Douglas County approves 3 percent property tax hike
Property owners in Douglas County will see their property taxes go up by about 3 percent for the 2019 tax year.
Char Rosenow, Douglas County auditor/treasurer, provided detailed information about the county's $51.6 million budget and $27.2 million levy Thursday, Nov. 29, during its annual Truth in Taxation meeting. A handful of people attended the meeting, although no comments or questions were asked by those in attendance.
The county's levy increased by $790,834, which is an increase of 2.99 percent from last year and an overall increase of 6.44 percent from 2014.
In addition to approving the levy, the budgets were set and approved for each department within the county. The budgets for the four elected positions — attorney, auditor/treasurer, recorder and sheriff — were approved as separate resolutions during the Truth in Taxation meeting.
Of the four, the largest percentage increase was in the auditor/treasurer budget. Although the budget increased by $166,149, it was a 15.6 percent increase over last year's budget. The increase was due to several factors including three additional positions, changes to other positions, salary increase and insurance. The 2019 budget was set at $1.2 million.
The biggest percentage decrease was in the recorder's office, which fell by 74 percent. The budget for 2019 was set at $24,417 — a decrease of $69,684. The current recorder's retirement is the reason for the decrease.
The county attorney's budget was set at $1.1 million, an increase of $87,460 or 8.9 percent. The sheriff's budget was set at $8.4 million, an increase of $359,765 or 4.4 percent.
Here's a breakdown of other county departments:
• Public Works: $3.6 million levy — 1.7 percent decrease.
• Social Services: $4.2 million levy — 1.1 percent increase.
• Library: $1 million levy — 1.5 percent increase.
• Capital projects: $931,396 levy — 120.1 percent increase (this includes roof restoration, courthouse addition, remodeling and sheriff's armored vehicle).
• Bonds and interest: $2.1 million levy — basically the same.
During the meeting, Rosenow offered reasons why property taxes go up and down, and that the county board only has discretion over its budget and levy.
Here's a look at what affects property taxes:
• The market value of your property may change.
• The market value of other properties in your taxing district may change, shifting taxes from one property to another.
• The state's general property tax may change.
• The city or township budget and levy may change.
• The county budget and levy may change.
• The school district's budget and levy may change.
• A special district's budget and levy may change.
• Special assessments may be added to your property tax bill.
• Voters may have approved a school, city/township, county or special district referendum.
• Federal and state mandates may have changed.
• Aid and revenue from the state and federal governments may have changed.
• The State Legislature may have changed the portion of the tax base paid by different types of properties.
• Other law changes may adjust the tax base.