NACO_E-News_Header

August 8, 2014                                                                www.nacone.org   NACO E-Line Archive 

Upcoming Events

Assessors Workshop

August 25-28, 2014 

Kearney, Holiday Inn Hotel & Conference Center 

 

Panhandle District Meeting

September 10, 2014

Gering, Civic Center

 

West Central District Meeting

September 11, 2014

Ogallala, Quality Inn & Suites

 

Central District Meeting

September 18, 2014

Grand Island, Quality Inn & Suites

 

Northeast District Meeting

September 19, 2014

Schuyler, St. Benedict Center

 

Southeast District Meeting  

September 25, 2014

I-80, Mahoney Park

 

NACO Legislative Conference

October 28, 2014

Holiday Inn Conference Center, Kearney 

 

 

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

Register Now for Assessors Workshop 

Conference Matters   

Conference to Address Emerald Ash Borer Scheduled for August 28th in Lincoln 

Advanced Institute of Excellence to be Held in Kearney    

Legal Line 

Order NACO's 2014 Directory of County Officials Now  

County Government Day PowerPoint 

2013 County Board Handbook and Revisions  

News From NACo  

NACo Web-Based Education  

News Across the State 

County Classifieds    

Legal Calendar 

Associate & Sustaining Members 

NACO Education Foundation Memorial Program  

Assessors_WorkshopRegister Now for Assessors Workshop
The Nebraska Assessors Association Board of Directors met in May to plan the annual Assessors 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 25 and will conclude at 11:45 p.m. (CST) on Thursday, August 28, 2014.  A tentative agenda for the workshop may be viewed by clicking here.

 

Advance registration can now be made on-line at NACO's website or by clicking here. The fee for attending the workshop will be $100.00 for registrations received on or before August 15.   After August 15, the registration fee will be $125.00.  Cancellations must be made in writing on or before August 15 to receive a full refund.  A cancellation fee of $25.00 will be assessed for any cancellations received after August 15.  

Guest rooms may be reserved by contacting the Holiday Inn Hotel and Convention Center at (308) 237-5971. Room rates are $79.95 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 2014 annual dues for the County Assessors Association of Nebraska should be mailed to the association treasurer, Janet Shaul, Garden County Assessor.  Registration fees for the workshop should be mailed directly to NACO at their new address:  1335 "H" Street, Lincoln, NE 68508.
Conference_MattersConference Matters

Lodging

Lodging for NACO's 120th Annual Conference became available in June, 2014. The conference will be held in Omaha December 10-12 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.  

Ash_BorerConference to Address Emerald Ash Borer Scheduled for August 28th in Lincoln
The Emerald Ash Borer is on the way to Nebraska and it's not a matter of if, but when.

Mark Harrell, the Nebraska Forest Program Director says that he and his colleagues are checking ash trees around the state, constantly looking for the emerald ash borer which is a small, green, shiny bug that lays eggs in the tree.  Those eggs produce larvae that hatches in the tree and the larvae eats the tree, causing major problems.  To read more, click here.

To view details of how to register and to view the agenda, click here.
Advanced_InstituteAdvanced Institute of Excellence to be Held in Kearney
Today's leaders rely on stakeholders to help them make the hard decisions.
They also use after-action reviews to evaluate outcomes of their decisions.
These concepts and more will be introduced at the NACO Advanced Institute of Excellence, Wednesday, October 15th in Kearney at the Holiday Inn Convention Center. The Advanced Institute is open to ALL  NACO Institutes of Excellence graduates and will be conveniently held the day before the 9th Annual NACO Legislative Conference. The program starts at 10:00 a.m. and runs to 5:00 p.m.  The cost is only $45 for the entire day; lunch is included. For more information about this fall's Advanced Institute and future Institutes of Excellence download a .pdf version of the 2014 - 2015 Program Offerings brochure by clicking 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.  

Supreme Court Decides Douglas County Retirement Case

 

Douglas County is not obligated to contribute the same amount for retiree health benefits as it does for active employees under Christiansen v. County of Douglas, 288 Neb. 564, --- N.W.2d --- (2014). Actions were filed by two retired employees and later consolidated to enjoin the county from enacting a resolution setting a premium rate for participating retired employees that was higher than the rate paid by active employees.

