County to contract with state to do microfilm work

Friday, January 11, 2019

Having operated without a county microfilm department for more than four months, Putnam County will soon have the State of Indiana do such work for it.

In recent years, with the increasing digitization of records, necessary microfilm work has dwindled to the point that before former director Cheryl York resigned in August, her job was only part time.

In the time since the Putnam County Commissioners have looked into alternatives to replacing another part-time employee whose workload is likely to continue decreasing.

“Due to the new records system from the state, that microfilm office is becoming obsolete,” Commissioner David Berry said.

At the same time, even the light load of work has continued to stack up and will continue to do so.

“We still have items every day that need microfilmed,” Commissioner Rick Woodall said during the first meeting of 2019 on Monday.

The commissioners plan to move forward with future microfilm work performed by the imaging and microfilm service at the Indiana Archives and Records Administration.

Utilizing the state agency will come at a cost savings to the county over employing someone even in a part-time capacity.

Once the partnership is up and running, records that need to be microfilmed can simply be emailed to the State Archives.

Additionally, by having the state do the work, there will be duplicated physical copies of the microfilm in Indianapolis and Greencastle.

Having the physical copies of microfilm also has the advantage of not simply existing in the digital realm.

“The state has advised us to go ahead and keep microfilming everything so that we have everything,” Woodall said.

In the meantime, the boxes of work that have piled up since August will need to be delivered to Indianapolis.

To perform this work, the commissioners approved contracting someone to coordinate with the state and get all of the records to the state.

The person hired will have three months to do the work and be paid $3,000 in three installments -- at the start, halfway through and once work is completed.

Once the process is complete, the county can use the physical space of that office to accommodate the new third county court that needs to be up and running in July.

Additionally, Woodall has discussed using some of the money no longer being spent on microfilm to assist the budget for hiring an IT specialist.

In fact, one IT question was asked of the board, with a resident wondering when commissioners expect to have a more reliable hosting site for the county website.

“Hopefully we will get that resolved so that you can access it 24 hours a day,” Woodall said.

In other business:

• The commissioners kept their officers the same for 2019. District 2 Commissioner Woodall remains as president, while District 1 Commissioner Berry will continue as vice president.

Don Walton of District 3 added his affirmative vote to both decisions.

• The commissioners will adopt a fairhousing ordinance during their next meeting.

A rather routine matter, the ordinance will simply be an adoption of the state guidelines. The county needs to have these adopted in order for Van Bibber Lake to be eligible for grants the commissioners agreed to co-sponsor back in August.

• The second Putnam County Commissioners meeting of January will be at 9 a.m. Tuesday, Jan. 22 on the first floor of the courthouse.

The meeting would normally be on the third Monday, but county offices are closed on Jan. 21 for Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

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