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November 15, 2013                                                       www.nacone.org   NACO E-Line Archive 

Upcoming Events

NACO 119th Annual Conference

December 11-13

Omaha, CenturyLink Center 

 

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

Conference Matters  

Submit Names for NACO Secretary/Treasurer Now

Nebraska Crime Commission Announces Availability of Office of Violence Prevention Grant and 2014 Community-Based  Juvenile Services Aid Enhancement

Financial Accounting Foundation releases an updated edition  of GASB Codification of Governmental Accounting and Financial Reporting Standards

Legal LIne   

U.S. Communities 

NACo Prescription Drug Program 

County Government Day PowerPoint 

2012 County Board Handbook and Revisions  

News Across the State   

Legal Calendar  

County Classifieds 

Associate & Sustaining Members 

NACO Education Foundation Memorial Program 

 

 

Conference_MattersConference Matters

Lodging

By now, most county officials have secured lodging for NACO's 119th Annual Conference.  If you have not made lodging reservations, you may do so by clicking
hereOnce 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).  Conference delegates are reminded that the cut-off date for making changes or cancellations to any confirmed reservations is November 15, 2013.   After this date, any changes or cancellations to confirmed reservations will be billed the first night's lodging rate plus any applicable taxes.  Be sure to make your changes before this date. 
 

County Board and Affiliate Agendas

Individual agendas for county boards and affiliate groups are now posted on NACO's website.  To view these agendas, click here.

 

Registration

The advance registration fee for NACO Annual Conference is $120.00 per person if registering on or before November 22.  After November 22, the fee increases to $135.00.  Written notification of conference registration cancellation must be received by NACO prior to November 22.  Refund of advance registration fee, less a $25.00 administrative fee will be made by mail at the conclusion of the conference.   

 

To register for annual conference, click here.  To view a conference overview and tentative agenda, click here. 

NACO_Secretary_Treasurer_Election Submit Names for NACO Secretary/Treasurer Now

In December of this year, at the annual conference of the Nebraska Association of County Officials, the NACO officers will be elected for the upcoming year.  The officers are elected from each of the districts on a rotating basis, and this year, according to the NACO bylaws, Article V Section 2, there should be a Secretary/Treasurer elected who is from the Northeast District.

 

If you are interested in running for this office, please submit your name to Larry Dix at NACO.  If you know of any elected county officials that you feel would be interested, qualified and willing to serve as Secretary/Treasurer of NACO please submit their name(s) to Larry Dix at the NACO office. 

 

Several years ago the NACO Board of Directors amended the bylaws to allow any elected county official to serve as an officer. Previously the bylaws mandated that only county board members were eligible.  The bylaws now state that of the five officers, two can be members of county official affiliate organizations.  For this election, any elected county official is eligible.

 

The Board of Directors and Officers generally meet at least four times a year of which the travel expense is reimbursed by the Association.  The individual who is elected to the position of Secretary/Treasurer should be interested in the legislative process, as they will also serve on the Legislative Committee for the Association, and from time to time may be called upon to work with the Legislature, especially as they advance to the office of President of NACO.  Should you desire to nominate someone, please be certain to share with them the time obligation and commitment which goes with the position.  Submit Names for NACO Secretary/Treasurer now by clicking here.

Nebraska_Crime_CommissionNebraska Crime Commission Announces Availability of Office of Violence Prevention Grant and 2014 Community-Based  Juvenile Services Aid Enhancement

The Nebraska Crime Commission announced the availability of FY 2013 Office of Violence Prevention Grant (OVP).  The application instructions outline general guidelines, eligibility, and funding requirements can be viewed by clicking here.. 

 

The Nebraska Crime Commission also announced the availability of 2014 Community-Based Juvenile Services Aid (CB) and 2014 Community-Based Juvenile Services Aid Enhancement.  The Request for Proposal (RFP) outlines  general guidelines, funding requirements, and application instructions for both grant programs, CB and EB.  Information and application may be view by clicking here.

GASBFinancial Accounting Foundation releases an updated edition  of GASB Codification of Governmental Accounting and Financial Reporting Standards
On November 4 the Financial Accounting Foundation (FAF) released an updated print edition of the Governmental Accounting Standards Board's (GASB Codification of Governmental Accounting and Financial Reporting Standards.  The FAF also released an updated print edition of GASB's Original Pronouncements and the 2013-2014 Comprehensive Implementation Guide.
  
