Dallas County Recorder Chad Airhart Will Not Seek a Fourth Term as Recorder

(Waukee, IA) – Republican Dallas County Recorder Chad Airhart announced today that he will not seek a fourth term as Dallas County Recorder in 2022.

Recorder Airhart was elected in 2010 after winning a contested primary against the then Deputy Recorder, and defeating the 22-year incumbent Recorder in the general election. Airhart’s impressive showing in 2010, fundraising ability, political acumen and record of accomplishment as Recorder kept him unopposed in the 2014 and 2018 elections. During his time as Recorder, Airhart served on the Iowa County Recorders Association (ICRA) Executive Board, served as the Legislation Liaison for ICRA, served as Chairman of the Iowa Republican County Officials Association and was the recipient of the Property Records Industry Associations Carl Ernst Scholarship in 2014, an award given to only one county elected official nationwide.

Airhart sought the office of Recorder in 2010 with the goals of modernizing the technology and streamlining the office. Today, the Recorder’s Office has digitized all of its records back to 1850, and they are all online available to the public with free access. The volume of images and data available to the public online is greater than that of any other county in Iowa. Additionally, the Recorder’s Office has digitized all of the county’s vital records (birth, death & marriage) as well as all of the military records filed in the office.

In addition to the technological advances Dallas County has made under Airhart’s leadership, one of the things he is most proud of is the fiscal standing of the office. Each year under Airhart’s leadership, the Dallas County Recorder’s office operated without using a penny of property tax dollars to fund the office. The office was self-sufficient from fees received for services; fees which were set by the Iowa Legislature in the Iowa Code. Airhart always says “you spend less than you take in.” This has been his mantra and by the end of his term will have returned over $4,000,000 to the county general fund. These are funds that the county does not have to collect in property taxes to operate other departments, and because of the fiscal management of the Recorder’s Office, the need for additional Dallas County property taxes has been reduced.

Airhart said “It’s been the honor of my life to have been elected three times to serve the people of Dallas County. I’m proud of how we have run the Recorder’s Office and what we’ve been able to accomplish. I will forever be grateful to the citizens of Dallas County for the opportunity, my colleagues that I have shared elected office with in Dallas County and throughout our great State and my staff that has worked so hard to accomplish all we have. I’m not sure that there are any other Recorder’s that have been more successful in advancing as we have.

In calendar year 2020 Dallas County recorded the third largest number of documents in the state of Iowa, behind only Polk & Linn Counties. Dallas County remains the fastest growing County in Iowa and one of the fastest growing in America. While the workload has increased greatly, the advances in technology have allowed the staff to do more with less. So, while the workload has more than doubled annually in the last 10 years, the staff size in the Dallas County Recorder’s Office is less today than it was when Airhart took office. Airhart said “I am extremely proud of the professionalism of my staff as well as the relationships with other elected officials, and how well the staffs of different offices have worked together to ensure quality customer service to the public while ensuring government works for those that need its services most.”

Airhart added that “the extremes of each of the republican and democrat parties have made it more difficult to accomplish legislative changes towards more sensible local government, which has always been a top priority for me. It has become harder and harder to find common ground in the legislature on common sense issues either because of political ideology, the political divide or special interests asserting their influence. While this is not new to the world of politics, I have watched it worsen over the past ten years and sadly what I and many others in ICRA believe is good public policy fell by the wayside time and time again. I’ve spent a good portion of my adult life wanting to get into “the room” and affect change, to effectively try to square the circle… only to sadly find out that many times a circle will always be a circle.”

Airhart would not say if he was out of politics forever. “I never ran because I wanted to make a career out of being Recorder. I feel my goals/challenges as Recorder have been met, and there is nothing more for me to accomplish here. I could run again and if elected manage the office effectively, but that is not what I want to do, nor do I feel it is fair to the citizens of the County. At only 43 years of age I’m hopeful that there is a lot of life left out there for me to do many other things, and I look forward to focusing on my family, business and whatever opportunities present themselves in the future.”

