approve specific land use issues; to approve requested zoning changes; and to dispose of property owned by the county government. This authority gives the Board of County Commissioners its most significant voice in the ultimate growth and development of the entire Johnson County community.
The Johnson County Planning Commission is the principal advisory body to the Board of County Commissioners on issues related to growth and development. Its responsibilities include the preparation of the Rural Comprehensive Plan as well as special area plans and projects. The Rural Comprehensive Plan provides for the physical development of the county and outlines criteria under which specific master plans, development proposals, and zoning regulations are considered, approved, and enforced. As well, the Planning Commission provides recommendations for changes to the Zoning and Subdivision Regulations. The members of the Planning Commission are appointed by the Board of County Commissioners and serve terms of three years.
The Board of County Commissioners is also assisted in the exercise of its land use and zoning authority by five township zoning boards. The township zoning boards provide even more local control over growth and development by incorporating the advice and recommendations of citizens from specific townships and surrounding areas. The township board members are responsible for reviewing all applications for zoning, land use, and development within their respective jurisdictions, for conducting public hearings, and for providing recommendations on each application to the Board of County Commissioners.
Both the Planning Commission and the township zoning boards serve in an advisory capacity to the Board of County Commissioners. Ultimately, the Board of County Commissioners must approve and authorize the implementation of the recommendations and advice provided by either the Planning Commission or the township zoning boards, and must also resolve any disputes between the Planning Commission, the township zoning boards, and citizens.