Saturday, May 25, 2024

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Land Record Fees Going Up

By Jennifer Connic

A new state law will push land record fees from $13 to $43 starting on Oct. 1, and Westport Town Clerk Patricia Strauss is not happy with the increase.

Strauss said of the $30 increase, her department will keep $1, the town keeps $3 and the remaining $26 goes into a state fund.

The state money is divided into fourths going to the Commission on Culture and Tourism to preserve historic places, the Connecticut Housing Authority to finance affordable housing, the state Department of Environmental Protection for open space grants and the state Department of Agriculture to preserve farmland, she said.

Strauss said she collects 11,000 new land records per year, so the state will be receiving $286,000 just from Westport’s town clerk’s office.

“This is going to be millions for the state,” she said. “If we are the average for the state, it’s $48 million.”

Strauss said she has no problem adding fees with the sale of property, but she does not like the new fees for all changes in the land records.

Most people who change information in the land records, however, are doing something simple like changing a name or releasing a mortgage, she said.

“I have a hard time imagining the increases for those people,” she said.

If the increases were only for property sales, Strauss said, there would be 750 records affected, which would generate $20,000 from Westport.

Strauss said she thinks it’s outrageous and believes the money is being raised by state officials to off-set the state budget.

“I think if (Gov. Jodi Rell) would keep within her budget, we would not have these outrageous increases to fund it,” she said.

None of the people coming into her office has complained about the increases, Strauss said, and she has hung a number of signs and has begun sending notices.

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