Wichita’s new program may serve as a model for other communities

Gary Plummer is the President & CEO of the Wichita Metro Chamber of Commerce

Gary Plummer is the President & CEO of the Wichita Metro Chamber of Commerce

Congratulations to the Wichita City Council for approving a new Voluntary Off-site Storm Water Quality Best Management Practice (BMP) Program at their June 10th meeting. The idea came from a collaborative effort involving the public and private sectors with much of the credit going to Gary Oborny (Occidental Management) and Chris Bohm (Ruggles & Bohm), who chairs the city’s Storm Water Advisory Board. A lot of credit also goes to City Manager Bob Layton and Public Works Director Alan King for working toward an innovative solution.

The Chamber’s environmental policy supports an effective and efficient regulatory structure so that existing business and industry are not unduly constrained or burdened so that the City can competitively attract new business and industry. The storm water management plan provides developers a new option regarding storm water quality regulations and will provide extensive savings from the current program. The off-site BMP program was supported by the Chamber’s Environmental Resources Committee, chaired by David Traster (Foulston Siefkin LLP).

This program will be the first of its kind in the United States and an opportunity to make Wichita unique in the market place. The program will provide significant costs savings for area developers, businesses and the city and county. It will make dramatic improvements to the quality of storm water flowing off sites in the agricultural community and could be a huge economic development consideration. We commend all of the partners – KDHE, K-State WRAPS, the EPA, the Storm Water Advisory Board and the City of Wichita – for working together and finding a solution that will ultimately provide great benefit to business owners and developers.

Why can’t Wichita wait on securing another water source?

The Chamber’s Board of Directors supports the 1 percent sales tax referendum. Wichitans will vote on this issue on November 4. Chamber board members are utilizing this blog to provide commentary and answer questions about the sales tax. Today’s question is answered by Chamber Board member Barry Schwan in a letter to the editor of the Wichita Eagle.

We can’t wait another 20 years to develop a plan for water. Water planning is a continual planning process. It takes several decades to bring another water resource on line. Work on the current Aquifer Storage and Recovery project has been ongoing for more than 20 years, and it is not yet fully developed. Finishing the project is one of the benefits of the 1-cent sales tax.

Barry Schwan is a member of the 2014 Board of Directors for the Wichita Metro Chamber of Commerce and the President of House of Schwan.

Barry Schwan is a member of the 2014 Board of Directors for the Wichita Metro Chamber of Commerce and the President of House of Schwan.

In fact, the last major water resource brought on line was Cheney Reservoir in the 1950s. The city of Wichita has continued to plan for additional resources since that time, but state and federal laws and regulations have prohibited two other viable options. That’s why the ASR is and must remain our focus. The 1-cent sales tax will help move that project to completion.

Please visit the City of Wichita website to learn more about the proposed sales tax and to read the plans for water, roads, transportation and jobs. Visit the Yes Wichita website to see who is supporting the sales tax and to learn about upcoming events.




Your Input Sought on Proposed Sales Tax, 2015 City Budget

“Building a Better Future” sets stage for community conversations

Wichita City Council members are hosting a series of community meetings starting this week so residents can provide input on a proposed sales tax and the City’s 2015 Proposed Budget. We encourage Chamber members and other area residents to actively participate in these discussions.

Six meetings are scheduled so residents can help shape the city’s future and identify key priorities for 2015 and beyond. The open-house style meetings, part of an initiative called “Building a Better Future,” will include a presentation and feedback session on the proposed city sales tax that would fund key community priorities related to:

  • Water supply;
  • Jobs initiative;
  • Public Transit;
  • And pavement maintenance.

Attendees will hear an overview about the sales tax, visit information stations and discuss specific plans for each community priority. They can ask questions and submit ideas in writing at the meeting or online at Activate Wichita. These meetings will explain:

  • How the priorities were determined;
  • The impact on residents and the overall community;
  • And why now is the time to make decisions about basic services needed to keep the city viable and competitive.

All meetings start at 6:30 p.m. at the following locations:

  • June 17 – District V – (represented by Jeff Longwell) Avita Senior Living at Rolling Hills, 629 S. Maize
  • June 18 – District VI – (represented by Janet Miller) Evergreen Recreation Center, 2700 N. Woodland
  • June 23 – District I  – (represented by Lavonta Williams) Boys and Girls Club of South Central Kansas, 2400 N. Opportunity Dr.
  • June 24 – District IV – (represented by Jeff Blubaugh) Osage Recreation Center, 2121 W. 31st St. South
  • June 26 – District II – (represented by Pete Meitzner) Eastminster Presbyterian Church, 1958 N. Webb Rd.
  • June 30 – District III – (represented by James Clendenin) WATER Center, 101 E. Pawnee St.

Handouts with more information about these important topics will be distributed at the meetings.