Cass County Clerk Monica McMichael visits Dowagiac Rotary Club

DOWAGIAC — The Cass County Clerk paid the Dowagiac Rotary Club a visit on Thursday.

Not to collect a payment or record a deed, but to provide information.

Monica McMichael, Cass County’s Clerk/Register of Deeds, took some time to address the Dowagiac Rotary Club during the club’s weekly meeting at Front Street Crossing in downtown Dowagiac.

A former Rotarian herself, McMichael presented Rotary members with an overview of her office’s activity through the COVID-19 pandemic, with topics including warranty deeds, circuit court collections, concealed carry permits and absentee ballots.

According to data provided by McMichael at the meeting, the clerk/register office recorded 287 warranty deeds — deeds that guarantee a clear title to the buyer of real property — from May 1 through July 23.

While that number is six less than the 293 recorded deeds from the same period in 2019, the sale price increased in 2020 by an average of $20,000.

“High dollar homes are selling, which was surprising,” McMichael said. “We’ve taken in almost $100,000 more in sales tax on property than last year. Things are selling, we have title workers in our office daily and they say they can’t keep up. That’s a wonderful thing and we’re glad to see things moving. It keeps us busy and keeps the county in business.”

Circuit court collections have also increased. From Jan. 1 to June 30, the circuit court collected $238,396.15, compared to $165,181.03 over the same period last year. According to McMichael, tax intercepts have played a significant role in the increase in collection money.

“This year was our first time filing tax intercepts,” McMichael said. “Instead of getting a tax return, if you owed a victim compensation, we intercepted those tax returns. That proved to be very valuable. The number was a surprise to us, but it’s due to the hard work of the courts. We’re very proud.”

McMichael has been recruiting election inspectors to help facilitate the upcoming Aug. 4 elections, with high schools being emphasized.

“In Cass County, we’ve worked hard with high schools,” McMichael said. “You can be 16 or 17 and be able to work elections. High schoolers are energetic. They don’t get tired, and they’re not afraid of technology, which is huge.”

In other Rotary news, a sign-up sheet was passed around for the second week in a row for volunteers to collaborate with A.C.T.I.O.N. Ministries to help distribute food from Feeding America food trucks. The Dowagiac Rotary Club donated $2,000 to A.C.T.I.O.N. Ministries, with the money going toward supplying the food trucks.

Members can choose from three different dates: 3:15 p.m. July 28 at A.C.T.I.O.N. Ministry Center 301 Main St. in Dowagiac, 3:15 p.m. Aug. 12 at Sister Lakes Community Church, 27119 M-152 in Dowagiac and 3 p.m. Aug. 25 at Holy Maternity of Mary Catholic Church, 210 N. Front St. in Dowagiac.

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