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December 6, 2016

Honorable John Horan, Chairman

Seminole County Board of County Commissioners
1101 East First Street
Sanford, FL 32771

Objection to Transfer of all Tax Collector Real Property to County by

Outgoing Tax Collector

Dear Mr. Horan:

I have learned that an agenda item has been scheduled for the Seminole BCCs December
13, 2016 meeting, in which the BCC will consider a proposal made by the outgoing Tax
Collector Ray Valdes, to transfer to the County, for no consideration whatsoever, over $5.6
million worth of real estate owned by the Seminole County Tax Collectors office.
As the Seminole County Tax Collector-elect, who will be taking office in only 28 days, I
strenuously object to this absurd action, and I urge you, in the interest of avoiding years of legal
and financial repercussions for the County and its taxpayers, to vote this proposal down.
Let us not mince words. This is a transparent attempt at revenge by a soon-to-be former
officeholder who is angry that he lost an election. He is attempting to cripple the Tax Collectors
office and set its capital program back many years, to the detriment of Seminole County
taxpayers. Do not be a party to it.
Mr. Valdes letter dated November 29, 2016, which is included in the agenda item,
offered to give to the County, for free, the 7,000 square foot building the Tax Collectors Office
owns in Lake Mary, the 3-acre parcel in Altamonte Springs purchased to build a new branch
office, and the Tax Collectors Offices current Lake Mary and Casselberry branch offices.
Fortunately, the BCC agenda item does not include consideration of taking the Lake Mary and
Casselberry branch offices. I urge you to maintain this position and not make any last minute
amendments to the agenda as to the branch offices.
As to the 3-acre parcel in Altamonte Springs purchased to build a new branch office, Mr.
Valdes states in his letter that it would seem logical to transfer the title to this parcel to the
County Government so that they may be of assistance to the incoming Tax Collector to build on
this site
To be quite clear, if this transfer is allegedly being contemplated to assist me as the
incoming Tax Collector, then let me state unequivocally that I do not desire, and I completely

Honorable John Horan, Chairman

December 6, 2016
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oppose, such assistance at this time. If I determine, after I take office and fully assess the
situation, that such assistance is warranted, I will be sure to so inform the County.1
As to the Tax Collectors Offices 7,000 square foot building in Lake Mary that Mr.
Valdes has been happy to lease to the Seminole County Sheriffs Office for the last many years,
Mr. Valdes only thought as to why it should now be given, for free, to the County, is [i]t would
also seem appropriate at this time It is difficult not to read into his sentence because I wont
be tax collector anymore, and if I cant have it, he cant either.
The legal memorandum by Mr. Wilkes included in the agenda item attempts to put a little
more of a gloss on it, implying that Mr. Valdes and the Tax Collectors Offices ownership and
lease of the 7,000 square foot Lake Mary building has been legally impermissible all along, and
that the property should be transferred to the County to remedy this.
I assure you, if I believed that anything Mr. Valdes did was illegal or contrary to law, I
would be the first one to say it. However, as set forth in my attorneys letter to Mr. Applegate,
attached, it looks like this is simply not the case.
In any event, the simple fact is, there is no pressing urgency to either of these issues. Mr.
Valdes did not seem to think giving away the Tax Collectors Offices real estate for free was a
good idea at any time from 2008, when the Lake Mary properties were purchased for $3.14
million, through, say, five months ago. The only reason these transfers are being considered now
is because he did not get reelected.
Please also note that the transfer of the Lake Mary and Altamonte properties in this
unwarranted and precipitous manner will ultimately be to the financial detriment to the County
and its taxpayers. If the Lake Mary parcel were transferred, the Tax Collectors office will lose
over $100,000 is annual Facility Lease Income, which has been budgeted for in the Tax
Collectors DOR-approved budgets each year since the Sheriffs Office entered into the lease
agreement with the Tax Collector. As a result of this loss of income, the Tax Collectors
estimate of Excess Fees that will go to the County at the end of the budget year will have to be
commensurately reduced. In this instance, the County would be essentially robbing Peter to pay
As to the Altamonte property, the results may be even more dire for the Countys
finances. Notably, nothing in your agenda item necessitates that the Altamonte property,
purchased with Tax Collector budgeted funds for construction of a branch office, will be used for
that purpose by the County. Even assuming the BCC decides that it will do so after receiving the
property, it is clear that any thought of working with the County on jointly developing the


Unfortunately, my attempts at assessing the present status of the new Altamonte branch office planning
have been stymied by Mr. Valdes, who has prohibited me from entering the office of the Tax Collector
unless on personal business, and who has quoted me and my transition team absurd and illegal fees for
even the simplest of public records requests.

Honorable John Horan, Chairman

December 6, 2016
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Altamonte property must depend on a level of trust that underlies a good working relationship
between the Tax Collector and the County Commission.
It would be very difficult to build that trust if our relationship begins with the County
Commission taking advantage of a lame ducks desire for revenge at the expense of the public.
As a result, it would be difficult for me to justify using Tax Collector budgeted funds to build a
branch office on the Altamonte property.
In addition, as mentioned above, I have not yet been given access to sufficient
information to determine whether the location, size, and other characteristics of the Altamonte
property are appropriate for a replacement branch office going forward. If title to the Altamonte
property remained in the Tax Collectors office, I would be in a position to consider selling the
property, together with a single DOR-approved budget amendment that would recognize the
sales proceeds and authorize a capital outlay in the form of an acquisition of an alternative
Instead, with the Altamonte property off the Offices books without any payment, I
would instead have to budget for such capital outlay without the offsetting sales proceeds. This,
once again, will result in a massive reduction in Excess Fees remitted to the County at the end of
the budget year.
To put this another way, the County would effectively end up paying for the Altamonte
property, but at whatever price I end up paying for the property I purchase to replace it.
I sincerely hope to develop a strong working relationship with the BCC and each of you,
while always ensuring the effectiveness of the office with which I have been entrusted by the
This is the BCCs opportunity to show the residents of Seminole County whether it is
interested in developing a harmonious and effective working relationship with my office, or
rather whether it is interested in facilitating grudges for lame duck politicians and defying the
will of the voters.
Vote no on this agenda item, and if youd like, lets have a conversation about the future
of the Tax Collectors capital planning after I am sworn in in mere days. I trust you will make
the right choice.
Joel Greenberg
Seminole County Tax Collector-elect