During the pandemic, it has become very difficult for towns and municipalities to continue to conduct business as usual with their citizens due to COVID-19 safety concerns. With limited hours of access to town facilities to protect town workers and in most cases, an entirely paper-based land record management system, the ability for towns to respond to requests for public records was extremely limited. This in turn has had a direct impact on developers, homeowners and business owners looking to get permits, access property information and perform real estate transactions. Without this access, towns are unable to generate income through property taxes and permit fees, which is especially needed at this time.
In July of 2020, after a statewide fact gathering exercise on the impacts of COVID, the state of Vermont allocated $2M through the CARES Act Corona Relief Funds to help towns and cities digitize their land records. The funds specifically cover vendor contract fees for scanning from paper to PDF all existing land records regardless of age or format and making them available via an online portal. The goal of the Coronavirus Municipal Records Digitization Grant is to reduce the effects of the pandemic by resuming the ability to open town offices for property transfer activities by getting digital access to land records for town workers.
Recordsforce was the main scanning vendor involved with numerous towns participating in the VT land records project and is working with the municipalities to digitize the physical land records and upload the documents to an online portal. The process is as follows:
2. The land records are scanned with our high quality scanner and the documents are digitized.
3. Once all of the land records are digitized, they are uploaded to their online portal.
The land records are now able to be accessed publicly, as well as for remote property transfer activities. These Vermont municipalities are now able to continue their business as usual and generate the income that is so necessary at this time for our local governments.
Bill Becker, Recordsforce CEO says, “We are proud to assist the many towns and cities of Vermont get back on their feet. By allowing them to access these once paper-based land records via the cloud, they can get back to business. Additionally, through digitizing we are creating disaster recovery for these historically significant records. We believe this is an important step in preserving the heritage of Vermont.”