Board OKs deed microfilm project

MARQUETTE – The Marquette County Board approved an expenditure Tuesday of nearly $70,000 from an automation fund to convert 1.4 million land record images in the Register of Deeds Office to microfilm.

The conversion will be conducted by Fidlar Technologies of Davenport, Iowa, the same company used by 14 Michigan counties and the company holding the contract for the software used by the county’s Register of Deeds Office.

“It’s the efficient way to do it,” Marquette County Register of Deeds Pat Manley said. “It’s the safe way to do it.”

In 2003, a state law required the register of deeds in each county to begin depositing $5 from the total fee collected for each recording into an automation fund for advanced technology.

“Since the enactment of the statute, the Marquette County Register of Deeds Office has been following the collection procedure,” Manley said. “We now have substantial funds that can be used to upgrade our record-keeping system.”

The county has nearly 1.4 million images to be converted to microfilm dating back to 1984. Once the initial conversion is made, the cost going forward for each new image converted will be 5 cents.

To approve the expenditure, the county board waived its policy that any expenditure over $10,000 be put out on bids.

“That option is not feasible in this situation,” Manley said in a memo to the board. “Fidlar has been our vendor since 2003 and would be the logical and most efficient choice for this project.”

The county board unanimously approved hiring Fidlar.

John Pepin can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 206.