Collier County Clerk Processes 40% More Documents Without Adding Staff with Official Records Software from Image One
“COR is so much more efficient.” – Terri Hart, Director of Recording & Records Management in Collier County, Florida
When it comes to managing official records, there are few experts like those in a busy county clerk’s office. The deputy county clerks in Florida’s Collier County process over half a million pages each year, in over 150,000 separate documents that include deeds, mortgages, marriage licenses, and a wide array of other land records categorized in three dozen different document types. Last year’s total number of pages surpassed the county’s population by almost 200,000.
Creating and safeguarding Official Records for all time is a massive task complicated by the need to comply with a changing array of statutory requirements governing the various processes behind all of those records. Fees, rules and deadlines are subject to constant revision.
The county’s first digital makeover came in 2003 with the implementation of an imaging system, but the real transformation is what has happened since. With the implementation of the Clerk Official Record (COR) system 13 years ago – and the ongoing collaboration with the system’s developers, the Collier County Clerk’s Office has innovated to the forefront of official records capture and workflow automation with a system built to their specifications.
COR combines the deep Official Records experience of its users, with its developers’ expertise in document imaging and workflow software. The result has been dramatic efficiencies and cost savings for both the clerk’s office and its customers with a platform that is fast, reliable and secure.
- 155,635: the number of documents recorded by the Collier County Clerk’s Office in 2019
- 507,395 individual pages encompassed by those documents
- 83,794 documents e-recorded
- Hundreds of thousands of dollars in potential savings to businesses who opt to use COR instead of paying fees to private e-recording companies
- Under 24 hours in typical processing time for documents submitted through COR online portal
- No added staff is needed to process a daily workload of 40% more documents (from about 500 to 700 per day) since COR was implemented
From Paper to Program: The Digital-Based Transformation of Official Records
Nestled against the southwest border of the Everglades, Collier County is the largest county, by land, in the state of Florida. Home to panthers, bobcats, dolphins, sea turtles, and deer, Collier county boasts scenic views, natural attractions, and cutting-edge software for digital record keeping.
In 2003, Collier County partnered with Image One to develop ORIS, an Official Record imaging system that allowed the office to begin digitizing its records in a consistent searchable archive. The COR Clerk Official Record system followed, with software that created a system of e-recording, with a business portal that has cut the number of over-the-counter filings in half.
Not only does the software allow employees to more efficiently process records, COR’s online portal allows direct e-submission and recording of records. It’s a service utilized by more than 800 small and large businesses, ranging from attorneys to title companies, contractors and e-recording aggregators. There is no fee to use the portal – providing smaller businesses with an alternative to having to pay service fees charged by large out of state e-recording companies. Document recording fees are managed through low cost ACHs and deposit/escrow accounts. Documents are typically recorded in less than 24 hours.
“We try to look out for their money as we would for our own,” says Terri Hart, Director of Recording and Records. “We don’t want anyone to be charged more than they should.”
Today, nearly half of all official records in Collier County are filed electronically, greatly expediting services to the public and courts.
“It’s much more efficient,” says Wayne Fyffe, Project Manager for the Recording Department. “We can handle more transactions since there’s no human exchange or handling of money.”
A Third Less Staff Needed for Recording
Over the last 13 years of using COR, the county’s workload has steadily increased, while staffing has decreased. Despite cutting their staff by a third during the recession in 2009, Collier County has not had to add any staff to keep up, even as the number of documents has grown from roughly 500 a day to 700 a day over the same period. “It saves a lot of time… for both submitter and recorder,” says Hart, including time that was once spent opening envelopes, removing staples and preparing documents for mailing back and forth. “It’s much faster. Most documents are usually recorded the same day when submitted online, whereas, through the mail, turnaround time could take a week or two.”
The COR Portal has been well received by the many small businesses and individuals who use it. With an easily navigable interface, COR was designed to be user-friendly.
Hart says the easy-to-use training features are also a benefit, enabling new employees to quickly master recording basic document types within two to three weeks.
A Cross-County Solution to Reporting Needs
From reducing mistakes to increasing the speed of processing, COR has brought a wealth of productivity to Collier County. And customers have noticed.
“They appreciate our fast, friendly service,” says Hart. “Customers no longer have to wait two weeks or more for their documents, and office wait times are much shorter.”
Along with an easy interface, features, and free access to e-Recording, COR provides a range of other benefits:
- Automatic Payment Tracking: a cashiering system capable of up-to-the-minute balance tracking, automating a previously tedious task
- Security Level Based Redactions: Clerks redact content for different statutory security reasons or levels (SSN, Financial account numbers, judge and law enforcement addresses etc.), maintaining the different security levels, allows COR to maintain one, non-redacted master copy. This gives the general public, trusted users, deputy clerks, recording supervisor and the Clerk of the Circuit Court the specific different access they are statutorily required/allowed to have.
- Faster Training: COR offers an easy-to-use training mode for new recorders learning what is required for various document types and what to look for when inputting data
- Risk Alerts: a newly added feature provides registered users with automatic notification if a document is filed or amended using their name or referencing their documents directly. COR can trigger an alert regardless of purposeful party misspellings by a bad actor. In the first two weeks following its roll-out, more than 300 people signed up for this free service in Collier County
- Structured Legal Property Descriptions: When a large plat is scanned in, it specifies all the “identifiers” for a given named property: tract, unit, cabana, etc. Those are all reused when indexing and searching. This helps input accuracy and keep clerks from having to type them over and over and over. Also makes for very fast, easy and accurate legal searches.
- Proactive 24/7 Customer Support: Near real-time exception telemetry and independent automated data consistency checking allows for service response often before you reach for the phone.
- Comprehensive and Flexible Reporting: easy data tracking of satellite offices
Evolving, Configurable Platform Keeps Up with Changing Needs
The software’s easy configurability has also been an advantage, allowing the clerk’s office to integrate many new features.
“We have a very good relationship with Image One,” says Hart. “They continuously work with us on features and improvements.”
As experts in document management, Image One welcomes the opportunity to work closely with clients on ways to improve and further advance its software and workflow automation solutions. Combining the simplicity of use with the capacity to handle any volume, COR enables high-quality public service with high-tech capabilities.