April 20, 2012                                                          NACO E-Line Archive 

Upcoming Events


The NACO Budget Workshop scheduled for Thursday, May 10, 2012 in Kearney has been canceled.



Treasurers Workshop

June 12-14, 2012

Holiday Inn Express, Norfolk


Highway Superintedents, Surveyors, Engineers Summer Meeting

June 12-14, 2012

Niobrara Lodge, Valentine


Clerks of the District Court Workshop

June 13-14, 2012

North Platte, Sandhills Convention Center


Clerks, Election Commissioners, Register of Deeds Annual Workshop

June 13-15, 2012

Kearney, Holiday Inn 


National Association of Counties Annual Conference & Exposition

July 13-17, 2012

Pittsburgh/Allegheny County, Pennsylvania


To view all upcoming events click here























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.


EducationFoundationEducation Foundation Memorial Program

A gift to NACO's Education Foundation ensures that the children of county officials and county employees are eligible to apply for scholarships to continue their education at Nebraska's higher learning institutions. Whatever their passion - history, art, music, science, education, sports - the NACO Education Foundation will provide them an opportunity to fund their education beyond the K-12 level. Memorial gifts to NACO's Education Foundation are tax deductible and will be a lasting legacy in honor of your loved one's commitment to educating the children of Nebraska's county officials and employees. For more information about how to make a memorial gift, please contact Larry Dix  / 402-434-5660 ext. 226.








JuvenilJusticeIn This Issue


2012 NACO Scholarship Recipients Announced

2011 County Tax Rates and Levies as Prepared by Nebraska Department of Revenue

Open Meetings Act Modifed by 2012 Legislation

Clerks, Election Commissioners, Register of Deeds Workshop to be Held in Kearney

Legal Line

OJJDP Announces FY 2012 Funding Opportunties

Narrowbanding Deadline Rapidly Approaching

Walk For Your Life Challenge 2012

2012 Directory of County Officials

News from NACo

NACo Web-based Education

Legal Calendar

County Classifieds

Associate & Sustaining Members

NACO Education Foundation Memorial Program


scholarships_20122012 NACO Scholarship Recipients Announced
Twelve children of county officials and employees have been selected to receive $1,000 NACO scholarships to assist with college expenses for the 2012-13 school year.  In order to be eligible, students must graduate this spring from a Nebraska high school and attend a post-high school educational institution within the state of Nebraska.
NACO scholarship award recipients for 2012 are:  Cameron Aitken, Howard/Sherman County; Alyssa Blair, Pierce County; Ty Elsner, Sherman County; Alyssa Ferrazzo, Douglas County; Jessica Gehr, Lancaster County; Brooke Langemeier, Polk County; Kurt Lawler, Keith County; Morgan Malander, Nance County; Riley Racicky, Greeley County; Colby Schildt, Morrill County; Andrew Vinton, Hooker County; Payton Wragge, Pierce County. 
The scholarships are tentative based upon acceptance from scholarship winners.  Photos and profiles of award recipients are featured here
 taxrates_levies_20112011 County Tax Rates and Levies as Prepared By Nebraska Department of Revenue
To view a list of 2011 tax rates and levies for individual Nebraska counties as prepared by Nebraska Department of Revenue click here.
open_meetings_2012Open Meetings Act Modified by 2012 Legislation
Two bills enacted this year impact provisions of the Open Meetings Act.  While only one bill deals with county-related issues (county hospitals), both bills are relevant to county government due to the statutory requirement within section 84-1412 that requires governing bodies to post at least one current copy of the Open Meetings Act in its meeting room.
Information about these changes has been sent to county board chairs, county attorneys, and county clerks with e-mail.  Also, the current copies of the Open Meetings Act can be printed from the Nebraska Association of County Officials' (NACO) website at:  LB 995 (county hospital  statutory updates) provisions were effective April 6, 2012 and LB 735 (video-conferencing for certain entities) changes will be effective July 19, 2012.
clerksworkshop2012Clerks, Election Commissioner, Register of Deeds Workshop To Be Held In Kearney 

Advance registrations can now be made on-line at NACO's website for the County Clerks, Election Commissioners and Registers of Deeds Workshop scheduled for June 13-15, 2012, in Kearney at the Holiday Inn Hotel and Convention Center. The annual workshop, sponsored by Nebraska Association of County Officials, will contain over 11 hours of continuing education for Clerks, Registers of Deeds and Election Commissioners combined.


