TAMPA — With one eye focused on saving taxpayer dollars and the other trained on social responsibility, Hillsborough County Property Appraiser Bob Henriquez announced today his office is “Going Green” by replacing the majority of its fleet with gas-electric hybrid vehicles.
The HCPA will be leasing 22 Toyota Prius hybrid cars from Stadium Toyota of Tampa for a period of three years. The move to a nearly all-hybrid fleet is a first among county government agencies. To underscore the HCPA’s commitment to moving its business operations toward a green mindset, the office will be attaining the Prius hybrids in “Sea Glass Pearl,” which is a green paint color offered by Toyota. Moreover, the HCPA will be down-sizing its fleet to save additional resources.
To kickoff this unprecedented era of “green” vehicles for the HCPA, a news conference featuring Henriquez and the Prius cars will be held at Stadium Toyota (5088 N. Dale Mabry Highway, Tampa) on Friday, June 13 at 9 a.m. Members of the media will have an opportunity to inspect the latest innovations of these cutting-edge vehicles, as well as interview Henriquez and Stadium Toyota General Manager Tim Couey.
Not only will the HCPA make huge savings on the cost of fuel and maintenance of its fleet, the 51/48 MPG Prius cars and a gradual fleet reduction will enable the HCPA to leave a much smaller carbon footprint in a county already feeling the effects of increasingly crowded roads and highways.
“As a government agency, the HCPA realizes we have been trusted by the taxpayers to make the utmost of the resources they have given us,” Henriquez said. “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.”
Prior to Henriquez taking the reins of the HCPA in 2013, the office utilized a fleet of traditional internal combustion engine cars. These vehicles, which the HCPA purchased outright several years ago, require much higher fuel costs, and, as the vehicles have aged, have needed increasing repairs and maintenance. By leasing the 22 hybrid cars for a three-year period from Stadium Toyota, the HCPA expects to save thousands of dollars per year in fuel costs. And with its agreement with Stadium Toyota, the HCPA will incur no service and maintenance costs for the Prius vehicles during the entire lease period.
Stadium Toyota earned its contract with the HCPA through a competitive bid process that searched for the lowest monthly lease costs for a fleet of Prius cars, as well as other key factors, including a viable service agreement.
“We at Stadium Toyota are proud to partner with the Hillsborough County Properly Appraiser’s Office,” Couey said. “Prius has been in production for over 13 years. We hope more county and state offices switch to Toyota’s Hybrid Technology for greater fuel savings and a smaller carbon footprint.”
Considering the Prius was recently named Consumer Report’s “Best Green Car” for the 11th straight year, it’s little wonder the HCPA will be saving thousands in taxpayer dollars. In a growing field of hybrid competitors, Consumer Reports rates the Prius No. 1 for overall value and its fuel economy of 51 MPG in city driving and 48 MPG in highway driving is still tops among five-passenger, non-plug-in vehicles. The Prius is also rated as one of the safest vehicles to drive in its class.
The HCPA uses its fleet of vehicles to appraise both residential and commercial properties in the county. In all, that represents nearly 490,000 parcels the HCPA is required to assess. The Property Appraiser prepares the tax roll, but does not collect taxes or determine tax rates. But the taxes that are eventually raised are the funds by which Hillsborough County, the City of Tampa, the City of Plant City and the City of Temple Terrace operate and serve the public.