April 7, 2017                                                                                       www.nacone.org   NACO E-Line Archive  

Upcoming Events

Save the Dates For: 

County Board of Equalization & Budget Workshop
May 31, 2017
- Holiday Inn, Kearney

County Board Workshop
June 1-2, 2017
- Holiday Inn, Kearney
Agenda  Registration

Clerks of the District Court Summer Workshop
June 7-8, 2017
North Platte

Treasurers Workshop
- June 13-15, 2017
- South Sioux City

Highway Superintendents, Surveyors & Engineers Summer Workshop
- June 13-15, 2017
- Hotel Grand, Grand Island
Dues Notice

  Clerks, Register of Deeds & Election Commissioners Summer Workshop
June 14-16, 2017
Quality Inn, Grand Island
Agenda Registration

Assessors Workshop
- August 28-31, 2017
- Arbor Lodge, Nebraska City


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For details contact:


AssocMembersAssociate and Sustaining Members

NACO Associate and Sustaining Members enable NACO to enhance its continuing education programs for county officials across the state. Visit NACO's complete associate and sustaining membership list here.

cbbandequalizationCounty Board Budget and Board of Equalization Workshop Planned
The 2017 County Board Budget and Board of Equalization Workshop has been scheduled for Wednesday, May 31st.  In an attempt to maximize travel savings for officials attending the County Board Workshop on June 1 and 2, the Budget and Equalization Workshop will be held the previous day at the same location.  Both events will be held at the Holiday Inn in Kearney.  The Budget and Board of Equalization Workshop will be held starting at 10:30 a.m. and adjourn at 4:00 p.m. on May 31.

There is a separate registration for each event.  The County Board Budget and Board of Equalization is one registration and the County Board Workshop is another registration if you plan to attend both events.

Larry Dix, NACO Executive Director and Deann Haeffner, Deputy State Auditor will fill the morning session with an introduction and will address the budgeting process, pitfalls to be aware of and how to properly monitor the budget against misuse.  The afternoon will be dedicated to the Board of Equalization process.  The first session will deal with the basics of assessment and valuation.  Ruth Sorensen, Nebraska's Property Tax Administrator will address the group and three Tax Equalization and Review Commissioners have been invited to share their insights and to answer questions of the audience.

The tentative agenda and registration will become available on the NACO webpage in the near future.

highwaytrainingCounty Highway Superintendent Licensing Training Updated
Training for candidates interested in taking the exam for licensure as a County Highway and/or City Street Superintendent in Nebraska has been updated, effective beginning with the October 6 exam.

In the past, candidates could attend a three-day pre-exam workshop one month prior to taking the six-hour exam. The new format requires them to attend four separate one-day classes on various topics related to the job/license if they plan to attend the pre-exam workshop. The pre-exam workshop will then be reduced to two days to review the courses completed along with other training provided.

The licensure exam will now be one week after the two-day workshop "review" instead of waiting 30 days. Candidates are allowed to take the exam without attending the workshop if they desire.

Courses required in advance of taking the pre-exam workshop include:
1)   C onstruction Math & Plan Reading
2)    Superintendent 101 Basics and Test Prep Skills
3)    Classification and Standards Course
4)    One And Six and SSAR Course

These four one day courses will be provided in advance of future pre-exam workshops in both Lincoln and Ogallala to help prepare candidates for exams starting with the next exam on October 6. Others interested in taking any of these courses are encouraged to register, provided seats are available after exam candidates register.

Licensure exams are held twice a year at the Nebraska Department of Roads (NDOR) headquarters in Lincoln. More information about the exams, as well as videos and PowerPoint presentations created by NDOR Boards-Liaison Services staff working with the Local Technical Assistance Program (LTAP) at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, can be found here .
custodialwkshpCounty Custodial Staff Workshop
The NACO Board of Directors in 2016 gave approval to develop a courthouse restoration and improvement project designed to educate courthouse maintenance staff and those responsible to keep county properties in good repair.   Jerry Berggren of Berggren Architects developed the idea after visiting several counties in the state and noted the need for custodial and maintenance staff and elected county board members to keep our historic keepsakes in top shape to preserve our heritage and remain functional into the future. A key component to honing and perfecting a suitable environment with building upkeep lies encompassed within the joint decision making off the staff completing the work and the county board members responsible for providing support through educational opportunities, financial backing and a reflection of pride in the presentation of our county properties.