The executive officers of the Clerks, Election Commissioners and Registers of Deeds Association met in March to establish agendas for their respective organizations. A tentative agenda for the workshop can be found here.  This agenda is tentative because confirmation from all speakers has not been received.


Again this year, the registration fee will be $80.00 for registrations received on or before June 1, and $90.00 for those received after this date. This fee includes a luncheon and a banquet on Thursday, a reception on Wednesday evening, a boxed lunch on Friday, all breaks and all handout materials. Lodging and other incidental costs are the responsibility of workshop participants. Cancellations must be received in writing no later than June 8, 2012 to receive a refund. Cancellations made on or before this date in writing will receive a full refund minus a $20.00 administrative fee. Cancellations made after June 8, 2012 will not receive refunds.


Guest rooms may be reserved by contacting the Holiday Inn Hotel and Convention Center at (308) 237-5971. Room rates are $74.95 single/double. When making reservations, inform hotel staff that you are attending the NACO workshop to receive the contracted rate.


To register for the workshop click here.

legallineLegal Line

Editor's Note:  Legal Line is a feature that will periodically appear in NACO E-Line.  This edition has been prepared by Elaine Menzel, a member of 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.


In Henderson v. City of Columbus, 19 Neb. App. 668, --- N.W.2d --- (2012), the Court of Appeals (the Court) considered aspects of the Political Subdivisions Tort Claims Act (PSTCA), liability, negligence, inverse condemnation, eminent domain and other matters.

The appeal evolved from an action for property damage that occurred in 2004, due to raw sewage flooding 16 homes.  The property owners sued the City, claiming that the flooding and consequent damages were caused by the malfunction of the city-run sanitary sewage disposal system. As the basis of the complaint, the property owners asserted negligence, inverse condemnation, nuisance, and trespass. Following a bifurcated district court trial on the sole issue of liability, the court found in favor of the City and dismissed the complaint with prejudice.

In actions brought pursuant to the PSTCA, the findings of the trial court will not be disturbed on appeal unless they are clearly wrong, and when determining the sufficiency of the evidence to sustain the verdict, it must be considered in the light most favorable to the successful party. (Citation omitted). Every controverted fact must be resolved in favor of such party, and it is entitled to the benefit of every inference that can reasonably be deduced from the evidence.

During the Court's analysis of the negligence allegation, the property owners asserted that the trial court's decision holding the City was not negligent in its maintenance and operation of the sanitary sewer system was erroneous. The Court stated, "Ordinary negligence is defined as doing something that a reasonably careful person would not do under similar circumstances, or failing to do something that a reasonably careful person would do under similar circumstances." (Citation omitted). Negligence actions brought under the PSTCA has the same elements as a negligence action against an individual. Id. For a party to prevail in such an action, there must be a legal duty on the part of the defendant to protect the plaintiff from injury, a failure to discharge that duty, and damage proximately caused by the failure to discharge that duty.

The Court further explained, "In a negligence case, a defendant's conduct should be examined not in terms of whether there is a duty to perform a specific act, but rather, whether the conduct satisfied the duty placed upon individuals to exercise such degree of care as would be exercised by a reasonable person under the circumstances." (Citation omitted). Foreseeable risk is an element in the determination of negligence, not legal duty. In order to determine whether appropriate care was exercised, the fact finder must assess the foreseeable risk at the time of the defendant's alleged negligence. Id. Courts should leave determinations of the extent of foreseeable risk to the trier of fact unless no reasonable person could differ on the matter.

The Court could not state that the district court's factual findings with regard to the City's alleged negligence were clearly erroneous; therefore, it affirmed the trial court's finding of no merit to the property owner's theory of recovery based on negligence.

