March 24, 2023 at 11:04 a.m.
More Chisago County records going digital
Soon you can add the Chisago County Recorder Office documents to cyber library contents.
No longer will people have to rummage through cumbersome, musty, bound books of real estate transactions, marriage and death records, and the thousands of other files the Recorder’s Office maintains.
The County Board last week okayed a plan for 2023 and 2024 to digitize 167,389 documents, beginning back around the late 1880s.
County Recorder Karen Long explained the staff expects to continue to provide service to residents of Chisago County who may ask at the service counter for a copy of a deed or to find out the last few owners of their homestead. But non-taxpayers who have complex requests or anybody who researches records for a living will be directed to use the documents remote system.
Long said money to do this digital cache is sitting in the office’s statutory mandated compliance and technology accounts. These funds have been generated from fees customers pay to file official documents, acquire copies of certificates for passports, or name changes, for real estate paperwork or dozens of other services the County Recorder is responsible for.
The estimated $262,553 for initial set up services in 2023 and $198,701 to finish the system in 2024 is not part of the county levy.
Long continued, explaining that she is not asking to do this to get rid of any hard copy records. She fully supports maintaining old documents in a safe location. The digitization and remote access means the county’s original fragile records can be preserved in a safer and more secure manner.
Having them available on-line will also enhance efficiency, for staff and for users, she added. The records can be better protected from natural hazards, fire, theft and all the other negative things historic files are lost to. Plus the physical space it will free up in the current filing location is invaluable for a growing county.
The companies the county commissioners approved to provide the image making, uploading, website creation and maintenance of the site, include ArcaSearch, Trimin and US Imaging.
As part of the motion authorizing Long to proceed, the county information technology director will be asked to review the technological services, and county attorney staff needs to sign-off on issues of legality and reliability of security. Fees to download certain historic records will be developed to help support direct ongoing expenses.
The county already has remotely accessible real estate records via LandShark that basically professionals subscribe to and this system is not being impacted by this approach on historic records.