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County Manager's Office

Phone: 913-715-0725

111 S. Cherry St., Suite 3300, Olathe, KS 66061

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county manager's office

The County Manager's Office is responsible to the Board of County Commissioners and the residents of Johnson County for the effective and efficient delivery of programs and services, using sound management and financial principles while emphasizing high ethical values, innovation, and continuous improvement.

Department News

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Proposed 2018 budget creates potential to roll back mill levy
May 1, 2017

County manager Hannes Zacharias has proposed a budget for next year with the potential to roll back the mill levy by a quarter mill. 

“Current revenue projections support a strong county budget,” Zacharias said. “Our proposal meets the needs of a growing community and adequately compensates staff. The budget adheres to the board’s direction to maintain a constant mill levy and creates a potential opportunity to return resources back to the taxpayers of Johnson County.”

Johnson County’s proposed FY 2018 budget totals $1.06 billion, composed of $820.1 million in expenditures and $243 million in reserves. The proposed budget maintains existing services and general fund reserves, supports health care increases and meets growing service demands.

The county manager noted in his budget message that if the local economy and revenue projections hold steady, and the state budget is finalized without significant negative impact to the county, the FY 2018 budget would provide sufficient funding to allow county leadership to roll the mill levy back by a quarter mill and therefore reduce property taxes.

The proposal holds the county’s current taxing levy steady at 19.59 mills — still the lowest mill levy in Kansas, with 3.915 mills for the library district and 3.102 mills for the park and recreation district.

The 2018 budget proposal includes a Capital Improvement Program (CIP) totaling more than $159 million. CIP highlights include:

  • $77.4 million for Wastewater’s capital projects;
  • $15 million for the Stormwater Management Program;
  • $14.9 million for the County Assistance Road System (CARS) program;
  • $14.8 million for Park and Recreation District’s capital projects.

The budget proposal funds a maximum 3,950.72 of full-time-equivalent employees, including an increase of 63.73 FTEs from the FY 2017 budget (eight of which would be funded by county taxes). The budget also allocates funds for a 3 percent merit increase pool for employees who meet performance goals.

“While Johnson County’s economy is strong and growing, both caution and optimism are in order,” Zacharias said. “The nation’s economy is currently enjoying the fourth-longest period of economic recovery in U.S. history, and a slow-down is likely imminent. The extent to which an economic downturn may affect Johnson County is difficult to predict. We stand ready, however, to continue to provide the necessary services our residents expect and deserve.”

Budget timeline

  • From May 4 to May 23, the Board of County Commissioners will conduct study sessions to review FY 2018 budget proposals with county agencies and departments.
  • The board is scheduled to set the FY 2018 maximum expenditure budget on June 15 for newspaper publication. Following legal publication, the county cannot, by law, increase the amount of budgeted expenditures, but can decrease the amount of the operating budget or taxing level with final board approval.
  • The public hearing for the FY 2018 proposed budget is scheduled for 7 p.m. July 31.
  • The board is scheduled to adopt the 2018 budget resolution during its business session on Aug. 10. According to state statute, the county’s new budget must be approved and filed with the county clerk by Aug. 25.
BIG summer planting event
April 27, 2017

Ready to do some gardening? Mark your calendars for Tuesday, May 2 and plan to join staff members from Johnson County’s Department of Health and Environment in the community garden to plant the summer crops. They will be planting tomatoes, peppers, zucchini and cucumbers just to name a few. The garden is structured so all volunteers work communally to plant, grow and harvest food that is distributed to clients of the Women, Infants and Children (WIC) program. 

The planting event will be May 2 from 7:30 – 9:30 a.m. at the WIC Community Garden, 11875 South Sunset Drive, Olathe, Kansas.

Tools, gloves and guidance will be provided. Volunteers only need to show up ready to work, and bring a water bottle if you like. Children are always welcome. No experience necessary.

Visit the WIC Garden webpage for more information.

National Walk @ Lunch Day®
April 26, 2017

Johnson County Government employees replaced a Working lunch with a Walking lunch as the county continued its partnership with Blue KC by participating in its seventh annual 2017 for National Walk@ Lunch Day® on April 26. Employees met at three scheduled sites as well as several other county locations which formed their own walking groups to take a nice spring walk.

It can be hard to find time in your busy schedule to participate in physical activity. However, taking a walk is one of the simplest, safest and most effective forms of exercise. Blue Cross and Blue Shield Companies across the country sponsor the annual National Walk @ Lunch Day® – designed to encourage busy people to take a walk during their lunch break and start a healthy routine.

Tens of thousands of working Americans around the country were expected to participate in a 30-minute walk during lunch, and take the first steps towards a healthier lifestyle. National Walk @ Lunch Day is designed to complement—not compete with—busy lifestyles. Created to improve personal health and decrease the costs of healthcare for both employers and employees, National Walk @ Lunch Day can be the start of a new daily walking routine, improving health step by step.

