Legislative Bill Passes Allowing Directors to Vote on Irrigation & Lease Rates

An important piece of legislation was signed into law by Governor Jim Pillen on April 15 that affects Central’s board of director’s ability to now serve their constituents to the fullest ability.

LB1260, introduced by Senator Mike Jacobson of North Platte, is specific to public power & irrigation districts and allows Board of Directors who are irrigation customers to discuss and vote upon annual irrigation delivery rates.  It also allows directors who have homes/cabins at District owned lakes to discuss and vote on the general terms and rates for those leases.  The bill does not give authority for individual accounts, just standard rates and terms for all customers.

Approximately five years ago, in response to a question raised by a constituent to the Nebraska Accountability and Disclosure Commission, Central sought an advisory opinion from the Commission regarding any possible limits on the authorities of directors that were also customers of the District.  Unexpectedly, the commission concluded that board members with either cabin leases or irrigation contracts with Central could not engage in discussions regarding or vote on matters related to those contracts. That opinion limited several of our directors in their important roles governing the district.

The bill was introduced during the 2024 legislative session and passed 40-0 with an emergency clause as part of a package of bills (LB1370) from the Natural Resources Committee meaning the law takes effect immediately.

With the passage of LB1260, our directors with a unique perspective that comes from being customers themselves, may now fully participate in the governance of the District.  This was a critical bill that moving forward allows our directors to discuss, consider and vote on the issues that are the greatest importance to their constituents.