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Airhart moves county records to cloud with Cott Systems

One of county government’s most important purposes lies in its role as custodian of land records. The offices of the county assessor, auditor, recorder and treasurer are distinct but closely related. Keeping track of property ownership and property values is by no means all these offices do, but it is a big part of what they do.

As computers have taken over, their effects can be seen even in the staid, stable and very conservative departments of county land records’ management. The latest sign of these charges is the complete digitization of more than 150 years of records in the office of the county recorder.

Dallas County Recorder Chad Airhart launched the new cloud-based software system, called the Cott Systems Resolution 3, early in 2016, and the page-by-page scanning of hundreds of books and the transfer to online-accessible, cloud-stored records is now complete.

In order to celebrate the achievement of this milestone, Airhart’s office will host a public open house Tuesday, Oct. 17 from 1:30-3:30 p.m., offering citizens a chance to see the new Cott Systems software in action and learn how to access online real estate records dating back to 1850.

“Digitizing 150-plus years of records has been a multi-year project,” Airhart said, “and we are proud to unveil it to the citizens of Dallas County.”

The Dallas County Recorder’s office processes more than 25,000 documents a year. The office issues thousands of vital records — births, marriages and deaths — as well as registering snowmobiles, boats and ATVs for the Iowa Department of Natural Resources and serving as a passport acceptance facility for the U.S. State Department.

“We have advanced the office technologically with the addition of software from Cott Systems,” Airhart said, “and this has helped us to improve our processes to do more with the same amount of staff, efficiently accommodating the needs of one of the fastest growing counties in America.”

Airhart said he “had been looking for a more efficient and effective way to manage our records and improve service for our constituents, and this system does just that.” At the time of the switch in Dallas County, 13 other counties in Iowa were using Cott Systems software.

“With that many other counties utilizing this software, including Polk, Linn, Johnson and Dubuque, it was an easy decision to switch,” he said, “knowing Cott could provide us the services we need as Iowa’s fastest growing county.”

The software switch is also a boon to local abstract and title companies that work extensively with Dallas County land records, Airhart said.

They “were thrilled when they learned we were switching to Cott,” he said, “because they were already familiar with the system from working in neighboring Polk County. But it’s not just the local abstractor and lawyer who needs access to our records. As the fastest growing county in Iowa and one of the fastest growing in America, we are working with buyers and sellers, lawyers and real estate professionals from all across America. Now searchers can search our records from anywhere in America, 24 hours a day, and the index and images are always available and posted immediately as they are recorded.”

Service fees paid in the Recorder’s office often produce a revenue surplus, and Airhart was able to cover the cost of the Cott Systems conversion from within his office’s budget.

“All of this has been accomplished while the Recorder’s office ran a fund balance of $418,000 in fiscal year 2017,” Airhart said. “This essentially means that the Recorder’s office brought in $418,000 more in fees for services than they spent on staff, interdepartmental support staff and all other expenses. The fund balance reverts to the general fund and supports the entire county, lessening the burden on the taxpayer.”

In order to get them skilled up in the use of the new software, Cott Systems technicians conducted a two-week training period for the Recorder and his staff. Airhart and the Cott team then trained in turn the local abstract and title companies as well as workers in other Dallas County government departments who work closely with the Recorder’s office, particularly the offices of Dallas County Treasurer Mitch Hambleton, Dallas County Auditor Julia Helm and Dallas County Assessor Steve Helm.

Hambleton said he “was impressed with the functionality of the new system.” The Cott System software “really brought the Recorder’s office into the 21st century,” he said.

Kimberly Tarpey, a Cott Systems account executive, worked closely with Airhart for two years on the conversion of the Recorder’s office to the cloud. Cott Systems is a privately owned software and service company that has served local government offices with records management solutions for more than 125 years.

“Whether a county is home to a major metropolitan area or serving small rural towns, whether growing rapidly or declining in size, the need for recording and protecting real estate records remains an important service for the public and is crucial for the transacting of real estate,” Tarpey said. “Cott Systems allows Dallas County to do just that as well as be more efficient and to process documents faster.”

