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HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY TAX COLLECTOR

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Voters have not picked a tax collector since 1998, when Doug Belden defeated former Tampa City Council member Joe Greco. Enter Beverly P. Harris, his first challenger since then.

Doug Belden, Tampa R Beverly P. Harris, Wimauma NPA
Belden, 54, is seeking his fourth term. Before he was elected, he was a real estate developer, businessman, Tampa Sports Authority member and an administrator to the late Hillsborough State Attorney Harry Lee Coe. Since taking office, Belden has developed a Web site with electronic payment capabilities, decreased customer wait times from 17 minutes to 11 minutes, increased the percentage of calls answered within 20 seconds from 45 percent to 90 percent. This year, he became the first tax collector in the state to win the GovernorÍs Sterling Award. Experience Harris, 50, is a title specialist for Suncoast Schools Federal Credit Union. This is her first run for political office. She has spent the bulk of the last 22 years in customer service jobs with various employers, including the tax collector. She resigned in 2005, after six years at the agencyÍs South County branch, citing poor morale. She tried to rescind her resignation, but management would not rehire her. She said thatÍs not why sheÍs running. "I didnÍt feel we were allowed to give customer service the way that the customers should receive it."
University of South Florida graduate Education Diploma from East Bay High School.
Consider a new North Tampa office. Redesign Internet. Consider potential 'Universal CashieringÍ vendors. Short-term goals "Improve the levels of customer service. Get everybody in those offices... goals to reach for and to grasp."
Offer additional services such as driving records and passports. Partner with homeowner associations for property tax education. "My management style is, 'If it ainÍt broke, improve it.Í ThereÍs not a single processing business, public and private, that canÍt be tweaked" Long-term goals "Make it a little more user-friendly for the customer. Maybe hours, locations or even a private agency that could process work for the customers when they canÍt get into the tax collectorÍs office during the 8 to 5, Monday thru Friday."
"When I was elected, we made the following promises to the voters: No. 1 Ñ WeÍd maintain the highest level of ethics and integrity in this office. No. 2 Ñ WeÍd modernize all of facilities. And No. 3 Ñ Deliver the highest level of exemplary customer service. I believe we have accomplished that." On the state of the tax collectorÍs office "The tax collectorÍs office is one that I think should have a term limit on it like a presidentÍs office. I donÍt think anybody should be able to be elected in there once and stay until they die in office." She said a maximum of 12 years in office is sufficient. "HeÍs done good. ItÍs changed a lot."
Townhome, stocks, trust Assets Home, property in Hillsborough and Quitman counties, bank accounts
Mortgage, equity line of credit Liabilities Loans
$503,600 Net worth $530,600
Tax collector salary, income from trust Income Suncoast schools salary, savings
Divorced; 17-year-old son Personal Married to David H. Harris; grown daughter
www.belden2008.com Web site www.beverlypharris4ethics.com
dbtax@verizon.net E-mail bharris4ethics@aol.com
About the job: The Hillsborough tax collector is responsible for collecting more than $2-billion in taxes and fees. The office of 301 employees collects property taxes for every local government agency with the power to levy taxes; serves the state as an agent for the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, the Department of Environmental Protection, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and the Department of Revenue; and manages local revenue programs such as issuing occupational licenses and collecting tourist development fees. The four-year term pays $152,110 a year.

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