Board discusses backing up land files

Published 7:30 pm Tuesday, November 7, 2006

Land deeds and titles soon may be backed up on an electronic system that could also provide access over the Internet for land roll searches.

In the wake of Hurricane Katrina, some coastal counties lost many of their records due to water damage. Since there were no backups made prior to the storm, those records could not be recovered.

Pearl River County was not one of those that lost its records, and Chancery Clerk David Earl Johnson wants to try to prevent that from happening. Monday, he asked the Pearl River County Board of Supervisors to avoid such an occurrence with a scanning process that Johnson said he will personally oversee.

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For seven cents a page Delta Computer Systems Inc. can scan all the record books for up to about 32 years into the past and make electronic files of them. Once the process is complete, record research should be able to be conducted over the Internet.

To do the books to about 32 years back will cost about $80,000 which will entail scanning more than one million pages, Johnson said. To go any farther back in the records will cost considerably more since those records are in larger books that are permanently bound. Robert Biles, director of marketing with Delta Computer Systems, said a different scanner would be needed to scan in the big books and that will cost about 30 cents a page.

To protect the files from hackers once they are on the Internet Biles said the files displayed on the Internet will be copies of the original electronic files, so that if a hacker does try to change the files they are only changing copies that are updated from a remote server.

“I think it’s a great step forward,” Johnson said.

“We might step in something but we will step,” District I Supervisor Anthony Hales said.

The board authorized purchase of the index and scanning software.

Work on the courthouse roof will begin soon and demolition of Chimney Square is underway.

County Administrator Adrain Lumpkin said that demolition of Chimney Square is underway, while the contractor to repair to the courthouse roof has been given the order to begin. There are, however, issues with power outages to work out.

Lumpkin said that while roof work on the courthouse is being done, there will be periodic power outages in the courthouse. Planning is underway to find the best route to get the repairs completed without hindering work in the courthouse too much, Lumpkin said. That process probably will keep roof work from beginning for another week, Lumpkin said.

Sandra Morrison with Gulf Coast Women’s Center for Nonviolence presented statistics on the number of people the center has helped in Pearl River County. According to the statistics Morrison presented to the board, the center has provided various services to 505 Pearl River County residents in 2005.

Funding assistance was requested from Pearl River County by the center since there is a satellite office in the county and the office on the Gulf Coast also provides services to county residents. The board has previously agreed to provide assistance, but a lack of communication between the two offices has kept the funding from changing hands, Lumpkin said. The board decided to talk with District Attorney Buddy McDonald before proceeding further on the matter.

In other business the board;

— Accepted proof of publication of the testing of the voting machines.

— Acknowledged Nov. 23 and 24 for Thanksgiving, Dec. 25 and 26 for Christmas and Jan. 1, 2007 for New Year’s as county holidays.

— Approved purchase of a demo pothole patcher with less than 50 hours on it for $48,909.

— Approved purchase of a new fire truck for Amackertown Volunteer Fire Department to be paid mostly with a Fire Act Grant and the balance of $18,059 to be covered with their share of the ad valorem tax collected.

— Held subdivision public hearings for Caesar Oaks, Old Mill Landing and The Grove, Deer Park, Fox Meadow, Park Ridge and Hunter’s Cove at Wildwood.

The board meets again at 9 a.m. Tuesday, Nov. 14.