May 17, 2022

Recorder’s office will move to vacant DMV space

Supervisors approve relocation, agree first floor will grant more accessibility

Jasper County Recorder Denise Allan inspects vitals April 15 on her second floor office space inside the courthouse in Newton. The board of supervisors on April 12 authorized the relocation of the recorder's office to the treasurer's office and DMV, which will move into the new administration building when it is finally completed.

When the Jasper County administration building is completed and the driver’s license and motor vehicle department occupies its new offices, the recorder’s office staff will eventually move in to the vacant, first-floor workplace left behind in the courthouse. Officials say the move will greatly increase accessibility.

The board of supervisors authorized the move during its April 12 meeting after approving professional design services by BBS Architects Engineers. The relocation will cost the county $18,990 in schematic designs, construction bid documentations, bidding/negotiating assistance and construction administration.

Jasper County Maintenance Director Adam Sparks said the idea of what to do with the treasurer’s office and DMV after moving to the new building was talked about during budget hearings this year. Sparks wanted to know if the recorder’s office relocation was still a project the board wanted to move forward with.

Elected officials indicated they still wished to pursue the project. Jasper County Supervisor Brandon Talsma recalled seeing a wheelchair-bound customer exit the current recorder’s office some time ago. With the bottom offices likely to vacate in the next few months, Talsma suggested the move made sense.

Jasper County Recorder Denise Allan said it will improve accessibility to the recorder’s office, which is currently located on the second floor of the courthouse.

“We have a lot of older people that come up here and of course we get people with disabilities as well. Even though there is an elevator, it’s the trip from the doors to the elevators sometimes. And by the time they get up here, to me, it’s a major effort to get up here,” Allan said.

The Jasper County Recorder’s Office provides several services and works with a number of state entities, including department of revenue, department of public health and the department of natural resources. Of course, the main function of the office is to record and index documents.

The recorder’s office provides certified copies of marriages, deaths and births to the state public health department. Allan said her staff also sell hunting and fishing licenses. They also title, renew and register ATVs/UTVs and boats and off-road motorcycles. And that is just a portion of what the office does.

Including Allan, a total of four staff members work in the recorder’s office: deputy recorder Pam Keenan and recorder clerks Tiffany Hodge and Michelle Hull.

Frequency of customers depends on the time of the year, Allan told Newton News. Business may pick up when it is time for boat and UTV license renewals. Processing of marriage applications will cycle through the year, too.

Having the ground floor offices of the DMV and treasurer — located in the southern entrance of the courthouse — is going to expedite or streamline those services even further, Allan suggested. It will be an ideal spot for the people who frequently pick up or drop off documents.

“I think it’s going to be perfect for us,” Allan said. “… It’s going to be a great move. We’re going to have a broader front counter so we’ll be able to handle more customers at once, too, which will be nice. And we plan on making it more of a space for people with wheelchairs; they can just wheel up to the counter.”

Other details about the relocation and the overall layout of the recorder’s office, as well as what will happen to the current office, are not yet known.

Contact Christopher Braunschweig at 641-792-3121 ext 6560 or at cbraunschweig@newtondailynews.com

Christopher Braunschweig

Christopher Braunschweig

Christopher Braunschweig has a strong passion for community journalism and covers city council, school board, politics and general news in Newton, Iowa and Jasper County.