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 “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 CharitiesSupport Our TroopsSalvation Army’s Annual Red Kettle DriveFarm Share Annual Holiday Food GiveawayBe a Santa to a Senior Annual Holiday Gift CollectionLighthouse for the BlindThe Volunteer WayHernando Pasco HospiceGuardian ad Litem Recruitment DriveSertoma Speech & Hearing FoundationDonate Life/ Lifelink FoundationCenter for Independence (now known as the Arc Nature Coast)AAA Traffic Safety FoundationFlorida Breast Cancer Foundation Annual CampaignTerri’s Tears FoundationToys 4 Tots Annual toy driveVeterans Flag Pin Collection DriveOne Community Now’s Annual Hunger WalkSalvation Army’s Domestic Violence ProgramAmerican Heart Association’s National Wear Red Day for Women CampaignBig Brothers/ Big Sisters of Tampa BayTake Stock in ChildrenPasco Kids FirstLauren’s KidsPasco Sheriff’s K-9 FoundationStop Heart DiseaseCommunity Volunteer CorpsPasco Fine Arts CouncilKiddy-Up RanchAFIRE of PascoPACE Center for GirlsPasco Education FoundationMetropolitan MinistriesAlzheimer’s Family OrganizationASAP of PascoTwo Good Soles Shoes & Socks DriveMoffitt Cancer CenterRestored HopeBlanket Tampa Bay/ Blanket Pasco CountyNAMI of PascoCARES – Pet ProgramSmile Faith FoundationHomeless Coalition of PascoTax Collector’s Backpack GiveawayGood Samaritan ClinicHurricane Irma Victims Relief – Pasco CountyFeeding Pasco’s ElderlyNourish to FlourishSheriff’s Explorer’s Post #916Special Olympics of PascoConnections Job Development ProgramCARES – Senior Health Care CenterCatholic Charities Women’s ShelterRAP HouseShriner’s Christmas in July Toy DriveHudson Boy Scout Troop #545The ROPE CenterPasco Friends of Animal Services