BROOKSVILLE — In the last couple of days, Hernando County Tax Collector Sally Daniel learned that none of the 20,000 vehicle registration renewal forms set to be sent out to residents during December have been mailed.
The problem, she said, is that the county’s vendor, CASS Data & Mailing out of Fort Walton Beach, ran out of money to pay for postage. Two other Florida counties not in the Tampa Bay area were also impacted by the problem, according to Lee Maddan, the company’s chief executive officer.
While Florida law requires vehicle owners to register every year whether they are notified or not, most are accustomed to getting the renewal notice in the mail. Daniel is digging into her own budget to pay several thousand dollars for the postage to get those forms in the mail in the coming days.
For those who should have already renewed, Daniel said law enforcement officers will not stop them before the end of December, and they would not be charged a penalty by the Department of Motor Vehicles until mid-January.
In the past few weeks, Daniel secured a new vendor when she started having an inkling there could be a problem with the existing data service.
"We’ve all been trying to figure out what’s going on,’’ Daniel said. On Thursday afternoon, she said she heard back from Maddan, who told her he had run out of money to make the mail drop on all the forms.
He told the Times the same thing.
"I am so very sorry,’’ he said. "Sally Daniel has been nothing but a great tax collector.’’
Problems with personnel, equipment and cash flow crippled his operation in recent months. "The whole fault lies with my company,’’ said Maddan, who founded CASS Data in 1972. "We had problems on our end with equipment and with money. I was unable to resolve the money issue although those pieces will go out.’’
He said that Daniel should not be held responsible by those who are upset that their notice has not yet been delivered.
"The whole fault is with me. I’m the culprit,’’ he said. "They have been a very good customer. I’m going under and there is nothing I can do about it.’’
Contact Barbara Behrendt at firstname.lastname@example.org or (352) 848-1434.