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Johnson County Commissioners Endorse Jails Expansions

By Steve Bell


Olathe, KS – The Johnson County Commission passed a $735 million spending plan for the next fiscal year on Thursday. Legislative chair Annabeth Surbaugh says the issue that makes the coming year's Johnson County budget different from this year's is its focus on public safety.

Surbaugh says county officials around the nation are finding corrections expansions a pressing issue as jail populations continue to increase. She says the expense of placing adult inmate overflow in other counties makes a jail expansion at Gardner a necessity. But the legislature chair says she is most proud that the budget addresses needs at the juvenile correctional center because "that is a way of preventing future incarcerations."

A third of the $359 million in locally funded county spending is slated for improvements to correctional facilities. The package includes new construction and inreased operating costs of the expanded facilities.

The correctional emphasis will require voter approval of extending a 1/4 cent sales tax that is now spent on public schools. Surbaugh says if the sales tax extension fails at the polls, there'll have to be a property tax increase and county spending cuts in other areas.

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