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March 25, 2016                                                                                  www.nacone.org   NACO E-Line Archive  

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County Board Workshop
June 1-3, 2016
Holiday Inn
Kearney 
 
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In This Issue  
lynchFormer NACO President & Board Member Remembered
Omaha World Herald
Posted: Sunday, March 20, 2016 12:15 am | Updated: 10:10 am, Sun Mar 20, 2016. By Reece Ristau / World-Herald staff writer

Talk to those who knew Dan Lynch and they'll describe a voracious advocate for public good, an impassioned speaker on issues he cared for and someone who could get almost anyone to laugh.

A longtime Douglas County Board member and former state senator, Lynch was the driving force behind the creation of ENCOR, which provides services to those with developmental disabilities. He also wrote the bill that requires Nebraska motorcyclists to wear a helmet.

Daniel C. Lynch died on Thursday of natural causes. He was 86.
Daniel C. Lynch


Julie Freeman, one of Lynch's daughters, said he felt especially passionate about those who didn't have a voice to fight for their rights. It was one reason he pushed for the creation of ENCOR.

It was also a quality he instilled in each of his five children.

"Not a day went by that we didn't understand how lucky we were," Freeman said. "We always grew up knowing that we needed to appreciate and be grateful for what we had and who we are and what we were capable of."

In his 16 years as a state senator, Lynch often focused on safety and health.

Following the death of his son-in-law in a motorcycle accident in 1975, Lynch began an effort to ensure riders would be safer with a mandatory helmet law.

When his own son, Daniel Lynch Jr., suffered a critical head injury in a car accident in 1985, he ramped up his efforts.

The law went into effect in 1989 and has withstood multiple attempts to repeal it.

This year, an effort to replace the mandate with a state brain injury fund failed by three votes after a six-hour filibuster. That failure came the day Lynch died.

Rep. Brad Ashford, D-Neb., served with Lynch in the Legislature and recalled how passionate he was about the helmet bill.

"The motorcycle helmet law was his legacy," Ashford said. "All the times that efforts were made to stop it, he would go to the mat and fight hard."

It wasn't just the floor of the Legislature where Lynch fought: He also literally went to the mat as a substitute professional wrestler, said David Landis, a former state senator and Lincoln's director of urban development. Usually, Lynch fought as a villain.

Freeman said Lynch's wrestling days came before she was born, when he was making just $35 a week as an Omaha plumber.

She said she understands he filled in for a local troupe as a "masked marauder" at times to help make ends meet.

Ashford said that as a senator in the 1980s, Lynch was a "force to be reckoned with politically."

In 1987, Nebraska lawmakers passed a bill that ultimately created tax exemptions for corporately owned equipment, such as jet planes.

Ashford said Lynch's commitment to fighting for working people drove him to fiercely oppose the bill, believing that corporations shouldn't keep money that could go to the state for other uses.

It was Lynch's status as a working man that led him to fight for working people. He got his start in politics with a keen interest in a Young Democrats group. From there, he worked his way up the ranks, first serving 24 years on the County Board, for a time as its chairman. He left the Legislature after losing a bid for a fifth term in the 2000 election.

Lynch wasn't just a public servant when he was required to be.

When his children were young, they recall him keeping plumbing tools in the trunk of his Lincoln Continental, just in case someone needed a quick repair. One Christmas Eve, a neighboring family needed just that, and out the door he went.

During the Christmas seasons, Lynch would dress as Santa Claus and visit children at Boys and Girls Clubs.

"I appreciated his good humor, his quick wit and his gregarious nature," Landis said.

In his free time, Lynch was an avid golfer, teeing off at courses all over the country.

He also owned a lake house at Woodcliff Lakes near Fremont, where he now has great-grandchildren who head out to swim each summer.

In addition to Freeman and his son, Lynch is survived by daughters Marianne Mathena, Debra LeMay and Maureen Burkhiser.