A further benefit of the digitization of the county records is disaster preparedness. The county now has a complete digital library of all of its records, so in the event of a disaster in which physical records are destroyed, there will be continuity of service in the Recorder’s office and no interruption due to record loss.

“With the completion of this project, searching records in Dallas County just got a whole lot easier,” Airhart said. “In the past, to search for recorded documents you had to drive to Adel and come into the Recorder’s office. This could be a laborious effort, searching through old, heavy record books. With Cott Systems, the public can access millions of recorded public records 24/7 from anywhere with an internet connection.”

Branko Hrnjak, a Cott Systems scanning specialist from Columbus, Ohio, spent the spring of 2017 scanning the more than 300 record books in the Dallas County Recorder’s office, along with about 20 large plat books. Hrnjak was assisted by Cott scanner technician Nick Pelar.

Originally published by theperrynews.com here.

Recorder now has all recorded documents dating back to 1850 available online

All documents from the Dallas County Recorder’s Office, dating back to the year 1850 can now be found online. Dallas County Chad Airhart and his staff have been working to make all of the documents available online and with the completion of the project, people can now find all deeds and documents and print them from anywhere instead of needing to drive to the Courthouse in Adel.

The documents are available online through software created by Cott Systems.

“Everyday the Recorder’s staff is faced with challenges to satisfy the requests of the public,” Airhart said in a news release. “With the completion of this project, we can provide better and more efficient service, saving us and the customer time and money.”

Now available online are indexed and imaged records dating back to 1960, as well as historic records imaged on a historical records webpage back to Dallas County’s first recorded book in 1850.

According to the news release, the Recorder’s office processes more than 25,000 documents each year and issues vital records, registers vehicle not designed for the road and serves as a passport acceptance facility for the U.S. State Department.

“We have advanced the office technology with the addition of software from Cott Systems, and this has helped us to improve our processes to do more with the same amount of staff, efficiently accommodating the needs of one of the fastest growing counties in America,” Airhart said.

The news release states that with the digitization of all of the records, they will now be safe from natural disaster where physical records might be lost. Additionally, there will now be more space in the Recorder’s office since they no longer need the physical books in the office.

Airhart will host an open house at the Dallas County Recorder’s Office on Tuesday, Oct. 17 from 1:30-3:30 p.m., where staff members from Cott Systems will be on hand to demonstrate the new system and how to search the website. Please RSVP by calling the Dallas County Recorder’s Office at (515)993-5804.

The Dallas County Recorder’s website is www.dallasrecorder.com while the indexed records can be found at www.cotthosting.com/IADallasExternal.

The historic records/online index book portal can be viewed at www.cotthosting.com/IADallasExternal/HTML5Viewer/ImageViewer.aspx?OIB=true.

Published 10/1/2017 by the Dallas County News.

State lawmaker shadows Dallas County officeholders

L to R: Treasurer Mitch Hambleton, Representative Rob Taylor & Recorder Chad Airhart in front of the Dallas County Courthouse

Students of government sometimes shadow public officeholders in order to learn the ins and outs of public service. This week a student of another kind, Rep. Rob Taylor (R-West Des Moines), tracked the actions of Dallas County Recorder Chad Airhart and Dallas County Treasurer Mitch Hambleton.

Airhart, legislative liaison for the Iowa County Recorders Association Board, invited the three-term state representative to spend a day in the Recorder’s and Treasurer’s offices and see for himself the day-to-day duties of county-level employees.

“It is important for our legislators to see and hear firsthand some of the issues we deal with at the county level administering government,” Airhart said. He said shadow invitations have been extended to other Dallas County legislators, and the idea has been proposed to the Iowa Association of Counties to set up a statewide job-shadowing program.

Hambleton said the aim of the shadowing exercise is to give state legislators a greater awareness of how bills the pass affect county operations.

