Filing fees will increase at the Daviess County Clerk’s Office starting in January 2020. This statewide increase in fees comes from a new Kentucky law that aims to improve revenue streams for county clerk’s offices across the state.
A $10 storage fee will be included on every document that’s filed through the clerk’s office. This fee is being implemented to offset the cost of these documents being produced and stored and, in the near future, digitally preserved.
“That will be added to any type of recorded document, including marriage licenses, mortgages and deeds,” said County Clerk Leslie McCarty. “In the clerk’s office, the bulk of our money comes from vehicle taxes. [The cost of preserving these documents] wasn’t paying for itself.”
Other filing increases residents will inevitably notice include mortgages, which will increase to $80 and marriage licenses, which will increase from $35.50 to $50. Wills filed will increase exponentially, with filing charges rising from $8 to $47, with an additional fee of $46 being tacked on if the will is disclaimed or renounced. The cost of filing a will will increase by more than 500 percent.
The filing fee for deeds — the costs of which are somewhat dependent on length — rarely cost more than $20, but will now cost $50.
This increase in fees comes from a 2019 gathering of the Kentucky Bankers Association, Kentucky Bar Association and several county clerks who decided to take a look at filing costs as many county clerk’s offices plan to digitally preserve their records — a timely and costly endeavor.
The recommendation to raise clerk’s court fees became Senate Bill 114 and was signed into law by Governor Matt Bevin in March 2019. Before this legislation, county clerk’s offices across Kentucky had not issued an increase for record filing since 2007.
“We have a lot of preservation we need to do,” McCarty said. “Things need to be digitized. We have record books in the basement that are falling apart.”
McCarty said the extra $10 fee to file won’t complicate the process for those in the clerk’s office, but that updated software will allow the additional fee to be processed automatically. And though McCarty said she expects to hear some negative feedback after the increases take effect, the clerk’s office will greatly benefit from the new law.
“This revenue will be really good for us,” she said. “There’s a lot of work that goes into preserving these documents.”