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September 25, 2015                                                                            www.nacone.org   NACO E-Line Archive  

Upcoming Events

Save the Dates For:  

 

Nebraska Planning and Zoning Fall Workshop 

Holiday Inn,  

Kearney, NE

September 28-29, 2015

Agenda & Registration Information  

 

Register of Deeds Workshop
Holiday Inn
Kearney, NE

October 14, 2015

Agenda 

 

10th Annual NACO Legislative Conference
Holiday Inn
Kearney, NE

October 15, 2015

Agenda 

 

Southeast District Meeting
Mahoney State Park
October 22, 2015

Agenda coming soon

 

Nebraska Weed Control Fall Training
Kearney, NE

November 5 - 6, 2015

 

121st Annual NACO Conference

Younes Conference Center  

Kearney, NE

December 9 - 11, 2015

County Official of the Year Nomination Form

 

To view all upcoming events, click here.


WHO SUPPORTS NACO AND THEIR MISSION?

 

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.

In This Issue  
Legal Line      
registerRegister for Legislative Conference & Register of Deeds Workshop
October is the month for two important events that require an advance registration.  The Register of Deeds Workshop is being held October 14th and the Annual NACO Legislative Conference is being held on October 15th.  Both events are being held at the Holiday Inn and Conference Center in Kearney, Nebraska.  The agendas are posted on the NACO website and can also be viewed by clicking each events name below.

A pre-event registration fee will be charged for each event and after October 2nd the fee will increase by $10 so early registration is necessary to prevent the late fees.

Register of Deeds WorkshopAGENDA     REGISTRATION

Legislative WorkshopAGENDA    REGISTRATION
annconfresAnnual Conference Information
The 2015 NACO Annual Conference will be held in Kearney at the Younes Convention CenterThe conference dates are December 9th through the 11th.

The Kearney Visitor's Bureau has a webpage designed specifically for conference information as it becomes available through the planning process.  You can visit that page by clicking here.

Rooms have been contracted at the Wingate inn, the Hampton Inn, the Holiday Inn, the Holiday Inn Express, the Comfort Inn and the Fairfield Inn for $99.95 per night for single and double rooms and suites are contracted for $149.95 per night.

You must phone the hotel of choice to make reservations stating that you are attending the conference to receive the group discounted room rate. Only guaranteed reservations will be accepted. Reservations must be guaranteed with either a credit card or by direct billing back to your county.

 

PLEASE NOTE: Reservations may be made initially under the county name but must all have individual names of who will occupy each room no later than November 10, 2015. Any reservation being held under the county name after this date will be cancelled.

 

HEADQUARTER HOTELS LOCATED ON THE YOUNES CONFERENCE CENTER CAMPUS(See map):

 

Wingate Inn:     (308) 237-4400

 

Hampton Inn:    (308) 234-3400

 

Fairfield Inn:      (308) 236-4200

 

Comfort Inn:      (308) 236-3400

 

Holiday Inn:      (308) 237-5971

 

ADDITIONAL LODGING OPTIONS IN CLOSE PROXIMITY:

 

Holiday Inn Express:                                       (308) 234-8100  

 

Best Western Mid Nebraska Inn & Suites:        (308) 234-2541

 

AmericInn:                                                     (308) 234-7800

 

Country Inn & Suites:                                      (308) 236-7500

 

Ramada Inn:                                                   (308) 237-3141  

deptofagLivestock Development Committee Needed


The Nebraska Department of Agriculture (NDA) is seeking individuals who are interested in becoming members of the Livestock Development Matrix Committee, a group created through legislation in the 2015 session of the Nebraska Legislature.

Nebraska Agriculture Director Greg Ibach is asking those interested in serving on the Matrix Committee to submit a cover letter outlining their qualifications and resume to NDA by close of business Sept. 30, 2015.

The bill creating the committee, Legislative Bill 106, was signed by Gov. Pete Ricketts on May 27, 2015. The law charges the Nebraska Department of Agriculture with development of an assessment matrix that can be used by county government officials for siting livestock operations.

To read more about this opportunity to serve Nebraska and its counties click here
vetserveTraining to Better Serve Veterans

The Nebraska Association of Local Health Directors (NALHD) are supporting and coordinating five No Wrong Door trainings across the state (see attached flyer for dates and locations). These trainings have been developed by the multi-disciplinary Veteran's Brain Injury Task Force over the past several years to give community members from a range of professions/organizations a solid understanding of issues that veterans, service members, and their families/loved ones face. The training also gives participants resources and strategies they can use to serve veterans, service members, and their families better.

