Opposition to the Closure of the Ketchikan Recorder’s Office
March 30, 2015
Senator Anna MacKinnon
Senator Pete Kelly
Senator Peter Micciche
I write this letter to express the Greater Ketchikan Chamber of Commerce’s opposition to the closure of the Ketchikan Recorder’s Office and to enlist your help in restoring to the Alaska Department of Natural Resources the budgetary funds necessary to see this office’s continued operation into the future.
This office is the singular point of access to the recorded public record in Ketchikan, and it serves various local government agencies, attorneys, banks, title companies, and surveyors in addition to the general public. Access to this office is vital to a healthy economic climate in Ketchikan and the surrounding region, and without this office research and recording will become more costly, slower, less reliable, and increasingly inaccessible to the public and entities with limited technological capabilities. Some of the specific concerns associated with closure of this office are:
- In order to e-file here in Ketchikan, Simplifile must be used. Currently, only title agencies have this capability locally.
- Not all documents (i.e. Plats) can be e-filed.
- Extra costs will be incurred as a result of having to mail physical documents to the Juneau Recorder’s Office.
- The research capabilities of Ketchikan’s business community will be vulnerable to intermittent internet outages and/or catastrophic records loss.
- The public will lose all functional access to research or recording services.
Simply put, e-filing does not work for Ketchikan.
Our Chamber works hard to promote economic diversity, regional growth, a climate that is good for business, a lifestyle that attracts year-round residents, and a stable, productive workforce. We strongly believe that the presence of a Recorder’s Office here in Ketchikan supports each aspect of this mission unequivocally and helps to make Ketchikan a good place to live, work, and do business. E-filing is no substitute for this office’s presence.
Our Chamber understands the necessity of living within our means as Alaskans and advocates for reductions in state spending in order approach budget sustainability. That being said, closing this office would be a disservice to the residents of Ketchikan and the surrounding region. We urge you to do all you can to keep this office open, even if in the interest of fiscal responsibility there must be a reduction in hours to a part-time basis.
Thank you for your service to Alaska and your attention to this matter.
Chelsea Goucher, Executive Director
Greater Ketchikan Chamber of Commerce
P: (907) 225-3184
C: (907) 220-2133