Be An Informed Voter
Tax Collector Candidate Will Roberts is the Right Fit
Roberts exposes his opponent on delinquent tax payments, bank foreclosure and special interest campaign contributions.
DAYTONA BEACH, FLA., July 27, 2020 – In an online debate, candidate for Tax Collector, Will Roberts, explained why he is the candidate with the certification, experience, education and ethics to be Volusia County’s first elected Tax Collector in 50 years.
“I have more than seven years of experience in tax collection with Volusia County,” explained Roberts. “For more than four years, I have been the property tax collection lead. Last year, I was responsible for collecting $680 million in revenue for the county. I am a Florida Certified Assistant Tax Collector, which means I have been trained on all the services provided by the tax collector – collecting taxes, tag and title services, driver’s licenses, birth certificates and concealed weapons permits. I have the experience and I’m ready to start the job on the first day.”
In contrast, Roberts’ opponent, David Santiago, is a state representative who is termed out of office and looking for a new job. He has no tax experience, education or certification. Public records show Santiago owned a business, DMAXX Construction, from 2005-2007.
“During those three years, the business did not have a business tax receipt, a requirement to conduct business in Volusia County,” says Roberts. “In addition, property taxes were delinquent all three years and went to tax certificate sale. In the final year, Santiago’s mortgage holder filed to foreclose on the property. The parties came to an agreement and the bank paid the unpaid property taxes. Volusia County does NOT need a Tax Collector who is delinquent on property taxes.”
(Note: all documentation for tax bills gathered from volusia.county-taxes.com, and court records can be found in PDF files below. Red circles on the tax documents point out relevant information regarding the property owner, tax certificate sale and when taxes were paid and by whom. Any taxes paid after March 31 following the tax year are delinquent.)
The Tax Collector candidates’ campaign finance reports also show important information voters should consider before making their choice. Will Roberts’s report shows 80% of his contributors are residents of Volusia County. In contrast, Santiago’s report reveals 2% of his donors live in Volusia County. In fact, the other 98% of his contributions are coming from Political Action Committees (PACs) and special interests outside of Volusia County. (ex. Dec. 2019 and Jan. 2020 reports) In addition to Santiago’s campaign finance report on file with the Supervisor of Elections office, he has been paying for tax collector campaign expenses from the Economic Growth PAC in which Santiago is named as the chairperson. When reviewing both financial sources, it reveals David Santiago has spent more than $85,000 in his run for Tax Collector. The Economic Growth PAC also lists more than $7,000 in PAC money Santiago spent on campaign expenses in July, August, October and November 2019 – before filing to run for Volusia County Tax Collector.
“I wonder who Santiago will be working for – the people of Volusia County or special interests and political buddies,” questioned Roberts. “I believe my opponent has been bought by special interests who want vendor contracts with the Tax Collector’s office. His special interest contributions are coming from one family in South Florida who wants the tag and title contract with the new Tax Collector.”
“I have turned down money from special interests wanting to do business with the Tax Collector,” said Roberts. “I will work with vendors who offer the best service at the best price. I don’t owe any political favors.”
When looking at all the factors, it is easy to see that Will Roberts has the certification, experience, education and ethics to be the Tax Collector. He is currently a Florida Certified Assistant Tax Collector, has more than seven years of experience collecting taxes as part of Volusia County’s Revenue Division, and has a master’s degree in Public Administration. Roberts has the qualifications to smoothly transition the current Revenue Division team into an operation under an elected Constitutional Officer Tax Collector.
“This transition is going to take collaboration,” said Roberts. “We are taking a department within the county that has an appointed director at the helm and turning it into a Constitutional Officer Tax Collector that operates under the state’s jurisdiction instead of the county’s. I have a plan to make this a smooth, efficient and effective transition by contracting with the county for many of our services such as Human Resources, IT, Accounting and more to start.”
In 2020, Volusia County voters will have the opportunity to vote for the county’s first elected Tax Collector in 50 years. The unique tax structure in Volusia County is due to the Home Rule Charter, passed by voters June 30, 1970. It abolished the elected Tax Collector position and made the role an appointed county employee. That structure will have to change after voters statewide passed Amendment 10 in November 2018. Amendment 10 requires all Florida counties to have five Constitutional Officers, including an elected Tax Collector. There are only three of Florida’s 67 counties that currently do not elect a Tax Collector – Broward, Miami-Dade and Volusia Counties. Broward and Miami-Dade have until 2024 to elect a Tax Collector. Volusia County must elect a Tax Collector in 2020, despite the county government’s involvement in an ongoing legal challenge to Amendment 10 in the First District Court of Appeal. Will Roberts is still moving forward with his tax collector campaign.
“Our team has worked so hard and spent our nights and weekends meeting voters across Volusia County, gathering support and petitions,” says Roberts. “The courts have an important decision to make, but I believe the voters will ultimately have the opportunity to decide who will be Volusia County’s first elected Tax Collector in 50 years.”
About Will Roberts
Will Roberts, 46, is a twenty-year Volusia County resident and political newcomer. In addition to his work in tax collection, Roberts is a former corrections officer in Volusia and Seminole Counties. He served in the United States Air Force for seven years, both domestically and abroad, working on the electronic systems of F-15 fighter jets.
Roberts considers himself to be a career public servant, not a career politician. He entered the Tax Collector race to ensure that voters had the option of a candidate experienced in tax collection on the ballot. He is passionate about transparency in the Tax Collector’s office. As a result, Roberts has spent time during the campaign doing a weekly video series called #TaxTipTuesday to help residents understand the tax collection process and how they can maximize tax discounts and avoid penalties and fees.
Will Roberts and his wife Jennifer reside in New Smyrna Beach with their 14-year-old daughter and 11-year-old son.
Paid and approved by Will Roberts, Republican for Volusia County Tax Collector.
View Delinquent Property Tax Bills
for DMAXX Construction 2005-2007
source: Volusia County Government
Court Records for Riverside National Bank v. DMAXX Construction
source: Clerk of the Circuit Court