Marshall County residents will see an increase in recording fees at the county clerk's office next month, as counties statewide implement changes in the new year.
"Mainly, it's deeds and mortgages and powers of attorney. Stuff like that," Marshall County Clerk Tim York said. "It's the stuff that we record down in the vault, but it's not motor vehicle liens. They did not go up."
The Kentucky General Assembly approved the statewide changes earlier this year as part of Senate Bill 114 and it's effective Jan. 1, 2020. Gov. Matt Bevin signed the bill into law in late March.
The cost increase applies to dozens of standard recording fees charged by Kentucky county clerk's offices for a variety of documents, such as deeds, mortgages, marriage licenses, wills and others. Some revenue generated by recording fees goes to the state, according to York, who explained that around $50,000 of approximately $142,000 collected in 2018 went to the state. The other revenue helps with operational costs.
It's the first increase for these type of fees in many years, said York.
"In 2018, the county clerk's office collected about $10.2 million dollars and the fees that we're talking about going up was $142,000 of that $10.2 million, so we're not talking about a huge part of the business of the county clerk's office," he said. "But those are permanent records that we have to keep.
"We've got staff down there. There's lawyers down there, titling companies looking at stuff all the time on those records, so it's not like we can just put them in a storage room somewhere. They're records that are used constantly."
As an example of costs, York cited the $3,797 purchase of a new plat cabinet that can hold 200 plats. He said plats are currently $20 a piece and 200 plats garners $4,000, so there was $203 left after buying storage equipment, which is "difficult to sustain."
The clerk's office also buys special paper for recording since they're permanent records and are supposed to last.
"We have to pay costs associated with this," York added. "These are supposed to be user supported documents. It's not like there's a tax rate that pays for this stuff. The way that those documents are maintained is through the fees that are paid into this office."
According to deputy clerk Holly Moore, the Marshall County Clerk's Office averaged 150 deeds, 135 mortgages and about 25 marriage licenses per month in the last quarter.
"We do a lot of different documents, but the most common are deeds and mortgages," she said. "Anything that deals with real estate, this office records."
There are many different fees affected by the changes, but here are some of the common transactions:
* Mortgages will increase from $17 for the first three pages and $3 for each additional page to $80 for the first 30 pages and $3 for each additional page.
* A marriage license will go up from a $35.50 flat fee to $50.
* Wills increase from a $8 flat fee to $47 for the first five pages and then $3 for each additional page.
* Deeds and power of attorney documents are currently $17 for the first three pages and $3 for each additional page. They will increase to $50 for the first five pages and then $3 for each additional page.