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August 9, 2013                                                               www.nacone.org   NACO E-Line Archive 

Upcoming Events

 

Assessors Workshop

August 26-29

Holiday Inn, Kearney

 

Southeast District Meeting

September 5

I-80, Mahoney Park

 

Central District Meeting

September 19

Kearney, Ramada Inn

 

Northeast District Meeting

September 20

Schuyler, St. Benedict Center

 

Panhandle District Meeting

September 25

Bridgeport, Community Center

 

West Central District Meeting

September 26

Ogallala, Grey Goose Lodge

 

Register of Deeds Workshop

October 9

Kearney, Holiday Inn

 

NACO Legislative Conference

October 10

Kearney, Holiday Inn

 

NACO 119th Annual Conference

December 11-13

Omaha, CenturyLink Center 

 

To view all upcoming events, click here.

 

MIPS_Logo_Colored

 

 

      

 

 

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

Conference Matters  

NACO Announces Partnership with Center for Internet Security for Discounted Cyber Security Training 

Notice of Comment Period for Court Rules 

Tax Modernization Committee Establishes Meeting Dates for Public Hearings 

Open Meetings Posters    

Crime Commission Hires Two New Directors  

Legal Line  

Bold Nebraska to Provide Training Opportunity 

With Budgets Tight, Small Towns Go Without Courthouses   

NACo President Makes Appointments to Committees 

NACo Prescription Drug Program 

County Government Day PowerPoint 

County Directories 

2012 County Board Handbook and Revisions 

News From NACo 

News Across the State  

Legal Calendar 

County Classifieds*

Associate & Sustaining Members 

NACO Education Foundation Memorial Program 

 

 

Conference_MattersConference Matters

Lodging

Lodging for NACO's 119th Annual Conference became available on May 10, 2013 at 10:00 a.m. CST.  The conference will be held in Omaha December 11-13 and this year you will be able to make lodging reservations electronically by visiting the Omaha Convention & Visitors Bureau website and clicking on NACO's microsite.  The link to the microsite is available here and is also posted on NACO's website.  Once you click on NACO's microsite, you will be able to choose the contracted  hotel of your choice along with the dates you will require for lodging.  Initially, a valid credit card will be required for securing your lodging.  Once you have secured your lodging via credit card, you will be able to access a credit application for direct billing and will be required to complete and submit a tax exempt form (all forms will be available on the microsite).

 

Planning

NACO has sent, via e-mail, planning grids and cut off dates to each affiliate group leader requesting that each group plan their sessions for the upcoming Annual Conference in December.  If you have a topic that you would like to have addressed at the conference, please contact your affiliate group president so they may consider it for the agenda.

 

Opening Session Speaker 

NACO Aaron Davishas contracted for Aaron Davis, member of Nebraska's 1994 National Champion football team, to deliver the opening session address to conference attendees at this year's conference in Omaha.

  

Aaron is not just a speaker "telling" individuals how to succeed.  He is in the trenches every day as the President of his own consulting firm, Aaron Davis Presentations, Inc., the Chief Operations Officer of The Thomas Group, and the co-founder of several other profitable business ventures.

  

Aaron Davis Presentations, Inc. received the Chamber of Commerce Outstanding Minority Owned Business award while Toastmasters International awarded him the Communications & Leadership Award.  Rotary International also presented him with the prestigious Paul Harris Fellow Award.  In addition, his business management certification seminars for the University of Nebraska have received some of the highest ratings in the program's twenty-four year history!

 

Courage, mental toughness and the ability to change and adapt quickly are just a few characteristics that all champions possess.  As a member of the Nebraska 1994 National Championship football team (considered by some as one of the best teams ever assembled), Aaron has a keen understanding of what it takes to achieve incredible results.  In his presentation, "Perform Like a Champion" conferences attendees will learn strategies to remain mentally tough in a competitive environment; they will be encouraged to never lose the ability to laugh at themselves and to have fun; and they will learn tips on how to adapt to change quickly while still enjoying the ride.

 

Plan now to attend NACO's 119th Annual Conference in Omaha. You won't want to miss this opening session presentation.

 

Watch for conference registration to open on NACO's website soon.  To view a conference overview and tentative agenda, click here. 

