JoCo Pulse, the county scorecard for capturing quantitative and qualitative information about the BOCC Strategic Priorities.
The Johnson County Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) is responsible for enacting legislation, levying and appropriating taxes and setting budgets, and Johnson County residents are strongly encouraged to engage with county government and have their voices heard. Weekly BOCC meetings are open to the public and streamed online. Many of our departments and agencies have advisory boards that depend on citizen participation. Johnson County residents who are registered to vote elect the BOCC members, District Attorney and Sheriff, so the more you know, the more empowered your vote. This is a great place to get educated and start engaging.
Nearly 23% of what ends up in our recycle bins are items that can’t be recycled. This includes items that could perhaps be recycled elsewhere like glass (purple Ripple Glass bins!) or plastic bags (take them back to the grocery store), or items that belong in the trash like Styrofoam and paper towels.
Contributing to this problem is the practice of wishful recycling, where people who want to do the right thing and recycle, by putting items in their recycle bins and hoping that they will be recycled. Wishful recycling, combined with the confusion of what can be recycled in our curbside recycle bins, are two of the biggest obstacles facing recycling today.
As a response to this issue, Johnson County Department of Health and Environment (DHE) has developed a Recycle Right campaign aimed at reaching residents with direct feedback about correct recycling habits.
Through Recycle Right, DHE staff from the Solid Waste team with support from the recycling hauler will go house to house briefly observing recycle bins as they were placed at the curb prior to collection. They will then leave an Oops tag on top of the bin letting the resident know the items that shouldn’t be in the bin including glass, bagged recyclables, plastic bags and film, food contaminated material, etc.
Information will also be provided telling the resident recycling options that may exist, for example if they have plastic bags in their recycle bin, they will be told to take them back to the grocery store for recycling instead. Additional info is sent out with a reminder of what items do belong in the recycle bin (paper, cardboard, aluminum and tin cans, plastic bottles and containers that have the 1-7 chasing arrow number on them) and where they can find more info if they have questions (jocogov.org/recycling101).
So far Johnson County has partnered with several HOAs as well as the city of Westwood and are now looking to work with other cities and neighborhoods that are contracted with one trash and recycling hauler. In Westwood, DHE staff went to 746 homes. Of those homes, 571 had their recycle bins out. Of those 571 participating households, Johnson County put out 297 Oops Tags, a total of 52% of the homes.
While that number might sound high, nearly all those 297 homes that received Oops tags only had one or two items that didn’t belong, the other items in their bin were perfectly recyclable.
The top contaminates that were observed so far included plastic bags and product wrap. These items can get caught in the equipment at the recycling center. Plastic bags can go back to grocery stores for recycling, the other items belong in the trash.
Bagged recycling was another big issue. Residents were told to leave their recyclables loose in the bin as bagged recycling will end up going to the landfill. Paper towels, Kleenex and even used masks were also an issue. All these items also belong in the trash.
If you have questions about what can go in your recycle bin, are curious about other recycling options or want to have your city or neighborhood participate in this program, please email Brandon Hearn or call him at 913-715-6936.
More information including official minutes, votes, videos, information about how to make public comments and how to request accommodations is available at boccmeetings.jocogov.org.
The Board issued a proclamation for Direct Support Professionals Recognition Week, Sept 12 – 18, and recognized New Century Railroad’s American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association “Jake with Distinction” award for its zero-incident safety record.
Notice of Public Hearing from the City of Lenexa, regarding Lenexa Logistics Centre North Phase II Building 11 Project was shared.
The Johnson County Charter Commission will hold a public hearing at 5:30 p.m., on Sept. 13, at the KU Edwards Campus BEST Conference Center, Overland Park, to receive comments on the Johnson County Home Rule Charter. The charter establishes the Charter Commission’s authority conduct comprehensive studies of any or all aspects of county government operations, including a review of the existing County Charter and major resolutions of the Charter Commission as they affect Johnson County Government operations.
