The 2020 census will soon be underway in Harvey County, and has already begun in parts of the United States. In the coming weeks, Harvey County residents will receive census count forms from the U.S. Census Bureau.

As outlined in the U.S. Constitution, the census is required every 10 years. It is performed to get an updated total of the populations of cities, counties, states and the country.

Federal funding is tied to population. That funding helps provide parks, schools, fire stations and dozens of other critical services.

Kansas receives $6 billion in annual federal funding based off census figures. One person uncounted equates to $2,082 of federal funding missed for the state each year.

The census count also affects representation, as it is used to determined legislative seats and district maps.

The census also plays a vital role in the strength of a local economy. Businesses use census data to better understand where there is a business need, which can mean more local resources and jobs.

Filling out the census takes about 10 minutes. The information individuals provide in the census is, by law, confidential. The law requires its confidentiality for 72 years.

Individuals can complete the census by mail, phone, online or in-person with a U.S. Census Bureau enumerator. You can view a sample of the census form here.

Census forms are available in 13 languages. There are also video and print guides available in 59 non-English languages, as well as American Sign Language, braille and large print.

You can learn more about the census here.
Harvey County Administrator Anthony Swartzendruber presented a document filled with department and office accomplishments to the Harvey County Commission at its Dec. 31 meeting.

The document provides commissioners a look back on the staff's work over the previous year. It also shows residents and visitors what projects and tasks the County has done - and is doing - throughout the organization. 

To read the list, click here. The document begins chronologically, then presents individual department and office highlights.

To see the 2018 accomplishments, click here.
The Harvey County Commission voted Nov. 26 to amend its recycling resolution. The resolution will no longer prohibit recyclable material in the municipal solid waste stream at the Harvey County Transfer Station, effective Jan. 1.

The decision does not end recycling programs in Harvey County. Rather, it no longer makes recycling mandatory. It also provides the opportunity for cities to decide how to implement recycling services in their communities. 

The amendment comes after several months of discussion in commission and intergovernmental meetings between the County, municipalities and Waste Connections. The County pays Waste Connections to receive and haul recyclables from the Harvey County Transfer Station.

Citing a decreasing economic market for recyclable material and excessive non-recyclable material in the recycling stream, Waste Connections requested to review its contract with the County, which runs through April 2022.

Waste Connections recently performed an audit of material brought in through the recycle stream at the Transfer Station. The audit found 36 percent of items by weight in the recycle stream were contaminated - or, not able to be recycled. Waste Connections requires less than 10 percent contamination.

While Waste Connections agreed to honor its current contract rate, it will now have the ability to reject future loads of recyclables from specific recycling trucks for 30 days if the hauler delivers a load with more than 10 percent contamination. Haulers will have the option of taking largely contaminated recyclable loads to municipal solid waste.

Commissioners expressed appreciation to county residents that continue to be good stewards of the local recycling program, and encouraged residents to continue to recycle.

Harvey County implemented its original resolution on recycling in 2000.
WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) – member of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation – today announced a $7,178,799 Airport Improvement Program (AIP) grant through the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for critical infrastructure improvements at the Newton City-County Airport.

“This grant from the FAA to the Newton City-County Airport will allow for much-needed infrastructure improvements, enabling the airport to support the area’s aviation needs for years to come,” said Sen. Moran. “Local airports are vital to the regional economies across Kansas, and I’m pleased to see this award go to Newton and Harvey County, allowing for continued development in the area.”

“This grant is great news for our airport,” said City of Newton City Manager Bob Myers. “This is a project we have needed for some time now, and we greatly appreciate our partners at the federal level for securing this valuable funding assistance.”

“The benefit to the community is the airfield has over 400 employees in 21 different businesses,” said Chairman of the Harvey County Commission George “Chip” Westfall. “It supplies employment for local counties, which impacts our economy, period. We have several aircraft mechanical companies out there that bring in maintenance work not just for Newton, but for all over the region, which boosts our economy.”

The $7.2 million grant will be used to reconstruct the taxiway that runs adjacent to the primary runway, allowing for the continued and expanded use of the runway by larger, heavier aircraft. According to the Kansas Department of Commerce, the airport generates $157 million in economic impact to the local economy each year. More information on this and other AIP grants can be found here.
The Harvey County Commission set its public holidays for 2020 at its Nov. 19 meeting.

The Commission provided 10-1/2 days of holiday for the upcoming year. County facilities will be closed beyond their normal hours of operation during those days.

The holidays include:

New Year's Day, Jan. 1
Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, Jan. 20
Presidents Day, Feb. 17
Memorial Day, May 25
Independence Day, observed July 3
Labor Day, Sept. 7
Veterans Day, Nov. 11
Thanksgiving holiday, Nov. 26-27
Christmas Eve, afternoon of Dec. 24
Christmas, Dec. 25

Additionally, the County will continue to use Columbus Day, Oct. 12, as an employee in-service day.