Archive for Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Eilert elected chairman of Johnson County Triangle Authority

December 23, 2008

In its first meeting Friday, the Johnson County Education Research Triangle elected Johnson County Commissioner and former mayor of Overland Park as Ed Eilert chairman of the seven-member board that is to oversee the finances of the research triangle.

Also elected to the board’s leadership were Lenexa Mayor Michael Boehm, vice-chairman, and State Sen. Karin Brownlee (R-Olathe), secretary-treasurer. Term lengths will be determined when the board adopts bylaws.

Johnson County voters approved a one-eighth cent sales tax to establish the Johnson County Education and Research Triangle. The tax, which will be collected starting April 2009, is expected to generate about $15 million annually. The triangle is a partnership between Kansas University and Kansas State University to expand higher education offerings, and cancer and food safety research in Johnson County.

Proceeds from the sales tax will fund the construction and ongoing operations and maintenance of three new facilities: The Kansas University Edwards Campus Business, Engineering, Science and Technology Center in Overland Park; the Kansas State University Innovation Campus National Food and Animal Health Institute in Olathe; and the University of Kansas Cancer Clinical Research Center in Fairway.

The seven-member authority board is to oversee funding, conduct annual independent audits, and produce year-end reports

Brownlee said in addition to electing officers the board discussed using the $12,000 it is to receive from the Johnson County Community Foundation, which will fund its operations until the first distribution of sales tax revenue in June. Among the board’s first actions will be to seek request for proposals for legal, auditing and banking services.

“We are trying to make sure we are very transparent about how we use the money and following the statute,” Brownlee said.

The board’s next meeting will be Jan. 26.

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