Thursday, December 31, 2009

Top Registry Events of 2009

As this very interesting year draws to a close amidst cold temperatures and heavy snow, here are some of the top events of 2009:

The state’s financial crisis caused mid-year cuts and a reduced budget for FY10, curbing our ability to implement new technology and registry-related applications.

Despite the slow overall real estate market, there was a surge in electronic recording this year. The total number of documents recorded annually since we implemented the system are as follows: In 2005 – 1057; in 2006 – 1871; in 2007 – 3491; in 2008 – 3956; and in 2009 – 8100.

Using existing equipment and our employees, we completed several scanning projects. The last of our older record books were disassembled and scanned replacing and improving the existing images of those documents which were derived from microfilm; all “county layout” plans were scanned; all registered land books back to book 183 were taken out of service after they were fully scanned.

The Middlesex South Satellite office was reorganized in March, then closed at the end of June, but immediately re-opened by the Secretary of State’s office which continues to operate the Satellite Office at the end of the year but announced that it will close permanently on January 22, 2010.

As soon as 16GB flash drives became affordable, we allowed customers to bring us their own drives and obtain a free copy our entire 1630-1975 PDF grantor/grantee index which was previously available only on in-house registry computers.

Since all books have been taken out of service and all document images are available online, the registry turned in the last of its coin operated photocopiers.

Hollywood occupied the courthouse for a few days this summer to film some scenes from “The Fighter”, the story of Lowell’s Micky Ward which stars acting heavyweights Mark Wahlberg, Christian Bale and Amy Adams.

This fall, the registry made hand sanitizer and tissues available for staff and customers in an effort to minimize the impact of the H1N1 flu.

The Registered Land section was relocated from the rear of the building where it had been located for more than ten years to the former record hall which allowed us to consolidate all recording functions in one place. The former registered land office was transformed into a public closing area but was then pressed into service as the Middlesex South Satellite Office while that function was controlled by the Secretary of State’s office.

The registry tried to maximize our use of “new media” as a means of communicating with our customers, shifting our six-year old blog to the Blogger hosting service; we also created a fan page for the registry on Facebook; and began using our Twitter account regularly.

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