SIDNEY — The COVID-19 pandemic did not have a negative effect on business in the Shelby County Recorder’s office.
“To the contrary, remarkably low interest rates drove up business,” said Recorder Jodi Siegel. “The Recorder’s office revenue increased 35% from the prior year. 2020 brought nearly $280,000 to the county’s general fund, $40,000 to the Recorder’s equipment fund and close to another $280,000 was collected for the state to benefit the Ohio Housing Trust Fund (pursuant to the Ohio Revised Code). The Ohio Housing Trust Fund provides affordable housing opportunities, expands housing services, and improves housing conditions for low income Ohioans and their families.”
Her report continues:
In 2020, although business volume increased, the COVID-19 pandemic, still presented similar challenges to recorders across the state as it did with other businesses. Recorders across the state implemented operational changes to their offices to suit their individual county’s needs. These changes not only affected the staff, who in many cases they were working with a half-staff for the sake of social distancing, not a lack of business, but it also created many obstacles for the individuals which rely on the recorder’s offices for their business.
This greatly affected the title industry (title searchers, attorneys, paralegals) which in an indirect way affected the banks they were doing work for. These individuals may visit two to five different counties on a typical day which can be a challenge in itself. During this pandemic many counties have had limited hours and several recorders across the state began requiring scheduled appointments due to the small office space they were working in. Not only were their daily schedules more challenging due to all offices having different procedures, but they were also extremely busy and inundated with title search orders. While we were dealing with constant changes to the office, these individuals were dealing with all of them in multiple counties.
Individuals using the Recorder’s office for their work or businesses have been permitted to use the office during the entire pandemic. Although the general public has not been permitted in to the office during most of the pandemic, we have certainly tried to accommodate individuals by assisting them in finding the items needed online or having specific requests available for pick up in the lobby of the Annex.
Shelby County records dating back to 1989 may be searched at uslandrecords.com. In many cases, you will find records back even farther. Having records available online will allow some title searches to be partially done remotely and in some instances, entirely remotely.
Shelby County also has the ability to accept documents electronically for recording. This service has been available for several years. The percentage of documents filed electronically has grown each year. In 2020, 33% of the documents recorded were received electronically, which is up 5% from the prior year.
Although the online search and the electronic filing have been available for years here in Shelby County, they are definitely being utilized by more individuals due to the pandemic. Title searchers still frequent the office, but there has definitely been a decline in the amount of traffic within the office.
Only time will tell if the changes due to the pandemic will be the new norm or if “business as usual” will one day return.