Studies have found that regular walking, particularly at a brisk pace of 3 mph, can substantially reduce the risk of developing heart disease, stroke and diabetes. Additionally, simply performing 30 minutes of moderate physical activity at least five times a week has significant health benefits and can lower the risk of developing or dying from hypertension or type 2 diabetes, and improve the health of muscles, bones and joints.

Leadership appoints assistant to the county manager
April 25, 2017

Cindy Green has been named assistant to the county manager and chief of staff, effective May 15. In this role, Green will be responsible for the administrative and budgetary functions of the county manager’s office. She will also act as the principal strategic lead for the department’s operations, working closely with the county manager and senior leadership to develop organizational goals.

“Cindy’s extensive experience in local government will be a great asset to our leadership team as we work to implement the board’s strategic priorities for the next year,” said county manager Hannes Zacharias. “Her knowledge of Kansas politics as well as local and state government operations will be of great benefit in this role, so we’re excited to have her join the organization.”

Green will be the primary analyst and liaison for various responsibilities including new and ongoing initiatives with a number of stakeholders such as metro cities and counties, school districts and other groups. She will also be responsible for the county’s legislative affairs, coordinating and collaborating with executives and senior managers on legislative platforms.

Prior to joining Johnson County Government, Green served as deputy director of the League of Kansas Municipalities where she oversaw advocacy efforts and message development. Green served as a district representative for U.S. Sen. Jerry Moran in Olathe, collaborating with Washington, D.C., staff on policy and issues important to constituents. She has extensive experience in local government, serving on the city council of Lenexa for six years and 10 years of service on the Lenexa Planning Commission. Her previous industry experiences include vice president of Kansas governmental affairs for the Kansas City Regional Association of Realtors, where she built relationships with federal, state, county and city elected officials and public managers to advocate real estate issues. She served as marketing and sales director for Overland Park-based Metcalf Bank and was an assistant vice president in commercial lending at Wichita-based Intrust Bank.

Green holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Ottawa University in Kansas City.

County manager named 2017 Outstanding Public Administrator
April 25, 2017

Hannes Zacharias, county manager of Johnson County, has been named the 2017 Outstanding Public Administrator by the Kansas chapter of the American Society for Public Administration.

Zacharias has served as county manager for Johnson County since 2009, joining the county as assistant county manager in 2001 and as deputy county manager in 2005. His career in public management spans nearly 40 years, including appointments as assistant to the city manager of Lawrence, Kansas; city administrator of Boonville, Missouri; and city manager of Hays, Kansas.

“Hannes is extremely deserving of this honor,” said Ed Eilert, chairman of the Johnson County Commission. “His passion for public service, his desire to continuously improve the organization and his strong leadership abilities are evident in the work he does every day for Johnson County. I’m very pleased to see him receive this recognition.”

Zacharias will receive the award April 21 at a public service recognition luncheon in Wichita, Kansas. The award recognizes outstanding performance in the practice of public administration.

“Hannes is an inspiring leader and a dedicated public servant,” said deputy county manager Penny Postoak Ferguson. “His commitment to the Johnson County community and the county workforce is unmatched. I am proud to serve under his leadership and appreciate the sincere mentorship he has given me and others in public administration.”

“The selection committee was impressed by the deep support expressed for Hannes’ leadership as well as his many contributions to public service,” said KU associate professor Heather Getha-Taylor, who chaired the award selection committee. “The nominators collectively echoed Hannes’ enduring passion for public service, which inspires others.”

Zacharias serves as an instructor in the graduate program at the University of Kansas School of Public Affairs and Administration. He also teaches professional development courses for the KU Public Management Center.

He holds a bachelor’s degree from Wichita State University and a master’s degree in public administration from the University of Kansas. He is a native of Dodge City, Kansas.

JCW names new Chief Engineer
April 14, 2017

Aaron Witt has accepted the position as JCW's Chief Engineer, effective immediately. He has been with JCW since 1999 and served as the Interim Chief Engineer since last September. The Chief Engineer is responsible for JCW’s engineering activities and oversees the Asset Management and Capital Improvement Programs, as well as sewer development and the district creation process.

Witt has been the Engineering Manager for the Existing Infrastructure group since 2007, leading 13 engineering and O&M support staff members. His group oversees the planning, design and construction of capital improvement projects of up to $90 million per year, including the Tomahawk Creek Wastewater Treatment Facility Expansion and Improvements Project.

"I'm excited about the opportunity to work with our organization and our stakeholders as we continue to look for ways to improve the achievement of JCW's mission - protecting our environment, serving our customers, and enhancing our communities," Witt said.

In addition, Witt has served in other interim roles at JCW including Asset Manager, Assistant O&M Director for Collections, and previously as Interim Chief Engineer. He also works to advance industry issues at the local, state, and national levels. Witt is one of the authors of a Water Environment Federation special publication on private property infiltration and inflow and has presented numerous papers at conferences both locally and nationally.

"Aaron’s breadth of experience and knowledge of the department makes him the perfect candidate to fulfill the responsibilities of Chief Engineer with all that is currently happening at JCW," said Susan Pekarek, JCW's general manager.