Orange County Tax Collector Annual Report Fiscal Year

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1 Orange County Tax Collector Annual Report Fiscal Year What s New By the Numbers Future Initiatives Remembering Earl K. Wood

2 Welcome to the Inaugural Orange County Tax Collector s Annual Report ESCAMBIA SANTA ROSA OKALOOSA The Orange County Tax Collector is a constitutional office, established in the Florida Constitution in The framers of Florida s Constitution believed WALTON that local taxes are best collected at the community level and that local elected Tax Collectors are more responsive and accountable to the citizens of the communities in which HOLMES WASHINGTON BAY JACKSON CALHOUN GULF LIBERTY FRANKLIN GADSDEN LEON WAKULLA by May We have already expedited the JEFFERSON TAYLOR process by taking over two MADISON existing DMV offices and plan to renovate two additional full service locations by the end of next year. I am proud to say that the Florida Department of LAFAYETTE DIXIE HAMILTON SUWANNEE GILCHRIST LEVY COLUMBIA PINELLAS CITRUS HERNANDO PASCO UNION BAKER ALACHUA HILLSBOROUGH MANATEE SARASOTA BRADFORD MARION SUMTER NASSAU CLAY PUTNAM HARDEE CHARLOTTE LAKE POLK DUVAL ST. JOHNS FLAGLER HIGHLANDS GLADES VOLUSIA SEMINOLE ORANGE OSCEOLA OKEECHOBEE BREVARD INDIAN RIVER ST. LUCIE MARTIN they are elected. Revenue has ranked our office No. 2 LEE HENDRY PALM BEACH As your Tax Collector, I am independently elected by the in efficiency out of 52 fee-based tax collector offices in the state for the COLLIER BROWARD citizens of Orange County and entrusted by the Constitution of the fiscal year As your elected Orange County MONROE (INCLUDES THE KEYS) DADE State of Florida with the collection of Tax Collector, I am committed to ad valorem taxes the single largest ensuring that my office carries out tax collected in Florida as well as the collection of other local taxes, imposed by special levying districts and state agencies. Our office is also responsible for providing Florida Department of Highway Safety & Motor Vehicle services in the county, and will fully take over these duties its responsibilities with the deepest regard for accountability, ethics, service, efficiency and courtesy. In preparing this inaugural annual report, my goal is to provide Orange County citizens with a full accounting of the operation of the Orange County Tax Collector s office. On behalf of our 262 staff members, I am grateful for the opportunity to be your Independently Elected Tax Collector, here to serve only you. Scott Randolph Orange County Tax Collector

3 By the Numbers - Fiscal Year Total Collections: $1,924,849, Real Estate Property $1,563,540, Motor Vehicle Fees $215,277, Tangible Personal Property $142,232, Business Taxes $3,799, Tax Collector s Office Budget (Revenues and Expenditures FY) Customer Numbers ( FY) Total Customer Contacts: 4,030,451 1,509,880 Mail Processed 900,155 Vehicle Registrations Issued 753,051 Walk-in Customers Served 322,747 Titles Issued 282,425 Driver s Licenses Issued & Renewed 248,959 Phone Calls Received 13,234 Road Tests Performed 2012 Tax Certificate Sales Certificates Issued...16,348 Certificates Sold...15,906 Face Amount of Certificates Issued...$39,392,644 Face Amount of Certificates Sold...$39,095,723 Weighted Average Interest Rate % Registered Bidders...7,469,261 Number of Bids...230,264 Successful Bidders Top 10 Revenue Distributions $800 School Board: $704,853, Board of County 700 Commissioners: $610,346, State of Florida (Registrations, Titles, Sales Tax, Driver s License, Hunting/fishing): $114,717, City of Orlando: $99,216, Orange County Library: $27,712, South Florida Water Mngmt. District: $16,943, City of Winter Park: $16,488, City of Ocoee: $15,122, St. Johns River Water Mngmt. District: $13,313, City of Winter Garden: $7,804,674.00

4 Priority No. 1: Providing Exceptional Customer Service at the Best Value to Taxpayers After Scott Randolph took office in January 2013, employees of the Orange County Tax Collector s Office moved swiftly to implement his initiatives. These initiatives were designed to improve the experience of customers, not only at each of our eight offices in Orange County, but at every level of the operation of the Tax Collector s Office. They include: Hiring more bilingual front-line employees to serve Orange County s increasingly diverse population. Providing equipment and training for Tax Collector Offices to accept electronic payments from customers in the field. Working with experts from award-winning counties to design processes that will reduce wait times in offices. Modernizing office transactions and information technology, with the goal of moving more functions online and on smart devices. Reducing Wait Times Added 15 new front-line staffers to better assist all of our customers. We separated auto dealer title processing from general customer transactions and centralized our title work for auto dealers, reducing wait times. We expanded training on existing technology, increasing the capability of our front-line employees. We began accepting credit cards of all types and installed new technology to streamline customer transactions. Modernizing Our Offices Our redesigned website enables easier access to information, reducing phone calls and issues with incomplete paperwork, and allows customers to accomplish tasks at their own convenience. For example, you can: Check wait times for each location that are updated every 15 minutes. Schedule appointments for driver s license renewal or road test. Pay your property tax, business tax, or renew your tags online. Saving Taxpayer Dollars We partnered with an online vendor to reduce credit card fees for taxpayers by more than $120,000. A side benefit: This change also drastically reduced staff hours devoted to managing this task. We reduced mailing costs by more than $60,000. We implemented competitive bidding on existing and new contracts. This led to reducing banking fees for taxpayers by more than $50,000, and reducing printing costs by $35,000. Top 10 Taxpayers (2012)

