New York’s Erie County has eliminated the need for paper documents in its tracking of property transfers and purchases, along with associated tax considerations.
The Erie County Clerk’s office instigated the change after a year-long study conducted by the department showed how the process could be handled without using hard copies, according to local source Buffalo Business First. Because the office handles an average of 22,000 transactions a year, the reduction in paper consumption – and associated costs – will be significant. The program already has half of the county’s 25 towns participating, as well as all three cities.
Electronic document management is becoming more common in governmental operations on the federal, state and local levels. While the adoption of paperless agendas has been a popular and commonly reported development in how these processes can help governmental bodies, the elimination of paper in property transfers shows another way that electronic document storage systems can benefit budget-conscious government agencies.
Increased efficiencies and cost savings
The switch to paperless record recording and transferring will create two major benefits for the county clerk’s office: fewer expenses and less time spent making and sending copies. The clerk’s office will no longer need to have an employee physically make copies, put them in envelopes, address them to town and city clerks’ offices, apply postage and put them into the mail. Instead, the records will be transferred electronically and available inside of a day of the original transaction being recorded.
By saving money on supplies and reducing staff obligations to perform time-consuming tasks that require little high-level thinking, the Erie County Clerk’s office can rededicate those resources that are now available to more important areas. When the office realizes its long-term plan to have all real estate closings processed electronically instead of at town hall, the advantage will increase.
Benefits can be passed along to taxpayers
A unique benefit that paperless practices provide to government functions is that time and cost savings can be presented as a benefit to local citizens. Although money previously spent on paper, toner and other supplies may not be removed from the budget but instead spent on more important concerns, these positive changes can be highlighted by local officials.
Local news provider The Buffalo News spoke with county executive Mark C. Poloncarz, who said that the project will save taxpayers – including individual residents and businesses – “time, money and resources.”