Orange County commissioners reject special election proposal

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ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. —

After years of discussion over whether the position of tax collector is necessary, an Orange County commissioner wants big changes at the Tax Collector's Office.

Fred Brummer told Channel 9 that voters should decide whether to keep that elected position or let the Orange County mayor and commission oversee it.

On Tuesday, after commissioners listened to public input, Brummer's idea for a special election was rejected.

Aside from abolishing the Tax Collector's Office, Brummer wants to add two more commission seats and require term limits.

Commissioners plan to bring the details of the proposal back to a workshop on April 8. They'll then hold a public hearing before making any decisions whether to put the proposal on the August or November ballots.

At county commission chambers on Tuesday, dozens of members from the public both for and against Brummer's proposal spoke out.

Comment has been passionate and mostly split down the middle, according to Channel 9's Karla Ray, but many people are expressing concerns about all of the important topics being voted on in one yes or no vote instead of separately.

Tax collector Scott Randolph has been fighting to keep his office elected ever since he took office.

Channel 9 first exposed that he paid a local lobbyist $35,000 to rally commissioners to save the seat while a task force reviewed whether the position was necessary.

"I think the best accountability is to the voters, which means it's an independently elected office. A person who is collecting $1.6 billion in property tax, you want to be able to hold accountable every four years," said Randolph.

But Brummer argues only one election is needed.

"It's entirely administrative," said Brummer. "There is no policy. There's no reason for it to be separately elected.  It's time to go ahead and get real with government and I think abolishing his position is one that's appropriate."

Brummer called for the special election that could, in part, do away with the Tax Collector's Office to save the county $1 million per year.

"It's manipulating the rules again," said Randolph.