Historic Documents Preservation Account Advisory Committee
Van Block Facility
March 30, 2011
Members Present: State Librarian Kendall Wiggin, CSL; Public Records Administrator LeAnn Power, CSL; Preservation Librarian Jane Cullinane, CSL; Building Consultant Mary Louise Jensen, CSL; Fiscal Administrator Mark Smith, CSL; Joyce P. Mascena, Glastonbury Town Clerk; Therese Pac, Bristol Town Clerk; Carla Pomprowicz, Hebron Town Clerk; Ginger Salisbury, Southbury Town Clerk; Antoinette Spinelli, Waterbury City Clerk; and Sandi Wieleba, East Hampton Town Clerk.
Members Absent: State Archivist Mark H. Jones, CSL; Nancy Bray, Colchester Town Clerk; Joseph Quartiero, Torrington Town Clerk; Lisa Valenti, North Branford Town Clerk; Patty Strauss, Westport Town Clerk; and Louisa Trakas, Plainfield Town Clerk.
Others Present: Public Records Archivist Lizette Pelletier, CSL; Field Archivist Kathy Makover, CSL
I. The State Librarian called the meeting to order at 1:03 p.m.
II. The members reviewed the minutes of the October 20, 2010 meeting. The minutes were approved on a voice vote.
III. There were no introductions.
IV. Fiscal Report
Mark Smith reviewed the fiscal report that was in the committee’s meeting packet. Revenue through February 28 was down an average of 3.7% which is an improvement from the 15% decrease at the time of the last meeting in October. The State Librarian is hopeful that we will end the fiscal year with revenue equal to FY 2010. The town clerks say they are not busy with recordings at this time.
Kathy Makover reviewed the monthly receipts report, which tracks the recording fees according to the actual date of collection in the town clerks’ offices, rather than by the date the revenue is received at the State Library. With nearly complete figures through January, it indicates increased recordings for the months of November through January over the prior year.
V. Old Business
1. FY 2011 Grants: Kathy reported that grant recipients are submitting final reports as they complete their projects. This is helpful to the staff as there will not be a large number of reports to request from clerks when the final deadline is approaching. She has received 4 requests to amend grant projects to date. Two requests have been finalized and 2 are still in process. The deadline for filing amendments is April 30th.
2. FY 2012 Grants: Kathy has received 40 grant applications for the current grant cycle. There is another month until the application deadline of April 30th, and many towns submit their applications just before the deadline.
3. Census Figures: The new population figures for Connecticut were released on March 9, 2011. Lizette has tried to find the town population figures comparing 2000 and 2010. The U.S. Census website is not very user friendly. One report only lists 20 representative towns; another has the current figures broken out by geographical areas within municipal boundaries including boroughs. Based on the limited information available at this time, it appears that one town has moved into a higher population bracket.
B. Workshops & Training:
1. Staff is working to organize a hands-on disaster recovery training for June 14th at the Middletown Library Service Center. There would be two half-day sessions taught by Donia Conn from Northeast Document Conservation Center. The registration fee would be $50. The staff is working with Agnes Pier, the Education Chair of the Town Clerks Association, to determine who will handle registration and payments.
The question has come up as to why there is a charge when the workshops used to be offered at no charge. Until 2008, the State Library had funds available to subsidize the workshops and put funds towards this purpose. The statutes governing the grant program, however, do not provide for training to be paid through State Library funds, but allow clerks to use their dollar funds to attend training.
Kathy asked if there would be sufficient attendance on that date given that only 23 clerks attended the last workshop and that June is dog licensing month. To cover the costs, both sessions must be full, with 40 registrations in total. The committee members thought that the sessions would fill up. There had been an issue with publicizing the last workshop which shouldn’t be a problem this time.
2. OPRA staff will be teaching the Records Management Module at the December Town Clerks’ School. Chapter 6 of the Town Clerk’s manual will be updated at that time.
C. Real Property Electronic Recording Committee: LeAnn reported that the next committee meeting will be on May 4th at 10:00 AM at the Van Block facility. The members will continue working on the regulations and the MOU.
D. Retention Schedules:
1. OPRA staff has been meeting with representatives from the Town Clerks’ Election Committee, as well as Ted Bromley from the Secretary of the State Office and Registrars Judy Beaudreau and Pam Rapacz, to review the changes to the M6 Elections Schedule. The meetings have been very informative. Staff expects to have the schedule issued by mid-April. LeAnn and Lizette will be attending the Registrar’s Conference on May 11th to provide training. Once M6 has been completed, staff will meet with a committee of town clerks to begin to revise M5.
2. Schedule M10: Land Use and Development Records will be one of the next schedules addressed. A legislator from Fairfield County called the State Librarian regarding the retention of building permits and the Certificates of Occupancy [CO] for the life of structure. LeAnn has spoken to the legislator and extended an invitation to attend the review committee meetings to observe the process. These records carry a number of liability issues for the town.
E. State Archives Report: Mark Jones, the State Archivist, was unable to attend the meeting.
VI. New Business
A. Mortgage Electronic Reporting System [MERS]: The town clerk of West Hartford contacted LeAnn inquiring about the possibility of legislation requiring that mortgage assignments be recorded. Mortgage assignments in West Hartford have dropped from 2,000 a year to only a few hundred. Unfortunately, MERS has ignored similar statutory requirements in other states which are now suing the organization. In addition to the loss of revenue, there are significant legal implications for property owners and the towns if mortgage holders cannot be identified. The State Librarian stated that the real property entities represented on the eRecording Committee also have a stake in this issue. He will bring it up at the next meeting in May.
B. Permanent Paper: Kathy has been researching the permanent paper requirements issued under General Letter 91-1 and the updated requirements in the town clerk’s manual with assistance from Jane Cullinane. The paper used for permanent records is very expensive at $60 to $80 a ream, because it meets permanence standards as well as the highest level durability standards for handling, requiring 100% rag content. She inquired if the clerks were aware of records that have permanence requirements but are not constantly handled, so that permanent paper with 25% rag content or a minimum required poundage would be sufficient. Most paper produced today meets the ANSI standards for permanence cited in the current policies; there may be other preservation concerns as well. However, the availability of electronic versions of many records has reduced usage and handling of some paper records. Some clerks are having issues with fading inks on older records, rather than the durability of the paper. Kathy will continue to research this issue.
C. Legislative Issues:
1. Address confidentiality: Chic Spinelli reported that there will be a hearing on the proposed legislation tomorrow. The new legislation would expand eligible individuals to other protected groups including municipal employees. Joyce Mascena and Joe Camposeo attended the regional conference of the National Association of County Recorders, Elected Officials and Clerks [NACREOC]. They made inquiries about redaction of addresses in other localities. Everywhere else, the information redacted is peripheral to the records, such as social security or account numbers, not an essential component, such as addresses on land records. Issues remain over how long the redaction would be in effect and how the request would be verified.
2. Technology fee: The town clerks were unable to get a meeting with the chair of the Finance Committee until after the deadline for new legislation had passed. They were advised by the chair to reintroduce the last year’s bill rather than try to introduce a new concept of a $7.00 fee to support technology.
D. LeAnn has formally requested that the Attorney General update a 1987 opinion regarding original signatures. DD214s have been the primary document involved with this issue but a number of attorneys have attempted to file court documents with juris numbers assigned by the court in lieu of signatures.
VII. The next meeting is scheduled for July 27, 2011 at the Van Block Facility. Everyone is welcome to share a brown bag lunch prior to the meeting.
VIII. Therese Pac made a motion to adjourn. The State Librarian adjourned the meeting at 2:03 p.m.
Lizette Pelletier, Recorder
March 30, 2011