County tax collectors are fighting a Florida state plan to outsource some license plate services, claiming citizens will miss the “excellent customer service” they currently receive at the county tax collector offices.
Florida county tax collector offices, which administer the registration and titling of vehicles for the Florida Department of Motor Vehicles, are the frequent butt of jokes and criticism leveled by frustrated citizens forced to wait in notoriously long lines to purchase or renew license plates.
“You never know what kind of service you will get when you go to the [county tax collector] to renew your license plates. You just have to cross your fingers and hope for the best,” a Pinellas County mother with a young toddler in tow told Media Trackers Florida as she left the tax collector office during the Thursday lunch hour. “It took about a half hour to get service, but at least the lady who finally waited on me was nice. So I guess I would consider that a draw.”
Some customers, however, were more frustrated leaving the Pinellas Tax Collector office.
“I had a lady tell me yesterday that I didn’t have all my necessary information. She wasn’t nice at all. She talked to me like I was a misbehaving child. So then I came back today and had to wait forever in line to finally get this done,” said a young lady in a clearly aggravated mood. “I could probably deal with long lines or unfriendly service, but not both.”
“When I go to a store or business run by people who have to compete for my business, this doesn’t happen. Government knows you can’t go anywhere else, so what incentive do they have to do any better?” she asked.
County tax collectors, however, say customer service will suffer if the state follows through on plans to outsource some license plate services.
“It is all about customer service,” said Pinellas County Tax Collector Diane Nelson, who traveled to Tallahassee to participate in a press conference voicing opposition to the state’s proposal.
“There really is no evidence that it will save our customers money or that it will increase efficiency,” said Palm Beach County Tax Collector Anne Gannon. “I think it’s the opposite.”
Gannon said the transition from government to private vendors might confuse some people when it comes time to renew their license plates.
“It’s questionable that this is excellent customer service,” she said.
State officials are expected to make a final decision on the outsourcing of services in early 2013.