July 27, 2012                                                          NACO E-Line Archive 

Upcoming Events



August 27-30, 2012

Holiday Inn, Kearney



Southeast District County Officials Meeting

September 7, 2012

Camp Carol Joy Holling, Ashland



Panhandle District County Officials Meeting

September 12, 2012

Civic Center, Gering



Central District County Officials Meeting

September 20, 2012

UNK Student Union, Kearney



Northeast District County Officials Meeting

September 21, 2012

St. Benedict Center, Schuyler



NACO's 7th Annual Legislative Conference

October 11, 2012

Holiday Inn Hotel & Convention Center, Kearney



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.

In This Issue

Chris Rodgers Elected President at NACo Annual Conference

Douglas County Commissioner, Borgeson, Receives National Alliance to End Homelessness Achievement Award

Conference Matters

Legal Line

Register Now for Assessors Workshop and Continuing Education

Updated County Government Day PowerPoint CD Available

2012 Directory of County Officials

News Across the State

News from NACo

Legal Calendar

County Classifieds

Associate & Sustaining Members

NACO Education Foundation Memorial Program


Chris Rodgers Elected President at NACo Annual Conference
During the National Association of Counties 77th Annual Conference held in Pittsburgh July 13-17, 2012, Chris Rodgers, Douglas County Commissioner, was elected as NACo President.

When asked to comment, NACO Executive Director, Larry Dix, stated, "Nebraska counties are extremely fortunate and proud to have a Nebraska County Board member as National President.  The last time that this happened was 1976-77 when Dan Lynch was elected NACo President. We here at NACO will do everything we can to assist Chris during his presidency."


Following is a list of questions asked of Rodgers and his response.  To read more about Rodgers click on the following links:


How did you get involved with county government?
My predecessor, Carole Woods Harris encouraged me to run for the position in her last term when she was thinking about retiring and I jumped at the chance.

What "words of wisdom" do you adhere to in your daily life?
"Greatness in Beyond Your Comfort Zone," "Change is Constant," and "Don't be set in an Ideology."
What is the most important thing you have learned thus far as a county board member?
County government is a complex animal in relation to the other jurisdictions of local government.  We have direct responsibilities and indirect responsibilities that can influence several other branches of local government.  We have interconnections to federal and state government that make us inherent partners that should always be at the table to discuss any changes that are being considered at the state and federal level.

What goals and/or priorities do you have for your tenure as NACo President?
 "Smart Justice" redefining how we administer public safety, and cybersecurity.

What do you see as the biggest challenge, for counties in the future?
Lifting our profile so people know what we do and how different  a role we play in each county.  We can no longer address the needs of Nebraska's counties in a "cookie cutter" fashion.

What opportunities do you see for counties in the future?
I think there are opportunities for counties to find efficiencies through combining backroom administrative functions.

What threats are looming that counties should be aware of and as prepared as possible for?
More services being pushed down to the local level and how we will meet the challenge.

In these tough economic times, with counties having limited resources in terms of budgets and human resources, what advice would you offer counties for using these limited resources and maximizing them?
We have to take this opportunity to evaluate how we have done things in the past.  There is a "New Normal " being established and if we ask people to pay for services through increased taxes, we cannot ask them to pay for the status quo.
Mary_Ann_Borgeson_AwardDouglas County Commissioner, Borgeson, Receives National Alliance to End Homelessness Achievement Award
On July 17, 2012, the National Alliance to End Homelessness Awards Ceremony held in conjunction with the National Conference on Ending Homelessness at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C., Mary Ann Borgeson, Douglas County Commissioner, was presented with the Public Sector Achievment Award.

The awards ceremony, the preeminent national event focusing on achievements in ending homelessness in America, honors individuals and organizations for their significant contributions to ending homelessness in our nation.

The National Alliance to End Homelessness is a nonprofit, non-partisan, organization committed to preventing and ending homelessness in the United States. As a leading voice on the issue of homelessness, the Alliance analyzes policy and develops pragmatic, cost-effective policy solutions; works collaboratively with the public, private, and nonprofit sectors to build state and local capacity; and provides data and research to policymakers and elected officials in order to inform policy debates and educate the public and opinion leaders nationwide.