The Charter Commission is comprised of 25 Johnson County residents who have been appointed by the various authorities as provided by state law. The charter approved by Johnson County voters in 2000 requires a Johnson County Charter Commission be established every 10 years to review Johnson County Government operations and present its findings and recommendations to the Johnson County Board of County Commissioners. Any recommendations for charter amendments must then be placed on a ballot for consideration by Johnson County voters in an election.
Since March 1, the Charter Commission has met approximately twice monthly to learn about county departments, programs and services. Each meeting was broadcast through Facebook Live and is available online. The upcoming public hearing will allow the public an opportunity to provide feedback and comments for the Charter Commission’s consideration.
Public comment may be presented in several ways: 1) in person at the KU Edwards Campus, BEST Conference Center, 12604 Quivira Rd., Overland Park; 2) virtually through Zoom; or 3) through written comments. A time limit of three minutes has been set for each person presenting public comment.
How to provide comment: Those wishing to speak by Zoom must pre-register at charter.jocogov.org by 11 a.m., Sept. 13. Those providing in-person comments may pre-register at charter.jocogov.org or may sign up at KU Edwards Campus beginning at 5 p.m., on Sept. 13. Written comment will also be accepted through an online submission form. A live broadcast will be available on Johnson County Government’s Facebook page.
In-person safety precautions: To reduce the spread of COVID-19, physical distancing will be observed for those choosing to participate in person. Seating will be limited. The University of Kansas requires that all visitors, including those who are fully vaccinated, must wear a cloth face covering, surgical/medical face mask or Powered Air-Purifying Respirator suit over their mouths and nose when in indoor common areas anywhere on the campus. Learn more about KU’s Public Health Safety Requirements. The Charter Commission will enforce these requirements.
Johnson County complies with the Americans with Disabilities Act. Those needing accommodations, such as a sign language or oral interpreter, can make a request at [email protected], by phone at 913-715-0430 or through the Kansas Relay Operator service at 800-766-3777. Accommodation requests should be made at least two business days prior to the event.
On JoCo on the Go, episode #104, our world was forever changed 20 years ago. On this 20th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, we remember where we were, the impact it had on us and the 2,977 lives lost that day. You’ll hear from Johnson County Airport Commission Executive Director Aaron Otto about his ties to the Pentagon and the realization of losing a friend killed during the attacks.
Also hear from Overland Park’s Jason Rhodes about the city’s 9/11 memorial that attracts people year after year. Find out what Overland Park has in store to observe the two decades that have passed. Also hear from Johnson County staff about the JoCo Remembers event, proclamation signing and impressive flag display to commemorate the anniversary.
Look for JoCo on the Go where you regularly listen to podcasts. Learn more about JoCo on the Go and get a complete transcript of this episode.
Johnson County Government is celebrating its 164th anniversary on Tuesday, Sept. 7, as a local government organized in bygone Gum Springs, now the city of Shawnee.
Back in 1855, when Johnson County was created as one of the first 33 counties in the Territory of Kansas, the Territorial Legislature designated Gum Springs as the first county seat. The county tribunal held its initial meeting on Sept. 7, 1857 in Gum Springs. The name of the community apparently originated because logs of sweetgum trees were used to dam a creek.
During this time, Gum Springs changed its name to Shawneetown. Olathe was chosen as the seat of the county government in an election in 1858 and was declared the permanent county seat by the Territorial Legislature the following year. Two years later, Kansas became a state.
Shawneetown was re-incorporated in 1922 as Shawnee in honor of the Indian tribe.
The rest is history.
On Thursday, Sept. 2, the Johnson County Board of Commissioners adopted the FY 2022 Operating and Capital Improvement Budget, totaling approximately $1.45 billion, with another authorized reduction in the county mill levy.
The budget was crafted with an estimated mill levy of 25.497 mills, a .30 reduction from the FY 2021 mill levy. With pending exemptions, once the latest assessed property valuation is determined in October, the anticipated final mill levy will represent an estimated .25 mill levy reduction.
