It received nearly 15,000 telephone calls in the first two weeks after branch offices were closed.
It’s not even close to “business as usual,” but the Duval County Tax Collector’s Office is adapting to serving customers remotely.
The walk-in offices have been closed since March 23 in compliance with the COVID-19 social distancing requirements. Many transactions can be completed online, and the telephones are ringing, said Tax Collector Jim Overton.
“We’ve expanded our call center operation. We had 14 people in the center before. Now we have 38,” Overton said.
About 70 members of the 260-person staff are working daily. Some are in administration at the main office Downtown; some are working at drive-thru branches, even though the offices are closed to the public; some are working at home.
Overton said the rest of the staff is on administrative leave during the pandemic shutdown.
In the first two weeks the offices were closed, the Tax Collector’s Office:
• Answered 14,987 telephone calls.
• Received more than 1,800 emails.
• Completed 9,416 tax transactions.
• Completed 7,185 transactions for the Department of Motor Vehicles.
• Completed 19,984 total transactions.
• Collected more than $26 million in property tax and motor vehicle transactions.
Some collections are down from before COVID-19.
“The Parking Division isn’t working at all and city permitting is pretty much closed,” Overton said.
The state moving the deadline to pay property taxes from March 31 to April 15 also has reduced daily collections.
“That could be a problem for the smaller counties. They depend on that for revenue,” Overton said.
A walk-up station is open at the branch at 6331 Roosevelt Blvd. to process applications for commercial driver licenses.
“The trucking schools are graduating people who need to take the three-part CDL test and we need more truck drivers,” Overton said.
Some prospective drivers aren’t so lucky during social distancing.
“If a 15-year-old wants a learner’s permit, that’s impossible right now,” Overton said.