Digital age for county records and taxation

The digital age is coming to Anoka County’s property records and taxation department.

On the recommendation of its Management Committee, the Anoka County Board has awarded a contract to US Imaging Inc. in the amount of $735,187 to provide digital imaging services.

This work will convert archived property records and taxation documents to digital.

“This project will provide electronic access to all recorded documents in Anoka County, eliminating the need to maintain multiple forms of microfiche and microfilm readers for public access to these records,” said Larry Dalien, Anoka County division manager of property records and taxation.

Some of these records date back to the 1880s, according to Jonell Sawyer, director of property assessment and taxation.

The project will be done in two phases, Sawyer said.

Starting Nov. 13, US Imaging Inc. parked a trailer outside the Anoka County Government where it digitally scanned existing microfiche rolls and jackknife microfiche, she said.

That was expected to take two weeks, Sawyer said.

Then next spring, probably in April, US Imaging will return to convert all the existing cards as well as paper documents, many of those in books, to digital, she said.

That process is expected to take four weeks, Sawyer said.

According to Sawyer, many of the older documents are short with more than one document on a page of the book.

When digitally converted, each document will be on one page, Sawyer said.

In addition, handwriting styles are an issue with some of the older documents, she said.

However, the older books are not in too bad a shape, Sawyer said.

The digital conversions will include all torrens documents, according to Sawyer.

Once completed, the public will be able to access all the documents via computer terminals located in the government center, Sawyer said.

No longer will they have to pore over books or microfiche, she said.

According to Dalien, adequate funds for the project are available from recorder technology and compliance funds, which come from fees paid for purchase of documents.

In addition, the contract with US Imaging also includes conversion of miscellaneous documents in the elections and vital statistics area, Dalien said in a report to the Management Committee.

Peter Bodley is at [email protected]