While it took two years to find a new vendor who could handle searching demands of St. Clair County's Recorder of Deeds Office, it only took a month to get the new system --introduced Wednesday-- going.

And Angie Spates, administrative assistant to the chief deputy in that office could not have been more pleased.

"It seemed Fidlar had everything we were looking for," Spates said.

St. Clair County has teamed with Fidlar Technologies to revamp its records search system. The county's new technology for the online searches of its land records was unveiled at a workshop Wednesday morning with sales representative Katie Nickel demonstrating the software and fielding questions from more than 30 people gathered in a conference room outside the County Board Room.

While most of the questions asked at the morning workshop centered on how to search using the system, a question about printing charges drew some grumbling from those gathered. If a person is using Laredo to look up a document and wants to print, the system charges 35 cents a page. Tapestry charges 50 cents a page.

Nickel explained that St. Clair County, not her company, had set the printing charge.

"That has nothing to do with us," Nickel said. "It's their image, their information."

St. Clair County has joined a growing number of counties, including its neighbor, Madison County, in using the "Laredo" and "Tapestry" programs.

The two programs allow citizens access to all records in the Recorder's Office from home or public access terminals.

The goal of the new technology was to meet growing demands, Spates said.

The county's former vendor was not big enough to meet St. Clair County's needs and the county began to receive complaints and have problems with the system two years ago. After a year of waiting, it began searching for a new provider, eventually settling on Fidlar.

Laredo is designed for users who are generally searching records in a single county. It is a remote-access product, meaning a person can search records from home. Like Tapestry, it is subscription-based with monthly per-minute plans ranging from $75 for up to 250 minutes to $400 for up to 2,000 minutes of search time.

Tapestry is designed for those searching land records in multiple counties. Like Laredo, it is a remote-access software. The largest difference is that users don't pay by plan. There is a $5.95 charge per search. It has slightly more simple search parameters than Laredo.

Subscriptions and payment plans for the search services can be purchased through Fidlar or the county.

For more information, contact the St. Clair County Recorder of Deeds or Fidlar representatives Kyle Cogdill at kylec@fidlar.com or 1-800-747-4600 ext. 271 or Katie Nickel at katien@fidlar.com or 1-800-747-4600 ext.324.

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