Huron County has available real estate, but residents aren't buying it.
Compared to last year at this time, May 2007's financial intake through the Huron County Recorders office has dropped between $6,000 and $8,000.
"We were busy as usual, but there just wasn't the business," said Huron County Recorder Karen Fries.
She said the drop in funds, although not too drastic, was a surprise after breaking even with last year's profits during the past few months.
"There's just not the same amounts of transactions that we saw before. I think people who have become unemployed or have jobs that are a little edgy are just staying where they are."
The result is less real estate being sold, and less money coming into the county.
Fries said the decrease indirectly harms the county. As funding dips, she said, everyone's budget feels it.
Problems arise when small counties establish low-income housing facilities. Although the facilities help the residents by providing affordable housing, the counties rarely see a complete reimbursement.
"Bigger cities would see money coming back out of these projects," Fries said. "We don't see anything concerning housing funds, they go to the big cities."
She said there are also issues with new laws in Ohio pertaining to services provided by recorders' offices. Rates for document preparation within the offices have gone up 50 percent.
"The state increased rates within the recorder offices, doubling the cost of documents," Fries said.
"The state now takes half of the profit our offices bring in."
Although numbers are dwindling where deeds, real estate mortgages and releases are concerned, Huron County has shot up in easements, almost five times as many when compared to 2006.
"We have a lot of easements at this time," Fries said, "because we are seeing a lot of wiring and the impact of providing rural water to Ridgeville and Lyme townships."
The easements, rights held by one property owner to make use of the land of another for a limited purpose, has helped cushion the blow of diminishing funds in the niche of real estate.
"Whatever we have at the end of the year, we budget and the remainder goes to the county," Fries said. "If we're down, there's nothing we can do. We have to make cuts, there's no projecting for the next year's budget, because you just don't know."
Fries said in the first six months of this year, there has been a $25,161.44 decrease compared to last year's statement for the same six-month period.
Cheryl Welch 7/6/07 Pullout