Suggs to retire after serving Clay County residents for 30 years

Longtime Property Appraiser to be replaced with Tracy Drake

By Bruce Hope bruce@opcfla.com
Posted 8/26/20

GREEN COVE SPRINGS – Thirty years is a long time, but when you are doing what you love, time flies. Just ask Roger Suggs, who will turn over the reins as the Clay County Property Appraiser at the …

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Suggs to retire after serving Clay County residents for 30 years

Longtime Property Appraiser to be replaced with Tracy Drake

Posted

GREEN COVE SPRINGS – Thirty years is a long time, but when you are doing what you love, time flies. Just ask Roger Suggs, who will turn over the reins as the Clay County Property Appraiser at the end of this year.

Suggs joined the Property Appraiser’s office in 1990 and has been there ever since. He was the Assistant Property Appraiser until he was elected Appraiser in 2008 and officially took office in January of 2009.

“The job itself has been a blessing,” Suggs said. “It’s a big job. The property appraiser, as far as a government agency, has a big role in local government. The assessment role is something that all of the taxing authorities use to help them balance the budgets every year through the revenue that comes off the taxes – just the interaction with all of the folks that live in Clay County. Probably 75% of all the residential properties in Clay County have a homestead on them. Which means the people live here. They live here, they raise their families, so these are the people you see in the grocery store every day. I’ve enjoyed the interaction with the citizens. I’ve enjoyed the interaction with local government. It’s been a fantastic opportunity.”

Tracy Drake, the current Assistant Property Appraiser, will take over on Jan. 5. He has worked with Suggs at the office since 1993 and as his assistant since 2011.

“Roger is arguably the most knowledgeable person as it relates to Ad Valorem tax that I’ve ever met,” said Drake. “Very professional, very thorough, very fair. I think what I’ve learned from working with Roger is… the one thing he’s always instilled in the staff is to be fair and to treat the taxpayers with respect and understanding that they probably have limited understanding of what we do. He’d always tell us to listen to the taxpayer and be fair.” Drake said Suggs has also set a very high standard that has made all the employees of the better by working with him.

“He’s a very humble guy,” said Drake. “He loves the county. He’s very appreciative of the fact that he’s earned a good living that will provide him with an opportunity to retire well. He’s got a good sense of humor. He really does. He’s one of those people I think you have to get to know a little bit, but a great sense of humor once you know him.”

Suggs is proud of the improvement that’s taken place during his tenure. As of now, there is only one person at the office who was there when he started.

“Watching the staff at the Property Appraiser’s Office just get more and more professional and better at their job; it’s rewarding from a mentor point of view to see that happen.”

Suggs has dealt with a lot over the years, and like anyone else who is stepping away from a lifelong occupation, has things he will and won’t miss.

He doesn’t expect to close his eyes at night and see numbers or pieces of property dancing in front of him. He’s spent a lot of time over the years worrying about whether or not everything on the tax roll is correct. Whether all the t’s were crossed, and I’s were dotted will no longer be a concern for him. He does expect to miss the job, though, because it’s the only thing he has ever done.

“I started in this career right out of high school, while I was going to junior college in 1979. So, it’s the only thing I’ve ever known. I’ll miss the job. I’ll miss the staff. I’ll miss all of those employees because we’ve been there for a long time,” he said.

Suggs has two grandsons, one of whom is a fishing fanatic. When he finally hangs it up, he foresees spending lots of time with his grandkids, bonding with their poles in the water.

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