To view the informational flyer to obtain more details, click here.

Susan Bockrath, Executive Director of the NALHD says that, "I want to make sure that other folks, especially those who maybe don't think their work relates to veterans, know that these trainings are coming up and that there really is value for everyone... teachers, principals, county clerks, law enforcement...everyone."
entconfEntrepreneurship Conference For County Officials
 
Don't Miss the Entrepreneurship Best Practices Summit: Nurturing Entrepreneurship through Collaboration, October 21 in Lincoln

All of the speakers are confirmed and final arrangements are being made for the Entrepreneurship Best Practices Summit: Nurturing Entrepreneurship through Collaboration, Wednesday, October 21 on the University of Nebraska Innovation Campus in Lincoln.

Keynote Eric Englemann is the visionary CEO and founder of Geonetric, a software company that builds online solutions and provides digital marketing services to health systems around the country. Through his leadership, Geonetric has grown into one of the most admired companies in the Cedar Rapids/Iowa City Corridor. Eric is a driving force behind the Iowa Startup Accelerator, Iowa's' first and only 90-day accelerator for early stage startups.

Could county government help establish Nebraska Startup Accelerators? You bet!

Presenter Brent Comstock, BCom Solutions Founder & Robertson Scholar, University of North Carolina and more importantly an Auburn, NE native, will introduce his model for reinventing rural communities. He is challenging entrepreneurs and innovators to consider looking to rural communities for ventures like tech start-ups and social enterprises.
 
Would county officials like to reinvent Nebraska's rural communities with new business innovators and ventures? You bet!
 
Presenter Erik Pedersen, Vice President of Entrepreneurship for the Kansas Center for Entrepreneurship, NetWork Kansas is focused on growing the entrepreneurial environment throughout Kansas. The statewide network of non-profit, business-building resources helps entrepreneurs and small business owners start and grow businesses. Erik oversees the Entrepreneurship (E-)Community partnership, which has now grown to 48 communities across Kansas.
 
Would county officials like to be a part of local support networks that strengthen entrepreneurs and business development? You bet!

Make plans to attend the Entrepreneurship Best Practices Summit today. Early birds will get the reduced conference rate of $35 if they register at: www.regonline.com/bestpracticessummit before September 21. The conference runs from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Need more information? Check out the Summit's website: tinyurl.com/ebps2015 and Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Nebraska-Entrepreneurship-Best-PracticesSummit/1616111485307131?fref=ts or contact Carroll Welte, Nebraska Extension Educator at (402) 374-2954 or cwelte1@unl.edu.
marcMulti-Agency Resource Training Center Opportunity
Nebraska Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (NE VOAD) is sponsoring a training this fall and early winter in four locations on multi-agency resource centers (MARCs). A MARC is a one-stop shop for those affected by disasters-various community and state organizations and agencies have booths. Disaster victims can visit all the service/information providers and determine a plan of action based upon their and their family's needs.   
 
Red Cross will teach the training, and it is free to attend; lunch will be provided. Travel scholarships are available; information is on the flyer. Participants will learn the benefits of a MARC, how to set up a MARC, what agencies should be included, and challenges for coordinating a MARC. This information will be useful to community leaders!

View the training flyer here.

For more information contact: Ashley Mueller, MS, Extension Educator, Disaster Education Coordinator, Nebraska Extension.  Email: ashley.mueller@unl.edu Office phone: 402-727-2775.  Address: Nebraska Extension in Dodge County, 1206 W. 23rd Street, Fremont, Nebraska 68025-2504  
interimroadsTransportation Committee To Conduct Interim Hearings on Roads
County officials are encouraged to share their thoughts on Nebraska's state and local roads (LR318), including the expressway system (LR313), maximum weight limits (LR317), and removal of roadside vegetation (LR319), at a series of hearings conducted by the Legislature's Transportation and Telecommunications Committee in the coming weeks. Interim studies and hearings are a tool used by the Legislature to investigate a specific topic that may be the subject of legislation in the coming session or an issue that was introduced during a regular session that needs further development.
 
The next Transportation Committee hearing will be held on Oct. 1 in Grand Island, followed by hearings in Scottsbluff on Oct. 5 and 6, in Crete on Oct. 22, in Bellevue on Nov. 12, and in Lincoln on Dec. 3. The times and locations are listed in the hearing schedule below or can be found on the Legislature's website at www.nebraskalegislature.gov.
 