“Due to the growth in property values, we are again in a position to return some resources back to taxpayers through mill levy reductions. This is the fourth reduction in five years without impacting the county’s exceptional programs and services to which Johnson County residents are accustomed,” said Chairman Ed Eilert. “With this budget, we will also maintain the reserve level that helps us achieve the best credit ratings available.”
Johnson County Mental Health Center (JCMHC) hosted a virtual information session and Q&A on Aug. 31 about the COVID-19 pandemic.
JCMHC Director Tim DeWeese and Johnson County Department of Health and Environment (JCDHE) Epidemiologist Elizabeth Holzschuh discussed COVID-19 trends, answered questions on how to get vaccinated and discussed vaccine hesitancy.
Among the questions raised by participants were:
The September-October issue of The Best Times magazine is on its way in the mail. The cover story features a local family whose son, a Navy petty officer, was killed in the Pentagon attack 20 years ago. He was 37 and the father of two young children.
A related article details a special Johnson County Remembers event on Sept. 9 with 2,977 flags in honor of the lives lost that day and in observance of the 20th anniversary of Sept. 11, 2001.
Other articles include:
The World War II era Olathe Naval Air Station hangar, which now is home to a squad of Chinook helicopters piloted and maintained by Army Reservists, was renamed in memory of Chief Warrant Officer Bryan Nichols.
On the night of August 5, 2011, Nichols as a pilot and four other crew members of Extortion 17 were tasked to transport a platoon of U.S. Army Rangers into the Tangi Valley of Wardak Province in Afghanistan to neutralize a known Taliban leader. U.S. forces quickly became engaged with enemy forces shortly after the insertion. During the operation, a small group of insurgents was observed leaving the area. A SEAL Team Quick Reaction Force was dispatched to intercept the insurgents and determine whether the Taliban leader was among the group. Despite the high threat level and presence of enemy force, Nichols and his crew stepped forward to transport the Quick Reaction Force to the Tangi Valley. As Extortion 17 approached the landing zone, a series of rocket-propelled grenades were fired at the aircraft. One of the RPGs struck the aft rotor system, causing the Chinook helicopter to spin and crash in a dry riverbed. The aircraft exploded on impact, killing all 33 passengers and all five crew members, making it the single deadliest day of the loss of U.S. forces in Afghanistan. This was the same airframe on which Specialist Spencer Duncan lost his life.
As referenced above, for nearly 10 years, Spencer Duncan’s family and many others have worked to organize a 5K event to both as a way to remember Spencer as well as raise funds for a number of efforts that support veteran needs. The Airport Commission has been a hosting partner of this event since its first race.
On Thursday, Aug. 26, the Johnson County Board of County Commissioners, authorized a resolution to regulate the discharge of a firearm across property boundaries in Johnson County, Kansas’ unincorporated area. Firearm discharge complaints will be investigated by the Sheriff’s Office with violations prosecuted in Johnson County District Court in the County Codes division. Fines will range from $500 to $1,000.
“Due to an increase of incidents involving stray bullets in the unincorporated areas of Johnson County, our Board, in collaboration with the Johnson County Sheriff’s Office, adopted a resolution last September officially urging and promoting the safe and responsible use and discharge of firearms in the unincorporated areas,” said Chairman Ed Eilert. “The Sheriff’s Office engaged in a safety and educational program to emphasize the importance of the safe discharge of firearms, but unfortunately, we did not see a significant decrease of incidents. This resolution is an important step in protecting the safety of people and property from stray gunfire.”
Johnson County Sheriff Calvin Hayden recommended that the BOCC exercise its home rule authority to regulate the discharge of firearms that results in gunfire leaving one property and entering another where permission or consent to do so has not been granted by a property owner, even if that gunfire does not strike a neighbor’s home, car, tree or other property.
“This new county code is narrowly tailored for instances when someone does not follow the rules for the safe discharge of a firearm, with the result being a bullet entering someone else’s property,” said Sheriff Hayden. “While my office will continue to educate on the proper safety precautions to take when firing a weapon, this will now allow us to cite individuals on a non-criminal basis when they are careless.”
What the new resolution does NOT do:
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