Nebraska Revised Statute 17-709

Chapter 17 Section 709


Contracts; appropriation condition precedent.

No contract shall be made by the city council of a city of the second class or village board of trustees or any committee or member of such city council or village board of trustees, and no expense shall be incurred by any of the officers or departments of the municipality, whether the object of the expenditures shall have been ordered by the city council or village board of trustees or not, unless an appropriation shall have been previously made concerning such expense, except as otherwise expressly provided in section 17-708.


  • Laws 1879, § 89, p. 227;
  • R.S.1913, § 5187;
  • C.S.1922, § 4374;
  • C.S.1929, § 17-572;
  • R.S.1943, § 17-709;
  • Laws 1967, c. 78, § 4, p. 251;
  • Laws 2017, LB133, § 221.
  • Effective Date: August 24, 2017


  • The power of city authorities to contract is determined by the amounts appropriated plus such unexpended funds of previous levies and appropriations on hand on date of such contract, and the power is not diminished by the failure to assess taxes to the extent authorized. LeBarron v. City of Harvard, 129 Neb. 460, 262 N.W. 26 (1935).

  • When there is unused and unappropriated money in the general fund at the time of employment of an auditor, such contract is valid and a subsequent depletion of such funds does not void such contract. Campbell Co. v. City of Harvard, 123 Neb. 539, 243 N.W. 653 (1932).

  • Municipality had authority to contract for the construction of a waterworks though no estimate or appropriation was made prior to such contract. Chicago Bridge & Iron Works v. City of South Sioux City, 108 Neb. 827, 189 N.W. 367 (1922).

  • This section prohibits council from making any contract or incurring expense unless an appropriation shall have been made previously concerning such expense. Ballard v. Cerney, 83 Neb. 606, 120 N.W. 151 (1909).

  • Where no previous appropriation is made for fire hydrant rentals, a contract therefor is void, but, where village retains the benefits of such contract and has authority to make a valid contract, such village is liable in quantum meruit for benefits conferred. Lincoln Land Company v. Village of Grant, 57 Neb. 70, 77 N.W. 349 (1898).

  • When an ordinance is duly passed, city may contract for water rentals and the payments thereof with private party, and such contract is good though not preceded by an appropriation to meet such rentals. City of North Platte v. North Platte Water-Works Co., 56 Neb. 403, 76 N.W. 906 (1898).

  • Ultra vires contract can be ratified only upon condition essential to valid contract in first instance. Gutta Percha & Rubber Mfg. Co. v. Village of Ogallala, 40 Neb. 775, 59 N.W. 513 (1894).

  • City council cannot incur or contract indebtedness until an annual appropriation ordinance has been passed or the expenditures have been sanctioned by a majority of the voters. McElhinney v. City of Superior, 32 Neb. 744, 49 N.W. 705 (1891); City of Blair v. Lantry, 21 Neb. 247, 31 N.W. 790 (1887).

  • Contract for the purchase of a waterworks plant was not invalid because no provision for payment thereunder had been previously made under an appropriation bill. Slocum v. City of North Platte, 192 F. 252 (8th Cir. 1911).