Johnson County economy driving jobs and wages for Kansas, Eilert says in State of County address

County Chair Ed Eilert delivered his State of the County address to a full house Tuesday.
County Chair Ed Eilert delivered his State of the County address to a full house Tuesday.

Of all of the new jobs created in Kansas in the first nine months of 2016, 84 percent of them were in Johnson County.

Johnson County continues its role as “the bread-and-butter economy for the State of Kansas,” Johnson County Commissioner Chair Ed Eilert told the approximately 700 people gathered for the annual State of the County address Tuesday afternoon. The unemployment rate in the county is now down to 3.1 percent, Eilert said, lower than the state, metro or nation. Johnson County workers earn 30 percent of the total wages paid in Kansas.

That view of the local economy was just one of the highlights that Eilert said pointed to a strong Johnson County. In addition, more than 11,300 single-family homes were sold last year, just 400 short of the all-time record in 2005. Home inventory is down to 2.5 months. Building permits for residential and commercial were also flourishing.

Even as the county picked up $3.5 million for mental health services in its budget to cover reduced state funding, Johnson County still maintained the lowest tax rate among the 105 counties in Kansas.

Eilert pointed to the county’s library and park systems as the top two county services in the latest community survey for overall satisfaction. That survey also showed that 96 percent of residents felt safe in their communities and were satisfied with Johnson County as a place to live.

Eilert noted the recent shootings in Olathe. He quoted the words of Olathe Mayor Michael Copeland: “We mourn together, we grieve together and most of all we remain united. No act of evil will divide us, we will never allow hatred and bigotry to stand and we remain one Olathe.”

“Those words,” Eilert said, “are true for our entire community – as we remain one Johnson County.”