Tracking down public documents

Home|Opinion|Editor's Column|Tracking down public documents

Sheridan County’s governmental agencies spread far and wide, and obtaining documents from each individual entity looks different than the city of Sheridan’s more one-stop-shop public records request form.

Most often, citizens will visit the Sheridan County Courthouse’s first floor to obtain necessary personal documents or items — vehicle registration; copies of birth or death certificates, marriage licenses or divorce decrees; or property tax information. Searching through certain documents proves more difficult than others, but fortunately the Geographic Information System map alleviates some headache.

As an advantageous reporter, I would often — and still do — attempt to track down property owners of buildings in town or land in the county. The story would entail something along the lines of a business moving to a different location, switching hands or acquiring new ownership. All of those options pique my interest and typically the interest of community members, too. Enter: the GIS map. In an attempt to jump as far ahead as I possibly could with information, I trudged down to the first floor treasurer’s office and asked to flip through the huge array of big, red books in their vault to track the history of ownership at a certain location in town. I didn’t find what I was looking for, but I did discover that the GIS map updates almost immediately after official paperwork has gone through.

The software likely has levels I’ve never reached because of its complexity, but the map can do a few nifty things to help out curious citizens and active constituents in the community.

Start by accessing the Sheridan County website: sheridancounty.com. Navigate through the drop-down lists at the top, underneath the logo, and click HOW DO I. This list is massively helpful for a lot of big stepping stones in your life, but we’ll remain focused on the GIS data — under VIEW.

The GIS provides sample ballots for upcoming elections by searching your address, clicking “Map It,” and clicking “Layers.” During election season, options for viewing your voter precinct become available and include an example ballot in PDF format.

Owners of properties throughout Sheridan County can be researched, as well as how much a property is valued at and what property taxes are paid on the building.

A next step in finding contact information for those home or business owners takes an additional step on the Wyoming secretary of state’s website, which I will detail in a later column.

For now, poke around and learn the ins and outs of the county website. Most certainly at one point in your life, you’ll need a document from the county. Learning the website will save time in the future.

By |Apr. 9, 2019|

About the Author:

Ashleigh Fox joined The Sheridan Press in October 2016 as the public safety and city government reporter before moving into the managing editor position in November 2018. She is a native of Colorado and graduated from Biola University in Los Angeles, CA. Before working in Sheridan, she worked as a sports editor for the Sidney Herald in Sidney, Montana. Email Ashleigh at: ashleigh.fox@thesheridanpress.com

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