The next claim of the property owner's addressed by the Court related to inverse condemnation. The Court stated, "Inverse condemnation is shorthand for a governmental taking of or damage to a landowner's property without the benefit of condemnation proceedings." (Citation omitted). The Court went on to explain:


The right of a landowner to seek damages from the government in the form of an inverse condemnation claim derives from article I, 21, of the Nebraska Constitution, which provides: "The property of no person shall be taken or damaged for public use without just compensation therefor." Nebraska's constitutional right to just compensation includes compensation for damages occasioned in the exercise of eminent domain and, therefore, is broader than the federal right, which is limited only to compensation for a taking. Id. The words "or damaged" in Neb. Const. art. I, 21, include all actual damages resulting from the exercise of the right of eminent domain which diminish the market value of private property. Id.

The Court agreed with the finding of the trial court pertaining to a factual finding pertaining to the back up  into the homeowners' basements.

The Court of Appeals stated, "The Supreme Court has explicitly stated that in an action based on the constitutional provision that no person's property shall be taken or damaged for public use without just compensation, proof of negligence or commission of a wrongful act is not necessary to recovery by a plaintiff." (Citations omitted).

The Court indicated that it did not intend to suggest that inverse condemnation is effectively a matter of strict liability, and it followed the lead of a California appellate court which made it clear that inverse condemnation is not strict liability. (Citation omitted).  It was determined that in this case, there was no indication that the property owners were the cause of the backups, but the trial court did make a factual finding that satisfies the proper test for causation-"a substantial cause-and-effect relationship," which the Court adopted from a California case.

The Court found that "In these circumstances, it is unfair that the [property owners] alone bear this public burden of a malfunction in the City's sanitary sewage system. It is through inverse condemnation that the financial burden of the sewer backups is spread to the public as a whole, i.e., the citizens of Columbus." (Citation omitted).

In conclusion, the Court reversed the portion of the trial court's order dealing with inverse condemnation as it pertains to the property owners with residences downstream of the 26th Avenue lift station who suffered sewage backups and flooding. However, the trial court found that the homes of some of the families among the property owners were not connected to the 26th Avenue lift station. Additionally, it was unclear to the Court exactly which of three homeowner families should be excluded from the damage aspect of the suit. Therefore, the Court remanded a portion of the case to the trial court asking for clarification of this aspect of the case. The Court also remanded the cause for the appropriate proceedings on the damage aspect of all of the proper claims.  

To view the full text of the opinion go to Henderson v. City of Columbus: 


Court Issues County Board of Equalization Opinions 


On Friday, April 20, 2012, the Nebraska Supreme Court issued opinions in Republic Bank v. Lincoln Cty. Bd. of Equal., and  Prime Alliance Bank v. Lincoln Cty. Bd. of Equal.  A summary of those cases will be provided by Beth Bazyn Ferrell in the May 2nd edition of E-Line.  If you would like to view the opinions prior to that time click here.

The Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) has announced the following funding opportunities:

Second Chance Act Juvenile Offender Reentry Program. Funding is available to provide services and programs to successfully reintegrate juvenile offenders as they return to their communities, families, schools, and the workforce. Applications are due by 11:59 p.m. E.T. on May 14, 2012.

Juvenile Drug Courts/Reclaiming Futures. This grant opportunity provides funds for building the capacity of states, state and local courts, units of local government, and Indian tribal governments to develop and establish juvenile drug courts for substance abusing juvenile offenders. Applications are due by 11:59 p.m. E.T. on May 16, 2012.

* Enforcing Underage Drinking Laws Discretionary Program: Initiative to Reduce Underage Drinking in the Military. OJJDP is seeking applicants for this funding opportunity to reduce the consumption of alcoholic beverages by underage enlisted personnel serving in the U.S. Air Force and U.S. Marine Corps. Applications are due by 11:59 p.m. E.T. on May 16, 2012.

To obtain further information about the above and other current OJJDP solicitations, including eligibility criteria, application deadlines, and frequently asked questions, click here.
narrowbandingNarrowbanding Deadline Rapidly Approaching

As the January 1, 2013 narrowbanding deadline rapidly approaches, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Office of Emergency Communications (OEC) is pleased to announce that a new Narrowband status reporting tool is available for your use.  To view tool click here.


