BAY COUNTY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - Last November, Bay County residents voted for a new tax collector and Chuck Perdue took office about a year ago.
"I came in, there were about 40 typewriters, people doing handwritten letters, no one had e-mail, nobody had Microsoft Office products," Perdue said.
Now things at the tax collector's office are a lot different.
"We quickly came into the 21st century. We have an online presence where you can get in line from your home or you can do many of our services online and we've just come a really long way in a short period of time," Perdue said.
He says having an online presence has saved time and increased convenience.
"Our average wait time since the beginning of the year has gone from well over an hour to about six to eight minutes, depending on which office you visit," Perdue said.
In an effort to continue the modernization process of the tax collector's office, kiosks were installed at four different locations across Bay County where residents can tap the screen to start, select a service, and get in line.
A new website has also been launched that goes hand-in-hand with a mobile app created by the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles.
"You can pay your tax, you can renew your tags online, you can do driver's license renewals online, we also now have the MyFlorida app so that's an app for a smartphone or a tablet that will allow you to renew up to five tags for vessels and vehicles," Perdue explained.
Perdue says they also created a customer call center that takes about 9,500 calls a month.
Another improvement is a high-speed mail processing center that processes about 180 transactions a minute.
Perdue says his focus for next year is continued training for his staff and creating a centralized payment system where every transaction can be serviced at one station. Residents currently have to go to different stations for different services.