If your list of errands includes a stop at county offices for a copy of your deed and copies of court records, don’t expect to pay the same price.
While one county office may charge as little as a dime for copies, another could charge as much as $1 per page. The difference often comes from what is set in state statutes to pay to preserve the documents kept on file, sometimes for centuries.
What you will pay depends on what you need:
Once a couple get married, they will need to get a certified copy of that license before the name on a driver’s license can be changed or insurance plans are altered. Those certified copies will cost $1 per page. The same fee is also charged for any certified copies of divorce filings, in case someone needs to have the name on a driver’s license changed back.
Are you a political junkie and want to break down the last election? Head into the voter registration office in the basement of the courthouse where copies of how each precinct voted in the last election are available. They cost a dime per page.
Go upstairs in the courthouse to get a copy of any document from a court case and you will pay $1 per page. But some documents, such as a tax warrant, will cost a dime a page after the first four pages, which are free.
The varying fees may seem confusing to residents, but they serve a purpose. The money from the fees helps fund those offices and the process it takes to preserve the documents.
Here’s what you should expect to pay in fees for some copies and services at Johnson County offices:
First four pages of non-certified copies, such as tax warrants
Noncertified copies, such as voting results by precinct
$1 per page
Certified copy of marriage license, property deed, and any document dealing with a court case
Cost to file for a marriage license
A marriage license will be kept on file for a decade before it’s put onto microfilm. The fees from getting a marriage license — which costs $20 and is set by the state — help pay for that expense, as do copying fees of the document, Clerk Sue Ann Misiniec said.
A copy of your property deed will cost $1 per page from the recorder’s office, but to have it recorded will cost an additional flat fee of $5. Those fees also help pay for the storage of those documents, which date back to the 1800s in the recorder’s office.
Nearly every copying fee in the recorder’s office is set by the state, Recorder Jill Jackson said. All of the copying fees in the recorder’s office go into their perpetuation fund, which pays for everything but the salaries of employees. A portion of the copying fees in the clerk’s office goes into that office’s perpetuation fund.
A majority of the copying fees are set by the state, such as certified copies of marriage licenses, property deeds and court documents. Other fees are set by the county commissioners, such as the policy to allow the first four pages of a tax warrant to be copied for free.
The Association of Clerks of Circuit Court has at times asked the state legislature to raise copying fees, but that’s rarely successful because not many state legislators want their name behind a cost increase, Misiniec said.