The Newly Opened Beach Office
actual office location inside
Will we lose access to this office every hurricane season?
In less than 2 months of this beach office being opened, it was closed because of a hurricane. Reopened a couple of weeks later, then closed again in March, 2020 and will remain closed until at least September because it is too small for the Covid-19 social distancing requirements.
a wall mirror to make room appear larger than it is...
This office was opened without doing the proper research for equipment capability and connectivity with the state. There are no fiber optics in this office. Which means a Driver's License cannot be issued at this location. The one thing that you MUST visit the office to get. The rent is $4,000 monthly.
When you calculate rent, security, utilities, pest control, staff, etc., it is costing about $120,000+ annually to operate. This office averaged about 5-10 transactions a week and because of the slowness in customer traffic, internal dealer work was sent there for processing. This office was nicknamed the "country club" by staff.
I was advised that it is not ADA compliant. Prior to opening, it was remodeled and the Tax Collector employees were asked to do the painting, carpentry and electrical etc., in the office. A permit should have been pulled for the electrical work alone and had that occurred, the office should have been required to be brought up to ADA compliance.
The employees should not be looked upon negatively. The Tax Collector should not have put them in this position and, how were they paid? The county has skilled employees to perform these duties and they could not complete the work quickly enough for the Tax Collector.
That is because the county employees were working on the new north county Tax Collector's office that was being moved after it just had a $200,000 renovation in 2014. Why was it moved?
With all of this said, we the taxpayer are on the hook for about $6,000 monthly while this office remains closed.
Commissioner Solari blasted the Tax Collector in the local 32963 newspaper in June of 2019 stating that it was a total waste of taxpayer money for this office to be opened and that it was absolutely corrupt to use tax dollars to buy votes in the next election.
He lives on the beachside and stated there was absolutely no need for this office.
With relocating the north county Sebastian office and all that is required to open successfully, why was there a rush for the beach office to be opened at the same time?
The Tax Collector does not report to the local county
commission. The office reports to and the budget is
approved by the Department of Revenue.
Although the North County Office Complex was purchased to
house the county offices, the Tax Collector was not required to
move. I agree that we should typically not be "renters".
However, having just renovated the office at $200,000 only
to move to the most congested location in Sebastian that has
horrible access, high traffic and, not to mention closer
to the Brevard county line; which means more out of county
traffic (in 2016, we were averaging about 200+ out of county
customers a week in the Sebastian Office alone) that the
employees are servicing, creating longer wait time in line for
local customers. More thought should have been put into it.
Over $80,000 in office cubicles/furniture from that renovation was not seen in the new relocated office.
$2,186.23 of taxpayer money was also spent to paint a mural in this rented office space and in the Sebastian and West offices.
This is not a tangible item that can be moved should the office be closed.
In no way is this intended to offend
or speak negative of the very talented artist. This is just not the corporate private sector to spend money like this.
Were any of the local art clubs contacted to do this at no cost and for the exposure for their club?
Why does the Tax Collector's office need a $24,000 budget for promotional? This is a government office!
What is the reason for the Tax Collector's name being printed much larger than the office name?
This same 1/2 page ad has been appearing every month in Vero's Voice magazine for over 1 1/2 years!
$1,000 of your taxpayer money is being paid monthly to Vero's Voice for these ads and for my opponent to be on the radio. This began after I filed to run. $12,000 annually!
$12,000 annually is also being spent with Space & Treasure Coast Radio for my opponent to talk about what services the office offers... Is the office website not sufficient enough?
Did You Know...
The Tax Collector has increased the budget since I filed to run 2 1/2 years ago by $730,400! Why?
The 2017/2018 Original Approved Budget was: $3,935,230
The current 2019/2020 Approved Budget is: $4,665,631
Immediately upon taking office,
I will slash $35,400 from the budget:
Promotional Advertising -$24,000
This is a local government agency not corporate America! Communicating important messages to our community can be done FREE through the Tax Collector Website, Facebook page and PSA's (public service announcements)
TRAVEL: Legislative Meetings - $3,000
The Tax Collector's position is that of an administrator, not a legislator! While I agree that we should certainly be informed on state legislation that could impact our office, we have our local State Representative and Senator that are very accessible (both have offices right above the Tax Collector's main office) and will be happy to represent us in Tallahassee. I have no desire to climb the political ladder in Tallahassee on your taxpayer dime. My heart is in Indian River County!
Public Records Requests - $2,835
To have an expense for public record requests in a local county government agency is unheard of! I was the RMLO (records management liaison officer) trained by the state to handle the maintenance, destruction and requests of records for the Tax Collector's office.
As of October 2018, I was still listed with the State of Florida Records Division as the RMLO. I left in 2016!
Proper public records management is key to complete transparency of the Tax Collector's office. There will be a trained RMLO in this position and never a need for an outside attorney to review records being requested.
Tax Collector car allowance - $1,690
The Tax Collector's office has 3 county vehicles in its possession and should be used in lieu of a personal vehicle for travel.
Lunch/Breakfast Meetings - $1,055
This was put in the budget for you to cover the lunches and breakfasts for the Tax Collector and usually 2 to 3 of the same employees to attend the monthly Chamber lunches and Taxpayer Association lunches. Information from these events is rarely if ever, brought back to the office and shared with staff. It is important as your elected official to be accessible to you in these events in our community. However, the necessity for 2-3 employees to accompany the Tax Collector at every event is extreme. I will continue to attend the community meetings and buy my meals on my dime, not yours!
There is no need for ANY expense to the taxpayer for an In Service Day. You are already inconvenienced by the office being closed for the day for training. Once employee retention is accomplished, there should be no need for In-Service days, except on a rare occasion. Prior to the current administration, closing the office for an In-Service day was unheard of!
Wall Street Journal, Orlando Sentinel, Tallahassee Democrat & Florida Trend are not subscriptions that your taxpayer money should be paying for! Again, this is a local county government administrative office!
Legal Services, Personnel - $500
This will no longer be needed. I will be hiring a qualified HR professional to represent and protect both employee and the Tax Collector's office. ALL Employees will be treated equal and fair across the board no matter their position
Education/Dues - Florida Tax Watch $335
Having attended a couple of meetings of this organization; I believe the content, although informative, is not warranted for the Tax Collector's office.
Again, this is an administrative position and fee vessel office for the state.
Florida Tax Watch is an independent non-partisan, non-profit taxpayer research institute and government watchdog organization out of Tallahassee.
Travel - FL Tow Show $200
$200 approved in budget. - Towing Class, FL Tow Show. This will no longer be an expense to the taxpayer. In 2015, a close Tallahassee lobbyist friend of the current Tax Collector was affiliated with the Florida Towers Association and requested that the Motorist Services Director of our Tax Collector's office teach a towing class at the tow show convention. They covered the expenses. Now there is a $200 budget for this, why? In 2018 and 2019, the Tax Collector went over the $200 budget by $1,060, why?
The tax office employee was doing this as a courtesy at the request of the Tax Collector. The employee was paid for her time away from work by the Tax Collector's office and this has nothing to do with the office. It is not the responsibility of our Tax Collector's office to train the towers of Florida. Each county has an individual in their Tax Collector's office that is knowledgeable and accessible to the towers.
And, look who gave a $500 contribution to the Tax Collector's 2020 campaign...
Where are the Ethics???
It is time for change! I will proudly serve our community and can assure there will be
Accountability, Ethical Leadership,
Transparency & REAL FISCAL RESPONSIBILITY!
This picture was taken from the Supervisor of Elections candidate finance page