(Editor’s Note: Both Democratic candidates in the race for Ohio County Assessor were asked to reply to five questions concerning the future leadership of the office. The stories will be published based on the order the replies were received from a total of 16 candidates running for Assessor, the Board of Education, County Clerk, and County Sheriff.)
Her professional experience in real estate and with the Ohio County Assessor’s Office allows April Luv to be confident that she could lead the office in the right direction if chosen by voters on May 10.
Luv has enjoyed a career in real estate sales with Century 21 and Kennen & Kennen Realtors, and she also held the position of Real Estate Manager for the Assessor’s Office. She works with property owners, with placing values, and collaborating with fellow staff members.
A graduate of West Virginia Northern Community College, Luv is close to a year away from acquiring a bachelor’s degree from West Liberty University. She was born and raised in Wheeling, and the area is where she decided to raise her three children. She also is a member of the Democratic Women’s Committee and Corpus Christi Parish.
Why have you chosen to run for this position at this time?
When I began pondering the idea of running for Ohio County Assessor, I asked myself this question many times. I have had much encouragement from many residents of Ohio County, I loved my career in real estate, and I enjoyed working at the assessor’s office. But, for me, the choice was really about how I could make a difference for my community and still do what I love. So, my decision to run is based on my desire to bring better government to the people of Ohio County through credible and accurate property assessments, excellent taxpayer services, and transparency in the office of Ohio County Assessor. It comes down to this — making a difference.
How important do you believe online services are at this time when it comes to the operation of the Ohio County Assessor’s Office?
Online taxpayer services are an essential component of what I am advocating for in the Ohio County Assessor’s Office. Ideally, I would like to see a user-friendly, integrated online system that encompasses access to property assessments, property tax invoices, property tax payments, estimated tax prepayment options, all taxpayer forms relevant to the assessor’s office, online filing, and property permit status information. One system that integrates all of the property information will make a decent system better and put the taxpayer in total control of their account.
I believe a system that integrates all of this information will be beneficial to homeowners, home buyers, businesses, and the county offices in general. Creating transparency and working together with other county offices will establish the following benefits:
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Property account access 24 hours a day
Availability of opting in or out of paperless billing
Green alternative to mailing property information and invoices
Access to property assessment information
Access to payment options
Access to online requests for site visits
Reduction in last-minute visits to pay an invoice
Reduction in missed deadlines
Reduction in penalties for missed payments
Access to property tax prepayment options that will reduce the impact of a lump sum payment
Access to permit status for each property
Access to all taxpayer forms relevant to the assessor’s office
Reduction in time, money, and resources for the assessor’s office
Everything is in one place and can be accessed by property owners and county offices.
Do you believe constituent services could be improved in the assessor’s office, and if so, how?
I believe constituent services could be improved in the Ohio County Assessor’s Office in several ways. Providing fair property assessments accompanied by customer service excellence will greatly improve the constituent tax paying experience. Streamlining taxpayer services through technology and an integrated online system will make the office more efficient in assisting taxpayers. Continuing education and training will aid the staff in assisting taxpayers and answering their questions. Advocating for transparency in the Ohio County Assessor’s Office will greatly improve constituent services because they will know that I am representing them through openness, communication, and accountability.
How will you work to improve the working relationship between the assessor’s office and the Ohio County Clerk’s Office?
I will work to improve the professional relationship between the Ohio County Assessor’s Office and the Ohio County Clerk’s Office by being honest, competent, and hard working. I will communicate with candor and openness. I will take ownership of my responsibilities and will always strive to improve my skills, capabilities, and experiences. Most importantly, I will foster a friendly environment for taxpayers, employees, and other county officials.
Would you lobby state lawmakers to alter the property valuation process that is mandated by West Virginia code? If so, what would you like to see changed? If not, why not?
I would lobby state lawmakers to alter the property valuation process that is mandated by West Virginia code for several reasons.
I would request that we reevaluate the cycle of property visits from a three-year cycle to a two-year cycle in order to provide homeowners and businesses with the most accurate property assessment possible.
I would request that the assessor’s office notify property owners of an increase in their property assessment from the current 10 percent increase to a 5 percent increase notice. This will allow property owners to stay abreast of changes prior to them being a “sticker shock,” thereby reducing the number of hearings with the Ohio County Commissioners.
I would request that we evaluate offering a percentage discount to those property owners who establish a prepayment plan for estimated property taxes for the following year.