Tuscola County Clerk Jodi Fetting

A change at the Tuscola County Clerk’s office will be vital to residents.

CARO – A change at the Tuscola County Clerk’s office will be vital to residents. The county’s board of commissioners agreed Jan. 26 to find new online storage for the county’s vital records.

The county has been using a system used in both the clerk’s office and at the register of deeds. The clerk’s contract for that system was up for renewal and the price was going to double, chief information officer Eean Lee said, so that caused the need for a review. That system has the county storing all of the information on its own servers.

The new agreement with Fidlar Technologies of Davenport, Iowa, will mean data will be stored on the cloud on the company’s servers in the United States instead of at the county’s data center, Lee said. That will cost the county an additional $4,000 a year in storage fees for Avid Bastion through Fidlar. “This won’t be a direct one-to-one cost replacement, however, the monthly service fee will be the same,” Lee said.

Lee said the $4,000 annual storage cost is competitive and going to a different service would be significantly higher. He said it also is changeable. If the county finds out it needs less space than the 2.5 gigabytes, the cost and the space used will go down. If the county learns it needs more, then the cost and the space will go up. “We’re not pigeonholed into where we need to wait a whole year” to change, he said. “We can size it as we need it.”

There will be an initial cost of $35,000 to activate and configure the software, Lee said, which can be covered through the clerk’s office and concealed permit license fund. It also includes a scanner to replace Fetting’s and two mini computers to face customers on the counter. The clerk’s office also will cover the $1,300-per-month in service fees.

“This also will increase services to the public,” Lee said, “of being able to apply for marriage certificates online” with only an in-person signature needed afterward. “But they can get that process started and it won’t increase the workflow inside the clerk’s office.”

Clerk Jodi Fetting said this was a planned and budgeted item that was approved as part of the 2023 budget. She wants to get the process started because while she remains on the current system on a month-to-month basis “they have increased the cost to do that,” Fetting said. It will take a couple of months to get the current data changed and get the system working. “We haven’t started the project planning or discovery yet,” Fetting said.