Butler County Legislative Coffee

El Dorado Chamber of Commerce hosts Butler County Farm Bureau Forum

On Saturday, March 5, 2022 the El Dorado Chamber of Commerce hosted a Legislative Coffee sponsored by the Butler County Farm Bureau Association. 

Listen to the conversation on the podcast channel here.

In attendance were District 12 Representative Doug Blex, District 75 Representative Will Carpenter and District 14 Senator Mike Fagg.  They spoke to Butler County residents about the work they are currently doing on their behalf and answered questions. 

Representative Blex represents House District 12 which spans parts of 5 counties; Mongomery(part), Chautauqua, Cowley, Butler and Elk.  Blex serves on the Health and Human Services Committee, is Vice-Chair of the Local Government Committee and is on the House Taxation Committee.

“I always enjoy the Farm Bureau forums,” said Representative Blex. “I feel like I get some really straight-shooting of what the issues are.”  

Before and after the panel discussion, voters had the opportunity to speak with their legislators.  Pictured is Miss Butler County Sierra Marie Bonn discussing issues with Representative Carpenter. 

Representative Will Carpenter represents House District 75 which serves the cities of Cassoday, El Dorado, Elbing, Potwin and Towanda and the townships of Chelsea, Clifford, El Dorado, Fairmount, Fairview, Lincoln, Milton, Murdock, Plum Grove, Prospect, Rosalia and SycamoreTowanda.

Representative Carpenter serves on the Appropriations Committee, the Commerce, Labor and Economic Development Committee and the Social Services Budget Committee, for which he is the Chair. 

“I enjoy hearing from the folks back home,” said Carpenter.  “They are my eyes and ears out there.”

The Legislators each shared about the work they are doing in Topeka and took questions from the audience. Pictured is Representative Doug Blex speaking.

Senator Mike Fagg represents Senate District 14 which covers 10 counties; Butler, Chautauqua, Coffey, Cowley, Elk, Greenwood, Labette, Montgomery, Wilson and Woodson Counties.

Senator Fagg serves on the Agriculture/Natural Resources Committee, Ways and Means, Utilities, Financial Institutions/Insurance and serves as the Vice-Chair, Joint Committee for Education, Joint Committee for Mental Health, Sparks Sub-Committee for Modern and Efficiency.

“We had a lot of great questions,” said Fagg.  “The only thing I wish is that we would have more people here because we need to get everyone involved, everyone’s thoughts and ideas need to be heard.”

A small but passionate number of voters attended the Legislative Coffee.

Jeff Varner, Policy Chair for the Butler County Farm Bureau Association, said the event provided an opportunity for the public to visit with legislators.  

“It’s always amazing what you learn,” said Varner. “We have worked hard over the years to hold events like this and plan several more in the coming months.” 

“The whole purpose is to give the community a chance to talk to their representatives, see what is happening in Topeka,” said Phil Benedict, Executive Director of the El Dorado Chamber of Commerce. 

“We hope to have more throughout the year as this is an election year,” said Benedict.

The next Butler County Farm Bureau Association Legislative Coffee is scheduled to be on Saturday, March 26 from 9-11a at the Augusta Train Depot in Augusta. Representative Kristy Williams and Senator Ty Masterson will be in attendance to share the work they are doing in Topeka and visit with voters.

Board of Butler County Commission

Keith Lawing, President and CEO of  Workforce Alliance, appeared before the Board of Butler County Commissioners to present a request to approve agreement between Workforce Alliance of South Central Kansas, Inc. and the Chief Elected Officials Board for the Kansas Local Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act Area IV. He also asked for the Board to designate a County representative to the Chief Elected Officials Board (CEOB). The goal is to have the CEOB empaneled by mid-July. The request was approved.

Community Development Director, David Alfaro, presented a request for a Conditional Use Permit (CUP), submitted by Jeff Coulson for a vehicle impound yard at 520 S. Pleasantview Dr. Andover, Kansas. Mr. Coulson, represented by Jeremy McDonald, is seeking the ability to create an impound yard on the site located approximately 1 mile east of Andover city limits. The vehicles will be stored on site and rotated out as the owners claim them after being impounded.  The yard will be enclosed with a 6′ Privacy fence, have asphalt millings laid down to provide a hard surface to park the cars and will be locked at all times when owner is not present.

