The Guilford County Register of Deeds Office has been providing its essential services throughout the pandemic.
However, these days, much, much more of that business is being conducted by mail, and the cost of postage spent by customers to get those documents has of course increased dramatically.
As a result Guilford County Register of Deeds Jeff Thigpen plans to present the Board of Commissioners at the Thursday, Oct. 1 meeting, with a somewhat confusing request.
Officially, he’s asking the board for the following: “Approve an increase of $35,000 in User Charges revenue and increase the FY 2020-21 Register of Deeds budget by the same amount to reflect the significant increase postage expenses resulting from business practice changes due to COVID-19 and implementation of associated public health measures.”
Thigpen said that makes it sound like his office is requesting $35,000 in new money to cover the increase in postal costs associated with sending out birth certificates, death certificates, marriage licenses and other documents during the pandemic – but, actually, he said, that’s not the case.
Thigpen said that many customers of the deeds office are requesting express mail service so their documents will get to them faster. He said that may have to do with fears over mail delays that have been in the news lately or be tied to the fact that school started up recently and parents needed documents before the school year began.
Whatever the reason, he said, many people want their documents fast these days.
Thigpen added that, though the motion on the commissioners’ Oct. 1 meeting agenda may sound like his deeds office is asking the county for $35,000 in budget money to cover additional mail cost, the motion – expected to be approved Thursday night – is merely a bookkeeping item reflecting what’s a wash for the county. He said the added postal cost are paid by the customers requesting the documents.
“They pay the cost of the postage” Thigpen said. “It really isn’t any more money from the county.”
The county doesn’t come out ahead either. It’s the US Postal Service that benefits.