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Scala questions why county deeds are not online

November 11, 2010
OSSIPEE — Of the previous registrar of deeds, Lillian O. Brookes, the current registrar Ann Aiton says, "She is the smartest and most prudent person I know."

Aiton credits her former boss for taking the stance that county property records should be kept as protected as possible, a tradition that Aiton intends to continue.

When Wakefield resident and local realtor Dino Scala questioned Aiton at a candidate forum about why registry of deeds departments in all counties except Carroll can be accessed online, Aiton's response was adamant and very clear: "If that's what you want you will have to find someone else to run against me. I will not do it."

In an interview Monday, Aiton said all information at Carroll County Registry of Deeds is public information and "you can come in and get anything you need." The Registry is located at the Carroll County Complex on Water Village Road in Ossipee. The county's Web site, www.carrollcountynh.net, details the county as being 70 miles long and 30 miles wide, stretching from Wakefield to Jackson and Sandwich to Eaton.

Given the scenario that a person in Jackson needs a copy of a document that has been registered at the Ossipee site, they can drive the 40 or so miles to the registry during regular business hours or call the registry and answer a few questions so the document can be located. Once it is located, the clerk will tell the caller the cost of copying and ask that they send a check for the copies and return postage. Once payment is received, said Aiton, the documents are mailed out that same day. Though the idea has been explored in the past, the Registry does not accept credit card payments.

In addition, Aiton said, if a person wants a copy of their deed they can go to the town hall where the property is located. Copies of all recorded deeds pertaining to property changes are mailed monthly to towns, she said.

Scala, who has been in the real estate business for 10 years and was re-elected last Tuesday as State Representative for District Five, said that though the employees of the Registry do a very good job, he doesn't understand why access to public county records is not more convenient and efficient for the people of Carroll County and those doing business here. When doing title searches or other needed research to complete property related transactions, said Scala, the information should be more readily accessible to all parties involved in the transaction, be they the client, finance company, bank, realtor or attorneys.

The other registry of deeds in the state can be accessed at www.nhdeeds.com. Searches can be done a variety of ways and copies can be printed after paying a fee.

Aiton said the other counties made the move to Internet accessibility out of necessity, not just for the convenience of customers. "We are blessed to have the luxury of space," she said of the more than ample room her department has in the county administration building. "I am very careful personally," said Aiton, who admits to not having any personal credit cards, debit cards or a computer at home. "I won't be party to someone in Africa, India, or any other country—be it friendly or unfriendly—accessing any of the records of Carroll County online….We are very helpful and easy to work with, just come in or give us a call…It's a lot easier to get here than it was in 1840."

Martin Lord Osman
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