Recorder fees denied
June 7, 2013
Summit County surveyors, appraisers and Realtors breathed a sigh of relief as the County Council decided not to institute new user fees to access recorder documents at Wednesday’s public hearing.
The resolution, which would have charged subscription fees to patrons of the County Recorder’s Basic and Premium Data Portals, received heavy public opposition, with almost a dozen citizens going before the council to speak against it.
Recently the Recorder’s Office has gone through the process of digitizing and cataloguing information on survey plats, property ownership, acreage and more at great cost to the County. Including the costs of software, staff, licensing and other factors, County Information Technology Director Ron Boyer estimated the digital archive system cost the County roughly $720,000.
The records also date all the way back to 1862, according to County Recorder MaryAnn Trussell, with the input of a great amount of staff hours.
The fee system that was proposed would have charged a range of $5 per day to $700 per year for Basic Access, while subscribers to Premium Access would have paid $2,400 for six months and $4,800 for one year with a one-time installation fee of $250 and a one-time licensing fee of $750.
These proposed fees were not welcomed warmly by the citizens present. Marc Brostrom, Account Manager of US Title in Park City, was the first to voice his opposition.
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"There are Realtor agents that will be charged $700 a year just to access basic information," Brostrom said. He noted that Realtors will just come to his company to search records. "My concern is that we wouldn’t be able to provide a kind of service to our customers if we’re overwhelmed with little requests."
A common theme among those opposed to the fees was that the documents and plat maps available were public and should be available for free. Jeff Spencer, President of the Park City Board of Realtors, expressed this sentiment.
"These are public documents. We make minutes available for free, we make agendas available for free. These are public documents and they should be free," Spencer said.
Council members such as Roger Armstrong, however, disagreed. Since one-third of the Recorder’s office is supported by taxpayers, he said, to make these documents free for those using them is unfair to the taxpayers.
"There should be a reasonable fee charged for access to this data. I’m not sure that the fee proposed is the right fee the idea of paying nothing doesn’t seem reasonable to me," Armstrong said.
Another speaker, Art Brothers, Branch Broker with RealtiCorp Park City, conveyed a deep moral objection to the fee proposal.
"What this is is a stealth tax," Brothers said. "Everybody in this county, whether they rent or they own, is going to pay this fee. It will be passed through."
With the resolution failing to pass, there will be no subscription fees for the Basic Access Data Portal. The six-month and one-year Premium Access fees for title companies and agencies will still apply. For questions, contact the Recorder’s office at (435) 336-3238.