Dakota County residents may see a small increase in the property tax levy in 2016 — 0.5 percent or less.

That could change between now and Dec. 15, when the Dakota County Board is scheduled to adopt the final levy and next year’s budget. But commissioners indicated last week how much they are comfortable asking people to pay for county projects and services.

The majority agreed a 0.5 percent increase, bringing the total levy revenue to $130.31 million, would be the maximum. For a median home in the county, valued at $219,900, that would mean a $14.42 boost in county property taxes. Even without a levy increase, the median homeowners’ taxes could rise $11.12 due to increasing home values, county staff said.

Several commissioners said they would like to avoid raising the levy. Last year the board increased it 1 percent. Still, Dakota’s was the lowest county tax rate in the metro.

Commissioner Tom Egan said lower taxes this year would mean bigger increases in the future. “I’m trying to be realistic and I’m trying to look out at the long term,” Egan said.

Officials will have to juggle their low-tax goal with staff requests for more employees. Departments want to add more than 50 new positions in 2016. County staff are asking for more workers as they recover from cutbacks imposed during the recession and try to meet demands of a growing population, Financial Service Director Stephanie Shawback said.

Cities and counties across Minnesota must set a preliminary property tax levy by Sept. 30. After that, communities can lower the proposed levies but not raise them.