Tuesday, October 26, 1999

PVA newsletter under fire


GOP: A ploy for election

BY PATRICK CROWLEY
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        NEWPORT — A newsletter Campbell County Property Value Administrator Mariann Guidugli Dunn has mailed to residents a week before the Nov. 2 election is being called a political ploy by county Republicans.

        Mrs. Dunn, a Democrat appointed to the PVA's office in June, said the newsletter was paid for with public money and provides a service and informa tion to homeowners.

        “We had planned this for a long time,” Mrs. Dunn said Monday. “We are having two newsletters, one in the fall and one in the spring. This came out this week because this is the last week people can pay their tax bills and still receive a discount.”

        But Republicans say the newsletter is purely political, giving Mrs. Dunn a chance to use her office to get a piece of campaign material in the voters' hands a week before they go to the polls.

        “Obviously, it's political,” said Alexandria Republican Kevin Gordon, who is running against Mrs. Dunn in next week's election.

        “But beyond that it's a poor use of taxpayers' money. She could have sent this thing out three weeks ago with the property tax bills. But instead, the taxpayers have paid for two mailings.”

        The newsletter includes information about the PVA's office, about how Mrs. Dunn has extended office hours and put information available at the office on the Internet.

        “Part of our plan in this office is to communicate with the public, and that's what the newsletter does,” she said. “It gives people information about what is going on in the PVA's office.”

        But similar newsletters have been used by Campbell County Democrats in past races in the days and weeks prior to elections, said Campbell County GOP Chairwoman Ruth “Sam” Smith of Cold Spring.

        “We've seen this from the Democrats in this county before,” said Mrs. Smith.

        “They say it's a newsletter and it's for information, but it's pretty obvious this is about politics. I mean, the election is next week. Come on,” she said.

        Last October, the Kentucky Republican Party complained about a newsletter sent to resi dents by the Campbell County Fiscal Court. The party claimed the newsletter was a political campaign vehicle for former Democratic Judge-executive Ken Paul, who lost last year's election to Republican Steve Pendery.

        The PVA's office sets property values in the county. The values are then used to determine the taxes owed on a property.

        Gov. Paul Patton appointed Mrs. Dunn to office after former PVA Bill Kaiser, a Southgate Democrat, resigned in April after admitting he took nearly $50,000 from the office.

       



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