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City to make obtaining vital documents easier

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Soon you will not have to go to the city clerk’s office to get a birth, marriage or death certificate.

That’s because you’ll be able to request them electronically from the comfort of your home and have them mailed to you.

City Clerk Ann M. Saunders has arranged for a Tennessee company, VitalChek Services, to allow customers to use a remote ordering system over the Internet and through a link with the city’s website to obtain those certificates.

Users will be charged a $7.25 handling fee through a credit card, up from the previous $6 fee, when the new system is implemented in the coming weeks. Both overnight and international shipping of the certificates will be available.

In the past, customers would have to request them in person at the clerk’s office or via fax machine, which often delayed the process, Mrs. Saunders said.

“It’ll be much more efficient,” she said. “It’s much more user friendly.”

The state’s Vital Records Department, as well as many municipalities across the state and country, have hired the company, she said, adding there is no cost to the city to provide the service.

Customers can view in real time the status of their order. Email notifications are sent for order confirmation, payment authorization and shipping details that include the tracking number for overnight shipping, Mrs. Saunders said.

VitalChek assumes all financial responsibility and verifies customers’ identity. The company is providing all of the equipment, supplies and employee training to the city.

The VitalChek service is among a series of new services that the city has implemented in recent months for convenience and efficiency of city customers. Residents now can use credit cards to pay online their city of Watertown/Jefferson County property tax bills, in addition to city water and sewer bills.

The city also recently placed ATMs in City Hall and at the Alex T. Duffy Fairgrounds.

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