Marianna- State officials said they've been losing almost $3 million a year in fines, because red light cameras have had trouble reading the raised letters and number on Florida license plates. They proposed a redesigned tag with a flat surface to correct the problem.
Jackson County Tax Collector Sherry Brown said redesigning the tags was not the issue. But, changes to tag distribution have had her and a united front of tax collectors from every county in the state up in arms.
Florida officials said requiring drivers to apply for their tags online, then mailing them customers could save the state a lot of money.
"The [Florida Tax Collectors Association] hired a group to do an analysis on the cost efficiency and if it would be good or not good to go through with the centralization. The state thought it would save a lot of money and [the firm] found out that it will not" Brown said.
Even so, the state appeared to be ready to move ahead with the plan. Brown said she thought the change would create a customer service nightmare.
"It's going to be, 'Well, I mailed it in but I didn't get my plates. What do I do?' Brown said of questions she would not have answers to. "[I would have to tell them] "'Well, I don't know what to do. There's an 800 number, you'll have to call it. I can't help you, I can't do anything.' Then they're going to get mad at us because we can't do anything and it's hard to explain to someone because they've done it forever."
But the Tax Collector community was not the only group upset over the possible changes.
"Sometimes we get some complicated issues with out of state titles and titles that's been transferred several times" said Hopkins Motors Owner, Eddie Hopkins. "And our tag office has been very helpful in straightening these things out. And I'm not sure if a service center in some big town way off would care to help us."
The cabinet said they would discuss the redesigned tag issue at their October 23rd meeting, but would not discuss centralize distribution.