Tax collector returns $4 million to county

Historic City News reporters were watching when St Johns County Tax Collector Dennis W. Hollingsworth, CFC, distributed $4,089,705.24 to the local government and taxing authorities, from unused earned revenue collected during FY2011-2012.

The largest portion of this amount, of $3,871,705.51, was presented to the Board of County Commissioners and other taxing authorities at the regular County Commission meeting Tuesday, October 16.

“The Tax Collector’s office operates independent of the County Commission’s budget,” Hollingsworth said. “We must operate our office solely on statutorily established commissions and fees from state and local governments.”

This is the 23rd year that the St Johns County Tax Collector’s office has maintained this level of efficiency, resulting in additional funds for taxing authorities. Since FY 1999, the Tax Collector has distributed to taxing authorities more than $45.6 million in unused earned revenues after meeting their budget requirements. The Florida Statutes refer to these revenues as excess fees.

This $4 million represents unused revenue the Tax Collector’s office earned for the taxpayers of St Johns County that was not expended or used in the operation of the local tax, tag and driver license offices.

The Tax Collector’s office is self-sustaining, operating from monies regulated by Florida Statutes on commissions from the collection of taxes and fees for the mandated State functions of several agencies. These agencies include: the Department of Revenue; the Division of Motor Vehicles; and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

The additional revenue also was generated as interest earned from investments, as well as revenue from additional tag and title business the Tax Collector seeks through acquisition of fleet accounts such as UPS and Ring Power.

The unused revenue Hollingsworth has collected over the past year is a result of the tax, tag and driver license offices operating with frugality and efficiency. Hollingsworth said he is honored to serve the taxpayers of St Johns County by managing their Tax Collector’s office in a fiscally responsible manner. “Although property tax collection revenue is down, the parcel count in St Johns County actually has increased,” he said.

The total amount distributed includes monies that are generated by the office and received throughout the year from other State agencies, such as mobile home revenues received from the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles and revenues from Retained Vessel Fees which are distributed weekly by the Tax Collector’s office.