Karen Johnson

By Peter White

NASHVILLE, TN – Metro Register of Deeds Karen Johnson has been on the job less than a year but her office has made three payments to Metro totaling $3.6 million. That’s the largest amount the office has put into the General Fund in more than a decade.

“We were able to tighten up our bookkeeping and we were able to capture the funds within the single fiscal year,” Johnson told the Tribune.

The Register of Deeds collects fees for record-keeping services and by state law turns over some of that money to the State of Tennessee. The rest is used to run the office and any surplus is turned over to Metro’s General Fund. The Register of Deed’s office usually makes two payments a year to Metro. This year they made three.

The first payment was $1 million. The second was $1.7 million. The third was $939,418.

“At a time when we’re looking at the explosive growth in our city, being able to turn over that revenue the way we did, helped the city,” she said. 

Johnson credits her Chief Deputy, Tom Sealy, with digitizing operations and that has improved how they oversee the money that passes through the office. Johnson also hired bookkeeper Lovie Grant, formerly with Central Parking, who is using the new accounting system to capture and collate financial data much quicker than in the past. As a result, the fees associated with registering deeds in Davidson County are counted quickly and more efficiently. 

“I appreciate it whenever elected officials and department heads find ways to operate their agencies more efficiently and strengthen the bottom line for taxpayers,” said Mayor David Briley.

The Register of Deeds is the custodian of all legal documents pertaining to real property. That includes every single parcel in the city both residential and commercial. Johnson said the volume of activity in her office has increased due to all the new development in Nashville. The new system captures data more accurately and their bookkeeping is more efficient than in the past.

Johnson said the new system is more real time-based and enabled the office to provide surplus revenue sooner. 

“I’m proud to work for the constituents of Davidson County,” she said. Johnson said she is not finished overhauling operations. She said her office will be announcing some more changes soon.

“It’s things that have not been done before in this office.,” she said.

The Register of Deeds office is open Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. The Register of Deeds main entrance is located on Broadway near 6th Avenue South in the Bridgestone Arena.