BY LISA WARREN
Steps to purchase a new microfilm reader/printer for the T. Elmer Cox Genealogical and Historical Library may have to be delayed due to tightening budgets, officials say.
Don Miller, the reference librarian for the Cox Library, told members of the Greene County Records Commission during a brief meeting Thursday morning that the purchase of a new microfilm reader/printer may have to be put on hold temporarily because funding from the Greeneville government and the library may not be available at this time.
The Greene County Commission has already approved $3,500 in funding for one-half of the cost for a microfilm reader/printer. The remaining portion of the cost of the $7,000 piece of equipment was expected to come, if approved, from Greeneville ($2,500) and the library ($1,000.)
Final word on Greeneville's funding for the microfilm equipment, however, has not yet be given.
Miller said during the meeting that he was instructed by the library's board chairman at their last meeting to not to make any expenditures that the library didn't absolutely need to make at this time.
"And I can't call this an emergency," Miller said in reference to the purchase of a new microfilm reader/printer. "I mean, we need equipment, but it's not like we need it tomorrow."
He warned, however, that there is "a very good chance" that the $7,000 price, which was originally quoted for a microfilm reader/printer, may increase in the future.
County Commissioner Kevin Morrison, who serves as chairman of the Records Commission, expressed concern that the county's portion of the funding may not be available next year because of the increasing need to tighten the budget.
"We're sort of standing on the edge of a sword because we also depend upon the county, and (the county is) in financial dire straits as well," Morrison said.
In other matters, Morrison asked about the status of the purchase of acid-free folders for loose Circuit Court records housed at the Cox Library.
He said $1,000 had been approved by the county for the purchase of such folders.
Miller said he had not been aware that the money had yet been approved. He said he would move ahead immediately on the matter.
Also during the meeting, the Records Commission continued an ongoing discussion as to obtaining recent deed records for the Cox Library's collection.
The library currently has microfilm deed records up through year 1998.
At the Records Commission's previous meeting, it was discussed that the Tennessee State Library and Archives' price per microfilm roll is $25, and at least $3,500 to $7,000 would be needed to obtain microfilm deed records from 1999 to the present.
"I know there's not going to be enough money to buy microfilm right now," Miller said.
Greene County Registrar of Deeds Joy Rader agreed with Miller.
She suggested continuing to look into the possiblity of electronic access to the recent deed records.
This data can be accessed almost immediately after it is entered into the system, Rader said. "The data is pulled every 30 minutes," she added.
In an earlier meeting, Rader had reported that this electronic access may be provided at no charge via Business Information Systems. If not, then access to this information is available for a $35 monthly fee, she said.
Miller said one thing to be considered, if this service cannot be provided to the library free of charge, is that the library "almost never" gets a request for a recent deed.
"If it's recent, persons can go to the Registrar of Deeds office," he said. "It's rare that we get a request for a deed from the last 10 years."
The next Greene County Records Commission meeting is scheduled for Thursday, Aug. 13.