Barbara Ford-Coates graduated from the College of William and Mary. She has served as Tax Collector since 1984 and was on the 1998 Florida Constitution Revision Commission. In 2008 she was the Outstanding Tax Collector in the United States. Married to Brian Ford-Coates, they have seven daughters and ten grandchildren.
What technological changes would you make to improve customer service?
This office continually works with technology to make paying taxes as painless as possible. Currently we are working on a project to unify the software used by the Tax Collector, the Clerk and the Property Appraiser. This will eliminate duplication and simplify access to property tax data. In addition, we are working to improve the data systems of the Florida Department of Motor Vehicles to reduce the number of state-wide outages. Utilizing technology contributes to our efficiency so that we can maintain a conservative budget reflecting one of the lowest cost per taxpayer of any Florida Tax Collector.
Do you support changing the Tax Collector election from partisan to nonpartisan? Please explain your answer.
I have no opinion on whether the office should be partisan. I do feel very strongly that it should be elected! As an elected official administering state law, the Tax Collector has the independence to take “red tape” and find a way to make it “user friendly”. Many times, I have heard what a difference our office is from the state DMV offices “up north” and I believe that’s because we are elected to serve. Paying taxes is not easy; the elected Tax Collector has an incentive to make it as painless as possible.