The GASB Codification and Original Pronouncements are the authoritative sources of U.S. Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (U.S. GAAP) for state and local governments.  The annual bound editions contain all of the content of the online versions as of June 30, 2013.
  
To read more, click here.
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. 

 

Subscription Fees Fall Under the New Public Records Law (LB363) 

Since LB363 took effect in September, counties and other public bodies have been revisiting historical methods of handling public records requests and the costs for providing records. According to its sponsor, the bill was introduced because some custodians of public records were charging fees for copies that were viewed as excessive.  They were perceived to be bad actors who were overcharging for research to provide documents that had already been paid for by tax dollars. The bill revised statutory authority to include charges for staff time in the cost of copies.

 

LB363 limits the cost to the actual added cost of making the copies available and does not allow charges for staff time to be included until after the first four cumulative hours of "searching, identifying, physically redacting, or copying." Neb.Rev.Stat. 84-712(3)( c).  Attorney fees to review the records to determine a legal basis for withholding the records cannot be passed on to the requester. In addition, if the information requested is available on the county's website, the custodian of the record can fulfill his or her responsibilities by referring the requester to the location on the website. Unless the requester does not have reasonable access to the Internet due to lack of a computer, lack of Internet availability, or inability to use a computer or the Internet, the referral meets the letter of the law.

 

Because county officials regularly receive requests for access to blocks of county records, many counties have developed services that allow a subscriber to search computer databases of public documents. In addition, counties that receive requests for "all of your records" and periodic updates sometime charge a flat rate for the services.  Other counties have contracts with vendors who store public records electronically and sizeable records requests are fulfilled through direct interaction between the requester and the vendor.

 

While LB363 does not prohibit subscription services or other arrangements, it requires the ability to justify the cost of providing the records. If the information is not available on the county's website, or the requester wants a copy of the record, the custodian may charge for copies under one of three cost structures in 84-712(3)(b) - photocopies, computer printouts, or electronic data. Subscriptions generally fall within the category of electronic data.

 

Under 84-712(3)(b(iii),

 

 ". . . the actual added cost of making the copies [of electronic data] available shall include the reasonably calculated actual added cost of the computer run time, any necessary analysis and programming by the public body, public entity, public official, or third-party information technology services company contracted to provide computer services to the public body, public entity, or public official, and the production of the report in the form furnished to the requester."

 

As noted above, the cost cannot include charges for the time of a public official or employee until after four cumulative hours of work on the request or attorney fees for reviewing the records.

 

The amount charged for a subscription must be justified under these requirements and it is not likely that a flat fee per month will be in compliance with the new law.

 

If the records are requested in a new or different form or format modified from that of the original public record, the custodian is not required to produce or generate the new document. 84-712(3)(e).  Although not stated directly in LB363, it can be assumed that the custodian of the record and the requester could enter into negotiations to determine the cost of providing such records in the requested format.

 

Some counties have chosen to use software that facilitates fulfilling subscription requests. In order to determine the actual added costs, it is appropriate to ask whether the software would be used if not for the subscription and if the software constitutes a new or different form or format.  Generally, the entire cost of the software cannot be passed along to a single requester unless it is clear that the county would  not otherwise use the software.

 

As with any new law that significantly alters business practices in counties, tweaks will need to be made as custodians of public records begin implementing the revised statutes and courts interpret the new provisions.

 

To view the entire text of LB363, including the transcript of floor debate on the bill, click here.

 

The Attorney General has prepared a summary of statutes, case law, and other resources related to public records here.  

 

US_CommunitiesU.S. Communities
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.
County_Board_Handbook_20122012 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 Ashley Vandeloo by clicking here or call her at (402) 434-5660 ext. 223.
News_Across_The_StateNews Across the State
Links are to outside sources and may not be available indefinitely.

Readers may notice in the future that the number of insertions for this section of E-Line may be reduced.  This is due to the fact that several Nebraska Newspapers now charge a fee to read their articles on line making it difficult to link to the articles published.

Package of Tax Changes Forming in Legislature

JournalStar.com, 11/12/2013

  

Nebraska Tax Overhaul Committee Puts a Plan on the Table, But is it Appetizing?

Omaha.com, 11/13/2013

  

Tax Committee Considering Package of Changes

ColumbusTelegram.com

 

Tax Panel Faces Difficult Task as Deadline Nears

TheIndependent.com, 11/13/2013

 

 


   

Nebraska Association of County Officials
625 South 14th Street Suite 200 | Lincoln, NE 68508 | 402-434-5660