Berggren felt that a strong tie with the Nebraska community colleges would help to enhance the project ideas of education, geographic diversity and support from the community college program development staff. The Northeast Nebraska Community College was the first to sponsor and present ideas at the Spring NACO District meeting to county board members. The work continues in this endeavor to host a fall custodial workshop through the Southeast Community College in Beatrice in October. Other community college sites will be considered for future meetings.

The working group at this time is seeking input from county board members and custodial and maintenance staff to determine what type of training and education is most pertinent and beneficial for everyone involved. The one-day workshop will seek up to 25 two-person registrations. One registrant will be the maintenance/custodial staff person and the other would be the county board member chosen to attend who would take a lead role in educating the other board members of the significance of the maintenance role in building upkeep.

NACO is looking for topics of interest from county board members and county maintenance staff to determine educational presentations at the one-day workshop. After a general session, part of the day will be for staff education, part of the day will be for the education of the county board members and the day will conclude with a joint courthouse tour to review the lessons learned and to further the camaraderie of the attendees to develop relationships with other counties and their processes.

If you have a topic of interest that you would like to see on the workshop agenda please email LeRoy Janssen or give him a call at 402-434-6225 Ext. 221.

CCGrantsCrime Commission Grants Available
The Nebraska Crime Commission has announced the 2017 Victims of Crime Act Victims Assistance (VOCA) and State Victims Assistance (SA) Grant Program.  Applications for this program are due no later than April 25, 2017 by 5 p.m.  This funding is designated for projects providing free direct services to victims of crime.

2017 Victim Assistance Application Instructions
2017 Victim Assistance Continuation Programs Application
  • Programs funded through VOCA in FY 2015 or FY2016

2017 Victim Assistance New Programs Application 

  • Programs not funded through VOCA in FY 2016
IMPORTANT NOTE:  This funding period will be a 21 month period beginning October 1, 2017 and ending June 30, 2019.  VOCA will then be operated on the State of Nebraska Fiscal Year of July 1- June 30.  New this year is a MANDATORY Webinar that can either be viewed live OR on-line with the completion of a Certification of viewing.
Please refer to the attached instructions and the applicable grant application  for the estimated amounts of funding available and project details.  These documents are also available for download at http://www.ncc.nebraska.gov .   
If technical assistance is needed please contact Kellie Rabenhorst, VOCA Administrator at (402) 471-2266 or kellie.rabenhorst@nebraska.gov.  


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legalline Legal Line
Editor's Note: Legal Line is a feature that will periodically appear in NACO E-Line. This edition has been prepared by Beth Ferrell of the NACO legal staff. Legal Line is not intended to serve as legal advice. Rather, it is published to alert readers to court decisions and legal or advisory matters important to county government. For a specific opinion on how the information contained in this article or that which will be discussed in future issues relates to your county, consult your county attorney or personal counsel.

Supreme Court Hears Borrowed Sales Case
The Nebraska Supreme Court recently upheld a decision by the Tax Equalization and Review Commission (TERC) to adjust grassland upward by 8 percent in County of Franklin v. Tax Equal. & Rev. Comm., 296 Neb. 193, __ N.W.2d __ (2017).
Because the county had relatively few sales of grassland, it was necessary to borrow comparable sales from other counties to determine the valuation of the subclass. With the borrowed sales, the overall grassland median of 74.91 percent, which fell within the acceptable range of 69-75 percent.
The Property Tax Administrator (PTA), in the annual Reports and Opinions on the level of value and quality of assessment submitted to the TERC, used some of the same comparable sales from other counties, as well as some borrowed sales farther from the county. Prior to January 2016, the policy of the Property Tax Administrator was generally to use sales within 6 miles of the county, although the policy contained flexibility in supplementing sales with a sample of comparable sales from surrounding counties. The new policy, which was in place but not published until April 11, 2016, allowed borrowed sales as long as the proximity to the county and the comparability to the county is examined.
As required by statute, the TERC reviewed the Reports and Opinions, then issued a show cause hearing to the county. After the hearing, the TERC found that statistical studies of the level of value and the quality of assessment were reliable and representative for the category in question except one subclass. In the "land use grass" subclass of the class of real property not receiving special valuation, excluding timber subclass and improvements, the level of value was 66.61 percent as shown by the Report and Opinions of the Property Tax Administrator. It adjusted the level upward by 8 percent to a 75 percent level of value.
Franklin County appealed, arguing first that the TERC relied solely on the values provided by the Property Tax Administrator, rather than the values certified by the county. The court found that the PTA is statutorily required to provide the information to TERC and the TERC is required to use all information provided at its hearing to make its determination. It found that the TERC used information from both the PTA and the county in making its order.
The county also appealed the standard for comparable sales based on the distance from the county. The court found that the standard used by the PTA was not a rule or statute, and that it was not explicitly applicable to county assessors, but rather directed at the PTA to use in determining the level of value and quality of assessment in all counties.
Some of the other issues argued by the county include TERC's presumption of correctness of the assessor's sales figure data and the lack of proportionality in valuing grasslands. The Court concluded that those arguments were without merit and TERC's decision was not arbitrary, capricious, or unreasonable.
The full text of the opinion is available here.

