Prepare for delays when Tax Collector’s office reopens Tuesday

A line of people waiting to get into the county Tax Collector's office snakes through lobby of the Palm Beach County Governmental Center, Thursday, February 25, 2016. (Lannis Waters / The Palm Beach Post)
A line of people waiting to get into the county Tax Collector’s office snakes through lobby of the Palm Beach County Governmental Center, Thursday, February 25, 2016. (Lannis Waters / The Palm Beach Post)

Be prepared for delays if you head to the Palm Beach County Tax Collector’s office on Tuesday.

In a post on its website, the office warns that because it was closed Thursday and Friday for Hurricane Matthew and Monday for Columbus Day, when its doors open at 8:15 a.m. Tuesday, customers can expect longer wait times then and throughout the rest of the week.

The Tax Collector’s office offers these tips to cut your wait time:

• Do as much of your business online as you can. Customers can go to http://www.pbctax.com to renew vehicle registrations, pay delinquent business taxes and make driver’s license appointments.

• Plan your visit. The Tax Collector’s office says lines can form as early as 7 a.m., and peak times include the lunch hour.

• Make sure you have all needed documents before you leave your house. If you’re getting a READ ID, you can download a checklist here.

• Use a Service Center drop box for your payment.

• Check the Tax Collector’s office website for wait times, or text “waitpbc” to 41411 for updates sent to your cellphone.

For more information, go to the Palm Beach County Tax Collector’s website.

Palm Tran Connection hires new director

hockman
Hockman

Palm Tran Connection, Palm Beach County’s call-ahead bus service for the elderly, disabled and ill, has a new director.

Chad Hockman, whose official title will be Senior Manager of Paratransit, starts Thursday. He’ll be formally introduced at Thursday afternoon’s meeting of the Palm Tran Service Board, the agency’s advisory group.

Hockman will oversee a staff of 75 and a $30 million budget, Palm Tran Executive Director Clinton B. Forbes said Wednesday in a release.

The Ohio State University graduate worked for the college, then spent 13 years at a private paratransit provider that worked in six Midwestern and southern States.

Hockman will earn $107,000.  His predecessor, Ron Jones, had earned $115,000.

In May, Forbes, who had been Palm Tran director since November, demoted Jones and accepted the resignation of  Palm Tran deputy director, and former director, Chuck Cohen.

And in June, he contracted with a private firm to provide an interim director for the troubled subsidiary and reassigned two supervisors of the Connection’s scheduling operation. In late March, a Palm Beach County Inspector General report had said the Connection was doctoring on-time statistics.

To read more, go later to mypalmbeachpost.com.

UPDATE: Tax Collector service restored after outage affected license, registration services

UPDATE: Service has been restored at all locations, the Palm Beach County Tax Collector’s Office has confirmed.

EARLIER STORY:

The Palm Beach County Tax Collector’s Office said Tuesday it was experiencing a temporary outage, affecting several of its services.

TaxCollectorLogoVehicle titles, registrations and driver licenses are the primary services affected at this time.

The Tax Collector’s Office said in-office wait times and transaction processing will be longer than usual until services are restored.

Check back for updates.

Palm Beach County gives a “go” to rules for Uber-style firms

Uber01Palm Beach County Commissioners Tuesday finally set rules for Uber and Lyft and similar app-based ride operations.

The ride companies have said the rules are enough to guarantee they will operate safely. But taxi firms say rules don’t go far enough to protect the public and give the ride services an unfair advantage.

Palm Beach County set a temporary operating agreement for app-based ride services in September 2014. A year later, the county opted not to set its own permanent rules and continued its temporary agreement, hoping that the Florida Legislature would enact uniform regulations for the entire state. In mid-March, the state body adjourned without a law in place. With the county’s temporary agreement set to expire April 30, the issue came back to commissioners.

To read more, go later to mypalmbeachpost.com.

Palm Beach County Commission set to OK Uber today

020115-UBER-3UPDATE: Clerk Bock has postponed her report.

Palm Beach County is set today to, finally, approve rules for Uber and Lyft and similar app-based ride operations. After spending more than two and a half hours on April 5, the commission approved the package of rules 7-0, on the first of two votes. The companies say the rules are enough to guarantee they will operate safely. But taxi firms say they don’t go far enough to protect the public and give the ride services an unfair advantage.

Also on Tuesday’s agenda:

Bock: The commission will hear Clerk of Courts Sharon Bock’s annual financial report. Last year, Bock reported that county assets dropped $99.1 million, mostly because the county sold the Mecca Farms property at a $33 million loss and locked into $50 million in new debt over the Max Planck Institute and the Palm Beach County Convention Center.

Trespass: A second and final vote on new rules that allow for banning people from county parks and recreational areas for a year or more for various violations.

Housing: Approved its required Local Housing Assistance Plan for the next three years, as required by the State Housing Initiatives Partnership (SHIP). The plan’s goals are to preserve and increase the stock of affordable housing.

Bus vs. House: Is set to approve a $51,593 settlement for a West Palm Beach man whose home was damaged in March 2013 when it was struck by a Palm Tran bus.

Palm Beach County Commission Meeting:

When: 9:30 a.m. Tuesday. Where: Sixth-floor chambers, Weisman Palm Beach County Governmental Center, 301 N. Olive Avenue, West Palm Beach

To read more, go later to mypalmbeachpost.com.

 

 

 

Update: Palm Beach County OKs Uber rules on 1st reading; 2nd vote April 19

Uber1Palm Beach County Commissioners, after spending 2-1/2 hours Tuesday yet again debating rules for Uber-style firms, voted them up 7-0 on  the first of two votes; the second would be April 19.

Major points: both Uber-style outfits and taxis would be responsible to either conduct their own background checks or hire the county to do the more comprehensive and costly fingerprint-based “Level II” checks for them.

That, and what insurance would be required of drivers in both endeavors, have been sticking points in the debate for going on two years.

Uber and Lyft say the proposed rules would guarantee they operate safely; taxi firms say aren’t sufficient and give the app-based rides an unfair advantage.

“If we were having a real safety issue we would be hearing it. We would be seeing it,” said Tomas Bolton, head of the local “Citizens for Improved Transit.”

But limo service owner Sheryl Berkowitz said, “I cannot believe what’s going on, being a woman, mother, and a property owner. Why don’t you just let everyone drive?”

She added, “ the only thing you’re protecting is uber’s wishes; its transportation model.”

Lee Barron, who operates a Fort Pierce-based transportation service to airports and ports, told the commission, “You should just deregulate the whole mess, get out of it  You probably wish you never heard the words “vehicle for hire.”

Palm Beach County had set a temporary operating agreement in September 2014. A year later, it opted not to set new rules, instead calling on the Florida legislature to enact uniform regulations for the entire state. On March 1, commissioners extended the agreement to April 30, to see what Tallahassee did. In mid-March the state body adjourned without a law in place.

To read more, go later to mypalmbeachpost.com.