Other legislative committees will also hold hearings throughout the fall. The Judiciary Committee will hear invited testimony on prison issues pursuant to LR295 on Oct. 9. LR295 is an examination of how to improve behavioral health and mental health services in Nebraska in order to prevent crime and reduce costs associate with the incarceration of people who have heightened behavioral and mental health needs. The Department of Correctional Services Special Investigative Committee will also hold hearings on Nebraska's prison system on Oct. 23 and Nov. 6.
 
The Revenue and Education Committees will hold joint hearings on school funding (LR32 and LR344) on November 12.
 
The Urban Affairs Committee will examine tools for revitalization of neighborhoods (LR278) and the Nebraska Energy Code on Oct. 23. On Nov. 5 in Norfolk, the committee will examine the Local Option Municipal Economic Development Act (LR152) and economic development tools, such as tax increment financing, available to municipalities (LR155).
 
The Health and Human Services Committee will hear LR298, an examination of issues to improve the emergency medical services system, in Lincoln on Oct. 2 at 9:00 a.m. in Room 1113 of the State Capitol.
 
The Appropriations Committee will examine the potential growth for tourism (LR321), methods to improve government efficiency (LR333), and funding for public health departments (LR257) on Dec. 1.
 
The Retirement Systems Committee will hold its annual examination of the state-administered retirement systems on Nov. 18.
 
A complete hearing schedule is available below.
 
Transportation and Telecommunications Committee
October 1, Grand Island Public School Kneale Administration Building, 1:30 p.m.
LR318 (Smith) Interim study to conduct a comprehensive study of Nebraska's state and local roads system
LR317 (Scheer) Interim study to review the Nebraska Rules of the Road and provisions which establish maximum weight limits
 
October 5, Lied Scottsbluff Public Library, 1:30 p.m.
LR318 (Smith) Interim study to conduct a comprehensive study of Nebraska's state and local roads system
LR313 (Smith) Interim study to examine the process utilized by the Dept. of Roads in the design and construction of the Nebraska expressway system
 
October 6, Lied Scottsbluff Public Library, 9:30 a.m.
LR317 (Scheer) Interim study to review the Nebraska Rules of the Road and provisions which establish maximum weight limits
 
October 22, Crete City Hall Council Chambers, 1:30 p.m.
LR318 (Smith) Interim study to conduct a comprehensive study of Nebraska's state and local roads system
LR317 (Scheer) Interim study to review the Nebraska Rules of the Road and provisions which establish maximum weight limits
 
November 12, Bellevue University John B. Muller Administrative Services Building, 1:30 p.m.
LR318 (Smith) Interim study to conduct a comprehensive study of Nebraska's state and local roads system
LR339 (Garrett) Interim study to examine the current statutory requirements governing the removal of roadside vegetation
 
December 3, State Capitol Room 1113, 10:00
Joint Transportation and Telecommunications and Appropriations hearing - NDOR Needs Assessment - Invited testimony only
 
December 3, State Capitol Room 1113, 1:30 p.m.
LR318 (Smith) Interim study to conduct a comprehensive study of Nebraska's state and local roads system
LR317 (Scheer) Interim study to review the Nebraska Rules of the Road and provisions which establish maximum weight limits
LR319 (Smith)    Interim study to examine certain issues under the jurisdiction of the Public Service Commission
unocertifiedNebraska Certified Public Managers Program
The School of Public Administration at the University of Nebraska at Omaha would like to invite you and your staff to participate in its highly acclaimed professional development program - the Nebraska Certified Public Manager® Program (CPM). In 2016 the Nebraska CPM Program is beginning its ninth year of assisting Nebraska's highly dedicated public/nonprofit managers to better serve their communities.
 
The Nebraska Certified Public Manager® Program enhances performance by teaching supervisors and managers to apply recognized management theories and best practices to the challenges they face. The Nebraska CPM Program is designed for current and future supervisors and managers employed in public service or non-profits.
 
The Nebraska Certified Public Manager® Program is more than a collection of educational sessions. It is an organized course of study in supervision and management designed specifically for managers. Participants not only attend on-campus sessions or post on-line, but during the period between sessions they also work on assignments and a significant capstone project that is of benefit to the participant's organization.
 
Recognizing that budgets are limited, we have worked to keep the Nebraska CPM program affordable. The fee for the program is $2,500 for all twelve sessions.Another incentive to participate in the program is the undergraduate and/or graduate credits that can be earned. Graduates of the Nebraska CPM Program can receive 15 upper level college credits which can be used to complete a Bachelors in General Studies (BGS) through UNO's Division of Continuing Studies Program. There is no charge for these credits beyond the $2,500 tuition for the CPM Program. If they have an undergraduate degree, graduates can receive six graduate credits toward a Master in Public Administration (MPA) degree from UNO. To receive the MPA credits, participants must enroll in the UNO graduate school and pay tuition and fees for the six credit hours. Nebraska CPM participants who do not live in Nebraska must pay non-resident tuition. No work beyond the CPM program requirements is necessary to receive the undergraduate and graduate credits.
 
