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State offers grants for digitization of land records

MONTPELIER — Vermont’s municipal offices that have been effected by COVID-19 closures now have an opportunity to digitize their municipal land records, under a grant program created under a new law.
The Vermont Legislature passed Act 137 of 2020 to distribute Coronavirus Relief Funds to various entities in Vermont. Sections 8 – 10 appropriate $2 million to assist municipalities in digitizing land records for online public access. The Agency of Administration, through the Vermont Department of Taxes, is responsible for distributing the grant funds.
On Friday, July 31, the application for the digitization of land records went live on the Tax Department website at: tax.vermont.gov/coronavirus/municipal-grants.
The grants are being issued to provide economic support to town offices that have been effected by increased customer demand due to the COVID-19 public health emergency but are otherwise unable to successfully allow those customers to search land records. The funds can be used both to pay necessary expenditures that municipalities face and costs directly associated to digitizing land records.
The Agency of Administration has set a grant cap of $20,000 and will review applications prior to disbursement to promote geographic equity in distributing the funds. The agency has sought advice from municipal stakeholders to ensure that the grant cap will have a meaningful impact on the ability of the public to access digitized land records online.
Grant applications must be submitted is Sept. 1, 2020.
For more information, go to tax.vermont.gov/coronavirus/municipal-grants, which state officials said will be updated frequently.

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