Shawnee County, Kansas
- Main article: Evaluation of Kansas county websites
Last rated on Jan. 17, 2012
- Budgets, tax schedules, and audits are posted.
- Property taxes are payable online, and interactive maps and property searches are available.
- Commissioners are posted with a communal email address.
- Meeting agendas and minutes are posted.
- Bid opportunities are posted.
- Building permits are posted, along with zoning information.
- Phone numbers are provided in the county directory, and email addresses are listed on each department's webpage.
- Information and a form for public records requests are posted.
- The budget contains no summary and is not searchable.
- Individual contact information for commissioners is not provided.
- Information on Taxpayer-funded lobbying is not posted.
- County contracts are not posted.
Board of commissioners
Commissioners serve four-year terms.
|Mary M. Thomas||2nd||Commissioner|
|Ted Ensley||3rd||Vice Chair|
The county clerk is Cynthia "Cyndi" Beck. Elected for three consecutive four-year terms, she has held that position since 1997.
In response to concerns from the county auditor, Treasurer Larry Wilson has instituted new policies in the motor vehicle department, allowing only managers to access the cash drawer. Auditor Stacey Woolington called for changes after the motor vehicle department's cash drawers were off by $10 or more 80 times this year. She is not convinced Wilson's new rule will be enough to solve the problem.
The board of commissioners has asked the Kansas attorney general to investigate Wilson after they were dissatisfied with the district attorney's response to their request that he look into whether the treasurer has performed his duties.
|Year||Resources Available||Total Expenditures|
- Main article: Kansas public pensions
Full-time county employees are on either the Kansas Public Employees Retirement System (KPERS) or the Kansas Police and Fireman's Retirement System (KP&F). Both are statewide pension plans. The county funds all accrued pension costs.
In 2010, Shawnee County spent $2,500,000 for KPERS pensions and $913,000 for KP&F pensions.
Shawnee County has accrued $4,538,526 in unfunded liabilities for its employees' other post-employment benefits (OPEBs).
Domestic Violence prosecution controversy
In an attempt to make budget cuts, Shawnee County and the City of Topeka both tried to put the responsibility of prosecuting domestic violence onto the other. When District Attorney Chad Taylor announced his department would no longer prosecute misdemeanor domestic violence cases in order to deal with a 10% budget cut, Topeka responded by decriminalizing domestic violence -- moving the burden from its own municipal court back to the county level. The move resulted in national outcry, and also effectively forced D.A. Taylor's hand. Taylor has reversed his earlier decision and the county will continue being responsible for prosecuting domestic violence cases.
Shawnee County's property tax levy was 43.165 for 2011, up from 41.016 the prior year. The state's property tax levy is 1.500. In addition, townships, school districts, drain projects, fire departments, and others, have levies on top of the state and county levies. Total property tax rates for Shawnee residents range from 109.826 to 156.678.
County Auditor Stacey Woolington and others are calling for more transparency in the county's budget process. Specifically, she suggested that department heads be required to explain their duties and describe what the effect would be of a 10% increase or decrease in each department's funding.
- Shawnee County official website
- Shawnee County employee payroll, Kansas Watchdog
- Shawnee County Appraiser's Website
- Shawnee County District Court
- Shawnee County Information
- Shawnee County on Epodunk
- ↑ U.S. Census Bureau "QuickFacts," Accessed November 21, 2011
- ↑ Shawnee County "Visitor Info," Accessed November 21, 2011
- ↑ Shawnee County "Clerk: Budgets," Accessed November 21, 2011
- ↑ Access Kansas "Online Property Tax Payments," Accessed November 21, 2011
- ↑ Shawnee County "Appraiser's Office," Accessed November 21, 2011
- ↑ 6.0 6.1 Shawnee County "Commission," Accessed November 21, 2011
- ↑ Shawnee County "Meeting and Agenda Archives," Accessed November 21, 2011
- ↑ Shawnee County "Purchasing Department," Accessed November 21, 2011
- ↑ Shawnee County "Permits," Accessed November 21, 2011
- ↑ Shawnee County "Zoning Descriptions," Accessed November 21, 2011
- ↑ Shawnee County "Phone Directory," Accessed November 21, 2011
- ↑ Shawnee County "Administrative Division," Accessed November 21, 2011
- ↑ Shawnee County "About the Board," Accessed November 21, 2011
- ↑ Shawnee County "Clerk," Accessed November 20, 2011
- ↑ The Topeka Capital-Journal "Concerns remain on treasurer's cash drawers," Accessed November 21, 2011
- ↑ The Topeka Capital-Journal "Unhappy with D.A., county asks A.G. to investigate treasurer," Accessed November 21, 2011
- ↑ Shawnee County "2012 Budget," Accessed November 21, 2011
- ↑ 18.0 18.1 18.2 Shawnee County "2010 CAFR," Accessed November 21, 2011
- ↑ ABC News "Kansas DA Says He Will Prosecute Domestic Violence After All," Accessed November 21, 2011
- ↑ Shawnee County "2011 Tax Levy Sheets," Accessed November 21, 2011
- ↑ The Topeka Capital-Journal "County: Make budget more transparent," Accessed November 21, 2011
State of Kansas
Open Records Act | Transparency Checklist | Government corruption reports | Transparency Legislation | Open Records procedures | Transparency Advocates | State budget | Taxpayer-funded lobbying associations |