Applications for the 2016 cohort is limited. We don't want your employees to miss this opportunity; the program won't be offered again until January 2017. A brochure and detailed training schedule is enclosed. For more information about the Nebraska Certified Public Manager Program® and application process, please contact Ellen Freeman Wakefield at the University of Nebraska at Omaha (402-554-2636), efreemanwakefield@unomaha.edu. A program application is also available at the School of Public Administration website.
 
We are excited about beginning another cohort in 2016 and hope that your employees will be able to take advantage of it. Please share this information with others in your organization and urge them to apply for the Nebraska Certified Public Manager Program®.

What else you may need to know
Course Schedule
Certified Public Manager Program Flier
Certified Public Manager Program Application 
legallineLegal 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.

TERC Burden of Proof
 
The Nebraska Supreme Court recently ordered the Tax Equalization and Review Commission (TERC) to reconsider a case using the same standard of review that applies to county board of equalization decisions.

In Cain v. Custer Cty. Bd. Of Equal., 291 Neb. 730, a taxpayer (Cain) failed to receive notice that the assessed value of his irrigated grassland for 2012 had increased until after the deadline to file a protest with the county board of equalization had passed.  Consequently, he filed a challenge with TERC pursuant to Neb.Rev.Stat. §77-1507.01, which allows TERC "to determine the actual value or special value of real property. . . if a failure to give notice prevented timely filing of a protest or appeal provided for in sections 77-1501 to 77-1510."
 
The TERC held two separate hearings on the petitions. On each occasion, two of the three TERC commissioners attended. The first hearing was a "show cause" hearing to determine whether TERC had jurisdiction over Cain's petitions. The second hearing was on the merits of the case. At the second hearing, one of the commissioners entered an order on behalf of the TERC dismissing Cain's arguments that his property should have been valued within a different market area and concluded that there was not clear and convincing evidence that the assessor's decision to classify the property in a particular market area was arbitrary or unreasonable. The order noted that prior cases on the issue of notice had been superseded by the adoption of §77-1507.01 in 2005.

The other commissioner dissented from the determination that the increased valuations were neither arbitrary nor unreasonable and would have accepted the taxpayer's opinion as to the actual value of the property. Because §77-5016(13) provides that the TERC "shall deny relief to the appellant or petitioner in any hearing or proceeding unless a majority of the commissioners present determine that the relief should be granted", TERC denied Cain's petitions and affirmed the assessor's increased valuations for 2012. Cain appealed and the Supreme Court removed the case to its docket.

The first issue addressed by the Supreme Court was whether TERC's decision was a valid order. Because §77-1507.01 had not been previously interpreted by the Supreme Court and it did not specify that a hearing held pursuant to this section must strictly conform to the procedural requirements for a protest before a county board of equalization, the Court found that such a hearing should follow the procedural rules applicable to other proceedings before TERC. Under TERC's normal rules, a majority of TERC members constitutes a quorum to transact business and one vacancy does not impair the right of remaining members to exercise the powers of the body. §77-5005. Thus two members could transact business. However, under §77-5016 , as cited above, the tie was effectively broken and the Court agreed that the order entered by a divided panel of two commissioners was a valid order. Because Cain did not argue in his brief that the use of a two-member panel was a violation of due process, the Court did not address the issue.

Next the Court addressed the taxpayer's argument that TERC did not have jurisdiction over his petitions because the assessor's failure to provide the notice of increased valuations rendered the assessments void. It found that the assessor failed to give notice but that the assessments were not void for lack of notice and thus TERC had jurisdiction to consider his petitions. It reviewed cases decided prior to the passage of §77-1507.01 in 2005 and found that the Court's rationale for declaring increased assessments void if the taxpayer did not receive proper statutory notice was based upon a denial to the taxpayer of the process due under the existing statutes. Since 2005, the failure to provide notice of an increased assessment or the decision of a county board of equalization no longer renders increased assessments void for a denial of due process.

Finally, the Court examined whether there was plain error in the standard of review used by the TERC. "Plain error is an error plainly evident from the record and of such a nature that to leave it uncorrected would result in damage to the integrity, reputation, or fairness of the judicial process." (citation omitted).