NACO_Announces_PartnershipNACO Announces Partnership with Center for Internet Security for Discounted Cyber Security Training
NACO has entered into a partnership with the nonprofit Center for Internet Security (CIS) to help NACO members improve their cyber security posture by implementing industry-recognized training programs for both end users and IT professionals. In response to the increasing need for training, and the fiscal constraints of its members, NACO has joined forces with CIS and industry leaders to make a broad array of cost-effective training options available to members. Training partners include the SANS Institute and Inspired eLearning, which are providing end user awareness training, and (ISC) which is providing IT professional training and certifications.  

The cyber threat landscape continues to present challenges to organizations, and while having proper security controls in place is an important layer of protection, having trained users is critical, as attackers are more frequently targeting individuals as a means to gain access to an organization. In the Aftermath of a Data Breach Study, issued by the Ponemon Institute in 2012, more than one-third of survey respondents whose organization had experienced a data breach indicated the cause was human error.  Industry best practices consistently cite training as a critical component of any organization's cyber security strategy.

Company and product choices for the aggregate training offerings were selected by CIS because of their applicability to the Critical Security Controls, one of the leading security guidelines, and with input from a product review board comprising representatives from the CIS community, including Chief Information Security Officers from state and local government and educational entities.

"We are pleased to work with NACO and our training partners to help make this important opportunity available as we collectively strive to improve our security defenses," said Kristin Judge, Executive Director, CIS Trusted Purchasing Alliance program.

NACO members who are interested in learning how to take part in any of the CIS aggregate procurements can contact Larry Dix at larrydix@nacone.org  or 402-434-5660 ext. 226.

About the Center for Internet Security
The Center for Internet Security (CIS) is a nonprofit organization focused on enhancing cybersecurity readiness and response. CIS works through four complementary divisions - Security Benchmarks, Multi-State ISAC, Trusted Purchasing Alliance, and the Integrated Intelligence Center - all offering high-quality, timely products and services to help partners achieve security goals through expert guidance and cost-effective solutions. With a commitment to excellence through collaboration, CIS acts as a trusted central resource for cybersecurity in the private and public sectors. Learn more at cisecurity.org or follow @CISecurity on Twitter.
NoticeofCommentNotice of Comment Period for Court Rules
The Appellate Automation Advisory Committee submitted to the Nebraska Supreme Court proposed amendments to Neb. Ct. R. App. P. 2-116(B)(1) Presentence Report. The proposed rule amendments update the materials to be included in the presentence report, the procedure as to how the presentence report is transmitted to the Clerk of the Nebraska Supreme Court and Court of Appeals, and how the presentence report may be examined by the defendant, his or her counsel, or counsel for the State.

The Nebraska Supreme Court invites interested persons to comment on these proposed rules no later than September 1, 2013.

The full text of the proposed rule amendments is available by clicking here, or a hard copy may be obtained from the office of the Clerk of the Supreme Court and Court of Appeals upon request.
Tax_Modernization_CommitteeTax Modernization Committee Establishes Meeting Dates for Public Hearings                                              

The Tax Modernization Committee met this week and received a briefing from a University of Nebraska professor about property tax.  The Committee members also heard an overview of State Corporate Income Tax Systems, State Personal Income Tax Systems and Other State Reform Efforts.  The dates for future public hearings can be found by clicking here  -- see July 24th entry.   

Open_Meetings_PostersOpen Meetings Posters                             
During the 2013 legislative session, LB 510 was passed by the Legislature.  This legislation includes provisions modifying the Open Meetings Act.  While the modifications in the legislation do not directly impact counties or county entities, they are indirectly impacted by Open Meetings Act provisions that require a public body to post a current copy of the Act in its meeting room.  One free copy will be sent to each county clerk during the week of August 12, 2013 in sufficient time for the posters to be posted prior to the September 6, 2013 effective date of the new legislation.  Additional copies of the posters are available for $5.00 plus shipping and handling.  If you or other county entities would like additional copies, please contact Wendy at wendy.kelly@nacone.org.
Crime_Commission_DirectorsCrime Commission Hires Two New Directors
Michael Behm, Crime Commission Executive Director, has announced that personnel have been hired for the new positions of Director of Juvenile Diversion Programs and Director of Community-Based Juvenile Services Aid Program. The positions were created by LB561, which transfers community supervision, juvenile parole and evaluation duties to the Office of Probation Administration.