“Having our legislators shadow us helps them to better understand county issues when they arise at the legislature,” Hambleton said. “It is our hope that this shadowing will help our legislators to be better advocates for county government at the state capitol.”

Taylor said he saw many satisfied constituents while shadowing Airhart and Hambleton and overheard interesting questions regarding processes and guidelines set by the legislature.

“I want to thank Recorder Airhart and Treasurer Hambleton for allowing me the opportunity to job shadow both of them to further understand and support local government,” Taylor said. “The professionalism from both of them is top notch. I really enjoyed watching the dynamics between Airhart and Hambleton and their employees. Dallas County is fortunate to have a dedicated group of employees working for them, and all our citizens should be proud of that.”

Taylor, a Des Moines native, graduated from Abraham Lincoln High School in 1989. He earned an associate of arts degree from the Des Moines Area Community College, a bachelor of science degree from Upper Iowa University and a master’s degree in business leadership from William Penn University.

Taylor works for a petroleum distributor as a sales director. He and his wife, Christi, have four children, and they live in West Des Moines.

Original post can be found here.

Kansan donates rare Iowa historical atlas to Dallas County

Dallas County Recorder Chad Airhart is the custodian of records for Dallas County, but sometimes county historical records turn up in the most out of the way places.

Arthur C. Crowl of Salina, Kan., left, recently donated a copy of the 1875 book, "An Illustrated Historical Atlas of the State of Iowa," to the office of Dallas County Recorder Chad Airhart, who accepted the donation.

Airhart recently shared an example with the board of supervisors with a copy of the 1875 “An Illustrated Historical Atlas of the State of Iowa” by A. T. Andreas. The volume was recently donated by Arthur C. Crowl of Salina, Kan., who told Airhart he found the old tome in his great uncle’s attic and saved it from the dust bin.

A page from the Dallas County chapter of A. T. Andreas’ 1875 “An Illustrated Historical Atlas of the State of Iowa” shows the Dallas County seat.

“The book is beautifully illustrated with depictions of life in Dallas County in 1875,” Airhart told the supervisors, encouraging them to stop by his office and take a look at the old book.

Original post in theperrynews.com

The Making of the Bubble Gum Pic

Blowing the perfect bubble isn’t easy. Watch Chad try to blow the perfect bubble for the “bubble gum” pic.  https://youtu.be/hz38p8bkEu0




Chad Airhart’s 40th Birthday Blue Jean Bash Announcement

Join Chad & friends on 4/22 for his 40th Birthday Blue Jean Bash. Special guests will include Lt. Governor Kim Reynolds, Senator Joni Ernst, Congressman David Young among many others. This year we will be returning to the Stine Party Barn for our event. RSVP today at Chad@ChadAirhart.com

To contribute onlie, please visit https://squareup.com/store/the-committee-to-elect-chad-airhart.
Suggested Contribution is $40 per person. Host levels at $140, $240 & $400.

Saturday April 22nd,  3-5 pm @ the Stine Party Barn, 4000 Turnberry Dr, West Des Moines, IA

Recorders Office has new software and recording process

Navigating and conducting business within the Dallas County Recorder’s Office in the Court House in Adel has gotten a lot easier as of late, whether you are trying to look up deeds in the County or recording your own. You can now look up deeds from your own computer, wherever you may have access to the internet and the process has gotten a lot more efficient if you need to go into the Court House to have your own deed filed.

You can get to the search tool by going to www.dallasrecorder.com, clicking on “Real Estate” on the left side and then clicking “Recorder’s Indexing.”

Using the online search tool by Cott Systems, you can search by name or firm name, you can select a date range, and decide what types of documents you are looking for. You can even search by book and page if you know where they are within the recorder’s files.

Another feature that is available on the new search website is “Property Check,” which allows people to sign up to receive email and text notifications if documents are filed in your name. Dallas County Recorder Chad Airhart reccomends signing up in multiple ways, such as using a full legal name with first, middle and last names, and signing up with first name, middle initial and last name.

Airhart described the Property Check feature as a “property fraud check.”

