Robert E. Roeder, McPherson County Attorney
Paul L. Douglas, Attorney General, Bernard L. Packett, Assistant Attorney General
When two or more counties unite in employing
a county agricultural agent, do the county boards determine the proportionate share each county shall bear of the expense of the counties concerned?
You have asked how, under Neb. Rev. Stat. §2-1607 (Reissue 1977) a county board determines a county's proportionate share of the taxes of a multiple county agricultural extension service to be county board shall annually set aside in the choral fund of the county an amount equal to the county extension bud. set; claims are approved by the board of 6 factors filed with the county clerk, the count} board shall order warrants to be drawn upon the career fund of the county in which of such cases.
Each count, shall bear its proportionate share of the expense of the counties concerned and shall unite into a joint board for the Management of the work.
In State ex rel. Agricultural Extension Service v. Miller,
182 Neb. 285, 157 N.W.2d 469 (1967) our Supreme Court held that the "county board has only such powers as the Legislature grants;" that the "statute was carefully drawn to avoid the contention that the county board had any control over the county extension budget;" and that "no authority is granted to reduce, alter, or amend the county extension budget."
From this holding, and the fact that the Legislature has not given county boards authority to prorate the costs of multiple county extension services among the participating counties, it is our conclusion that it is the board of a multiple county agricultural extension service that has the responsibility of prorating such costs.
You have also expressed some concern with regard to the method of prorating the costs among the counties included in a multi-county extension service. There are a number of ways a board might prorate the costs among participating counties and it is quite clear that the Legislature has left it to the discretion of the extension service boards to determine the most equitable method. Whether or not the costs in a particular instance are prorated among participating counties would, in our opinion, be a question of fact in each case, and not a question of law to which we could address ourselves.