In 1998 Bob Bauman a semi-retired industrial engineer and his wife Diana moved to Bradenton, FL from South Dakota to be closer to his mother. I do not remember how he found out about the office but he started his career on January 26, 1998 as a front line associate.
It wasn’t long before we put his engineering background to good use doing time and motion studies on some of of our processes to improve efficiency. His data on one project was used on a driver license cost benefit analysis required by the Florida Legislature when talks began about shifting the duties from the State to the County Tax Collectors. The transition eventually became law a few years ago set to be completed by July 2015.
Bob spent most of his career in our IT Department where he served on the help desk and as the project manager. He had the perfect demeanor for resolving IT related problems and over the years solved thousands of them.
He was selected Employee of the Quarter in 2002 and was our lone and proud Minnesota Vikings fan. He almost retired a few years back but agreed to stay on a little longer for us of which we are extremely grateful..
Bob and Diana will be moving to Utah to be closer to family. We wish you all the best!
The recent release of a Superman specialty license plate in Ohio popped up recently on the internet. As much as I enjoyed growing up in the 1960’s with Superman, Batman, Aquaman, and Spiderman – this one has me worried. Why? How long will it take for a Florida Legislator to sponsor a bill to have a Superman plate in Florida? It is bound to happen.
How did all these specialty plates get started?
It is our fault. On January 1, 1987 Florida introduced the first ever specialty license plate called “Challenger.” It was supposed to have a definite life time but on September 30, 1991 it was extended to indefinite. It made so much money everyone else with a cause jumped on the bandwagon. Today there are over 150 plates in Florida alone generating million of dollars per year for every cause you can think of.
In some states it is possible to get a Florida State University specialty plate for your North Carolina registered vehicle. And we now have Superman.
Why are there so many specialty plates to choose from?
Because specialty plates are what I call “legislator friendly.” It helps a good cause, the state gets a setup fee, it is not a tax, and the consumer does not have to buy it but can if they want it. Legislators can also go back home and report back their good deed while they were in session.
Keeping Up With Competition
Another concern I have is once you have Superman – how long before Batman has to have one? Back in 1999, the United States Marine Corps plates went on sale and within four years all the branches of the military had their own Florida specialty plates for sale.
No Extra Compensation
For every specialty plate offered it requires keeping an inventory for each one at every office. So for Manatee County with 4 office locations means over 400 different inventories to keep track of . Back when there were just a few we used to post the plates up on our walls for customers to see but there isn’t enough room to do that anymore. Today we have a document that staff can easily pull out and show to those interested. We also only offer the top selling and new plates at every location. Our Desoto location offers every plate.
Tax Collectors are like a private sector business – every service we provide we get a statutory fee to run our operations. For each vehicle registration we process we receive $3.00 and for every title transfer we receive $4.75. The last time we got an increase from the Florida Legislature to perform these transactions was 1985. Imagine trying to run a business in 2013 and getting compensated in 1985 wages. So having to keep up with all these new specialty plates every year with no additional compensation is getting old. Fortunately the fees we receive from the collection of property taxes makes up for the shortfall but in the smaller Counties where their is a lesser tax base Tax Collectors struggle to make ends meet.
Save the Sea Monkeys!
I am still holding out for the Save The Sea Monkeys specialty license plate to appear in our offices. When we start selling that one I will know it is time for me to retire or the world will be coming to an end.