“Does your mother love you? Check it out.”
These words of advice come from the lips of none other than Preston Trigg. Trigg is the Director of Administration and Special Projects at the Hillsborough County Tax Collector’s office. He’s also a former colleague of Dr. Gil Thelan.
Trigg explained how the tax collector’s office, and their records could rove beneficial for young journalists.
The HCTC collects close to $2 billion a year in fees off everything from fishing licenses to titles and permits on automobiles.
These days, records kept in the tax collector’s office are just a click away. Whether it’s the Official Records Index or the Property appraisal for the entire county, it there.
And furthermore, the law states that any person can have these records, from a baby to a grandmother. There is no special exemptions to this rule.
There are, however a few exemptions ins terms of the actual records available like school records, in-process investigatory materials, and records of a proprietary nature.
Trigg also brought along his tricks of the trade some of which include putting certain things in writing and asking for any costs up front.
Perhaps Trigg’s most important statement was the tip to always follow up.
“Always, ALWAYS, check it out,” said Trigg.
And, Trigg said, always follow the money, no matter what. It will shine light on an otherwise murky situation.
He also shared a story regarding missing documents between the White Sox and the city of St. Pete. The city tried to hide the documents, but eventually the true story came out in the wash.
In a day and age when county workers and politicians are using tax payer’s dollars to fill up their boats once a week, it’s time to visit the tax collector’s office – or their online site!