In a recent memo to the Board of Supervisors the Auditor’s Office documented cost savings or $2,800.00 per year and staff efficiency increases of $11,646.00 per year in the processing of real estate transfers into the county tax system.   Real estate transfers occur when property exchanges hands and the new owners record the deed, land contract or other legal transfer document with the Recorder’s Office.  Our office then records the transfer into the county’s tax system computer data base.

The savings came about as part of the LEAN analysis our office has undergone for various processes in the taxation department.   In 2010 the Auditor’s Office reduced staff by one FTE in the taxation department due in part to the anticipated roll out of the on-line version of GIS. To accommodate this loss of staff resources we adopted additional policy changes and physically reorganized the office to enhance productivity, including our new process for recording transfers into the tax system.
The old transfer process involved Recorder staff preparing and sorting original transfer documents, creating a daily delivery log to establish a chain of custody for these documents, and physically delivering them to Auditor staff.  We estimate that would take upwards of one hour daily. 

Auditor staff then made two copies of each document (one copy for the Assessor’s Office and one copy for our office), indexed these copies, hand delivered copies to the two Assessors’ Offices and returned the originals to the Recorder’s Office.  This document preparation took approximately two hours and twenty minutes each day.  Effectively, the Auditor staff assigned to this task spent more than 29 percent of her day in preparing transfer documents.  Recording transfers into the tax system often would lag for weeks after our receipt of transfer documents due to the time it took for document preparation.

Under the new process Recorder staff electronically send the transfer documents to our staff and the Assessors’ Offices.  County Facility and Support Services estimates the savings in copy costs plus miscellaneous supplies at $2,800.00 annually. 

Further this process allows for increased staff efficiency allowing our staff to process transfers into the tax system within 48 hours of receipt in our office.  Thus our office has been able to increase staff productivity by utilizing LEAN concepts and readily available technology.