This year's hunt expected to be biggest ever

The first item of business at the county commission meeting on Tuesday, March 7 was funding for the annual Kansas Governors One-Shot Turkey Hunt. Turkey Hunt Executive Director Janet Post addressed the Butler County Board of Commissioners on the topic.
"This year is our biggest one ever. We're going to have 85 [participants] if everything goes like it's supposed to – which is a lot for our infrastructure. But we're going to handle it gracefully .... We have people this year from, I think, currently 23 states that will be visiting us this year. We also have local people that are involved," Post said.
Last year was the 30th anniversary of the event. Dignitaries present included former Kansas Governors Bill Graves and Mike Hayden, current Kansas Governor Sam Brownback, a former governor from Wyoming and a U.S. Senator. On the local side, Butler County Sheriff Kelly Herzet participated in the turkey hunt last year, and El Dorado Mayor Vince Haines will be hunting at the event this year.
The Kansas turkey hunt is funded with $5,000 from the economic development fund.
"The 5,000 dollars goes to buy portfolios and have information about the county on those .... And every participant and everybody that attends any event gets the opportunity to have one of these with the information on it. Now, honestly, the 5,000 dollars goes beyond purchasing those. It helps with the event to bring in a number of people: close to 400 volunteers a year and almost a hundred participants .... It brings in a lot of revenue and a lot of opportunity to our county," Butler County Administrator Will Johnson said.
The turkey hunt has a significant impact on Butler County's economy.
"I know that we rent at least 90 hotel rooms, we eat at restaurants [and] we go downtown," Post said.
County commissioner Dan Woydziak agreed that it can have a positive economic effects.
"It's a great event, and it does bring tons of people. But's it's also nice when people say 'Well, you spent 5,000,' but as a county as a whole, the economic impact is huge," Woydziak said.
Funding for the turkey hunt was approved by the is funded with $5,000 from the economic development fund.
"The 5,000 dollars goes to buy portfolios and have information about the county on those .... And every participant and everybody that attends any event gets the opportunity to have one of these with the information on it. Now, honestly, the 5,000 dollars goes beyond purchasing those. It helps with the event to bring in a number of people: close to 400 volunteers a year and almost a hundred participants .... It brings in a lot of revenue and a lot of opportunity to our county," Butler County Administrator Will Johnson said.
The turkey hunt has a significant impact on Butler County's economy.
"I know that we rent at least 90 hotel rooms, we eat at restaurants [and] we go downtown," Post said.
County commissioner Dan Woydziak agreed that it can have a positive economic effects.
"It's a great event, and it does bring tons of people. But's it's also nice when people say 'Well, you spent 5,000,' but as a county as a whole, the economic impact is huge," Woydziak said.
Funding for the turkey hunt was approved by the board of commissioners.
The second item of business was a work session with The Austin Peters Group, Inc., the firm selected to administer a classification and compensation analysis for the county.
"The Austin Peters Group is going to conduct a salary and benefits study, and we're also going to update all the job descriptions. So that's what our mission is .... It's been awhile, 12 years, since the last study was undertaken like this – a comprehensive look at everything," Rebecca Crowder, founder and president of Austin Peters Group, said.
Crowder introduced the firm, discussed items in the analysis, revealed the project team and defined what the scope, deliverables and timeline look like. Her presentation was followed by questions and comments from the board.
Austin Peters Group has begun the first steps of their analysis.
The third item of business was a state fiscal year 2018 grant application from the Kansas Department of Health and Environment to the Butler County Health Department for ongoing categorical grants. Janice Powers, director of the Butler County Health Department, discussed the grant application with the board of commissioners.
"Before you today, of course, is our yearly ... grant submission to the Kansas Department of Health and Environment. We do the categorical grants on a yearly basis. This year, they have actually added an immunization action plan into the maternal and child health, and we have the option of applying for it. We already do most of the work that's in that, and we pay for that out of local funds. So this is a great way to get some support for doing what we're doing already. And it's mainly focused around VFC [Vaccines for Children], but we look at all immunizations. This year, we've asked for a total of 334,949 dollars and 53 cents in funding," Powers said.
The grant being applied for would help with the budgets of various health programs for 2017-2018 in Butler County. They include the Child Care Licensing Program, Family Planning, Maternal and Child Health with IAP, Public Health Emergency Preparedness and State Formula.
Powers added that a major focus for next year will be increasing the number of childcare licensing facilities.
"The sad thing is, we watched our number of childcare licensing facilities decrease over the last few years. So a real focus this next year is to try to increase them. We've already had two close this year, but we've had three applications. So we're trying," Powers said.
The grant application was approved.


Check Saturday’s Times-Gazette for more news from this week’s County Commission meeting.
Levi Yager can be reached at lyager@butlercountytimesgazette.com.