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Erie County Clerk Kearns secures funding for technology improvements

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Thu, Jul 26th 2018 04:30 pm
Kearns to improve software, automated kiosks, computer systems, seating at clerk's office; no cost to taxpayers
On Thursday, the Erie County Legislature approved Erie County Clerk Mickey Kearns' request for funding to make significant upgrades to technology at the clerk's office. The resolution passed the legislature 10-1, and approved the spending of $134,519 for technology and seating upgrades.
Continuing to push for greater efficiencies to cut wait times, Kearns is updating equipment to match the capabilities of a 21st-century office. The improvements will affect various departments of the clerk's office. At the Erie County auto bureaus, Kearns will install two new reservation kiosks for the Eastern Hills Mall and Erie Community College South offices. These kiosks are essential to the implementation of Kearns' new Auto Bureau policy, "Ready, Reserve, Renew."
Launched to ensure customers can complete their transaction in an efficient manner, Kearns initiated the "three Rs" of the auto bureau to promote being ready with the correct documents at the time of the transaction, making a reservation using the Erie County auto bureau reservation system, and advocating to renew local. However, currently only the Northtowns, Cheektowaga and downtown auto bureau locations are equipped with the reservation technology. The two additional kiosks quoted at $26,455, for the Eastern Hills Mall and ECC South auto bureaus, will provide each main auto bureau with reservation capabilities, and allow customers with a reservation to "skip the lines."
"This investment in technology is part of a strategic effort to make the services at the clerk's office more efficient," Kearns said. "These additional kiosks will allow customers to reserve a time based on their schedule, at each of our five main auto bureaus. The new 'Ready, Reserve, Renew' policy will help to expedite DMV transactions through educating customers on the necessary documents, providing reservation times, and keeping part of the fees in Erie County."
The Erie County clerk's office is responsible for a high volume of daily transactions that utilize equipment and technology it said are outdated, out of warranty, and energy-inefficient. Updates are necessary in order for customers to complete their transactions without unnecessary delays.
"The Erie County clerk's office is long-overdue for some significant equipment and technology upgrades," Kearns said. "These upgrades are vital to providing timely and efficient services without any cost to the taxpayers in Erie County. From slashing wait times at our auto bureaus through the reservation system, upgrading the frequently used monitors in land records, or installing a queuing system in the pistols department, these improvements will bring 21st-century capabilities to a system that has long fell behind the curve."
In the clerk's office land records department, Kearns will replace current computer screens with 50 new monitors. The current computer monitors, used by customers and employees in land records, have not been updated since 2005. The cost for 50 new monitors is quoted at $7,332.10.
In order to better serve and expedite service in the pistol permit department, Kearns will install a queuing and online reservation system for $10,777. This will enable residents to have a seamless experience that is considerate of their time. The online reservation system for new applicants will allow customers to make and manage their appointment and ensure they have the complete materials to submit their application.
In addition, the county clerk's office is responsible for the preservation of valuable and historical documents. The equipment used to properly view these documents is in need of upgrading. Kearns will use this funding to purchase an updated microfilm scanner that will provide a significant improvement in visual capabilities. This is quoted at $6,049.
Finally, Kearns will purchase new seating for the Cheektowaga, northtowns and downtown auto bureau offices. The current seating is well-used, worn, and does not meet certain health standards, such as not including back support. The cost for new seating at these auto bureaus is $48,258.15.
The purchases in total will cost approximately $134,519 and will be funded entirely from the county clerk's reconciled concentration account overfunding, thus resulting in no cost to taxpayers.

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