“We don’t like to think that this kind of stuff happens in Dallas County, in Iowa, in the midwest because that’s not the kind of people we are, but it does from time to time” said Airhart. “And while the records are available online for the public to go access and see what’s been filed, are you going to stay on that and check it regularly? Most people won’t.

“With this the public can sign up and have access to this tool that will notify them if a document has been filed in their name.”

He said that he has read about instances outside of Iowa where houses have sat vacant for a couple of years and when the owner returns someone is living in the home.

“Well, somebody found out that house was vacant,” said Airhart. “The yard hadn’t been mowed and whatnot. Somebody goes and files a deed, deeds it over to them, sells it, collects the money and, property fraud.”

In the past, they had three separate systems for indexing, imaging and accepting payment. Now they are all in one system, making the office more efficient.

On the computer at the front counter they are able to enter all the pertinent information such as who the customer is, how many pages there are to scan in and how much it will cost the customer. They are also able to enter the payment information and print out the receipt for the customer and then scan it in from a different station within the office.

Finally, once the document has been recorded, they need to index it, meaning that they type in information such as what type of document it is, the grantor, the grantee, and any other information to make it searchable on the website and release it to the public.

“This helps us to be more efficient so we can better aid the patrons that are coming into our office that need help with other stuff,” said Airhart. “So it allows us to have more time on focusing on our constituents in other ways by saving us time in dealing with the computer system.”

When they get the rest of their documents put online and indexed, they will then be able move them out of the office and into an archives area.

“Now we’ve just freed up a considerable amount of space in our office that helps us solve the space problems that we have now and are going to have as we continue to grow,” said Airhart.

Since the new system went live on Monday, June 20, Airhart said that they have received good feedback from the public, especially from the local abstractors such as Iowa Title, Russel Abstract and American Abstract in Adel.

See Full Story Here: http://adelnews.com/news/recorders-office-has-new-software-and-recording-process.html

Dallas County recorder helps fix marriage snafu

My husband and I recently needed to obtain a copy of our marriage certificate, and learned that 20-plus years ago our marriage certificate was not filed with the Polk County recorder after our ceremony.

Our quest to get a “court ordered delayed marriage” certificate took us to several state and county offices. We later learned we were the fourth couple to have this problem statewide in three years, a real rarity.

At the fourth office we contacted, we had the good fortune of meeting Dallas County Recorder Chad Airhart, who took the time to research our problem, make phone calls to get necessary information, and help us navigate the complicated system, including meeting with a local judge to get an order authorizing our marriage from 20-plus years back.

We offered to take him to lunch to show our appreciation, and Chad accepted the invite. At lunch Airhart told us he is not allowed to receive gifts of more than $3, so when Airhart paid his lunch tab, we left a $3 tip for the wait staff with his payment. What a refreshing example of ethics and commitment in today’s often tainted political arena.

— Kathie and Tom Whalley, Urbandale

See Letter To The Editor Here: http://www.desmoinesregister.com/story/opinion/readers/2016/05/17/dallas-county-recorder-helps-fix-marriage-snafu/84289640/

HF 662 Bill Signing & Governor’s Remarks

“This bill relates to vital statistics, including access to birth records and vital statistics fees collected by the state and county registrars of those vital statistics. This bill was initiated by the Iowa County Recorders Association that includes both Democrats and Republicans. This bill improves access to birth records for Iowans. The bill does two things; First, it provides the ability to waive a $20 non-search result fee. Currently, if an Iowan goes to their county recorder and they search for the birth certificate and they do not find a record in the office the recorder still has to assess a $20 fee. This bill allows for recorder offices in non-search result situations to not assess a $20 fee. Secondly, the bill establishes a mechanism for county recorders to access the state’s central database of birth certificates once the technology and all records are available centrally. Not all birth certificates are available at the county level and this technology will reduce burden, cost, and time for Iowans. The bill passed 50-0 in the Senate and 79-19 in the House.” – Iowa Governor Terry Branstad

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