Creek County Clerk Request Funds for Preservation Project

Creek County Clerk Jennifer Mortazavi went before the County Commissioners Board to request ARPA funds to contract with Kofile Technologies to assist in migrating existing scanned documents into the software currently used by the County Clerk’s office. 

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“We are asking for roughly 438,000 records to be indexed in our system. They are currently in our system scanned as our office has worked on that since I have been in office, but we don’t have the data entry available for taxpayers or you guys, the assessor’s office or anyone to come in and look at the records.”

Mortazavi told the board that there had been a group of researchers in her office that have been “taking these books apart instead of looking at them on the computer. They are taking pictures of these documents and sending them back to their company, which is causing wear and tear.”

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She brought a sampling of books, some of which are over 100 years old and pointed out that they are “very brittle.”

“We have all records back to statehood that are in the computer, however, they are not easily accessible…so basically, this is our major corridor to our office for communication purposes for the whole public…we are just asking that you guys help us in assisting our office to be able to help some of these towns that are getting ready to grow like Kellyville, they are getting ready to have a growth spurt and people are going to be coming in looking for these records… and it will cut down on the time that our office spends assisting these projects… This is our major communication device that we have that will forever be a lasting imprint on the whole County.

It’s for a lifetime, it won’t have to be changed… With this request, it would be at the fingertips of the abstractors, attorneys, oil & gas companies, county offices, residents, and all researchers forever,” stated Mortazavi.

Kofile Technologies has assisted several Oklahoma counties with their preservation efforts. These countries have received anywhere from $500,000 to $2 million in ARPA funds. The quote from Kofile is $1,193,775.30 to index records from 1950-1987. Mortazavi informed commissioners that the Clerk’s Office has indexed records from approximately 1990 to the present. She also told the board that this project would allow her staff to work on documents from 1949 back to the 1900s, many of which are starting to deteriorate. Commissioner Leon Warner pointed out that state statutes dictate that even though records are digitized, the original documents must be maintained.

Clark Daily, Anchor Land Group and Creek County resident, who was in the gallery said, “As somebody who does review records on a regular basis and things like that, I fully support what you are proposing… I see how this could be very beneficial.”

Warner asked Ms. Mortazavi what would happen if a disaster destroyed the books.

Mortazavi mentioned various backups that Kellpro (software used by the Clerk’s Office), utilized, such as off-site storage and the cloud, and stated there were microfilm copies of documents. “We could reproduce the books if needed, it would cost a good amount of money, but we could get it done.”

Chair Newt Stephens wanted some other bids, citing the substantial cost of the project. “I get a little nervous about single sourcing basically 1.2 million dollars. I like to be frugal. I would think there would be quite a few companies that do this” Mortazavi responded: “There is not a whole lot to choose from.” Mortazavi stated that Midwest Printing offers similar services but at a higher cost than Kofile and said they outsource their work.

Mortazavi emphasized that Kofile participates in the TIPS Purchasing Cooperative and the company is already registered with SAMS.Gov.

“They have quoted a six-month to a year turnaround, to complete the documents. These would be documents keyed in with double-blind verification, so they have a 99.9% accuracy rate. We have prepared a cost of two employees with a six-year turnaround period, this cost is a little over $500,000.00, this would also be with no verification process.”

She also pointed out the company would correct any mistakes that are found as the records are accessed.

Mortazavi told Stephens: “I know this is a lot of money, but that is important, and it is a one-time thing.” Stephens said he wanted to speak with other counties before making a decision.