Local Records :: Records Schedules :: Surveyor Retention Schedule

Retention Schedules


November 2005    

Surveyor Records Retention Schedule

See also the General Records Retention Schedule pdf of general records retention schedule

Using this Records Retention Schedule

Everyday local government offices throughout Missouri produce records that document the rights of citizens, the actions of the government that serves them and the history of the community in which they live. It is the responsibility of local government to effectively maintain and manage these records and to ensure the continued preservation of those records of essential evidence that have enduring and permanent value.

The introduction to this retention schedule provides local government officials with basic information on records and the application of retention schedules.


What is a Record?
A "record" is defined as any "document, book, paper, photograph, map, sound recording or other material, regardless of physical form or characteristics, made or received pursuant to law or in connection with the transaction of official business" (109.210(5) RSMo). This definition includes those records created, used and maintained in electronic form.


Non-Records
Even though records include a broad spectrum of recorded information, not all recorded information is a record. According to Section 109.210(5) RSMo, the following are not records: "...Library and museum material made or acquired and preserved solely for reference or exhibition purposes, extra copies of documents preserved only for convenience of reference, and stocks of publications and of processed documents are not included within the definition of records..."

Other examples of non-records include the following materials:

  • Identical copies of documents maintained in the same file.
  • Extra copies of printed or processed materials (official copies of which are retained by the office of record).
  • Superseded manuals and other directives (maintained outside the office of record).
  • Materials documenting employee fringe activities (blood donors, charitable funds, social and professional meetings, etc.)
  • Work papers and drafts of reports or correspondence. Transcribed stenographic materials.
  • Blank forms.
  • Materials received from other activities that require no action (official copies of which are retained by the office of record).
  • Catalogs, trade journals and other publications or papers received from government agencies, commercial firms or private institutions that require no action and are not part of an action case record.

Non-records do not require retention scheduling or destruction authorization or reporting. To control excessive accumulation, it is necessary to keep only current, useful materials and to destroy non-records immediately after needs have been satisfied. Avoid filing non-record material with records.


The Value of Local Government Records
Some records, because of their enduring administrative, fiscal, legal or historical value, should be permanently retained. These records require that special care and consideration be given to their storage conditions and the feasibility of preservation microfilming. Examples of permanent records include year-end reports; minutes; property records such as deeds; and birth, death and marriage records.

Most records do not have values that warrant their permanent preservation. Those records with short-term value should, upon reaching end of the retention period, be destroyed.


Statutory Authority for Establishing Records Retention Requirements
In 1965, the Missouri General Assembly established a State Records Commission to approve retentions for records produced by state agencies. In 1972, Missouri's Business and Public Records Law (Chapter 109) was expanded to include local government. Thus, the Missouri Local Records Board was established to set retention times for local government records. The 16-member board, chaired by the Secretary of State, consists of local government officials from all classes of counties and cities, elementary and secondary education, higher education and a person active in historical society groups.

Supplemental to the Local Records Board, the Records Management and Archives Service of the Secretary of State's office provides assistance to local governments and implements board policy.


Application of the Records Retention Schedule
This schedule establishes minimum retention periods and authorizes dispositions for many of the administrative, fiscal and legal records common to most local governments. Retention periods are based upon federal and state mandates, record surveys, business needs, and general knowledge as to how long records should be kept. Using the schedule as a guide and without seeking further approval from the Local Records Board, any local government may regularly dispose of any of its records that appear on this schedule. The schedule is subject to the following exceptions and limitations:

  1. Local government offices may retain any of their records beyond the retention periods set by the schedule, as they deem necessary. The schedule establishes only a minimum period of retention. Before retaining a record longer than the minimum time required, however, the office should be certain that it has good reason to do so. Unnecessary retention of records can be expensive in space and filing equipment and may expose the office to costly litigation and discovery requirements.
  2. This schedule does not relieve local governments of retention requirements mandated by other state and federal statutes and regulations. When such an obligation does exist, then the longer retention period takes precedence.
  3. This schedule generally reflects audit requirements in its prescribed retention periods, but audits are not always completed in a timely fashion. Therefore, any record required for an audit must be retained until completion of that audit, regardless of its stated retention period in the schedule.
  4. This schedule does not authorize destruction of records that could be deemed relevant to current or pending litigation.

