CIRCLEVILLE — The Pickaway County Commissioners are looking to spend some of the CARES Act funding to help digitize records at the Clerk of Courts Office and cut down on foot traffic to that office.

James Dean, Pickaway County Clerk, presented a quote to the commissioners for the upgrade of their online portal and redaction services to remove credit card numbers, social security numbers and other sensitive information from records before the images of documents are posted online.

“It allows us to put these documents online so people can see exactly what they say,” Dean explained. “It gives more accessibility, it’s all of course open records, but this gives us the opportunity to put it all on the Internet. A little more than half of all counties in Ohio have this.”

The quote for the upgrade came in at just under $10,000 for the upgrade with the serve fee being about $1,300 annually. Redaction of the more than 1 million images would cost about $46,000. The Clerk’s office employees already scan all the images.

Currently, the county uses Courtview as their provider for the service and the upgrade charge would be to move to a higher level of software allowing them to add the records online.

The records Dean plans to add go back to 2005 and the records are already scanned by the office.

“We started scanning in 2000 and three years ago, we started using it more,” he mentioned. “We have all the images from 2000 on. When you come in and file, we scan it the day of or the next day.”

Dean, when asked by Commissioner Brian Stewart, indicated there would be no change to their office process as a part of the upgrade since they’re already scanning the documents in.

“The scan goes into the system and then that puts it on the Internet,” he said. “We have five scanning stations in our office and everyone working on their particular case scans it in.”

The plan is to use CARES Act money to pay for the upgrades, but if that isn’t allowed as part of the funding the money is in the clerk’s office fund to pay for it.

The CARES Act provided money from the Federal Government through the state to local governments for protective equipment for employees and also ways to limit visits to individual government offices in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I have the funds available through the Clerk of Courts Computer fund, there’s about $76,000 in there,” he said.

Dean said he hopes the project would be completed by the end of the year.

“It depends on who gets the information and how long they take, but I’m going to say they’re going to have to do it by the end of the year,” he said. “We’re ready to do this. We’ve got the information it’s just how long the two companies take to do this.”

Jay Wippel said he thought this would be a good use of the money.

“I can imagine that folks are going to like this,” he said.

Stewart, who is an attorney with a practice in Circleville, shared that many surrounding counties such as Fairfield, Franklin, Madison and Ross County have such a system in place to view documents online

“It would be great to also have that here too, especially if it’s only $10,000 to implement it and $1,300 moving forward,” he said.

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