Among the local and national leaders the Alliance honored was Douglas County Commissioner, Mary Ann Borgeson, with the Public Sector Award. Championing efforts in the Omaha Nebraska region, Borgeson has made a commitment to end homelessness among its most vulnerable within three years. By identifying those most at risk and quickly moving them into housing linked with services, they have reduced chronic homelessness in the region by 17 percent from 2010 to 2011 and 6.4 percent just in the past three months.
conference_matters_2012Conference Matters 

Lodging Reservation Date

NACO has received numerous inquiries regarding the date that county officials will be able to contact the contracted hotels to acquire lodging reservations for the 2012 Annual Conference to be held in Kearney at the Younes Event Center.


In a future issue of E-Line, NACO will publish a list of hotels contracted with for the 2012 Annual Conference along with the reservations phone numbers.  County officials may begin contacting these hotels on August 30, 2012 at 10:00 a.m. Central Daylight Time.  Reservations must be made by using the published phone numbers to receive the contracted rate for the conference.  No reservations (on-line or other) will be accepted at the contracted rate prior to August 30th.  On August 30 or after, those officials making reservations for the conference must use the phone numbers published by NACO to received the contracted rate.  The contracted rate will not be available with on-line reservations.


 Affiliate Groups' Agendas

NACO has sent planning material to each affiliate group president to enable them to begin planning their individual agendas for the annual conference.  County officials who have ideas or suggestions for their group's agenda are encouraged to contact their affiliate group president as soon as possible.


2015 & 2016 Annual Conferences

At a June 22, 2012 meeting of the NACO Board of Directors, a motion was made, seconded and passed that the 2015 & 2016 NACO Annual Conferences be held in Kearney at the Younes Conference Center.  This decision was made after proposals were received from four different conference facitlities across the state.  The NACO Conference Committee, appointed by NACO President, LeRoy Janssen, reviewed the submitted proposals and made a report and recommendation to the NACO Board of Directors, after which, the NACO Board of Directors voted to award contracts for the 2015 and 2016 conferences to the Younes Conference Center.  The 2013 and 2014 conferences will be held in downtown Omaha at the CenturyLink Event Center.

legal_line_7_13_2012Legal 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 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 conatined in this article or that which will be discussed in future issues relates to your county, consult your county attorney or personal counsel.
Personal Email Accounts May Be Public Records
Information contained in personal email accounts used for county-related contacts may be considered public records belonging to public agencies pursuant to a letter opinion issued by the Attorney General.  The letter was written in response to an inquiry from the Nebraska Press Association on behalf of the Beatrice Daily Sun.  The Sun was seeking records related to the resignation of Gage County's medical director.  It questioned whether Gage County violated public records laws by not providing documents from county supervisors' personal email accounts that were shown as contact information on Gage County's website.
The Attorney General reviewed the statutory definition of public records in Neb.Rev.Stat. Section 84-712.01(1), which provides that information or records "of or belonging to" governmental entities are public. Although the mere fact that the record is in the possession of a public officer does not make it a public record, the agency need not be in physical possession of the record for it to be considered a public record.  The key question is not where the record is located, but rather whether the record is "of or belonging to" government.
In this situation, the county's website contained contact information for county supervisors including a mailing address and phone number and an option to send an email to the supervisor.  The email addresses for some supervisors were personal email accounts, rather than accounts provided by the county.  The Attorney General concluded that these email accounts could contain public records belonging to the county and were subject to the public records request. The county board members or actual custodians of the records were obligated to search for the requested public records on the personal email accounts. Such searches would be subject to other provisions of public records statutes including recovery of the actual cost for providing the copy and confidentiality of certain subject matter.

