3/14/14: Paperless Property Transactions Debut in Erie County

Modified: January 23, 2015 2:59pm

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Greater Efficiency, Timeliness in Electronic Transfer of Deeds, Real Property Reports

Streamlined Process Results in Savings for Towns across Erie County

ERIE COUNTY, NY Erie County Executive Mark C. Poloncarz, Erie County Clerk Christopher Jacobs, and Erie County Director of Real Property Tax Services Joseph Maciejewski have announced that local municipal corporations now have the option to receive Real Property transfer reports and deeds electronically, replacing the traditional paper-based system. Working in collaboration, the Office of Real Property Tax Services and the County Clerk’s office engineered the paperless option for the 25 Towns and 3 cities in Erie County; through the Erie County Assessors Association (“ECAA”), roughly half the towns in Erie County are currently participating in the electronic format, with wider participation expected.

“The electronic transfer of deeds and real property tax information is a good example of government working together and creating a contemporary system that saves taxpayers time, money, and resources,” said Erie County Executive Mark C. Poloncarz. “Thanks to the partners who joined together to make this modern, paperless system a reality, property transfers and deed transactions can now be completed in real time, reducing waste and need for storage.”

“Using technology to work smarter has been the theme of this office since I became County Clerk,” said Erie County Clerk Chris Jacobs. “By working together in County Government we have now found a way to electronically transfer deeds to municipalities instead of mailing them in paper form. This will save time and money for both the county and local governments.”

Following the successful test of a paperless pilot program with the Town of Newstead, Erie County Real Property Tax Services is now ready to unveil the paperless process for the reading and validation of land parcel boundaries and new subdivisions across Erie County, as well as the electronic completion of any changes to those boundaries. Using the County Clerk’s image system, property transfers can now be completed in real time.

Town of Newstead Assessor Rebecca Baker said, “It’s great when local municipalities and the County can work together to streamline any process. Downloading deeds is very simple and this gives us the flexibility of either directly storing them electronically, which is the direction we should all be headed, or if necessary printing it ourselves.  Even then, there are still cost savings. First and foremost the postage used to mail them and with some creative thinking on the part of my clerk, when we print, we put all four pages on one page. Because of the retention policies, storage of files is an ongoing problem. This certainly helps.”

Erie County Director of Real Property Tax Services Joseph Maciejewski added, “I want to thank County Executive Poloncarz and County Clerk Jacobs for empowering their staff to develop this cost-saving measure. The project, which started in early 2013, was completed in-house and saved taxpayers the cost of hiring an outside consultant. I would also like to thank the leadership of the Erie County Assessors Association, including past President Jeneen Lomando-McSkimming and current President Milt Bradshaw, for their full support of this project. This new process allows us to work in a completely paperless environment, with significant recurring savings in postage, printing, and paper costs.”

Milt Bradshaw, President of the ECAA and Town of Orchard Park Assessor, added, “The recent collaboration between the Towns, Erie County Real property Tax Services and the Erie County Clerk’s Office to streamline the transfer of deeds electronically is a positive step towards working together for the betterment of the taxpayer. This process will show a cost savings with postage, man power and storage space for record keeping. I think at the end of the day if we can do the job and save money we all benefit as Erie County residents.”

Municipalities currently participating in the paperless process include the Cities of Buffalo, Lackawanna, and Tonawanda, as well as the Towns of Amherst, Boston, Colden, Concord, Grand Island, Hamburg, Holland, Newstead, Orchard Park, and Tonawanda. Other Towns can participate in the time- and cost-saving paperless process if they wish.