Go Figure? County Office Business and Revenue Surges In Pandemic Year
Greg Mortimer, Clarion County Register and Recorder
Even after state pandemic lockdowns and Covid-19 restrictions, Clarion County Register and Recorder Greg Mortimer announced this week his office has turned over its 33rd annual office surplus to the county treasury as document filings moved briskly ahead in 2020 after many years of decline.
“County revenue collected by the office was up substantially from $259,254.93 in 2019 to $283,080.91 in 2020—a 9% increase. With office expenditures amounting to $213,965.33 this past year and office revenue logging in at $283,808.91, the 2020 office surplus given to the county treasury powered-up to $69,115.58 which is one of the largest office surpluses in many years,” Mortimer explained in his report.
“This is the first time since 2003 that the office has seen a large increase in document filings on a year to year basis with 4,861 recordings filed with the Recorder of Deeds Office in 2020 compared to the 4,302 recordings made in 2019. That amounts to a 12% increase year over year for office filings,” Mortimer added.
Mortimer speculated the increase could possibly be the result of record low mortgage interest rates, a more home-centric population due to the pandemic which is concentrating on home and family, and the recent state and national reporting that shows a population moving from larger metropolitan areas to small towns and rural areas over the past year.
The breakdown of the 4,861 documents recorded in 2020 included 1,347 deeds, 1,307 mortgages and assignments of rents, 1,341 satisfactions of mortgages, 60 lease related documents, 251 right-of-ways and easements, 211 mortgage adjustments, 101 subdivision plans, 69 notary bonds and commissions, 59 power of attorneys, 38 financing statements, and 77 miscellaneous filings.
In addition, the number of marriage licenses issued in the county for 2020 fell to 211 from 233 in 2019 but was still above the 207 licenses issued in 2018. Likewise, the number of Register of Wills and Orphans’ Court case file openings fell slightly from 292 in 2019 to 283 in 2020.
Total collections in the office for 2020 included (with 2019 collections noted in parenthesis): Clarion County General Fund-$283,080.91 ($259,254.93)
Commonwealth of Pennsylvania-$187,043.29 ($159,636.00)
Clarion County Records Improvement Fund $9,712.00 ($8,604.00) Clarion County Recorders Improvement Fund $14,568.00 ($12,906.50) Registers/Clerks Automation Fund - $2,190.00 ($2,260.00)
Pa. Inheritance Tax Collections - $3,113,534.36 ($3,337,666.29) Pennsylvania Realty Transfer Tax Collection-$970,773.91 ($628,192.49) Local School Realty Transfer Tax Collections-$496,894.42 ($319,761.08) Local Municipal Realty Transfer Tax Collections-$474,297.19 ($308,841.96) Act 34 Adoption Fund - $2,100.00 ($675.00).