The reports found on the OEC website will illustrate the status of licenses in your area of purview and show you where you need to focus your narrowbanding efforts locally, county or state level and across the Nation.  Specifically, there are tools that enable you to view, at your convenience, Narrowband status maps and reports at the National, State, and County level; these maps are updated weekly.  The maps are similar to those OEC has presented at past meetings, but now they are available online for easy access.
WalkChallenge2012Walk For Your Life Challenge 2012

As spring is beginning to make an appearance, it is time to start preparing for this year's Walk For Your Life Challenge, which will begin June 4 and end September 30, 2012. An e-mail was sent to all county clerks and last year's contact persons with the details of the challenge. If you would like information on participating, please contact your county's designated contact person or Wendy Kelly at the NACO office.


We encourage participation from all 93 counties. This is a fun challenge that will pay dividends on your health!

NCCGrantsNebraska Crime Commission Grant Announcements

2012 Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) Grant

Deadline: April 26, 2012


Detailed information, instructions, and applications can be found on the Nebraska Crime Commission's Announcements & Applications webpage.

juvjustpubTechnical Assistance Partnership Releases Juvenile Justice Publications 

The Technical Assistance Partnership for Child and Family Mental Health (TA Partnership) has released three new publications to help communities meet the mental and behavioral health needs of youth in the juvenile justice system.


For more information on the new  publications click here.

CountygovernementdaycdUpdated County Government Day PowerPoint CD Available
An updated PowerPoint presentation is available on CD 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. The CD is customizable and is available for $10 to cover processing, shipping and handling. The order form is available here.
Directory2012 Directory of County Officials

The order form for the NACO 2012 Directory of County Officials is available here or on the NACO website. Each directory is $17 if tax-exempt or $18 if taxable.

NACoNewsNews from NACo 

NACo_LogoNational County Government Month


National County Government Month, celebrated each April, provides an outstanding opportunity for you to talk proudly about programs and services that help the residents of your county.


The theme this year is Healthy Counties, Healthy Families.


To see all the resources provided by NACo to help you plan activities, click here.


NACo 2012 Western Interstate Region Conference


Santa Fe County, New Mexico is hosting NACo's 2012 Western Interstate Region (WIR) Conference, May 16-18, 2012.


NACo's WIR Conference focuses on public lands and other issues critical to the western region of the United States. This year's conference will feature Dr. Lowell Catlett, a regent's professor/dean and chief administrative officer at New Mexico State University's College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences. An exciting futurist, Catlett's knowledge of technologies and their implications on the way Americans live and work is addressed in his upbeat presentations.


For additional information about the conference and to register, click here.



Apply now for 2012 County Courthouse Awards


Applications for the 2012 NACo County Courthouse Awards program are now available. Sponsored by Siemens, the awards recognize innovative governance by individual county elected officials from NACo-member counties. Award winners will receive an engraved plaque that they can display in their county, recognition at the 2012 NACo Annual Conference and a $5,000 college scholarship to present to a graduating high school senior. Applications must be submitted online by April 27.


Make plans now to attend NACO's Annual Conference and Expostion


July 13-17, 2012, Pittsburgh/Allgheny County, Pennsylvania 

Click here for conference overview.

NACoWebEdNACo Web-based Education 
Increase the Impact of Your County's Health Initiatives and Projects
Wednesday, May 09, 2012
2:00 PM - 3:15 PM  Eastern Time

Join this webinar to find out about creative and cost-free ways to engage community members in your county's current health promotion activities through the national Team Up for a Healthy America campaign. You'll also hear about a unique public-private partnership model that can support and finance local health-focused projects in counties. 

Register here.


Linking Justice Involved Individuals with Supportive Housing
Thursday, May 10, 2012
2:00 PM - 3:15 PM  Eastern Time
The Frequent Users Systems Engagement (FUSE) model is used to help communities break the cycle of incarceration and homelessness among individuals with complex behavioral health challenges who are the highest users of jails, homeless shelters and other crisis services systems.  This webinar will provide an overview of FUSE, how it can be expanded to other counties, and will outline its three essential pillars: data driven problem solving, policy and systems reform, and targeted housing and services.


Register here.


For more information on these or other upcoming or previous webinars, visit the NACo Web-based Education page.
Nebraska Association of County Officials
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