In an attempt to raise more revenue, Dukes County commissioners voted this week to support a state bill spearheaded by Norfolk county that would raise registry of deeds filing fees by $10.
The proposed $10 fee hike would go to county governments that manage their own registries; for registries under state control, the extra money would go into the state general fund.
Based on last year’s numbers, register of deeds Dianne Powers said at the Wednesday meeting that the $10 fee hike could raise another $130,000 for the county annually.
Ms. Powers said she was hesitant about backing the increase.
“I feel that the basis for raising fees to record documents in the registry left in 2003 when [former] Governor Romney increased the fees dramatically,” she said.
She said in 2003 a mortgage discharge fee jumped from $10 to $75, and a municipal lien certificate fee went from $4 to $65.
“I am uncomfortable with the burden falling on the people,” Ms. Powers said, “but at the same time I understand the need for raising revenues.”
County treasurer Noreen Flanders noted that all the money generated from the increases in 2003 went to the state; the county’s share from recording fees has remained at $10 since 1981.
The same bill was proposed last year but was not approved by the state legislature, said Ms. Powers.
“I hear the concerns,” said county commissioner Tristan Israel. “But we are cash-strapped. If by some miracle this were to get through the legislature, I think we should support it.”
Commissioner Thomas Hallahan had another view. “I would be in opposition to it,” he said. “I think we have to become much more creative about generating our own income rather than simply adding another 10 bucks to the taxpayer.”
Mr. Israel replied: “This is for transactions that go on at the registry of deeds. It’s not the same thing as taxing everybody on the Island, so to use the word taxpayer, I think that’s a misnomer.
“But again, the chances of this getting through . . . . it’s probably a moot point.”
The vote was 5-2 to support the bill.