Effective August 19, 2013 Ms. Cindy Gans, Crime Commission Federal Aid Administrator II,  has been selected as the Community-Based Juvenile Services Aid Program Administrator.  In addition, Ms. Amanda (Amy) Hoffman, J.D., has been selected as the Juvenile Diversion Programs Administrator.
Legal_LineLegal 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 Uphold Wind Energy Taxation Method

When 2010 legislation changed the method of taxing personal property owned by wind energy facilities to a nameplate capacity method, taxpayers were allowed to claim a tax credit against person property taxes paid. Knox County residents, who were also county board members, challenged the constitutionality of the credit as a commutation of taxes. The district court found in their favor. The Nebraska Supreme Court reversed the district court decision and found the credit to not be unconstitutional.

Prior to the 2010 legislation, wind energy generation facilities, including towers and turbines, were taxed as personal property and depreciated over a five year period. After the five year period, no further taxes were collected on the facility. This process created steep upfront costs for vendors and budget issues for local governments.  The legislation was enacted to replace property taxes with the same amount of taxes, but spread over a period of 20 or more years.

Elkhorn Ridge Wind, LLC, was the only wind energy facility that paid property taxes prior to the 2010 legislation.  These 2009 taxes were distributed to various taxing entities, including Knox County.  In order to assure that it was not double taxed, the Legislature enacted a credit provision to allow the credit to be carried over to subsequent tax years. The district court found this process in violation of Nebraska Constitution Art. VIII, sec. 4 but did not address allegations that the credit was special legislation in contravention of Art. III, sec. 18.

The Nebraska Supreme Court examined the differences between property taxes and excise taxes, concluding that the nameplate capacity tax is not dependent upon the value of the property, but rather, it is imposed upon the privilege of owning wind generation facilities in Nebraska. Because Art. VIII, sec. 4 does not prohibit the release, discharge, or commutation of "taxes", but rather, a taxpayer's "proportionate share" of taxes, it does not apply to excise taxes. 

Because the nameplate capacity tax credit did not constitute an unconstitutional commutation of taxes, the Court expanded its decision to issues related to charges of special legislation. Generally, a legislative act constitutes special legislation if it either (1) created an arbitrary and unreasonable method of classification or (2) creates a permanently closed class. A closed class is one that limits the application of the law to a present condition and leaves no room for a future increase in numbers within the class.

The Court determined that the legislation created a closed class but applied the Legislature's general authority to enact special legislation when matters sought to be remedied cannot be properly remedied by a general law and where the Legislature has a reasonable basis for enacting the law. It found that without the credit, Elkhorn Ridge would be required to pay both the personal property tax and the nameplate capacity tax on the same equipment. The 2010 legislation achieves tax equity by requiring it to pay only the equivalent of the nameplate capacity tax.

The case is Banks v. Heineman, 286 Neb. 390, ___ N.W.2d ___ (2013). It can be found here.

Supreme Court Decides Equalization Case

 

The Nebraska Supreme Court reviewed the Nebraska Constitution's requirement for uniform and proportionate valuation in Krings v. Garfield Cty. Bd. of Equal., 286 Neb. 352 , ___ N.W.2d ___ (2013).

 

In Krings,  the Tax Commissioner and Property Tax Administrator (Department) appealed a decision of the Tax Equalization and Review Commission (TERC) following TERC's conclusion that the Garfield County Board of Equalization correctly determined that the land owned by Krings was not agricultural or  horticultural. The property had been placed in a wetlands and wildlife habitat reserve program which limited the uses of the property. TERC further concluded that the value of Krings' nonagricultural, nonhorticultural property should be equalized with the value of agricultural and horticultural property in the county. Additionally, because TERC viewed the assessor's assessments of agricultural and horticultural land to be impermissibly low, it equalized Krings' property by reducing the assessed value.

 

The Court concluded that TERC's equalization of the value of Krings' nonagricultural and nonhorticultural land with agricultural and horticultural land did not conform to the law. Because the Court reversed the equalization portion of TERC's order, it did not need to address whether the assessment was correct.

