Douglas County commissioners approved a $29 million preliminary tax levy at Tuesday’s regular board meeting. That represents a nearly 6.5 percent increase over last year’s levy.

However, as always, the commissioners set the maximum amount that can be levied as set by the state. The commissioners expect the actual levy, which will be approved later this year, will be much lower.

The preliminary levy is always set higher to leave room for unexpected items, said Char Rosenow, the county’s auditor-treasurer.

“We can always go down from here,” she told the commissioners. “But it can’t go up.”

Rosenow advised commissioners to set a time for another budget meeting and to come prepared to make some decisions. A tentative date has been set for Tuesday, Nov. 5.

She cautioned the commissioners, however, on cutting the budget too short, as well as cutting the capital projects budget.

Board Chairman Charlie Meyer said the board has until December to finalize the budget and to make sure the tax levy decreases from the preliminary figure that was approved.

Over the years, some counties around the state have had much larger increases every single year, Rosenow said. In the last six years, Douglas County has decreased its levy once, kept it the same once, and had smaller increases the other four years.

Last year’s increase was 3 percent.

Rosenow will present detailed information about the county’s budget and levy at the budget hearing meeting, which has been set for Thursday, Dec. 5, at 6:30 p.m. in the county board room.

Here’s a look at previous levies:

  • 2019: $27.2 million – 3 percent increase

  • 2018: $26.4 million – 1.84 percent increase

  • 2017: $25.9 million – 1.96 percent increase

  • 2016: $25.4 million – No change

  • 2015: $25.4 million – 0.47 percent decrease

  • 2014: $25.6 million – 4.25 percent increase