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San Jacinto News Times - Local News

Copyright 2014 - Polk County Publishing Company

 

Public records easier to access with new technology

 

COLDSPRING -- San Jacinto County Clerk Angelia Steele announced that her office has implemented a new comprehensive system for filing, recording, managing and accessing official public records that will eventually support a fully Web-based process. With the approval of commissioners court, the county has contracted with ACS Enterprise Solution, Inc., a subsidiary of Xerox Corporation to provide the new governmental software and technology. "One of the many responsibilities of the county clerk's office is to record, maintain and provide access to public records," said Steele, "this system provides fewer and faster steps from the recording process to the public's viewing of the documents. This new system should drastically reduce the time between recording a document and our customer receiving the recorded document." Robert Roth, an independent landman, is certainly happy to see the new system. "With the old system, you would have to conduct two searches on a name to determine if the person had sold the property," said Roth, "but with this new system, one input of a name will result in a display of all property transactions associated with that person and you can now conduct a search strictly by the survey/abstract that the property is located." According to Steele, this ability to conduct a search by survey/ abstract will be very beneficial to her oil and gas customers and to the surveyors that must conduct property searches. Another aspect of this new system is the support for commissioners' court minutes. Steele explained that another responsibility of the county clerk is to attend commissioners' court meetings, take minutes and record the minutes and votes as an official public record. With this new system, the public and county officials will be able to use a simple search interface and search the minutes for a specific topic. "If you wanted to know if the commissioners' court discussed and took a vote regarding Robinson Road, all you would have to do is type in Robinson Road, and the interface will search the minutes," explained Steele, adding, "I believe this will increase the transparency and accountability of our county government and give our citizens an easier avenue to keep abreast of government activities." Having worked in the county clerk's office for 28 years, Steele has seen and worked on many improvements in the office. "One of the constant wishes was to have our records available to the public online," said Steele. "With this new system, hopefully by the end of the year, our records will be available online; thus saving many of our customers a trip to the courthouse just to check for a deed." The testing and implementation of this new system didn't come without a few hitches. According to Steele, the county auditor recently conducted a surprise audit of her office. "This new system also handles the cashiering and according to the auditor, our receipts were off by $57 as a result of the implementation and testing of the new system." Steele explained, "Once we were able to run a full report, a voided receipt for the $57 was found, showing there were no discrepancies." Steele added, "our change fund was found to be in order and the cash count was correct." The county clerk said she hopes the public finds the system to be user-friendly and easy to use. "As I strive to find more ways to bring future technology to the county clerk's office, I'm also thankful that I have a commissioners' court that will work with me to find ways to manage our public records in the most cost effective and efficient means."

 

Polk County Publishing Company