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  1. Opinion

Hillsborough Tax Collector: The Times Editorial Board recommendation

The office has 358 employees and a $34 million budget.

The Hillsborough County Tax Collector’s office is responsible for collecting and distributing local property, business and other taxes. It also serves as an agent for the state in processing auto registrations, driver’s licenses and other permits. The office has 358 employees and an annual budget of $34 million. The tax collector is elected to a four-year term and paid $178,927 per year.

Related: How the Times makes its political recommendations.

Nancy C. Millan

Nancy Millan, director of community relations in Doug Belden’s office, has announced her candidacy for tax collector. [ Courtesy of Nancy Millan ]

This one’s easy. As a top administrator in the Hillsborough County Tax Collector’s Office, Nancy C. Millan has been an integral part of what’s long been recognized as one of the best government operations in the state. She is a natural fit to continue this office’s reputation for excellence.

Though selected in a partisan election, the tax collector is largely a ministerial officer whose chief obligation is to get the details right. With longtime Tax Collector Doug Belden retiring, Millan offers a seamless transition. She joined the office in 1989 and quickly worked her way to Belden’s senior management team. In 2001, Millan was appointed director of community relations, where she oversaw the agency’s public outreach efforts just as it was expanding its field of services. The office was the first agency in Hillsborough and the first tax collector in the state to receive the Governor’s Sterling Award for excellence, and its customer satisfaction ratings have been consistently high for years.

Millan, 53, vows to continue the customer-centric focus. She wants to expand online services, and provide more personal assistance through virtual means to help taxpayers navigate specific problems. Millan recognizes that the coronavirus will create long-term demands for safer ways that government can interact with citizens. She’s interested in expanding a pilot project that provides some services at self-serve kiosks in retail locations. Millan would make cyber-security a priority and continue to look to professional associations for improvements in running the office.

Her opponent, Republican TK Mathew, is a businessman who worked several years in Belden’s office. Mathew, 43, said his public and private experience give him a more rounded view of service improvements and efficiencies he could bring to the job. He wants to make greater use of technology and open new satellite offices.

Millan, though, has the same interest in making the office as accessible and nimble as possible. She has concrete ideas for working with the private sector to deliver services in ways that don’t necessarily involve large taxpayer investments. Millan won’t need a learning curve after the election, and her inclusive, consensus-building style would foster morale and lead to smarter decision-making. She is a consummate professional ready to take the reins. For Hillsborough County Tax Collector, the Tampa Bay Times Editorial Board recommends Democrat Nancy C. Millan.

Related: All of the Times Editorial Board recommendations

Candidate replies

The Times offers candidates not recommended by the editorial board an opportunity to reply. They can send a reply of up to 150 words by 5 p.m. Oct. 9 to Editor of Editorials Graham Brink at gbrink@tampabay.com.

Editorials are the institutional voice of the Tampa Bay Times. The members of the Editorial Board are Times Chairman and CEO Paul Tash, Editor of Editorials Graham Brink, and editorial writers Elizabeth Djinis, John Hill and Jim Verhulst. Follow @TBTimes_Opinion on Twitter for more opinion news

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