By Matt Youngfrau
SULLIVAN COUNTY October 30, 2001 Last year, longtime Sullivan County Treasurer Dan Briggs resigned his post so he could become County Manager. A special election was held in November, and Briggs longtime deputy, Olga Parlow, won the seat over Sullivan County District 1 Legislator Chris Cunningham.
The term, however, was only for Briggs final unexpired year in office. On November 6, Parlow will be running for her first four-year term, and her opponent is former Liberty Mayor Ron Gozza.
"There is a whole lot more to the County Treasurer's office than collecting taxes and accounting," Parlow remarked. "You have to deal with schools, assessors, and many others. There is a tremendous amount of work. It is a multi-tasked office that has a quick turnaround. There is no time for on-the-job training."
"I am excited by what is going on in the county, and I want to be a part of it," commented Gozza. "It will be an opportunity to be a friendly host for any developer who comes to the county. It will be a very user-friendly department."
Olga Parlow, a Republican
Parlow is a lifelong resident of the Town of Forestburgh and graduated from Monticello High School. She has previously worked in real estate, insurance, and as a legal secretary for 13 years. She was Deputy Treasurer for more than 16 years.
As Treasurer, Parlow was part of a committee that developed a program that allowed people to pay off real property taxes via credit cards. She is also part of the committee exploring an installment tax payment plan.
Parlow stated that they are looking at programs and have streamlined their records. The office has also cleaned up some outstanding liens. If reelected, Parlow hopes to continue as she has done and see some of the new programs implemented.
"We have an open door policy," Parlow stated. "We are glad to discuss any problems taxpayers may have. Many don't know the programs or know they have to apply for them. We're here to help."
In the summer, due to missing a deadline, the county tax auction scheduled for October had to be postponed until June 2002. The new deadline to redeem property is November 13. In the extra time, approximately 38 properties have been redeemed for $275,000. Parlow expects more money to come in. However, County Attorney Ira Cohen speculated the losses to top $750,000.
"I don't know if we would have had a successful auction due to the events of September 11," Parlow said. "The auction may have ended up cancelled anyway. The numbers out there are speculative. We hope to offset the losses, and next June we'll be auctioning off two years worth of property."
"Olga has the experience and the integrity for the job," Sullivan County Republican Chair Greg Goldstein commented. "She has served the county well in that office. She did not cover up the problem and admitted the mistake. There is no free ride."
Ron Gozza, a Democrat
Gozza has lived in Sullivan County 40 years. He graduated Liberty High School and attended Orange County Community College for Business Administration. Besides two terms as Liberty Mayor, Gozza has served on the Sullivan County Industrial Development Agency Board, Sullivan First, and the Greater Liberty Chamber of Commerce, among others. He is married with three children.
Gozza runs the Gozza Agency in Liberty and has worked there for the last 20 years.
"I wanted to get back into public service," remarked Gozza. "I have never been sued. I have done nothing illegal. I did not miss any deadlines. Judge me on my 20 years of business experience and my tenure as mayor."
As mayor, Gozza eliminated a standing $200,000 budget deficit. He procured over $1,000,000 in grants for the village. Gozza received awards for Main Street revitalization and state and federal awards for excellence. Gozza also brought in a new water system in Liberty.
If elected,Gozza promises to deliver a Property Tax Installment Plan. He said all filing deadlines will be met and automation will be increased. He said hell have an open door for all taxpayers.
"Other counties have installment plans, so can we," Gozza stated. "We are way behind in automation. I am well versed in computers and their programs. The office needs to be more efficient. I will seek grants for these programs."
"Ron should be judged on his ability as Mayor," Sullivan County Democratic Chair Bob Krutman said. "He can do the job. The Treasurer's job will be extremely important over the next decade, with economic development and gambling coming in. Ron can handle it."
The election is Tuesday, November 6. Polls will be open until 8 p.m.