Let’s visit the county recorder’s office to see what they do. The job of the county recorder is to maintain and preserve official records within the county – mainly documents involving property, boundaries and annexations, but also others such as liens, mortgages, agreements, notices, and even military discharges.
The county recorder’s main responsibility is a very important first step in Utah’s property tax system, which is to provide accurate information about each property in the county. In January of each year, county recorders supply the county assessor’s office with this official record which indicates each property’s location, size, boundaries, and ownership.
From that record, the county assessor’s office is able to determine a value for the property. The county auditor then multiplies the value by the tax rate to determine what is owed, and then gives this information to the county treasurer who then sends a notice to each property owner.
But property ownership and boundary lines sometimes require adjustment for a variety of reasons. These could include disputes, un-recorded or inaccurate information, and changes to special service districts, to name only a few.
Sometimes there’s confusion in the records due to misunderstandings in property sizes, boundaries and ownership. To help sort it out, the official record of ownership, based on documents held at the county recorder’s office, is reviewed to find a fair resolution.
County recorders also assist in determining property boundaries for tax jurisdiction purposes. When special service districts for things like water, sewer, and mosquito management are created, properties within their boundaries may experience a change in the taxation of their property by the county in order to pay for these services. It’s the job of the county recorder to see that these properties are appropriately assigned to these districts so that fair and appropriate taxation takes place.
While county recorders can’t actually make changes to any records – they are often settled between individuals and sometimes courts – they do have the important job of managing them so that a fair and accurate history of every property is available.
And, along with assisting property owners with changes, county recorders ensure that records are both available to the public for inspection and archived in multiple locations in the event of a natural disaster destroying them at the county building.
Recorders are just one of many important offices at your county. But without their training, efficiency, and accuracy in managing these records, it would be difficult to ensure fairness and legal rights for property owners.