“Neighbors expressed concerns about additional traffic, potential increase in criminal activity and the leaking of fluids into the ground causing potential contamination to the Water Wells in the area,” stated Mr. Alfaro.  After hearing comments from Mr. McDonald and neighbors present, the Board affirmed the recommendation of the Planning and Zoning Committee with a vote of 3-1-1; Commissioner Myers opposed and Commissioner Wheeler abstaining.

Mr. Alfaro also presented a request for a mortgage lot split for Anthony and Angel Clark at 2339 SW 80th St. Augusta, Kansas. The request was approved.

Finally, Mr. Alfaro presented a request for a change in zoning, submitted by Brian, Denise & Michael Vogt from AG-40 to Residential Estates on their property located at the NW corner of SE Sunflower and SE 20th St. El Dorado, Kansas. The Board approved the request.

Chris Davis, Director of Emergency Communications (E911) presented a request to the Board for payment of the Annual Motorola System Upgrade Agreement.   In order to manage the statewide radio system KDOT must maintain current software versions. Butler County executed a new 6 year contract with Motorola in 2017 to provide matching upgrades.  The partnership with KDOT on the radio system has proven to be very beneficial to Butler County, operationally. The request was approved 4-1, Commissioner Woydziak opposed.

County Clerk, Tatum Stafford, appeared before the Board to recommend the purchase of election equipment from Election Systems and Software, LLC (ES&S) in the amount not to exceed $603,635.  ES&S has been providing election, hardware, software support and services across the state of KS since 1983. The close proximity of their location in Omaha, Nebraska, is as important factor.  ES&S currently serves 83 counties in Kansas.

According to Stafford, ES&S manufactures their own equipment, provides support and the machines are high quality.  They provide the easiest voting and tabulation system for poll workers and election staff to manage.  Butler County currently has ES&S equipment and has established a great working relationship with them.

Purchasing this equipment will put Butler County in line to comply with K.S.A. 25-3009 Post Election Audit Requirements that took effect January 1, 2019.  K.S.A. 25-3009 defines the new audit standards in Kansas, which now requires auditing of all elections manually by comparing paper ballot results against electronically counted races.  Due to this new provision, the current voting machines in Butler County have been rendered obsolete in Kansas.  The recommendation was approved.

The Commissioners held a work session to receive information on the proposed work by the Kansas Turnpike Authority (KTA) to raise several overpasses through Butler County.  The KTA has projects planned to raise the height of many of its overpasses. Several of the overpasses planned for 2019 and 2020 are located in Butler County. Most of the work planned involves Township roads going over the turnpike. Two of the locations, however, involve the Santa Fe Lake Rd overpass and the Ohio Street Rd overpass.  No action was taken.

Vouchers, Adds & Abates were approved.

Other items included County Administrator, Will Johnson, sharing, “Public works and safety crews are getting a work out after all the rain and flooding here in Butler County.  They are working long hours with lots of overtime.  He asks patrons of county roads show patience with the county crews and townships.  With the announcement that President Trump approved Governor Kelly’s request for a disaster declaration, it will take time to get everything in place for FEMA funds to come in.  He asks those using county roads to drive slow, limiting their speed to 20mph in some areas.




Butler County | City & School Elections 2019

In this week’s podcast episode, we spoke to Butler County Clerk Tatum Stafford regarding the filing deadline for the upcoming elections.  

Among the city and school position openings include Mayor for Andover, Augusta, El Dorado, Latham, Leon, and Potwin.  Most notable is the fact that no one has yet filed for the Butler Community College Board of Trustees.  

The Board of Trustees is the governing body of Butler Community College. The Board delegates authority to the President of the college subject to Board approval over all personnel, educational, financial and business matters pertaining to the operation of the college.

See the complete list of City and School Positions