Hillsborough County Property Appraiser Bob Henriquez was elected four years ago to succeed Rob Turner, who was ousted in a misconduct scandal. Henriquez has righted the ship by modernizing the office, rebuilding morale and making it easier and more transparent for property owners to navigate the appraisal process. Henriquez has done a good job, and he deserves another term.
Henriquez, 52, is a Tampa native who formerly worked for a builders association and as a county planner. The Democrat represented West Tampa in the Florida House for eight years, ending in 2006, before becoming a regional administrator for the state's child welfare agency. As property appraiser, he has made key improvements, from launching a modern website to making the appraisal process more open for private citizens and real estate professionals alike.
Henriquez also has cut costs, consolidating his office, cross-training the staff and making better use of technology and energy-efficient equipment. His strong sense of fairness and professionalism are important qualities, given the appraiser's legal obligation to follow state standards in producing a fair and accurate tax roll.
Todd Donovan Jones, a private-sector appraiser, is a first-time candidate who promises to improve the fairness of the appraisal system. But Jones, 59, does not make a compelling case that Henriquez is not performing well. The Republican has the technical qualifications, but this job involves many skills, from leadership and judgment to a familiarity with government operations. He cannot match Henriquez on those points. It also is concerning that Jones sees economic development as part of the appraiser's role. This job has a much narrower obligation of accurately capturing the market.
Henriquez is tried and tested as an elected official. He is an honest public servant who has served his community in many important capacities. Henriquez is visible and forward-looking, and the sense of trust he has earned over the years carries to the appraiser's office. He instills public faith in the very system for financing the government.
For Hillsborough County property appraiser, the Tampa Bay Times recommends Bob Henriquez.