Property owners in Douglas County will see the county portion of their property taxes go up by approximately 4.2% for the 2020 tax year.

Char Rosenow, Douglas County auditor/treasurer, provided a very detailed presentation about the county’s $54.1 million budget and $28.4 million levy during the annual Truth in Taxation meeting Thursday, Dec. 5.

A handful of people attended the meeting, with only one person asking a question. The question was answered privately by Douglas County Assessor Keith Albertsen after the meeting, as it pertained more to the person’s assessment than it did the levy.

The county’s levy increased by $1.2 million, an increase of 4.2% from last year. Its budget increased by $2.5 million, a 4.9% increase.

Douglas County Budget Hearing by inforumdocs on Scribd

The net levy budgets were also set for the following departments:

  • County attorney – $1,060,673. This is a decrease of $14,112 (1.3%) from last year.

  • County auditor/treasurer – $1,232,084. This is an increase of $237,531 (19.3%) from last year.

  • County recorder – $195. This is a decrease of $24,222 (99.2%) from last year. According to Rosenow, the net levy needed in 2019 was $24,417. Net levy is expenditures minus revenues in most cases. Due to the retirement of a long-term employee, the 2020 net levy is $195. This is a drop of $24,222 in the levy. Revenues went up in 2020 from 2019 and expenditures went down, creating almost no levy needed to fund her department.

  • County sheriff – $8,953,621. This is an increase of $499,291 (5.9%) from last year.

Here’s a breakdown of other county departments:

  • Public Works: $4,380,784 – 19.3% increase.

  • Social Services: $4,054,982 – 4.8% decrease.

  • Library: $1,041,904 – 2.5% increase.

  • Capital projects: $450,024 – 51.7% decrease.

  • Bonds and interest: $2,008,912 – 6.5% decrease.

During the meeting, Rosenow offered reasons why property taxes go up and down, and explained that the county board only has discretion over its own budget and levy.

Here’s a look at possible changes that could affect property taxes:

  • The market value of your property.

  • The market value of other properties in your taxing district, shifting taxes from one property to another.

  • The state’s general property tax.

  • The city or township budget and levy.

  • The county budget and levy.

  • The school district’s budget and levy.

  • A special district’s budget and levy.

  • Special assessments to your property tax bill.

  • Voters approve a school, city/township, county or special district referendum.

  • Federal and state mandates.

  • Aid and revenue from the state and federal governments.

  • In addition, the State Legislature may have changed the portion of the tax base paid by different types of properties, and other law changes may adjust the tax base.