 

Since 1974, certain retired employees of Douglas County were allowed to participate in the county health insurance plan until attaining age 65. They paid the same premiums as active employees. After considering several alternatives during the fiscal crisis of 2008 and 2009, the county board voted in September 2009 to adopt a resolution that set a higher premium rate for retirees, effective January 1, 2010. The retirees filed suit in district court, alleging that representations were made throughout their employment that their rates would always be the same as active employees. The district court entered a permanent injunction prohibiting the county from treating retirees differently and ordered the county to repay over $1 million in premiums, as well as more than $178,000 in attorney fees.

 

The county appealed and the case was moved directly to the Nebraska Supreme Court. The Court sided with the county, holding that the county offering of health insurance, unlike pensions or deferred compensation, was not mandatory and retired employees had no contractual right to participate at the active employee premium rate. Instead, health insurance is an optional benefit which may be established by a county. Employee participation in health plans is purely voluntary and no contractual rights were violated by requiring retirees to pay higher premiums.

 

The Court also examined the district court's use of equitable estoppel to create a contract to protect the retirees' rights. It concluded that there was no contractual right for retirees to pay the active employee premiums. It reversed the district court by finding that equitable estoppel cannot create a contractual obligation where one does not otherwise exist.

 

Finally, the Court examined whether a contractual obligation arose via ratification. Ratification is the acceptance of a previously unauthorized contract. It can occur through an overt action or can be inferred from silence and inaction. Because counties may only enter into contracts by a majority vote of its board members, the Court concluded that ratification did not occur.

 

The full text of the case, which was decided on July 18, is available here.   

NACO_DirectoryOrder NACO's 2014 Directory of County Officials Now
NACO's 2014 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.  County clerks for each county received one complimentary copy of the directory intended for use by all offices in their courthouse.  For additional copies, click here for the order form.
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_20122013 County Board  Handbook and Revisions
The 2013 County Board Handbook and related revisions are available. The cost for a current handbook, including legislative information from the 2013 session, is $80.00/book plus $17.00 shipping and handling per book. The 2013 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_From_NACoNews From NACo
Congress Passes Short-Term Patch for Transportation Funding

This week, Congress reached agreement over a short-term patch to keep the Highway Trust Fund solvent and extend the current surface transportation law - Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21) - through May of next year.  

The Highway and Transportation Funding Act, H.R. 5021, was accepted by both chambers after much debate over the length of the patch.

 

The House initially passed H.R. 5021 on July 15. The House-passed version provided $11 billion to keep the Highway Trust Fund solvent and extend MAP-21 through May of next year.  to read more, click here.

 

Senate Introduces Bill that Combines the Marketplace Fairness Act and the Internet Tax Freedom Act

On July 15, Sens. Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.), Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Mark Pryor (D-Ark.) introduced the Marketplace and Internet Tax Fairness Act (MITFA). The bill (S. 2609) would combine two key issues important to counties:

  • The Marketplace Fairness Act (MFA) as passed by the Senate in 2013, with a few minor technical corrections. MFA, which passed with the support of NACo, allows state and local governments to enforce existing sales taxes on remote sellers. 
  • A ten-year extension of the Internet Tax Freedom Act (ITFA). ITFA prohibits counties from collecting a tax on Internet access (typically a subscription service) until November 1, 2014. While a 10-year extension is not ideal for counties, NACo favors a temporary extension of ITFA in lieu of permanent measures like the Permanent ITFA (H.R. 3086) that passed in the House on July 14, 2014.
 To read more, click here.
NACo_WebinarsNACo Web-Based Education
Mental Health Parity:  What it Means for Counties as Providers
Thursday, October 2, 2014, 2:00 - 3:15 p.m. Eastern Time
The regulations for the Mental Health Parity Law are now final. Health insurance plans must provide equal coverage for physical and behavioral health services. What does this mean for your county? How do these regulations interact with the Affordable Care Act? What are the challenges and/or opportunities for implementing mental health parity? Join county leaders and United Health Care to discuss the implications of mental health parity for your county.

To register for this webinar, Click here.

To view NACo's entire web-based education listing, click here.
News_Across_the_StateNews Across the State
Nebraska Association of County Officials
625 South 14th Street Suite 200 | Lincoln, NE 68508 | 402-434-5660