PARKERSBURG - Users of the Wood County records room will find new binders and copies of the current county tax maps courtesy of a joint project between the assessor and county clerk's offices.
"These are courtesy copies of the maps of the tax districts provided for the convenience of record room patrons," said Wood County Clerk Jamie Six.
The clerk said he and Assessor Rich Shaffer realized how much the books were being used, especially with the increase in traffic in the records room due to additional business in the oil and gas industry over the past several months.
Wood County Assessor Rich Shaffer, left, and County Clerk Jamie Six, center, cooperated in a joint project to replace courtesy copies of tax maps available for use in the first-floor records room of the courthouse. Deputy Clerk Mark Rhodes, rights, loaded the new books onto the shelves in the record room on Friday. (Photo by Pamela Brust)
"We realized there was no good way to keep them updated as the assessor's office staff did splits and update their maps upstairs. These are a courtesy copy the assessor's office provides for those doing title work on the first floor so they don't have to run back and forth," Six said.
Shaffer said the copies of the tax maps cannot be copied, scanned or photographed. The original records are available in the assessor's office mapping department on the third floor of the courthouse for those needing copies. The fees for copies of those records is set by the state.
"The ones in the records room are available to look at, but they cannot be copied," Shaffer said.
"The records room also has afterhours access for those professionals who have applied for and received that access," Six said. There is an application/security process through the county commission for those wishing to use the records room afterhours. Six noted there are security cameras and any abuse of the privilege means the loss of afterhours access.
Through the recent cooperative project, 15 books with new covers were created by Casto & Harris and the maps are now in plastic sleeves covers to help keep them clean and hopefully make them last longer, officials said.
Six said he covered the cost of having the binders made, which amounted to about $2,000. The clerk said the funds to pay for the job came out of his repair/record books line item of his department budget. Shaffer said he paid for the $300-$400 in paper for the pages and labor. The pages were previously not covered. Shaffer said he paid for his part of the project from funding in his reappraisal budget.
"Part of the reason the pages got so tattered and torn up was because of the high usage," Six said.
"The plastic should help keep them from getting smudged, torn or written on," Shaffer said. "The maps that were in the records room were probably seven or eight years, there were some books that dated back to the 1960s. We will be hanging on to those, the maps from eight or 10 years ago will be disposed of," the assessor said.
The records are often used by title searchers looking for properties, developers, oil and gas operations.
"They look at the maps quite often for size, location, proximately, to other parcels," the assessor said.
Six noted fees collected for copies go back into a records maintenance budget.
"The record room, as a whole, has seen more usage because of the growth in the oil and gas industry, research," Six said.
"The assessor's office will also be maintaining the new records. With the sleeves, they can easily take them out and make the updates/changes," Six said.
Shaffer said the tax maps are also available online to view through the Wood County website, www.woodcountywv.com, under the assessor's office, but cannot be copied online either.
The new books were unloaded and put on the shelves on Friday.