Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Pasco Tax Collector Mike Olson draws GOP challenger

Former Tampa Electric Co. executive Ed Blommel is running for tax collector, giving Mike Olson his first Republican challenger for the office in 16 years.

"It's time for a new set of eyes," said Blommel, 62, who spent 40 years at TECO before retiring in 2009. His last 17 years with the company were as a regional manager in Pasco. He now works part-time with the East Pasco chapter of Habitat for Humanity and was recently appointed to the board for the Pasco County Housing Authority.

Blommel said he wants to focus on customer service. Although he wouldn't bring major changes to the office, he said he would provide tweaks and technology upgrades.

"I've got a passion for people," he said. "If you look throughout the county, (that office) serves the most people, in terms of customer service."

The tax collector provides businesses with tax receipts, processes property tax payments and also sells hunting and fishing licenses. But most people interact with the office when they get a new driver license or car tag.

Olson, who has held the job since 1981, said 99 percent of the more than 100,000 customer comment cards his office has received rate the service as good or excellent. He also pointed to several infrastructure upgrades — including a high-tech cashier system and new software that processes auto registrations quicker — that make the office run more smoothly.

"I know what our customers think," said Olson, 66. "If the elections are a referendum on my management of the office, I'm going to be re-elected."

Pasco's only Democratic officeholder, Olson last faced a Republican opponent in 1996. He won with 72 percent of the vote. He also cruised to victory in the 2000 Democratic primary. He said Republicans likely have a case of the "Henry Wilson syndrome" — referring to the newly elected county commissioner who defeated Democrat Michael Cox last fall.

"Henry came on last year in a different set of circumstances and beat a well thought of, highly regarded and well-funded commissioner," Olson said. "It's normal that anybody on the Republican side would look at that situation and say, 'Wow, all I've got to do is get on the ballot, campaign a little bit and win.'"

Blommel denied that he's running because of the "D" after Olson's name. "People who know me know I'm not like that," he said.

Lee Logan can be reached at llogan@sptimes.com or (727) 869-6236.

Pasco Tax Collector Mike Olson draws GOP challenger 10/05/11 [Last modified: Wednesday, October 5, 2011 7:24pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Pinellas licensing board executive director settled hundreds of cases without getting his board's approval

    Local Government

    By Mark Puente

    Times Staff Writer

    Eleanor Morrison complained to the Pinellas licensing board in 2015 that her contractor installed crooked walls and windows and poured too much concrete for her carport.

    Eleanor Morrison poses at her home in Treasure Island, 5/26/17. Morrison filed a complaint with the Pinellas County Construction Licensing Board and later learned that its former Executive Director, Rodney Fischer, dismissed the case in a private meeting with the contractor.
  2. Report: Kusher wanted secret communications channel with Kremlin

    World

    Jared Kushner and Russia's ambassador to Washington discussed the possibility of setting up a secret and secure communications channel between Donald Trump's transition team and the Kremlin, using Russian diplomatic facilities in an apparent move to shield their pre-inauguration discussions from monitoring, U.S. …

    The name of Jared Kushner, President Donald Trump's White House senior adviser, has come up as part of the Russia investigation. [Associated Press]
  3. Rays pitchers rave about Twins pitching coach, ex-mentor Neil Allen

    The Heater

    MINNEAPOLIS — There have been a lot of coaches who have had a hand in helping Chris Archer get to the big leagues and to the front of the Rays rotation, and as he took the mound Friday night at Target Field, he had reason to nod appreciatively toward the home dugout.

    Minnesota Twins pitching coach Neil Allen jogs back to the dugout after paying starting pitcher Tyler Duffey a visit on the mound in the first inning of a baseball game against the Texas Rangers on Thursday, July 7, 2016, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)
  4. Swan sculpture deputies say was stolen by naked man found near Lakeland pond

    Crime

    A $25,000 swan sculpture that Polk County sheriff's deputies say was stolen by a naked man last weekend was found near a pond in Lakeland on Thursday.

    A swan sculpture that was stolen in Lakeland on May 19 was recovered by the Polk Sheriff’s Office on Friday.
  5. Mayor Rick Kriseman says election is about moving forward

    Blogs

    Mayor Rick Kriseman christened his campaign office  Friday evening by telling his supporters that the mayoral election was about moving forward, not backward..

    Mayor Rick Kriseman says mayoral election is about inclusiveness Friday at campaign office rally