Mayor Ben McAdams: Shortfall in Salt Lake County Recorder's office not a result of malfeasance

SALT LAKE COUNTY, Utah (ABC 4 Utah) - A candidate for the Salt Lake County Recorder's office is calling for an audit questioning a major loss in projected revenue.

Mary Bishop says there's a shortfall of $1.75 million and she's questioning where the money went, but the Mayor's office as well as the Recorder's office says this isn't actual money; it's a budget projection that they aren't going to hit.

Bishop says she was drawn to running for Office of the Recorder after she was fighting a property line dispute. “The recorder had made an error back in the 80s, but I found it so difficult to find my property records that I said we can do better,” said Bishop.

What she heard at a County of the Whole meeting back in June really concerned her.

"They discovered that the Recorder's office was going to come in at $1.75 million in shortfall on revenue,” said Bishop.

A majority of the Recorder's fees come from those buying and selling homes, but Bishop says the $1.75 million shortfall doesn't add up with the much smaller drop in the real estate market.

"It's very odd to me that we would only have a 9% drop in real estate and a 30% drop in recording documents,” explained Bishop.

Salt Lake County Mayor Ben McAdams says he's not sure what's causing the drop in revenue, but that they're seeing it in other counties as well. From January of 2013 to June of 2014, records show Davis, Utah and Weber counties have all seen major losses in revenue.

Mayor McAdams, "Some of the things that could be causing this we think is people are renting rather than selling and that might mean there's not recorder fee because they aren't selling a property. We do see rentals going up across the state. There are numerous things that could explain it. We are very confident there is no malfeasance within government."

You can't miss money that was never collected. That’s what incumbent county recorder Gary Ott says. He points out the budget is just a projection of anticipated revenues, which the Mayor's office inflated, and that his opponent just doesn't understand how the process works.

"It's just overall a lie,” said Ott. “What we've got going on in our office is easy to see. It's out in the open."

McAdams adds, “In the grand scheme of things, this is pretty minor. In our billion dollar budget we’re going to see fluctuations.”

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