As we put the wraps on the decade of the 2010’s here in Osceola County, we’re asking local officials and “movers ‘n shakers” to reflect on the last year of this one and the first one of the new decade, the “Roaring ’20s”, and how we’re going to best usher it in.
Bruce Vickers has been Osceola County’s tax collector since 2016. Before that he spent 15 years working in all aspects of the office, including operations, staff management and customer service. He oversees operations dealing with the collection of revenue and public funding, including taxes, vehicle registrations, business tax receipts, hunting and fishing licenses, and more.
Here are his thoughts on the past year, hopes for the one upcoming and what how the his very vital office will be part of the fabric, and a reflection of, the community when we do this again in 2029.
What were your department’s biggest wins in 2019?
Our broadest and most important focus each year is to continue improving our efficiency which results in providing better service to our community. Through better employee engagement we have reduced our turnover rate, resulting in more knowledgeable and experienced staff members. We continue to work with our vendor on improving and fine tuning our customer queueing system, reducing wait times. Our use of an automated cash machine which dispenses, counts and deposits funds has contributed to allowing us to serve more tax payers each day with the same number of staff members. Another way in which we have improved services to the community is through providing a Florida Birth Certificates (a requirement to issue a new or renewed driver license for Federal Real ID compliance). We are also now able to clear CFX toll violations. Many times, when a customer comes in to renew their driver license, they are not aware of the violation. This saves time and frustration, providing a one stop shop.
As the County Tax Collector, I am charged with the responsibility of handling tax revenue as well as a variety of fees I am required to collect by Florida Statute. Efficiency and accuracy in how we handle these monies is paramount. I am very proud to say in 2019 we were one of only two counties out of 67 given the Excellence Award in Financial Operations by the Florida Tax Collector’s Association. We also were given the Good Government Award by the St. Cloud Chamber of Commerce.
What are you looking forward to accomplishing in 2020?
Our most important project is the opening of our new Campbell City office. In relocating and expanding our Pleasant Hill Road Poinciana office, we are beginning a multiphase plan of trying to bring more balance to the increasing volume in all four of our offices. Currently, only our main office provides written and driver license road tests. Expanding this service, as well as adding concealed weapon permitting to our new Campbell City office, will relieve some of the burden from the Main office location. 2020 will also be the beginning of the long-term goal of locating additional property to expand the BVL area office and services. Finding a location which will be county owned is the goal, resulting in a huge savings to taxpayers.
When you look at the end of the next decade, how do you think Osceola County will look and feel in general, and how it relates to your office?
By the year 2030, I’m certain Tax Collectors will be required to take on additional services as mandated by the State. It’s difficult to predict what other services might be offered at the local level. Collectively, as Tax Collector’s we are open to additional responsibilities which result in continuity of services and greater convenience in our busy world. Certainly, more and more internet-based services will be expanded.