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Porter County recorder’s office starts to go digital

Updated: December 12, 2013 6:15AM



VALPARAISO — The Porter County Recorder’s Office is going digital.

Recorder Jon Miller hopes 25 percent of the documents his office receives will be digital by the end of the year.

“I think it’s a goal that’s easily attainable,” he said, adding the switch will streamline his office and allow his staff to focus on other tasks, including scanning old documents so they are backed up and available online.

This week, he approached the Board of Commissioners about a memorandum of understanding with eRecording Partners Network. The deal will allow electronic documents to import into the software in Miller’s office, and also will allow title companies and the like to submit documents digitally.

The recorder’s office has a similar agreement with the company Simplifile, since title companies have contracts with different electronic recording firms. There is no cost to the county for the service; the title companies and those submitting documents pay the fees.

“For the average citizen, their benefit is going to be getting their documents and getting them on time,” he said.

Now, Miller said his office gets bundles of documents from title companies each day. If any of those documents is incomplete, it must be physically sent back to the title company to be corrected, then sent back in. If his office gets an incomplete title digitally, it can be returned, corrected and sent back in a matter of hours.

“It’s a win-win for everybody,” he said, adding the service could be up and running by Nov. 18, if not sooner.

Part of the plan includes land conveyance records also going online. Those go through the auditor’s office and the assessor’s office before they come to the recorder. Document routing would simplify that process, Miller said.

There is a nominal one-time fee for that software, but Miller said the recorder’s perpetuation fund would handle the cost, so it is not coming out of the county’s general fund.

He hopes that, within two to three years, half the documents coming to his office could arrive digitally, something Allen County already has accomplished.

“It’s going to free us up to do some things I want to get done,” he said.

That includes scanning and indexing documents dating to the county’s founding in 1836. His office has documents dating from that time through the 1970s that must be scanned in so they are preserved and more easily accessed by the public.

Ultimately, going digital also may mean the recorder’s office will need fewer employees than the seven it has now (including Miller).

“There will be an evaluation of needs done two to three years down the line. It could be a reduction in force through attrition,” Miller said. “I will not be swinging an ax around because I have a great staff.”



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