His funeral was held Monday, March 21st at St. Philip Neri Catholic Church, 8200 N. 30th St. in Omaha.

Dan Lynch served on the Nebraska Association of County Officials Board of Directors from 1967 to 1981 and served as its President in 1969.  He also served as the National Association of County Officials President in 1977. 
budgetMay 5th Budget Workshop Cancelled
Following a review of the factors affecting attendance at the proposed biennial Budget Workshop conducted by the Nebraska Association of County Officials, it was decided that this year's workshop will be cancelled.

The review of previous budget workshop attendance figures concluded that the majority of the attendees are county clerks and county board members. Each of those groups holds an annual workshop within a month of the proposed day long budget workshop. This year the County Board Workshop Agenda Committee has chosen the Nebraska State Auditor's Office to present budget information along with auditing procedures that will build awareness of proper procedures associated with creating and maintaining a balanced budget with all aspects of accountability in place. Traditionally, the Clerks, Register of Deeds and Election Commissioners also engage the State Auditor's Office to speak at their mid-year workshop with the same topics in mind.

In addition, NACO heard from a number of county clerks who are also election commissioners and they noted that the proposed date for the budget workshop is the week preceding the Nebraska Primary elections. This in all probability will have a negative impact on the number of county clerks who are election commissioners that might attend the budget workshop given their election deadlines and the workload associated with conducting a primary election.

Additionally, many counties hire budget preparers outside the realm of current county employees. Attendance records indicate those outside preparers rarely attend the budget workshop.

With the county clerks and county board members consisting of over ninety percent of the attendees and each of them addressing budgeting and its processes during their respective annual workshops, it has become evident that attendance at a dedicated budget workshop will be very limited. NACO appreciates the comments and concerns that have been raised in regards to this year's budget workshop and will continue to look for the best way to deliver educational opportunities to our members in the future.
popgrowthMore Nebraska Counties Seeing Population Growth
By MATT OLBERDING / Lincoln Journal Star  March 24, 2016

More Nebraska counties saw population growth in the last five years than in the previous two five-year periods.

From July 1, 2010, to July 1, 2015, 29 of the state's 93 counties added people, according to Census data released Thursday. That compares with 25 from 2005-2010 and 18 from 2000-2005.

If you make your start date April 1, the date used for the official 10-year census, the number of counties that gained population in the last five years grows to 31.

Whichever number you choose, it shows "we're holding our own," with fewer rural counties losing population than in the past, said David Drozd, research coordinator of the Center for Public Affairs Research at the University of Nebraska at Omaha.

Overall, the state gained nearly 70,000 people from 2010 to 2015, putting its population at 1.896 million.

The drivers of that growth were its largest cities and their surrounding areas. Nebraska's five largest counties -- Douglas, Lancaster, Sarpy, Hall and Buffalo -- all reached their highest populations ever, as did Platte, Cass and Seward counties. The total gain in the state's population roughly matched the combined gain of the three largest counties.

Lancaster County's population reached 306,468, a 7.4 percent increase from five years ago. That ranked second only to Sarpy County's 10.6 percent growth.

The Lincoln Metropolitan Statistical Area, which includes Lancaster and Seward counties, reached 323,578 people, moving it from the 158th largest metro area in the U.S. to 154th. The Lincoln metro area's growth rate ranked 17th among the metro areas ranked 101st to 200th in size, Drozd said.

"Lincoln's continuing to see positive growth," he said.

Areas seeing the most population loss were mostly in western Nebraska. Scotts Bluff County lost more than 700 people from 2010 to 2015. Lincoln County lost 632, Dawson 440 and Keith 305. The other county in the top five was Gage County, with a loss of 411 people.
commdevelCommunity Development Program Being Offered

SAVE the DATE!!

Experience the Entrepreneurial Communities Activation Process, ECAP for Short!