Mailbox Rule Revisited
The Nebraska Supreme Court has reversed a Court of Appeals decision on the question of whether a 2009 personal property tax return had been mailed in a timely fashion.  In Midwest Renewable Energy v. Lincoln Cty. Bd. of Eq., 284 Neb. 34, ___ N.W. 2d ___ (2012), the company's comptroller prepared the return and placed it in a box in the company's office designated for Midwest's outgoing mail. Because the county assessor's office did not receive the return before the deadline, a statutory 25-percent late-filing penalty was imposed and upheld by the county board of equalization.  The Tax Equalization and Review Commission (TERC) affirmed the late-filing penalty imposed by the county board.

The TERC applied Neb.Rev.Stat. 49-1201, which sets out the mailbox rule.  This section states that tax returns that are mailed but not received by the deadline are deemed filed if the sender establishes by competent evidence that the tax return was deposited in the U.S. mail on or before the date for filing or paying.  The TERC affirmed the county board of equalization's decision imposing the penalty on Midwest. 
Midwest appealed the TERC's decision to the Court of Appeals.  The Court of Appeals found that TERC's decision was (1) not arbitrary, capricious or unreasonable, (2) conformed to law, and (3) was supported by competent evidence. 

Midwest then appealed to the Nebraska Supreme Court which determined that the county board applied the wrong law when imposing the late-filing penalty. If found that the TERC erred when it failed to recognize the effects of this and that the record they reviewed contained evidence not presented to the county board.  The Court reversed the judgment of the Court of Appeals and remanded it with directions to reverse the order of the TERC.  Ultimately the TERC will be required to determine whether the return was timely mailed and filed pursuant to 49-1201.
Assessors_Workshop_2012Register Now for Assessors Workshop & Continuing Education 
The Nebraska Assessors Association Board of Directors met in Kearney on May 17 to plan the annual Assessors Workshop.  In addition to the 2-day workshop, a 1-day continuing education seminar entitled "Land Valuation" will follow the workshop.  The workshop will be held in Kearney at the Holiday Inn Hotel and Convention Center.  The Workshop will begin at 1:00 p.m. (CST) on Monday, August 27 and will conclude at 12:00 p.m. (CST.) on Wednesday, August 29 with a lunch following.  The 1-day Land Valuation seminar will follow at 1:00 p.m. (CST.) on Wednesday, August 29 and conclude at 12:00 p.m. (CST) on Thursday, August 30.  A tentative agenda for the workshop and seminar can be found by clicking here.


Advance registration can now be made on-line at NACO's website for the workshop and the 1-day seminar.  The fee for attending the workshop will be $85.00 for registrations received on or before August 1.  The fee for attending the Land Valuation class will be $40.00 for registrations received on or before August 1.  After August 1, a late registration fee of $25.00 will be added.  Cancellations must be made in writing on or before August 17 to receive a full refund.  A cancellation fee of $25.00 will be assessed for any cancellations received after August 17.  Registration for the workshop and/or seminar will be posted on NACO's website on Monday, June 4.  Click here to visit NACO's website.
Guest rooms may be reserved by contacting the Holiday Inn Hotel and Convention Center at (308) 237-5971. Room rates are $72.95 single/double. When making reservations, inform hotel staff that you are attending the Assessors Workshop to receive the contracted rate.
Assessors are reminded that the 2013 annual dues for the County Assessors Association of Nebraska are $50.00 and should be mailed to the association treasurer, Janet Shaul, Garden County Assessor.  Registration fees for the the workshop and Land Valuation class should be mailed directly to NACO.
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.

News_Across_the_State_July_27_2012News Across The State 
Beatrice Daily Sun, July 7, 2012
North Platte Bulletin, July 14, 2012

Norfolk Daily News, July 18, 2012

Kearney Hub, July 24, 2012
Lincoln Journal Star, July 24, 2012

Kearney Hub, July 25, 2012
NACoNewsNews from NACo 


Matt Chase Appointed Executive Director of NACo

The National Association of Counties announced that Matthew Chase has been named the association's Executive Director.  The announcement came as thousands of the country's local government leaders gathered in Pittsburgh for NACo's 77th Annual Conference and Exposition.  To read more, click here.

Nebraska Association of County Officials
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