FRIDAY, DEC. 11 — Ingham County Controller Tim Dolehanty has confirmed that Ingham County does not have the space necessary to properly store vital records in the possession of the Ingham County Clerk.
“We have concluded that no space within our existing facilities meets environmental control and fire suppression criteria cited by the Clerk in a staff-level meeting held on November 12,” Dolehanty said in an email to City Pulse. “A current Ingham County vendor provides document storage services to the Circuit Court and Friend of the Court.”
Dolehanty made the comment in an email responding to City Pulse inquiries on Dec. 3. His response arrived after the City Pulse deadline for a print story on the problem.
The vital records in need of storage include birth and death certificates, marriage licenses, concealed weapons permits and veterans discharge documents. In January 2014 nearly a mile of files was damaged when a pipe burst in a garage where they were being stored. Approximately 4 inches of water doused the files — some dating back decades. The incident went unreported until this week.
Graphic Sciences Inc. of Madison Heights provides 5,677 linear feet for files in a secure, climate controlled location. Taxpayers are on the hook for $39,197 for moving and storing the files as well as paying Graphic Sciences’ staff to retrieve court documents as requested. Commissioners also approved an additional $7,670 to hire a parttime, temporary employees to assist in purging the files —- making sure the files contain only those documents required by court rule — before moving them off site. Ingham County Clerk Barb Byrum said the process of preparing the files for transport and storage has begun.
Commissioners in September 2014 authorized spending just under $75,000 for a space utilization study of the county facilities. A draft of that report has circulated internally since September, but has not been formally presented to the County Commission to act upon. Dolehanty said he expects to present the study in early 2016.