Land Records Program Delayed

Land Records Program Delayed

Accessing land records on-line will be delayed at the request of the Board of Supervisors.

At the July 21 board meeting, Clerk of the Circuit Court Gary Clemens asked the board to support an initiative encouraging the General Assembly to remove Social Security numbers from land records, which are on file at the courthouse. The clerk's office cannot remove any information once it is legally recorded with the clerk, he said.

What he got instead was a request to delay implementing a new remote access system that uses the Internet as a tool to provide the access. If re-implemented, the remote access system will be available through a subscription process and the final step of a new system to improve the office's land records.

"County agencies have been beneficiaries of this. It's much easier than coming into the office," Clemens said, adding that the next step is to provide the access to professional customers, title clerks and lawyers. "I didn't rush into this decision. The system works. It's secure. ... It saves taxpayer money."

The remote access system requires less equipment in the clerk's office, and the users will be responsible for upgrading access equipment, Clemens said.

James Burton (I-Mercer) said he has a problem with "pushing information" and making it more accessible.

Clemens said the system is for professionals and is a controlled access system. "Using remote access for identity theft is rare," he said. "There are easier means."

The board voted 8-1 requesting Clemens delay program implementation. The board requested he convene a task force to gauge the programs' impact and identify what steps need to be taken to protect Loudoun residents. The board recommended the task force include staff from the state Office of the Attorney General, the Commonwealth Attorney, General Assembly members, privacy experts and county residents.

Scott York (R-At large) asked for a friendly amendment requesting Clemens hold a public input session in September to seek citizen input. The motion passed with the amendment with Eugene Delgaudio (R-Sterling) voting against.