The general operating budget for Douglas County has been approved by the county board.  The spending and revenue plan will guide county services for 2021.  The approved budget will see an increase in expenses when compared to 2020.

The funds available for the increase in spending will come from a variety of sources.  According to news sources:

"[The] $58.8 million dollar budget for next year will be supported by a $17.7 million tax levy.  Overall, the tax levy will increase by $489,611 with $222,000 available to cover operating expenses.  The rest will cover debt repayment in 2021."

Similar to budgets for most businesses and government agencies, the largest increases in expenses will take care of salary increases and health insurance and property insurance.  County officials say that they need to maintain that there is funding available for increases in salaries  in order to stay competitive in attracting applicants in the workforce.

The rising health insurance costs are a direct-result of what the market is experiencing in relation to the COVID-19 Pandemic.  There is a lot of uncertainty at this point with what is going to happen in the future.

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County officials suggest that the increase in spending for 2021 won't necessarily result in an increase in homeowners seeing higher property taxes.  "Overall, while the county's tax levy will increase this year, higher property values will drive down the tax rate slightly".  Additionally, there have been some gains in county sales tax revenue.  According to Douglas County Administrator Ann Doucette, the county generated $3.2 million by the end of September, which represents a general increase of more than what was raised in the past three years.

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