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Friday, March 1, 2013

Updated technology will save time and money

Erie County, NY – County Clerk Jacobs announced a major accomplishment in his effort to use technology to save time for customers and money for the taxpayer. Nearly 25,000 documents that have historically come into the Clerk’s Office in paper-form every year are now coming into the office electronically.

“This is very significant because we have had one full-time employee assigned solely to this task to process all this paperwork. This employee is now ‘freed-up’ to be able to do other critical tasks, like getting our customers in-and-out of the office more quickly,” said County Clerk Chris Jacobs. The innovation is also saving money in costly paper and postage he said.

The 25,000 documents Jacobs is referring to are New York State Tax Warrants which are judgments against individuals for unpaid state taxes and child support payments. “We are mandated by law to process these for the state but we receive no fee for doing so,” said County Clerk Jacobs.

When Chris Jacobs came into office last year he discovered a crisis in the Land Records Division, discovering over $3 million dollars in un-cashed checks and rooms full of documents that had not been returned to customers for as long as 18 months. In an effort to reform the process Jacobs’ created a “Re-Engineering Working Group” headed by a loaned executive from M&T Bank. “This Re-Engineering Working Group discovered that that Tax Warrants made up 15% of our volume and were being manually processed by our recording staff,” he said.

“By automating this process, we are now able to eliminate costly tasks of manual review, recording, scanning, indexing and return of the hard copy documents to the State Department of Tax and Finance. A process that once required a full time staffer now is handled in a few minutes each week,” said Jacobs.

In addition to the Re-Engineering Working Group, Clerk Jacobs also thanked their software provider, New Visions and New York State Taxation and Finance for all their work on this initiative. “I hope other Counties will follow our lead here,” Jacobs added.