After 22 years of having a presence in the Town of Hastings, the St. Johns County Tax Collector informed local Historic City News reporters that Thursday, July 28th will be the last full day of business for his office there and that he is closing the Hastings branch effective August 1.
The branch to serve Hastings area residents first opened in 1994 at 401 McClung St. The office relocated to the renovated Hastings High School Building in a cooperative arrangement between St. Johns County and the Town of Hastings. Service hours at that location first decreased to three days a week in 2009, with that schedule becoming permanent in 2010.
“After analyzing, for several years, our transaction and customer numbers, population trends and projections, it has become necessary to close the branch in Hastings and shift those staff to other branches in St. Johns County experiencing significant growth,” said St. Johns County Tax Collector Dennis W. Hollingsworth, CFC.
Population growth in the Southwest quadrant has not kept pace with other parts of St. Johns County. The other four tax collector branches are feeling the pressure of this growth, and staff relocation from Hastings will help share the workload and reduce customer wait times. As always, service will continue to be available via phone, mail and internet.
“When we first began service to the Hastings community, transportation and service options were limited or nonexistent, and I felt it was imperative to provide a service center in this part of the county,” Hollingsworth said. “In recent years, public transportation has improved, and our Dupont Center office opened just 15 minutes away, which serves all of southern St. Johns County, from the beaches to the Putnam County line.”
St. Johns County experienced a population increase of 19 percent from 2010 to 2015, according to the St. Johns County Government website. The estimated 2015 countywide population was 226,640, and it is projected to be 246,986 by 2020. Comparatively, the Town of Hastings had a population of 580 in 2010 and 604 in 2015, according to the University of Florida Bureau of Business and Economic Research.
“We have enjoyed serving the Hastings residents and look forward to continuing this relationship at our Dupont Center and St. Augustine offices,” Hollingsworth said.