With the county’s licensing and tax-collection duties now being handled by a separate, stand-alone department overseen by an elected constitutional officer, Volusia County has established a new in-house division to manage water billing and related issues.
The Volusia County Council in December approved the dissolution of the Revenue Division and the creation of the Treasury and Billing Division, reflecting the office’s revised role as required by Florida Amendment 10.
Amendment 10, also known as the Florida State and Local Government Structure Amendment, was approved by a statewide referendum in November 2018. One section of the multi-issue amendment was a provision that requires every county to have five constitutional officers: tax collector, property appraiser, supervisor of elections, clerk of courts, and sheriff.
For the past 50 years, since Volusia County voters approved a home-rule charter, elected charter officers have served as property appraiser, sheriff and supervisor of elections, while a professional revenue division has served as the county cashier and constitutional tax collector. That changed on Jan. 5, when those charter officers transitioned to county constitutional officers and the new tax collector took office.
In Volusia County, the clerk of the court has always been a constitutional officer.
Under its new name, the county-run Treasury and Billing Division will continue to handle water-bill payments, the collection of business and tourist taxes, and county cashier functions. The division will also assume responsibility for emergency medical billing, investment management, and other financial matters assigned by the county manager.
“Our goal is to make the transition as smooth as possible for county residents,” division Director Craig Baumgardner said. “We will continue to offer customer-focused service and are planning several business enhancements.”
The change did not involve hiring any new staff for the new division; all staff were already existing county employees, Baumgardner said.
The Treasury and Billing Division is located in the space vacated by the Elections Department in the Historic Courthouse, 125 W. New York Ave., Room 120, in DeLand.
To make it easier for residents to pay their water bills, the new division will install payment kiosks at the public libraries in DeBary and Edgewater, where most county water customers live. Additionally, the libraries at Deltona, DeBary, City Island, Hope Place, Ormond Beach, New Smyrna Beach and Edgewater will begin accepting in-person payments in January.
All the payment locations were rolled out during the week the new office opened Jan. 4, Baumgardner said.
Meanwhile, the Tax Collector’s Office will remain in the Tax, Tag and Title space in the administration center and three other locations in Orange City, Daytona Beach and New Smyrna Beach.
The Tax Collector’s staff will take care of property taxes, tags and titles. During the next year, the office is expected to also take on driver’s licenses, concealed weapons permits and birth certificates.