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Tax collector

Mike Olson, who was first elected tax collector the same year Ronald Reagan won the presidency, has faced only two opponents during his nearly 32 years in office. Olson, who is the county's only Democratic officeholder, faces his first Republican challenge in 16 years from Ed Blommel, a retired Tampa Electric executive and first-time candidate. Lisa Buie, Times staff writer

Mike Olson, 67

Pasco tax collector

Ed Blommel, 63

Retired utility executive

DemocratPartyRepublican
Olson began as a clerk at First National Bank of New Port Richey and rose to the ranks of senior management at various banks. He was elected to the Pasco County Commission in 1974 and served until 1980 when he was elected tax collector. He is now seeking his ninth term.Experience Blommel worked for Tampa Electric Co. from 1969 until 2009, including 17 years as Pasco's district manager. He also served in the National Guard and has served on a host of local boards, including Habitat for Humanity of East and Central Pasco, the Pasco-Hernando Workforce Board and the Pasco Housing Authority.
A graduate of Gulf High School, Olson earned his bachelor's degree in business management in 1991 from Eckerd College. Has completed more than 600 hours of continuing education in graduate management and tax collector duties, became a certified Florida tax collector in 1983 through the University of Florida and a certified public manager in 1991 through Florida State University.EducationA graduate of Pasco High School, Blommel took classes at Pasco-Hernando Community College and the University of South Florida. He earned a certification in management while working for Tampa Electric Co.
"I still have work to do," he says. Olson cites his decades of experience as tax collector and years in banking. He also points to infrastructure upgrades under his watch — including a high-tech cashier system and new software that processes auto registrations quicker — that make the office run more smoothly. During his tenure, tax collectors became responsible for administering driver's license exams. Olson hired retired law enforcement officers to do the exams. Why should voters choose you as tax collector?"I have a passion for people," says Blommel, who touts his private sector management experience and says it would provide "a fresh set of eyes" for an office that has had the same leader for many years.
If returned to office, Olson wants to build a couple of "supercenter" offices that can handle everything from tax bills to road exams for driver's licenses. The centers would include a closed course for the tests so that nervous applicants won't pose a threat to other motorists.What are your goals if elected?Unlike Olson, Blommel would lease smaller storefront offices to save money and increase the amount of things that could be done online. He also plans to visit other counties' tax collectors to see what is working well there and bring them back to Pasco. He says he wants to implement a program in which employees come up with improvement plans so they will feel more part of the team.
Real estate, deferred retirement funds, IRA, cash, life insuranceAssetsChecking and brokerage accounts, IRA, house and vacant lot
Credit union loanLiabilitiesMortgage, loans
Salary as Pasco County tax collectorIncomeSalary from work with Habitat for Humanity, IRA distributions, Tampa Electric Co. stock sale, interest
He and his wife, Mary, have two daughters, seven grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.PersonalHe and his wife, Elizabeth "Libby," have two grown children.
Keep Mike Olson Pasco County Tax Collector Facebook page Websitewww.edblommel.com
mike.doingagoodjob@gmail.com Emailedblommel@gmail.com

About the job: The tax collector provides businesses with tax receipts, processes property tax payments and sells hunting and fishing licenses. It also conducts driver's license exams and issues driver's licenses and vehicle tags. The agency has a budget of nearly $7.7 million and a staff of 160. The tax collector serves a four-year term and is paid $137,796 a year.

Pasco County tax collector: Mike Olson (D), Ed Blommel (R)

Mike Olson, who was first elected tax collector the same year Ronald Reagan won the presidency, has faced only two opponents during his nearly 32 years in office. Olson, who is the county's only Democratic officeholder, faces his first Republican challenge in 16 years from Ed Blommel, a retired Tampa Electric executive and first-time candidate.

Pasco County tax collector: Mike Olson (D), Ed Blommel (R) 10/17/12 [Last modified: Thursday, October 18, 2012 11:12am]
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