Cass County commissioners on Tuesday, Sept. 3, set the county’s 2020 preliminary tax levy at 3.4% above the 2019 levy, but with the stipulation the citizen budget committee must cut that increase to no more than 3% before the board sets the final levy in December.

That levy includes the $503,000 portion charged only against properties in Longville Ambulance service area, which will not increase in 2020.

The budget committee will begin meeting with department heads Oct. 11 to try to lower their 2020 budget requests enough to keep the levy increase under 3%.

At a 3.4% increase, the county’s levy would rise from the $22,027,913 levied in 2019 to $22,795,072 in 2020.

It would mean the county tax rate would rise from 30.937% in 2019 to 31.746% in 2020 for most county taxpayers. It would rise for those in the Longville Ambulance Service District from 31.643% in 2019 to 32.446% in 2020.

The board, acting as the town board for the Unorganized Township, also set a preliminary township levy of $245,000 for 2020. This is the same amount as levied in 2019.