County Board standardizes notary charges throughout county offices

Published 6:25 am Wednesday, January 8, 2020

After Tuesday’s meeting, if someone has something they need notarized, they can get it done for $1 a signature at the Mower County Auditor/Treasurer’s Office or Administration Office.

As part of the 2020 fee schedule, the Board chose to standardize how much the county charges for notarizing documents. Previously, the Administration Office performed the service for $1 a signature, while the Auditor/Treasurer’s Office did it for a $5 flat fee.

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“We just haven’t had consistency,” said County Administrator Trish Harren, who did not want to be in a situation where different areas within the county have different prices than others for the same service.

The only exception now is the County Attorney’s Office, as it is not equipped to do cash transactions and in some cases notarizes items it requires to be notarized from victims.

County Attorney Kristen Nelsen said she is uncomfortable with the idea of charging people for cases when the office requires a document be notarized.

“I would feel wrong telling them they’ve got to notarize and then charging them for something that we’re making required,” Nelsen said.

For the administration office, being certified to notarize documents and the official stamp costs approximately $140 every five years.

Executive Assistant Denise Barthels said many people who are looking to have things notarized come to the county because they cannot find other providers to do it. Even then, the county is seeing fewer people come in to have things notarized.

There are some people who come in regularly with things like contracts for deed agreements or quit claim deeds, Barthels said.

Because there is a cost to the county to provide this service, Commissioner Jeff Baldus said he thought there should be some fee.

The Board agreed on making $1 per signature the standard charge.