Grants to Digitize Land Records Can Help Town Clerks, Records Seekers
Tuesday, August 25, 2020
Posted by: Jeff Couture
Municipalities have until Sept. 1 to apply for grants to digitize their land records, part of a program to ease the burden on clerks and people seeking documents during the Covid-19 pandemic.
The grants — which are capped at $20,000 — were established by Act 137 in July and are administered by the Department of Taxes, using money received through the federal CARES Act.
Legislators allocated $2 million for the project, meaning 100 towns, cities or villages could receive money.
“The goal of the program is to digitize as much as the land records in Vermont as possible in order to reduce the amount of in-person consultation that’s required to complete a real estate transaction,” said Doug Farnham, deputy commissioner of taxes.
He said only about 40 of Vermont’s 255 municipalities have digitized their land records. As of Tuesday, 18 had applied for grants to join that list.
And the program may help more than just the real estate business: It may allow small, rural towns to begin moving land records online for the first time.