Pasco tax collector’s office receives ‘Heart of Pasco’ award

Pasco County Tax Collector Mike Fasano and the Land O’ Lakes Tax Collector’s Office recently accepted the Heart of Pasco Award for the office’s exemplary customer service and outstanding community outreach efforts.

Sandy Graves, the Central Pasco Chamber of Commerce’s chairwoman for community affairs, bestowed the award to Fasano, during a Jan. 10 ceremony outside the tax collector’s office in Land O’ Lakes.

The staff of the Pasco County Tax Collector’s Office in Land O’ Lakes stand alongside members of the Central Pasco Chamber of Commerce. The tax office became the recipient of the Heart of Pasco Award on Jan. 10 for its exceptional community service. (Brian Fernandes)

The “Heart of Pasco” award goes to a business that exemplifies the chamber’s mission to “aggressively advocate for the interest of our diverse business community by promoting business advancement, economic growth and job creation.”

Graves said the acknowledgement stems, in part, from that the tax collector’s office expansion in Land O’ Lakes, allowing it to better accommodate its patrons.

In accepting the award, Fasano said, “as Land O’ Lakes grows and Lutz grows, so did our office.”

Fasano, who became the county’s tax collector in 2013, said he wanted to improve the agency and to expand its locations to better serve its customers.

“In some ways, we were behind the times at the tax collector’s office,” said Fasano, recalling when he joined the office. “We needed to be at the same level [and] direction that Pasco was going.”

As a former member of the Florida House of Representatives and the Florida Senate, he understood the importance of serving the needs of his constituents.

As tax collector, he identified that more space was required to serve an expanding population.

“The growth has been overwhelming, but it’s been good, solid growth for our economy and the tax base,” Fasano said.

To help address expanding needs, the tax collector’s office relocated its Land O’ Lakes office to a building next door, in October 2017. The building, previously occupied by the county’s health department, underwent a renovation supported by $1.4 million in county funds.

The Land O’ Lakes office has Saturday hours, too.

Graves also complimented the friendly nature of the tax collector’s staff.

“They all act as if they want to be there,” agreed Suzanne Beauchaine, executive director of the chamber. “They’re happy serving the community.”

Graves and Beauchaine said they have personally witnessed humble attributes of a leader in Fasano.

“The fact that Mike Fasano is the tax collector and you walk in there – he’s right there to say hello to you,” said Beauchaine. “He’s hands-on.”

In addition to attracting Fasano’s staff and chamber members, some Pasco residents also attended the award ceremony — which also recognized the tax collector’s work involving charitable organizations.

The Heart of Pasco Award is given out every four months to Central Pasco organizations for their community outreach – especially for charitable work.

Phyllis Bross, is a chamber member, who also serves as vice chair of the Community Aging and Retirement Services organization.

She said she’s seen Fasano work on behalf of the non-profit group which assists senior citizens in Pasco County.

The tax collector’s office has been involved in helping to raise money for numerous community causes and organizations.  In fact, the office has helped 58 different charities and organizations, with some being helped more than once, according to Greg Giordano, who keeps track of the efforts for Fasano’s office.

Last year, for instance, Fasano and his staff put together cookbooks to sell to raise funds for the local animal shelter.

Bross said Fasano obviously values his employees and they work together, like a family.

Under his leadership, the staff has seen their hourly wages increase by more than $5.

Fasano sees this as an expression of appreciation for his team’s hard work and dedication.

“We could not come close to the success we have if it wasn’t for the employees at the tax collector’s office,” Fasano said.

Since becoming the Pasco County tax collector in 2013, Mike Fasano and his staff have sought community support through the office for dozens of charities.

Bikers Care Charities
Support Our Troops
Salvation Army’s Annual Red Kettle Drive
Farm Share Annual Holiday Food Giveaway
Be a Santa to a Senior Annual Holiday Gift Collection
Lighthouse for the Blind
The Volunteer Way
Hernando Pasco Hospice
Guardian ad Litem Recruitment Drive
Sertoma Speech & Hearing Foundation
Donate Life/ Lifelink Foundation
Center for Independence (now known as the Arc Nature Coast)
AAA Traffic Safety Foundation
Florida Breast Cancer Foundation Annual Campaign
Terri’s Tears Foundation
Toys 4 Tots Annual toy drive
Veterans Flag Pin Collection Drive
One Community Now’s Annual Hunger Walk
Salvation Army’s Domestic Violence Program
American Heart Association’s National Wear Red Day for Women Campaign
Big Brothers/ Big Sisters of Tampa Bay
Take Stock in Children
Pasco Kids First
Lauren’s Kids
Pasco Sheriff’s K-9 Foundation
Stop Heart Disease
Community Volunteer Corps
Pasco Fine Arts Council
Kiddy-Up Ranch
AFIRE of Pasco
PACE Center for Girls
Pasco Education Foundation
Metropolitan Ministries
Alzheimer’s Family Organization
ASAP of Pasco
Two Good Soles Shoes & Socks Drive
Moffitt Cancer Center
Restored Hope
Blanket Tampa Bay/ Blanket Pasco County
NAMI of Pasco
CARES – Pet Program
Smile Faith Foundation
Homeless Coalition of Pasco
Tax Collector’s Backpack Giveaway
Good Samaritan Clinic
Hurricane Irma Victims Relief – Pasco County
Feeding Pasco’s Elderly
Nourish to Flourish
Sheriff’s Explorer’s Post #916
Special Olympics of Pasco
Connections Job Development Program
CARES – Senior Health Care Center
Catholic Charities Women’s Shelter
RAP House
Shriner’s Christmas in July Toy Drive
Hudson Boy Scout Troop #545
The ROPE Center
Pasco Friends of Animal Services
Published January 16, 2019

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