The City of Osakis and the Osakis School District are proposing property tax levy increases in 2020 that are below the statewide averages.

Douglas County’s preliminary levy, however, would result in a 6.5 percent increase, which is greater than the 4.9 percent average increase of counties statewide. As with other taxing entities, Douglas County could decide to lower – but can’t increase – its preliminary levy after holding its “truth-in-taxation” hearing.

That hearing will take place Thursday, Dec. 5 at 6:30 p.m. in the Commissioners Room of the Douglas County Courthouse.

The City of Osakis is proposing a levy of $759,750, up 3 percent from the 2019 levy of $737,500. That's well under the 7.5 percent average increase cities are planning statewide. The city will hold its truth-in-taxation meeting on Monday, Dec. 9 at 7 p.m. at City Hall.

A nearby city, Nelson, has set a levy that's the same as last year, $36,000.

The Osakis School District's proposed 2020 levy stands at $1.84 million, a 5.1 percent increase from the 2019 amount of $1.75 million. This too is under the statewide average of 7 percent. The district will hold its truth-in-taxation hearing on Monday, Dec. 9 at 6:15 p.m. in the board room.

The Minnesota Department of Revenue annually releases a list of the preliminary maximum property tax levies that have been reported by local governments and have been passed by local school referenda on November 5.

The preliminary amounts are used by counties to compute parcel-specific property tax estimates for 2020, which are mailed to property owners in November in the form of truth-in-taxation notices. The notices also list meeting times and locations for residents.

These meetings are an opportunity for residents to provide input to local leaders on their levies and on how they are proposing to spend tax dollars. These meetings are required for cities with populations over 500, counties, school districts, regional library authorities, and metropolitan taxing districts.

After input from citizens, local governments must set their final 2020 property tax levies by December 30, 2019. The final levies can be set lower, but not higher, than preliminary levies. For 2020, preliminary property taxes statewide will increase $540.4 million, a 5.2% increase. Last year, preliminary statewide property taxes increases totaled $560 million, a 5.7% increase, and last year’s final levy increase was 5.4% ($524 million).