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Comal files go electronic

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Beginning in January, the Comal County District Clerk and County Clerk’s offices will transition to a paperless filing system, saving taxpayers tens of thousands of dollars and increasing the offices’ efficiency.

The move means the vast majority of cases filed with the two offices will be maintained electronically. Clerks no longer will print and maintain paper files for misdemeanor criminal, civil, family, probate and child-protective cases. Felony criminal cases will remain paper-based for now.

“We expect bumps in the transition, but in the end we will have a better, more efficient system,” says District Clerk Heather Kellar, whose office manages records for most felony criminal cases, as well as divorce and child-protective cases.

The District Clerk’s Office currently spends an estimated $20,000 for ink and paper to print and maintain files on every case filed in the office. Likewise, the County Clerk’s Office budgets more than $10,000 for those supplies every year.

Nearly all of that budget is dedicated to supplies that will no longer be necessary in a digital system, said County Clerk Bobbie Koepp.

“In addition to cost savings, we’ll be able to better utilize our staffs so they can spend less time maintaining paper files and more time serving the taxpayers,” she says. Koepp’s office manages cases filed in the county courts-at-law, including most misdemeanor criminal cases, civil and probate.

As part of the transition, the offices will eventually move to electronic records viewing for the public, Kellar said. The offices will continue to maintain hard copies of files created before the transition.

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