TERC applied the standard of review found in §77-5016(9), which the Court has previously interpreted to provide "a presumption that a board of equalization has faithfully performed its official duties in making an assessment and has acted upon sufficient competent evidence to justify its action." (citation omitted). The presumption remains until rebutted by clear and convincing evidence is presented.

The Court found that TERC should not have applied this standard to the petition because Cain's appeal was of a different nature than other TERC appeals. TERC's role in this case was not as an appellate body reviewing the county board of equalization's decision, but rather was in a position to perform an initial review of Cain's challenges to the increased assessments. In performing this initial review, TERC should have applied the same standards and burdens of proof as the board of equalization would have used in a protest. The process of protesting a valuation directly to TERC substituted for filing a protest with the county board of equalization and should be governed by the same standard of review and corresponding burdens of proof as a protest at the county level.

In protests before a county board of equalization, the valuation of the assessor is presumed to be correct. The burden of proof rests on the taxpayer to rebut this presumption and prove that the assessment is excessive. The standard applied is a preponderance, or greater weight, of the evidence. By applying its own standard, rather than the standard used by the county board of equalization, TERC erroneously increased the burden on the taxpayer to a clear and convincing standard. The Court reversed the TERC's decision and remanded the case for reconsideration on the record of Cain's petitions using the preponderance, or greater weight, of the evidence standard.

The Court did not address the constitutionality of Cain's allegations of lack of due process because he did not have a hearing before the county board of equalization. He did not satisfy the procedural prerequisites for appellate review because he did not file notice of the constitutional question.

Justice Connolly filed a dissenting opinion on the due process aspects of the notice and appeal to TERC, including the issue of two TERC commissioners rendering a valid decision on a taxpayer's protest if they disagree. While agreeing with the majority on certain elements, it argues that case law compels TERC to comply with the rules that would apply to a protest hearing before the county board of equalization.

The dissent agrees with the majority opinion that the TERC applied the wrong standard of proof but notes that there is no reason to distinguish the statutory adjudication requirement from the statutory standard of proof. It concludes that because TERC failed to render a valid decision under protest statutes, the Court did not have a final order or jurisdiction to consider the merits of the appeal. Instead, the TERC order should be vacated and remanded for a tie-breaking decision on the merits under the same standards that apply to a county board of equalization.

The full text of the case is available here: https://supremecourt.nebraska.gov/sites/supremecourt.ne.gov/files/sc/opinions/scAug28S-14-764.pdf
Countygovernementdaycd County 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 .
NACO's 2015 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.  In January, county clerks for each county will receive one complimentary copy of the directory intended for use by all offices in their courthouse.  For additional copies, click here for the order form.
County_Board_Handbook_2012 2014 County Board  Handbook and Revisions
The 2014 County Board Handbook and related revisions are now available. The cost for a current handbook, including legislative information from the 2014 session, is $80.00/book plus $18.00 shipping and handling per book. The 2014 Supplement to the County Board Handbook is available for $25.00 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 NACo

Counties should check sign laws after Supreme Court ruling

Pastor Clyde Reed's good news could spell bad news for counties.

When the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Reed's favor in Reed v. Town of Gilbert this summer, it unanimously found the Arizona town's sign ordinance was uncon­stitutional.

"Reed is probably one of the most significant decisions affect­ing local governments in the past several years," according to Chuck Thompson, executive director of the International Municipal Lawyers Association (IMLA). "It has the potential to require all local governments to reexamine their sign laws and other regulations that may be considered content-based."

Rev. Clyde Reed sued the Mari­copa County town after it treated signs giving directions to his itiner­ant church differently from other short-term signs. Gilbert's sign code limited the size and length of time the church's signs could be displayed. But the ordinance allowed other types of temporary signs - including political and  ideological ones - to be bigger and stay up longer.

The court found the ordi­nance to be content-based regulation of speech, which violates the First Amend­ment.

See more at: http://naco.org/articles/counties-should-check-sign-laws-after-supreme-court-ruling
nacoweb NACO Web-based Education 

The Pitfalls of Decision Making
Webinar

October 1, 2015
1:00 pm - 2:30 pm CDT 

The practice of integrity is plagued by a variety of perceptual deceptions: the illusion of intuition, the invisibility of self-interest, the myth of objectivity and the rigidity of belief, to name a few. This webinar offers insights on how to avoid common self-deceptions that deflect sound public decision-making.

To register for the event, please click here: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/9219716528998371586
Nebraska Association of County Officials
1335 H Street | Lincoln, NE 68508 | 402-434-5660