You need to only step out on any city street, into any office or into any classroom to see how technology has consumed our society.
We are relying more and more heavily on the conveyance of information through computers and the Internet.
Using these tools can make the delivery of information faster, more convenient and more accurate.
Although business has been quick to digitize, saving time, manpower and money, governments — especially local governments — have been slow to join the digital age.
Think about all the records that are on file at our own McPherson County Courthouse — tax records, marriage licenses, divorce decrees, court records, mortgages, deeds, plats, liens and too many more to list.
Some departments are making strides in providing public records in electronic formats.
Members of the public can view court records on a public access terminal in the Clerk of the District Court’s office.
In August, the county approved a several thousand dollar expenditure to fix a glitch in the county appraiser’s software that will allow sales to be posted to a website.
However, during a primary forum in July, both the presumptive new Register of Deeds Laurie Wiziarde and Deborah Harter, the current deputy, said they had concerns about moving the office to electronic records because of a potential loss in photocopying revenue.
Wiziarde won the Republican primary and likely will become the next permanent register of deeds as she has no challenger in the general election. She also was named to replace retiring Register of Deeds Linda Paul until the new term begins.
Finding enough revenue to support a county department should be a chief concern for any elected official.
However, so should be the best service to the public.
As she moves forward in her new position, we would urge Wiziarde to look to the future of electronic records.
A transfer to electronic, web-based records likely will be costly.
It can’t be done today or tomorrow, but electronic public records for all county departments should be a goal.
— Cristina Janney for The McPherson Sentinel Editorial Board.