Retention and disposition of records that are common to many offices are included in the General Schedule. Records unique to particular offices are addressed in individual office schedules. All schedules are available on the Secretary of State's website at www.sos.mo.gov/archives/localrecs/schedules .


Destruction of Records
The records classification and retention periods in this manual constitute legal authority for retention and disposal of official records. No records can be destroyed until they meet the minimum retention period listed in this manual. In cases where there is no schedule for a particular record series, the Local Records Board must grant permission for the destruction.

The disposition of records should be recorded in a document such as the minutes of the city council or other legally constituted authority that has permanent record status. The record should include the description and quantity of each record series disposed of, manner of destruction, inclusive dates covered and the date on which destruction was accomplished.

The retention schedule does not prescribe the method of destruction (shredding, burning, landfills, etc.), however, record series with a disposition of Destroy securely contain confidential data. These records should be destroyed under the supervision of a competent person(s) designated (or appointed) to ensure that no records fall into unauthorized hands and that the data cannot be reconstructed.

When records, open or confidential, have been destroyed by decay, vermin, fire, water or other means making their remains illegible, the custodian of records may dispose of the remains after verification and documentation by the Local Records Program, Office of the Secretary of State.


Preservation of Permanent Records
A fundamental, yet often neglected obligation of local government is to care for its permanent records-in this case, some of the records that it generates and receives. The records that have been identified as permanent require special handling and storage if they are to be preserved. The continuous interaction between a record's medium-paper, magnetic tape, film, etc. -and the quality of the environment in which it is kept-temperature, humidity, light, and air-determines the severity and rate of its deterioration.

By microfilming older, deteriorating, but permanently valuable records, local governments can generate durable copies for research and prevent further damage or deterioration of the original. When filmed, processed, and maintained to archival specifications, the master negative will ensure that permanently valuable records are preserved for generations to come.

The Missouri Local Records Grant program can provide financial assistance in the form of grants-in-aid to supplement local funds for preservation initiatives, such as archival supplies, shelving and preservation microfilming.


A Note about Electronic Records
Permanent records existing solely in electronic form are in danger of becoming inaccessible through media decay and hardware/software obsolescence.  Periodic migration and transfer of permanent records to stable preservation media, such as microfilm, should be considered as a best practice for local government to fulfill its statutory responsibility to maintain permanent records.


Modifications and Additions
Because records reflect activities that are constantly changing, the retention requirements for them sometimes require revision as well. Consequently, records retention and disposition schedules often need modification or additions in order to be realistic and effective. Furthermore, because local governments are so large, it is impractical to consult with every office regarding specific schedule entries. There may be some retention periods and disposition requirements within this schedule that fail to account for all relevant factors and there may be some important record series not addressed here which need to be added. The Local Records Program welcomes all comments and suggestions concerned with improvement of record retention schedules through modifications and additions.

For further information on any records management or preservation issue, please contact:

Missouri Secretary of State
Local Records Preservation Program
PO Box 1747, Jefferson City, MO 65101-1747
Telephone: (573) 751-9047
Fax: (573) 526-3867

Surveyors Records Retention Schedule

See also the General Records Retention Schedule pdf of general records retention schedule (Revised, 08/2011)

Record Series Title

Retention

Abstract Book

Permanent

Shows date when abstract is brought in and when it

 

is returned.

 

Copies of plats

Permanent

Corner Restoration Forms - Copies

Permanent

(Forms are provided by Missouri Land Survey,

 

Rolla, where original is on file.)

 

Field Notes

Permanent

Index to Field Notes

Permanent

Index to Surveys

Permanent

Survey Drawings

Permanent

Surveys

Permanent

Aerial Maps

Permanent until updated

Ledger Sheets

Completion of state audit


Note: All permanent documents are to be turned over to the county Recorder of Deeds when the county Surveyor leaves office.