Gannon “License To Drive” Requires Additional Fuel
West Palm Beach , FL - Gannon “License To Drive” Requires Additional Fuel
Anne Gannon, Constitutional Tax Collector, announced the State Department of Revenue (DOR) approved a $2.002 million budget amendment to fund the budget shortfall resulting from the 2010 legislative mandate to take over issuing driver licenses and state identification cards.
The transfer of issuing of driver licenses from DMV to local Tax Collectors was a measure to cut the state budget. The Tax Collector Office’s fiscal year runs October 1 – September 30. “This mandate created challenges, said Gannon. “We were in the midst of our fiscal year and our budget did not include funds to cover these costs. Our service locations are small and were never designed to issue driver licenses.” Unlike the Tax Collector Service Centers, DMV offices were dedicated driver license offices. The Service Centers handle 6 other service lines, including collecting real estate property taxes, tourist development taxes, business tax receipts, processing auto registrations and titles, and hunting and fishing licenses, and selling sun pass transponders. The public was not used to being thrown into a service mix for driver licenses.
Another huge challenge was implementing the Federal Real ID Act of 2005 which Florida began in January 2010. This antiterrorism measure requires every resident prove his or her identity by producing specific and original documentation prior to being issued a Real ID driver license or state identification card. This federal requirement has increased the number of people who must visit an office as Real ID compliance prohibits on-line or mail transactions.
Gannon acted quickly. “My staff required extensive training to handle these transactions and additional equipment was required,” said Gannon. “This training occurred while our offices remained open for business. People were very frustrated with long wait times. We asked for patience while we worked through this transition.” The addition of full service driver licenses required hiring and training of additional new staff. Service Centers needed special equipment, counter space and driving courses.
Gannon submitted a $2.002 million budget amendment to DOR, as required by law, to fund the additional 41 staff and equipment needed to issue driver licenses. The Tax Collector’s budget is not funded in the state or county budget. It receives a fee from each transaction. All excess funds are returned to the county and local taxing authorities. Last year $62 million dollars in fees were collected and $40.3 million was returned to local governments.
Today things are running smoothly due to the improvements Gannon has made. “There is a learning curve but we are improving every day,” said Gannon. “We fully expect lines to pick up again when tax season begins in November and people return to Florida. So now is a good time to get “Your License To Drive.”
|Contact:||Anne Gannon, Constitutional Tax Collector|