For the first time in 50 years, Volusia County has an elected tax collector.
Volusia County’s new tax collector won’t collect all the money. Here’s a breakdown from county Community Information Director Kevin Captain:
The county will collect payments for county services in excess of $100 million annually, such as utility services and Votran passes. The county will also continue to administer other functions including, but not limited to, Tourist and Convention Development taxes and the Domestic Partnership Registry.
The tax collector will handle property taxes and vehicle tag-and-title activity.
Will Roberts, who won the newly re-established office in the Aug. 18 primary election, has been working for months to assume many of the responsibilities now handled by employees in the county’s Revenue Division.
“Our mission in the Tax Collector’s Office is to provide excellent customer service,” Roberts said. “I am confident that we are well positioned to hit the ground running Jan. 5.”
Roberts will be a constitutional officer, meaning he is a state official elected locally but responsible to the governor rather than the Volusia County Council.
Roberts — along with Sheriff Mike Chitwood, Elections Supervisor Lisa Lewis and Property Appraiser Larry Bartlett — will be state officials independent of the Volusia County government hierarchy, as a result of Florida voters’ passage of Amendment 10 in 2018.
Previously, the sheriff, elections supervisor and property appraiser were elected department heads under the county manager, as provided in Volusia County’s home-rule charter. Now, those officials, as well as Roberts, have more autonomy in running their agencies, including making decisions on budgeting, personnel, purchasing and where to establish their offices.
Roberts will be in charge of receiving many of the payments made by Volusians to the county government, but not all of them.
“Some of the Revenue Division’s former functions will be absorbed and restructured into the Finance Department,” county Community Information Director Kevin Captain explained in an email.
Roberts begins work with an estimated budget of $6.26 million for the 2020-21 fiscal year. His new agency has a budget for 70 positions, and he says he has filled 65 of them.
Roberts says he intends to add driver-license services “by early 2022” and perhaps as early as the end of the summer of 2021. He also wants to take over issuing birth certificates and concealed-weapons permits.
Roberts said one of his goals is to open a branch tax-and-tag office in Deltona.
“We don’t have an office in Deltona. Deltona is the largest city,” he said.