I've been reading and summarizing articles from the Daily News every weekday for nearly four months now. Sometimes, it's smooth sailing: reporter so-and-so wrote such-and-such about who, what and where. Bada bing, you know. But not always. Somewhere in the middle of the bada and the bing, everything just goes haywire and I'm literally left scratching my head and chasing sources to make sense of what seemed at first glance to be a very simple story. Take this headline from today's local section: Genesee Co. seeking to raise fees for filing papers, copies.
What would you expect this story to be about? Maybe the cost of copies going up at the county offices? That's what I thought. But... no. Not exactly. Here's what the reporter tells us: A proposed law that will come up for vote at the meeting of the Genesee County Legislature next month could mean an increase in costs.
The measure would affect the cost of recording property records such as affidavits, deeds and mortgages, an increase from $3 to $5 and the clerk's endorsement (official stamp), increase from $5 to $20.
The clerk's office is also requesting a decrease in the cost of a copy of a document's recording page, from $10 to $5.
Aside from the grammatical train wreck of the first sentence, can you tell what costs are actually going up here? Not copies. It looks like they're decreasing. But no. Not even that. I phoned County Clerk Don Read this afternoon to clear things up. A copy, he told me—that is, the cost to make a photocopy of a document at the clerk's office—will remain the same price it has been for the past several years: 65 cents. More than this, the cost of "the copy of a document's recording page"—yikes!—is, in fact, decreasing, which completely contradicts the headline that told us the fees were going to be raised for copies.
As for what's really going on, here are the plain facts, courtesy of Read:
1. An increase in the fee for recording property records such as affidavits, deeds and mortgages from $3 to $5 per page. Read says that "recording" is not exactly the same as "filing," but the action is essentially the same.
2. An increase in the fee for a clerk's endorsement from $5 to $20. A clerk's endorsement is essentially the official info inscribed by the clerk on a document including the signature. Yes, you have to pay for that.
3. A decrease in the fee for a recording page from $10 to $5. The "recording page" is sort of like the cover page that goes on other documents to identify the contents of the documents—think the cover letter for a fax, for example.
There you go.
If you're looking to contract a headache over lunch, pick up the Daily News at any local newsstand. Or, better yet, subscribe at BataviaNews.com.