The Rock Island County Recorder will be able to move to from the courthouse to the county office building, after all. Tuesday night, the county board approved spending 1.3 million dollars to digitize property records dating back to 1835.
Studies had shown the old record books would be too heavy for the office building. So County Recorder Kelly Fisher came up with a plan that would put the old records on computer, so the books could be stored elsewhere.
"The books are beautiful. The really old ones are all hand-written, in the calligraphy handwriting and they're very historical, but we can't get rid of them. It's actually against the law to dispose of the books. So we'll always have them with us but it'll just be nice to free up a little office space."
The county will pay half the cost - from the general fund, and from fees collected by the Recorder's office. And Fidlar Technologies will loan the other half to the county, that'll be paid off over the next five years.
"It's a win-win situation because it's not going to put a burden on the taxpayers. It's basically going to be paid for by the fees that are already coming in to my office."
Fisher says scanning of the property record books will begin next month, and the project should be completed in about one year.
The property records on paper, date from 1835 to 1960, and fill up 2,500 books - with each one weighing anywhere from 20 to 60 pounds. In 1960, the Rock Island County Recorder switched to keeping the records on micro-film, and then replaced that with computers in 1992.