 

In determining whether nonagricultural and nonhorticultural land must be equalized with the value of agricultural and horticultural land in the county, the Court reviewed the Nebraska Constitution.  At issue is Art. VIII, sec. 1, which relates to the valuation of real property for purposes of taxation.  This section provides that "[t]axes shall be levied by valuation uniformly and proportionately upon all real property. . . except as otherwise provided in or permitted by this Constitution."

 

The Court reviewed prior case law and legislative history indicating that the need for equalization stems from the constitutional requirement that real property must be taxed using uniform and proportionate valuation. However, it found that this requirement is qualified by Art. VIII, sec. 1(4) which provides that the Legislature may provide that agricultural and horticultural land constitutes a separate and distinct class for purposes of taxation and that values must be uniform within the class of property. The latter provision was approved by voters in 1990 and codified in Neb.Rev.Stat. sec. 77-1359 ad 77-201(2).

 

The Court held that because Art. VIII, sec. 1(4) and statutory provisions allow for agricultural and horticultural land to be valued in a way that is not uniform and proportionate with all other real property, it was improper for TERC to equalize agricultural and horticultural land with nonagricultural and nonhorticultural land  in the county because the constitution requires uniformity within that class.

 

The case can be found here.

bold_nebraskaBold Nebraska to Provide Training Opportunity

Bold Nebraska and landowners along the proposed pipeline route announced a training for local county board members, county attorneys, zoning board members and emergency managers. 

 

For more information, click here

With_budgets_tightWith Budgets Tight, Small Towns Go Without Courthouses
In the small town of Coalinga, Calif., on the corner of 6th and Elm streets, the Fresno County Superior Court's old courthouse is still. Inside, veteran police Lt. Darren Blevins gestures inside an empty courtroom.

"In the past, when we actually had court in here, over on this wall here was the seating for the inmates or the people that were held in custody," he says.

But now, in the wood-paneled courtroom, a large flat-screen television hangs where the podium used to be. Due to budget cuts, Fresno County closed the courthouse last year. Now, it uses video streaming, via the television, to hold traffic court.

For small claims cases and criminal arraignments, everyone - including police officers - has to travel more than an hour to Fresno. Last year, those travel expenses cost the Coalinga Police Department around $25,000.

For Locals, The Loss Of 'An American Experience'

This town epitomizes the case of the disappearing courthouse - a trend underway around the country as courthouses restrict hours or close their doors to save money.  California is in the process of shuttering and extraordinary 77 courthouses.  Many courts have also instituted reduced hours at their public service counters.

To read more, click here.

NACo_Committee_AppointmentsNACo President Makes Appointments to Committees
NACo President, Linda Langston, appointed Nebraska county officials to three committees.  Mary Ann Borgeson, Douglas County Commissioner has been appointed to the Health Committee and the Cybersecurity Task Force.  Doris Karloff, Saunders County Supervisor, has been appointed to the Rural Action Caucus, and Douglas County Commissioner, Chris Rodgers has also been appointed to the Cybersecurity Task Force.
NACo_Prescription_Drug_ProgramNACo Prescription Drug Program
CountygovernementdaycdCounty 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.
The NACO 2013 Directory of County Officials is available.  The directory is an annual publication that provides names and addresses for elected and appointed county officials in the state.  A directory is available for $17.00 if non-taxable and $18.00 if taxable.  To order, click here.
County_Board_Handbooks2012 County Board  Handbook and Revisions
The 2012 County Board Handbook and related revisions are available. The cost for a current handbook, including legislative information from the 2012 session, is $80.00/book plus $17.00 shipping and handling per book. The 2012 Supplement to the County Board Handbook is available for $20.00 plus $5.00 shipping and handling. The order form is available on the NACO website here. For questions, contact Wendy Kelly by clicking here or call her at (402) 434-5660 ext. 223.
News_From_NACoNews From NACo
NACo_LogoPresident Langston to Focus on Ready, Resilient Counties
NACo President Linda Langston will have a single key presidential initiative this year.  Ready and Resilient Counties - Prepare, Respond, Thrive.

To read more, click here.
News_Across_The_StateNews Across the State
Links are to outside sources and may not be available indefinitely.

County Examining Holding Prisoners Elsewhere
Beatrice Daily Sun, 8/7/2013
Nebraska Association of County Officials
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