Tonawanda News — Erie County will digitize property tax and deed records to make them available for inter-municipal transfers among the 25 townships and three cities under its purview.
The crux of the change is movement toward consolidating services among local governments, beefing up efficiencies and saving on the hordes of paper required under the old system. The move comes at a time when much of the world moves further into a wholly digitized future, according to officials.
County Executive Mark Poloncarz said on Friday about half the county’s municipalities began the digitized process, some since the beginning of 2013. The county also launched a paperless pilot program in the town of Newstead that allowed for real time adjustments for validating land parcel boundaries after sales and assessments.
“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,” said Newstead Town Assessor Rebecca Baker.”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.”
David Marrano, an assessor for the city and town of Tonawanda, said the process began in both municipalities in early March and could shave off transfer times from the county to his office from three weeks down to one. The process could filter down to real estate and mortgage brokers as well as attorneys, who commonly request documentation.
“There were a lot of costs involved every week and it just wasn’t efficient,” he said. “Now the county’s saving on toner, they save on paper and they save on mailing costs.”