When Bob “Coach” Henriquez first took the reins as Hillsborough County Property Appraiser in 2013, his mantra was to “Rethink, reinvent and reinvigorate.” This required a detailed and often arduous look at how his office achieves all of its statutory duties and responsibilities through the most fair, equitable and ethical practices possible.
Since then, Henriquez has achieved that goal by completing several daunting tasks:
- Added internationally recognized appraisal staff to his senior staff
- Performed multiple feedback and morale surveys to better understand employee needs and concerns
- Completed a total overhaul of his office’s website for greater transparency of real estate and tangible property data
- Transformed an aging collection of vehicles used for field reviews to an efficient fleet of leased hybrid cars
- Replaced an antiquated office telephone system to improve customer services
- Reviewed all business processes to achieve the most cost-efficient, responsible practices
- Eliminated unnecessary office space at the downtown Tampa County Center to reduce costs
- Improved online filing for homestead exemption and added tangible personal property filing
- Added language diversity to his staff to assist Spanish-speaking customers
- Drastically reduced cost of property assessment process by implementing an innovative desktop review software that utilizes aerial imagery
But Henriquez believes this rethinking of how his operates is a never-ending process. Through new technologies and practices, he wants to continue in his role as Hillsborough County Property Appraiser in order to better serve his employer: the taxpayers of Hillsborough County.
“We’ve achieved so much since I first took office, but there’s still so much more we can do for the people of this county,” said Henriquez, a 1986 graduate of Princeton University. “New technologies are always being introduced, new ideas are always coming to us and we should never rest on what we’ve achieved so far. We should always strive to be more efficient, improve on what we do, how we do it and, at the end of the day, always keep our focus on what’s best for our customers.”
On a personal level, Henriquez said he set about being the best property appraiser he could through becoming a Certified Florida Appraiser by successfully completing multiple courses offered by the International Association of Assessing Officers. Henriquez already had a strong background in government and management, serving four terms as a state representative for his Tampa district during the 1990s and early 2000s. He also gave back to his community by serving as Tampa Catholic’s head football coach for 16 seasons.
For the people who live in the Brandon area of the county, Henriquez said his 11 years working with the county’s Planning Commission gave him a unique insight on the needs of citizens in Hillsborough’s eastern and unincorporated area.
“Working for the Planning Commission in the early 1990s, I learned a lot about the complexities and tremendous growth that was coming in the Brandon area,” Henriquez said. “As a result of that experience, and what I have learned since, I know how to fairly and equitably apply property valuation to those areas.”