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.
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