Robert E. Glasson, appellant,
Board of Equalization of the City of Omaha and the City of Omaha, appellees.
1. Judgments: Jurisdiction: Appeal
and Error. When a jurisdictional question does not
involve a factual dispute, its determination is a matter of
law, which requires an appellate court to reach a conclusion
independent of the decision made by the lower court.
Special Assessments: Municipal Corporations: Appeal
and Error. An appeal from a special assessment by a
metropolitan-class city taken as specified in Neb. Rev. Stat.
§ 14-813 (Reissue 2012) means that proceedings from a
district court shall be the same as an appeal from a county
board, and under this section, that means an appeal is taken
by a petition in error and the review is solely of the record
made before the tribunal whose action is being reviewed.
Statutes: Special Assessments: Words and Phrases:
Appeal and Error. As a general rule, the word
"shall" in a statute is considered mandatory and is
inconsistent with the idea of discretion. Therefore, based on
a plain reading of the statute, unless, as contemplated by
Neb. Rev. Stat. § 14-101 (Reissue 2012), the Legislature
or a city of the metropolitan class alters the procedure for
a claimant or appellant to challenge a decision regarding an
assessment, the procedure shall follow that which is
specified in Neb. Rev. Stat. § 14-813 (Reissue 2012).
Statutes: Appeal and Error. When a provision
of a statute is plain and unambiguous on its face, an
appellate court must apply the provision as written.
Appeals from the District Court for Douglas County: W.
Russell Bowie III, Judge. Affirmed.
E. Troia, of Doman, Troia, Howard, Breitkreutz & Conway,
P.C., L.L.O., for appellant.
J. Wiesen, Assistant Omaha City Attorney, for appellees.
Heavican, C.J., Miller-Lerman, Cassel, Stacy, Funke, Papik,
and Freudenberg, JJ.
Neb. 870] HEAVICAN, C.J.
case involves a consolidated appeal in which Robert E.
Glasson challenges the decision of the Douglas County
District Court. The district court found that it lacked
jurisdiction over the assessment decision made by the Board
of Equalization of the City of Omaha exercising a
quasi-judicial function pursuant to Neb. Rev. Stat. §
14-547 (Reissue 2012). The district court found that as a
result of Glasson's failure to file an appeal bond with
the city clerk within 20 days as required by Neb. Rev. Stat.
§ 14-813 (Reissue 2012), the court lacked jurisdiction
over the appeal. We affirm.
December 5, 2017, the city council for the City of Omaha sat
as a board of equalization pursuant to § 14-547 to hear
and determine complaints, to equalize assessments, and to
correct special assessments as the law authorizes. The city
council, while sitting as a board of equalization zoning
board of appeals, approved special ordinance No. 10224. The
special ordinance approved funding for the removal of litter
from various parcels of real property located within the City
of Omaha, Nebraska, including one parcel owned by Glasson
involving two separate assessments: (1) "Item L-20 (Dump
Fee)-Case No. CI 18-51 and CI 18-1316" (No. 428773) and
(2) "Item L-21 (Litter-Structure)-Case No. CI 18-52 and
CI 18-1318" (No. 392788).
personally appeared before the board of equalization on
December 5, 2017, to protest the proposed special [302 Neb.
871] assessment to be levied on his property. The board
denied Glasson's protest. Following the board's
denial, Glasson filed an appeal on January 3, 2018, regarding
proposed assessments Nos. 428773 and 392788, under cases Nos.
CI 18-51 and CI 18-52, before the city council had enacted
the ordinance regarding the assessment.
January 23, 2018, the city council for the City of Omaha,
pursuant to its authority under § 14-547, levied the
special assessment, by ordinance, on Glasson's property.
addition to the public hearing held December 5, 2017, at
which Glasson was present, the Douglas County treasurer sent
Glasson a letter dated February 6, 2018. The letter was
entitled "Special Assessment Levy Notification" and
informed Glasson that he had until March 15 to remit payment
receipt of the Douglas County treasurer's "Special
Assessment Levy Notification" letter, Glasson attempted
to file an appeal at the Omaha city clerk's office on
February 13, 2018, 21 days after the ordinance levying the
property had passed. Glasson's filing was denied by the
city clerk as untimely. On February 20, Glasson filed a
petition in error and notice of appeal with the district
court under cases Nos. CI 18-1316 and CI 18-1318.
reviewing Glasson's appeal, the district court found that
there was one assessment of $978 for a dump fee (No. 428773)
and one assessment of $1, 305 for litter removal (No.
392788), but that Glasson had filed four separate appeals
regarding the two assessments. The court noted that
assessments Nos. 428773 and 392788 were each assessed on
January 23, 2018. Upon motion by the City of Omaha, the
district court consolidated the four cases (cases Nos. CI
18-51, CI 18-52, CI 18-1316, and CI 18-1318) into one appeal.
However, it does not appear that the court designated a
specific docket number under which the cases were to
district court noted that with regard to Glasson's
January 3, 2018, appeals, docketed as cases Nos. CI 18-51 and
CI 18-52, those appeals were filed before the ordinance [302
Neb. 872] assessing the levy was enacted. Because the
ordinance had not been passed at the time of the January 3
filing, there was no final, appealable order upon which the