TAMPA — Employees at the Hillsborough County Property Appraiser’s Office will soon be doing their official traveling in hybrid cars, a change designed to save taxpayers money while reducing the agency’s carbon footprint.
Property Appraiser Bob Henriquez said his office will lease 22 Toyota Prius cars that use a combination of electricity and gasoline. The Prius, which gets 51 miles per gallon in the city and 48 mpg on the highway, was recently named Consumer Report’s “Best Green Car” for the 11th straight year.
“As a government agency, the Hillsborough County Property Appraiser realizes we have been trusted by the taxpayers to make the utmost of the resources they have given us,” Henriquez said in a prepared statement. “Not only does that mean paying close attention to how we allocate those resources, it also means we must consider how our decisions affect the people we serve and the world we live in. By leasing a hybrid fleet for our field appraisal process, we believe we have achieved both goals.”
The property appraiser uses its vehicles to appraise residential and commercial properties. In all, the office inspects nearly 490,000 parcels. With that information, the agency prepares the tax roll. The county commission determines the tax rates, and the county tax collector collects the taxes.
The Priuses will be leased from Stadium Toyota for three-year terms during which the dealer will pay for maintenance.
Henriquez, a Democrat, was elected in 2012, succeeding Republican Rob Turner. Prior to running for property appraiser, Henriquez served in the state Legislature and was director of the Pasco and Pinellas counties division of the state Department of Children and Families.