Monday, April 11 in Fremont, Dodge County Extension Office, 1206 W 23rd Street
OR
Thursday, April 21 in North Platte, Lincoln County Extension Office, 348 West State Farm Road, North Platte

City and county leaders, non-profit board members, professionals and others involved in community and economic development, who desire to make communities better places to live and work, are invited to experience the Entrepreneurial Communities Activation Process.  That's ECAP for short!

The experience starts at 9:30 a.m.; the fun wraps up by 4:30 in the afternoon. To participate complete the registration form at https://go.unl.edu/ecap  by noon Thursday, April 6th.

ECAP is a unique community engagement process proven to get people creating new and exciting possibilities for a brighter future. The ECAP approach is built around eight characteristics deemed critical for retaining and attracting people.

An Ashland resident said, "I was new to the community when the ECAP process began, and I frankly can't imagine a better way to get to know a community in a hurry.   I feel a sense of connection to and investment that it might have taken me months or years to achieve without this process."

While the eight characteristics aren't necessarily new or different, successful communities manage them with new and different approaches - approaches that require risk-taking and challenge the status quo...approaches deemed as being out-of-the-box...or ENTREPRENEURIAL!!

Come and join Nebraska Extension and EXPERIENCE ECAP! Learn what it takes to bring ECAP to your community and how to lead the ECAP charge. The ECAP experience comes without a fee thanks to grant funding provided by the Rural Futures Institute. For more information about Nebraska Extension's new Entrepreneurial Communities Activation Process, ECAP for short, contact:

Charlotte Narjes             (402) 472-1724                            cnarjes1@unl.edu       Jessica Jones                    (402) 335-3669                                   jjones12@unl.edu
Carroll Welte                     (402) 374-2954                                  cwelte1@unl.edu

cbwgolfGolf Outing Prior to County Board Workshop
golf_event7.jpg
NACO is currently in the process of discovering the interest and feasibility of hosting a golf outing on the day prior to the County Board Workshop.  It is our vision that the outing would be held at a local Kearney golf course from 1 to 5 p.m. on Wednesday, June 1st of this year. 

This event will not be a part of the workshop registration.  It will be a separate and stand alone event.  We have considered the possibility of having any excess funds generated being contributed to the NACO Scholarship Fund and being used to support county families that have children attending college.

If you might be interested in participating in such an event, please send an email to LeRoy.Janssen@nacone.org prior to April 1 to determine initial interest. 
legalLLegal 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 Bid-Down Tax Sale Case
A tax sales certificate purchaser who bid down to an undivided one percent interest in the real estate was allowed to foreclose upon only the undivided one percent under a Nebraska Supreme Court case decided on March 11. In Adair Asset Mgmt. v. Terry's Legacy, 293 Neb. 32, ___ N.W. 2d ___ (2015), the court decided a case of first, and possibly last, impression because the option of bidding down a tax sale was eliminated by legislation that took effect in January 2015.

In Adair, the purchaser asked to use a bid down process, rather than the traditional round robin format. Adair bid down the certificate to an undivided one percent and paid $2,223.44 for the 2009 taxes and paid the subsequent taxes for years 2010 through 2012. After the statutory time period elapsed, Adair filed an action and obtained a district court decree judicially foreclosing the lien provided by the tax sales certificate. The decree determined the amount that was due to Adair for the taxes, interest, costs and attorney fees and provided for a sheriff's sale of the property. In effect, the decree ordered the sale of a 100-percent interest in the property.

Terry's Legacy, the property owner, appealed and the Supreme Court moved the case to their docket. The court looked at the words used in the bid down and lien statutes and found that both described "the real property" that was purchased. The court cited the rule of statutory construction that statutes relating to the same subject are construed together (in pari materia). In addition, where the same words are used repeatedly in the same act, unless the context requires otherwise, the words are to have the same meaning. Thus the court concluded that "the real property" as used in the other statutes to describe the undivided one percent interest in the property also applied to the amount the purchaser was willing to take in return for paying the taxes.

