1. The proposed increase in recording fees in LD 559 is more than sufficient to offset the loss of all registry website copy revenue.
2. Access to free copies on registry of deeds websites will save thousands of registry users time, particularly persons in real estate related professions who may view and print thousands of copies each year.
3. Counties have already fully recovered the cost of recording and digitizing existing records.
4. Document recording fees are more than sufficient to cover on-going registry costs.
5. Credit card processors keep a substantial portion of registry website copy fees. This benefits no one.
6. Free access to copies of land records would allow municipalities, other government agencies and many businesses to operate more efficiently without imposing any additional costs on registries of deeds.
For example, an unimpeded ability to link (via webpage URLs) to records on registry websites would allow municipal tax assessors, the Maine GeoLibrary, title companies, and many state agencies (such as: the Office of GIS and departments of Transportation, Revenue, Environmental Protection, Forestry, Agriculture and Conservation) to efficiently access and print land records within their own systems. The original records would remain securely on registry of deeds servers, and access would not be impeded by a cumbersome user interface that exists solely to impose copy fees.
Amend LD 559 to eliminate all registry of deeds website copy fees.
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