codirectory2017-2018 Directory of County Officials
NACO's 2017-2018 Directory of County Officials is a valuable resource that not only gives you names, addresses, phone numbers, fax numbers and e-mail addresses of every county official in the state, but includes a listing of county board meeting days, NACO districts, county seats, NACO officers and directors, affiliate officers and NACO staff.  In January, county clerks for each county will receive one complimentary printed copy of the directory intended for use by all offices in their courthouse. 

The NACO Directory will also still be available in electronic format by selecting the "Directory of County Officials" icon on the NACO webpage.  The electronic version is updated on a regular basis and contains the changes that occur between printings of the hard copies.
A printed directory is available for $19.00 if non-taxable and $20.00 if taxable.

Countygovernementdaycd  County Government Day PowerPoint
The PowerPoint presentation is available electronically at no charge (sent via e-mail) for use by counties during their annual County Government Day. The PowerPoint provides a comprehensive look at county government functions in the State of Nebraska and can be customized by each county. CD's are also available for $10.00 each to cover processing, shipping and handling. To request the County Government Day PowerPoint electronically, please e-mail your request to larrydix@nacone.org .

The CD order form is available here.

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County_Board_Handbook_2012  2016 County Board  Handbook and Revision s
The 2016 County Board Handbook and related revisions are now available.

The cost for a current handbook, including legislative information from the 2016 session, is $80.00/book plus $18.00 shipping and handling per book. The 2016 Supplement to the County Board Handbook is available for $25.00 plus $5.00 shipping and handling. The order form is available on the NACO website or by clicking here.  If you are interested in purchasing a complete handbook or a supplement  please contact
Deb Eberly by email or call her at (402) 434-5660 ext. 232.
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NACoNews From NACo
Nebraska County faces bankruptcy after $28.1 million judgement
By Mary Ann Barton March 20, 2017  
NACo County News

A small rural county in Nebraska, Gage County, is facing bankruptcy after a jury awarded $28.1 million to six people who sued the county. They were exonerated by DNA evidence after being wrongly imprisoned for a crime that took place there in 1985. Collectively, they spent 75 years in prison.

While Gage County waits to see if the verdict gets tossed out on appeal, county supervisors are weighing their options. Two bankruptcy attorneys hired by the county "are working on giving us information on how that [bankruptcy] would proceed and how that would affect the county," Gage County Board Chair Myron Dorn said.

With a population of a little more than 20,000, the county has an annual budget of $27 million and collects about $8 million in taxes per year. Legal fees totaling more than $3 million have already sucked funds from the county's operational budget over the past seven years.

Nebraska limits the amount counties can collect from property taxes; the county could increase their property taxes to raise another $4 million annually, before it hit that ceiling, Dorn said. County residents could also vote to raise their own taxes even more, but "we've had that discussion," he said "and our Board agrees that that wouldn't pass."

The county could also look to the state legislature to pass a generic bill at a future session that would provide funding for the county, he said.

To read the article in its entirety, click here
websNACo Webinars

A Review of NACo's New Civic Education Resources

April 20, 2017
3:00 pm - 4:00 pm CDT 
Contact: David Jackson 
(202) 942-4271

NACo, together with iCivics, has created a full curriculum to educate students, grades 6 through 12, about the important role and functions of county government.  The curriculum - along with the online game, "Counties Work" -  assists teachers with preparing lessons on county government. This webinar will provide an overview of the game and its associated educational materials.