On Your Side: Lyon County Candidate owes thousands in back taxes

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Updated: 3/20/2014 5:29 pm
SILVER SPRINGS, Nev. (MyNews4.com & KRNV) -- Campaign season is heating up with the primary elections approaching on June 10. Taxes will be an issue in many of those races, but in one particular race, it's the candidate's own taxes that are becoming the story.

Lyon County Commissioner Vida Keller has filed to run for re-election. Keller says she accomplished a lot in her first term, but News 4 On Your Side has learned she owes the county thousands of dollars in back taxes.

Keller says she deserves to be re-elected, so she is not shying away now that her personal finances have become part of a public campaign. A search of Lyon County property records, as recently as last week, showed Keller owed nearly $8,500 in unpaid taxes for three properties she owns in Silver Springs.

Two of the houses are located on Spring Circle, and the third is on Highway 95A. County officials say some of the payments were nearly three years overdue.

"We simply send out reminder notices," said County Manager Jeff Page. "That's all we can do."

It is an issue that clearly bothers some voters we spoke with. "Yes, it would (affect my vote)," said Fernley resident Sue Gill. "If I have to pay mine, you better pay yours. So that's the way I think."

Keller says her real estate business that she runs out of her home in Silver Springs took a big hit when the economy slumped. She says that is the reason she wasn't able to pay her property taxes.

"No, it's not a concern for me," says Keller. "Like I mentioned, we ran into some economic difficulties, like a lot of folks over the last few years."

Keller told us at the time, she was working to get the situation resolved. The day after we interviewed her, she did made a payment to the county of $2,000. This week, she made two more payments: one for $1,289 and another for $2,526. But she still owes nearly $3,000 in property taxes, including late fees for a home on Spring Circle.

Voters like Richard Kuhnle say as an elected official, Commissioner Keller should not have let her taxes fall behind in the first place. "That's unfinished business that should never have come about for someone representing our state," says Kuhnle, a Silver Springs resident.

Keller says she does not think it's a campaign issue. "If anything, it's a positive issue.  I can relate to any of the folks in this county that has suffered from similar situations."

Keller says she is confident Lyon County is headed in the right direction these days. She is hoping she gets another chance to serve as Lyon County Commissioner. One thing is certain, voters now have one more issue to consider as this campaign kicks off.

Keller's opponent Don Ault declined to comment when asked about Keller's unpaid taxes. For the record, he is a rancher who says he is focusing his campaign on water rights.

News 4 On Your Side will follow up to let you know when Vida Keller does get all of those overdue taxes paid.

News 4 is On Your Side, and we want to hear from you. If you have something you think we should investigate, e-mail Joe Hart at jhart@mynews4.com.
8 Comment(s)
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thetruth - 3/20/2014 10:27 AM
0 Votes
Another out of touch politician.

used2bnvme - 3/20/2014 8:51 AM
1 Vote
A Lyon County Commissioner has a reasonably good PAYING job. You should pay your bills first, including those that support your salary. This person only cares about herself and her well being. If she wasn't running for re-election or lost her bid for re-election and hadn't been exposed for non-payment, do you think she would bother to pay? The article says that since she was exposed, she has paid a hefty portion of her taxes due, which represents that she has the means to pay and simply chose NOT to. She should not get your vote. I admire her opponent for declining to comment. This shows a man of character who rises above personal attacks and focuses on what is important to the voters.

SMarshall - 3/20/2014 6:50 AM
0 Votes
So where is Keller getting to pay the taxes now? Could it be Comstock Mining?

Nevada Gypsy - 3/19/2014 11:23 PM
1 Vote
Some of the properties were bought after the economic down turn - so she must believe - buy property but do not pay the taxes. She was able to contribute to the Lyon County Republican Central Committee $2100 dollars since 2011 but not pay her taxes. Vida Keller has not filed with the Secretary of State the required Contributions and Expenses report for every year it has been required. So how does she finance her campaign? A Complaint was filed with the Secretary of State over a month ago but there has been no response from the Secretary of State.

retired51 - 3/19/2014 10:15 PM
1 Vote
Hey here is an idea...if she can't afford to pay the taxes then SELL THEM!!!

wilson - 3/19/2014 9:58 PM
1 Vote
"We simply send out reminder notices," said County Manager Jeff Page. "That's all we can do." If that were me I would be knee deep in a tax lean by the county. Good Old boys at work! Protect their own........

Davesnothere - 3/19/2014 5:27 PM
2 Votes
If I am behind on my taxes I am subject to the full weight of administrative law. How dare anyone seek a public office paid with tax revenue and fail to pay their taxes on time, ever. I have been in the job market for 40 years and owned my own business for 13 years. I recently sold my business and retired. The business I started remains strong in it's market place. In the course of being in business I have paid millions in taxes. I have never been behind in taxes or defaulted on anything. That is a result of austerity and PLANNING, not luck or good fortune. I feel strongly that those that seek public office and presume to have administrative powers over public funds MUST have a minimum requirement for holding that office. That requirement is that they be current on all of their own taxes and fees or not even be allowed to register as a candidate. The failure to be able to pay taxes is something that a reasonable person can see coming, so deal with it before it is a problem and stay out of trouble. If you are not capable of successful planning with your resources, do not presume to consume mine in terms of salary or control of tax paid public funds.

freedomrings - 3/19/2014 4:17 PM
0 Votes
I think i would rather have a candidate that's experiencing the same economical challenges as the majority of tax paying citizens. That's the problem with congress right now is being totally out of touch with the average citizen.

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