Sedgwick Co. Commission Punts Funding Decision To September

May 13, 2015

Credit Sedgwick County

The Sedgwick County Commission voted on Wendesday morning to delay any changes to the funding agreements with a number of area institutions. KMUW’s Sean Sandefur has more…

Business owners, non-profit leaders and parents came out in droves on Wednesday to testify in support of county-backed institutions, namely Exploration Place and the Sedgwick County Zoo.

Many of them were concerned that funding levels would take a dip when county officials draft a budget in the coming months. Susie Santo of Visit Wichita warned of the impact decreased funding would have to tourism.

“Consider the reach that attractions like these have on our economic health," Santo says. "Tourism needs the Sedgwick County Zoo and Exploration Place.”

County commissioners haven’t said that funding cuts are imminent for Exploration Place or the Sedgwick County Zoo, but Commissioner Richard Ranzau says there's a projected budget shortfall of $10 - $12 million. 

Other county agencies--17 in total--have received notices from the County Commission that their funding levels could change in the future. 

Also, a plan to amend funding agreements with the zoo, Exploration Place and the Greater Wichita Economic Development Coalition to a year-to-year basis have been presented.

Five-year funding increments are currently in place.

County commissioners voted on Wednesday to punt all decisions to September 1, after the county budget has been presented.

Below is a list of the 17 county-backed agencies and institutions whose funding could be affected:

  • Child Advocacy Center
  • Exploration Place
  • Greater Wichita Economic Development Coalition
  • Greater Wichita Area Sports Commission
  • Kansas African American Museum
  • Kansas Junior Livestock
  • Mediation Center
  • Mid-American Minority Business Development Council
  • Nonprofit Chamber of Service
  • Sedgwick County Extension Office
  • Sedgwick County Fair
  • Sedgwick County Zoo 
  • South Central Kansas Economic Development District
  • Wichita Area Technical College
  • Wichita Arts Council
  • Wichita Festivals
  • Wichita-Sedgwick County Historical Museum