5 Initiatives for 2014 Location Changes: More Accessibility and Services; Cutting Costs EAST ORANGE COUNTY: In April 2014, the last Florida Department of Highway Safety & Motor Vehicles office at the intersection of Alafaya Trail and East Colonial Drive will close. We will relocate our nearby office to the corner of Dean Road and University Boulevard, expanding our space from 4,200 square feet to 10,500 square feet. With this expansion to be completed by June 2014 we will be able to perform road tests for driver license applicants among additional services, while providing faster service in a more pleasant environment. SOUTH ORANGE COUNTY: Our current office on South Orange Blossom Trail will relocate by the end of 2014 to Sand Lake Road next to the Florida Mall. The move will expand our office space from 7,000 square feet to 25,000 square feet while cutting current lease costs. The customer service area will expand to nearly 13,000 square feet, and will leave room to relocate our warehouse, which will eliminate another lease expense. ADMINISTRATIVE, OPERATIONS AND SUPPORT SERVICES: The Orange County lease for our administrative offices in the SunTrust building expires in December At print time, we were working with Orange County with the goal of achieving a permanent office space solution that will allow the consolidation of multiple back-end functions into one location and eliminate other lease costs as well. Our goal for lease costs is to save taxpayers at least $2 million over the next 10 years. Taking Over DHSMV Functions by April 2014 In 2010, the Florida Legislature mandated that tax collectors take over all driver license functions in addition to providing auto tag and title services by the end of We will expedite and complete that transition by April In doing so, we will expand the number of locations providing road tests from two to five, which will shorten the current wait time of five or six weeks for an appointment. It should be noted this unfunded mandate which saved the State of Florida at least $16 million per year was also handed down at a time when the federal government, through the REAL ID Act of 2005, began requiring every single individual to come to our offices in person to renew their licenses. Yet, when the legislature increased DHSMV fees by nearly $800 million in 2009, none of that money remained with local tax collectors to offset federal and state mandates. Continuing Initiatives to Reduce Wait Times Our customer surveys show that Orange County residents would like a wait time of no more than 20 to 30 minutes. At the beginning of 2013, the average wait time was 56 minutes. As of November 2013, we have reduced that to 31 minutes. In 2014, we will: EXPAND APPOINTMENT SYSTEMS: The addition of driver license renewal appointments has been extremely successful at the offices where we introduced it in We will expand that to all offices in 2014, as well as expand the appointment feature for auto tag and title work. INTRODUCE TAG EXPRESS: Our customer surveys also show there are a significant number of people who wait to renew their tag until after their tag expires. Tag renewals are often simple transactions that could be done online or through the mail, but often end up being processed in person at the Tax Collector s office. With Tag Express, a customer will be able to complete the transaction online, choose which office to pick up the tag renewal, and have it waiting for them at the front desk when they arrive. HIRE DIVERSE STAFF: As we take over all DHSMV functions in Orange County, we will also expand our customer service staff by another 15 people in the coming year. In 2013, we emphasized hiring a diverse staff that reflected our community more than half of new hires are bilingual in English and in Spanish and we will continue that policy through the upcoming months. Improving Data Tracking to Increase Accountability and Efficiency We will expand efforts to make data collection the basis of our strategic planning. Each initiative to reduce wait times, lower postage costs or streamline positions will be based on underlying data showing such efforts to be cost effective. We will restructure our employment practices to incentivize employees by offering metric-based evaluation for career development.

6 Serving All Orange County Residents and Partnering with the Community S ince taking office, Scott Randolph has made it a priority to be active in the community, providing services and information as well as resources for Orange County taxpayers and residents. For example: Our office has partnered with Michael Dippy and the idignity program to waive fees for homeless and disadvantaged individuals so that they can obtain a state-issued identification card or driver s license, which can be instrumental in obtaining a job or fully participating in current day society. Upon taking office, Scott Randolph instituted a Domestic Partnership Tax Equity Policy to reimburse and make whole our employees who continue to be discriminated against by the federal tax code s treatment of domestic partner health benefits. Our field agents have taken the time to meet with churches and nonprofits at risk of losing their properties due to non-ad valorem assessments, and help them get up to date. Mr. Randolph has also offered several times to meet with county leaders to discuss ways in which to clean up the tax rolls. In Memoriam: Earl K. Wood, E arl K. Wood, Orange County Tax Collector, was a household name to the citizens of Orange County for more than six decades. Thanks to his 65 years of service, most Orange County residents never knew anyone but Mr. Wood as Tax Collector nor had they ever made a check for a license fee payable to any other name. People would come into the office and ask if there was really an Earl K. Wood or was it just the name to whom customers should write a check. After the staff assured them he was a real person, they would often direct the customer to Mr. Woods office so that they could meet him in person. Earl, as he liked to be called, never met a stranger. He would walk into a business, restaurant or just walk down the street stopping to greet and speak to everyone. He befriended everyone he met. He always had time for everyone and would not be rushed into leaving. Mr. Wood worked tirelessly for the citizens to make sure he could implement the most up-to-date equipment and policies to save money, speed up transactions, and ensure accuracy. He built a hardworking and loyal staff that routinely went out of their way to accommodate the needs of Orange County citizens. Earl graciously accepted many awards, which he treasured. And in his acceptance speeches, he would routinely give credit to his staff. Earl K. Wood was elected 13 consecutive terms, serving 48 years as Orange County Tax Collector. He often received the highest number of votes in county elections, even more than those cast for the office of President of the United States. After 65 wonderful years of marriage, he lost his beloved wife, Mary, and a few years before her passing, he lost his sister Betty. He often said these losses were the biggest tragedies of his life. We fondly remember Earl K. Wood for his many years of dedicated service to the residents of Orange County. Charlie Stimson, former executive assistant to Earl K. Wood

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