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Tax collector speaks out on license plate outsourcing

Tax collectors have been hopping mad at the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles over a plan to pay private businesses to make and distribute some license tags. Here's a note from Hillsborough County Tax Collector Doug Belden.

December 4, 2012

As the Hillsborough County Tax Collector, I would like to list four matters of major concern which, in my opinion, clearly reflects the lack of cooperation and willingness to work with our Tax Collector's Association regarding the License Plate ITN issued unilaterally by the DHSMV.

1. In a letter to Mr. Tim Qualls, Executive Director of the Florida Tax Collector's Association, Ms. Julie Jones, Executive Director of DHSMV, indicated she would separate license plate redesign from license plate distribution and inventory management. She also assured Mr. Qualls that she would work in partnership with the Tax Collector's Association. The aides to the Governor and Florida Cabinet asked her to separate design from all other components and not to bring those back to them, which Ms. Jones agreed to do. Instead Ms. Jones issued an ITN unilaterally, which combined license plate design and inventory and distribution in a very specific and targeted format.

2. During the protest meeting with the Tax Collector’s Association on December 4, 2012, the department’s procurement staff and lawyers met with our general counsel, Mr. Ken VanAssenderp and our Executive Director, Mr. Tim Qualls.  At this meeting, the department’s representative rejected our association’s request to withdraw the ITN as well as our suggestion to work with a task force to be appointed by the Governor and Cabinet, chaired by an ombudsman.

3. If the Governor and Cabinet choose to appoint such a task force and require the withdraw of the current ITN, there is still the opportunity to gather all the important price point information in a fair and transparent way, which is not possible under the current ITN, which our association and I believe is not amendable.

4. The final option is an expensive, lengthy and unnecessary adjudicatory process before the Division of Administrative Hearing’s Law Judge. This process would be costly and needless to taxpayers of Florida.


Doug Belden
Hillsborough County Tax Collector