Adair also argued that the judicial foreclosure they sought was different than pursuing a tax deed. The court agreed that the processes are different, but found that it did not affect the meaning of the tax sale certificate.

Finally, the court found that it would be unjust to award an interest in the entire property to a purchaser who acquired it by a bid for less than 100-percent interest in the property. It noted that there may have been other bidders willing to pay the amount of taxes for a 100-percent interest of the property, but they may have ceased bidding when the interest dropped below 100 percent. The court said it would be unfair to those bidders for Adair to receive a 100-percent interest when it became the purchaser only because it offered to pay the taxes due for the smallest interest in the property.

The court modified the district court decree to provide that Adair's lien was limited to a one percent interest in the property. As to that one percent, Adair's lien was superior to the right, title, and interest in the property and the other parties joined as defendants.

The full text of the case is available here.
 
Attorney General Reviews Constitutionality of LB717

The Attorney General issued an opinion last week on the constitutionality of LB717, a bill introduced by Senator Mike Groene as a possible property tax relief mechanism. The bill would 1) freeze 2016 values at the 2015 level, 2) replace the definition of "market value" with "actual value", and 3) provide for a five year sales history with the lowest 20 percent of values trimmed. Senator Groene asked the Attorney General whether the bill would comply with the uniform and proportionate valuation requirements of art. VIII, 1 of the Nebraska Constitution.

The Attorney General opined that when assessments are frozen, similar property in the same class may end up being under-valued or over-valued relative to other property. Since the proposed freeze is limited to a one-year period, the effect might be reduced and it might not be facially unconstitutional. However, it could lead to non-uniform taxation as to a particular class or subclass of property.

Revising the definition of "actual value" as proposed in the bill would not change the standard of value set out in 77-112. Historically, actual value has been understood to be the equivalent of market value or fair market value, and it has served as the standard to judge compliance with the uniformity clause. To the extent that LB717 represents an attempt to undo that understanding, the Attorney General concluded that there were constitutional concerns.

Finally, LB717 proposes measuring central tendency by using sales occurring in the last five years, excluding those that constitute the lowest 20 percent of assessment ratios. Currently, Department of Revenue regulations set a study period of two years for residential property and three years for commercial property and agricultural and horticultural land. A longer or shorter study period may be used when these periods do not accurately reflect the value in a county. These periods are consistent with recognized standards for ratio studies under the International Association of Assessing Officers (IAAO). The IAAO standards also address the trimming of outlier ratios but recommend against setting arbitrary limits, such as a percentage of sales to trim. The Attorney General determined that when these two concepts are combined, it creates a lack of uniformity among various classes in relation to market values.

The full text of the opinion is available on the Attorney General's website.  
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 2015 County Board  Handbook and Revisions
The 2015 County Board Handbook and related revisions are now available! The cost for a current handbook, including legislative information from the 2015 session, is $80.00/book plus $18.00 shipping and handling per book. The 2015 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. For questions, contact Elaine Menzel by email or call her at (402) 434-5660 ext. 225.
News From NACo

Join county officials, experts from the private and nonprofit sectors and other leaders from across the country in Los Angeles County, Calif. for the 2016 NACo Annual Conference and Exposition.  

nacowebNACo Webinars
Effectively Framing the Pretrial Justice Narrative 
 
Apr. 14, 2016, 1:00 pm - 2:15 pm CDT

Contact: Kathy Rowings(202) 942-4279
As stewards of taxpayer dollars and residents' safety, county elected officials must advocate for many important programs and policies. This webinar will explore effective ways for elected officials to explain and discuss the need for pretrial justice reforms in their community, and will highlight several county officials' successes in guiding and advancing the conversation about -and changes in - their own jurisdiction's pretrial justice system.
 
Nebraska Association of County Officials
1335 H Street | Lincoln, NE 68508 | 402-434-5660