Recorder ready to update equipment

LISBON – Columbiana County Recorder Theresa Bosel is preparing to act on a state loan obtained two years ago by her predecessor to upgrade office operations.

Bosel met with county commissioners this week seeking their approval to sign off on the $100,000 loan obtained in 2012 through the Ohio Department of Development’s Local Government Innovation program by former recorder Craig Brown.

The 10-year, no interest loan would be used to replace two 11-year-old copiers and purchase new label and receipt printers for each of the office’s public computer work stations, which are now incompatible with the system because of a software upgrade.

Most of the loan will cover the cost of taking records previously digitized by two different companies and combining them into a unified format – so they look exactly the same – and placing them on a single hard drive, where they would be available online through the office website.

“I think we could operate with the staff we have if we could put that information in one place,” Bosel said.

Commissioners told Bosel they had no problem officially entering into the loan agreement but preferred to wait a week so they could study the contract.

Commissioner Mike Halleck suggested funding for the loan payments come from the extra money Bosel’s office is to receive because of a state-mandated change in how recording fees are distributed between the state, county recorders and commissioners.

“Our concern is only the repayment issue,” Halleck said.

The change will result in Bosel receiving an estimated $60,000 in additional recording fee revenue annually over the next five years, which will come from the portion that goes to commissioners, who then cut her 2014 budget allocation by $15,000.

Bosel agreed this would be enough for her to make the $10,000 annual loan payments. Bosel said she would like to pay the loan off in five years because that is how long her office is supposed to receive the $60,000 extra per year.

Brown obtained the grant in 2012, the same year he lost his re-election bid, but never followed through on its implementation, Bosel said. The grant required a match from the county, which Brown was able to accomplish when Chesapeake Exploration agreed to pay $250,000 to digitize records between 2008 and 2012.