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Westchester County Clerk’s Office to Begin Accepting Applications for New U.S. Passport Card for Land and Sea travel at U.S. Borders

passportJanuary 31, 2008: As part of ongoing efforts to strengthen security at our nation’s borders, the United States Department of State will make available beginning this spring a new passport card for land and sea travel between the U.S. and Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean and Bermuda. In advance of the launch, the Office of the Westchester County Clerk, the largest passport acceptance agency in the region, will begin accepting applications on February 1st for the new, limited-use U.S. Passport Card.  This new passport card is being offered in anticipation of new travel requirements that are expected to go into effect by 2009 that will require having a U.S. passport to reenter the U.S. via land and sea from Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean and Bermuda.  The U.S. Passport Card will provide a less expensive and more efficient alternative to help improve the U.S. border control process while addressing the needs of citizens who do frequent cross-border travel.

“Westchester County residents who anticipate frequent travel by land to Canada or Mexico and by sea to the Caribbean region or Bermuda are urged to take advantage of this new passport card, which at $45 for an adult card is less than half the cost of a regular U.S. passport,” stated Westchester County Clerk Timothy Idoni.  He noted the efficiency and portability of the wallet-sized card, “which resembles a driver’s license and like a regular U.S. passport is valid for ten years for adults and five years for children ages 15 and under”, said Idoni. 

However, Idoni stressed that while the card affords many of the rights and privileges of a traditional passport book “It is intended ONLY as a limited-use travel document, which means it’s valid only for land and sea travel between the U.S. and Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean region, and Bermuda. For travel by air, you will need a regular passport.”

By applying now, residents can expect new cards to be available and mailed by spring 2008. And U.S. Passport Card holders can be assured that their private information will be secure and protected. Each card will be embedded with a Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology chip, which links to secure government databases.  This technology, in use by border control agents successfully since 1995, also can be found on car keys, highway toll tags and passes, and security access cards. There will be no personal information written to the RFID chip.  “Every precaution will be taken to prevent counterfeiting and forgery and protect your private information”, affirmed Idoni.   

In addition to the cost of $45 for an adult card, the fee is $35 for children under 16. When renewing the card, the fee is also more affordable than traditional passports at $20 for adults, compared to $75 for adults (effective February 1st).  What if you already have a passport?  “If you already have a regular passport, you can still apply for the passport card, “said Idoni.  “However,” he advises, “ if your passport is about to expire and your travel plans for the future primarily pertain to North American countries, such as Canada, where many New York State residents travel to or work, then you might consider getting the passport card, rather than the more expensive passport.”

For more information about applying for the U.S. Passport Card or a regular passport, Idoni invites you to contact the Passport and Licensing Division at his office, 995-3086. “My very capable staff will be able to answer any questions you may have about the new card and assist with processing all passport applications.” The office, located at 110 Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd. in White Plains, is open from 8:00 am until 5:00 pm, Monday through Friday, excluding legal holidays.  Information as well as a video created by the county clerk’s office about applying for a passport can also be found on their website, www.westchesterclerk.com.

Westchester County Clerk’s Office “Goes Red for Women” and Raises over $2,200.00 in the Fight Against Heart Disease

February 6, 2008:  The employees of the Westchester County Clerk Timothy Idoni’s office continued their annual commitment to raising awareness about women and heart disease with a successful fundraiser in support of the “Go Red for Women” movement. More than $2,200.00 has been raised thus far from a bake sale, raffle and from sales of “Go Red for Women” ribbons, pins, and bracelets, held on Go Red Day, February 1st at the County Clerk’s Office in White Plains. The “Go Red for Women” movement is a national campaign of the American Heart Association (AHA) that aims to educate women about the risks of cardiovascular disease and stroke.

“Nationally, heart disease is the No. 1 killer of women. However, it is a disease that is preventable,” stated Idoni, who lost his own mother, Florence Idoni to heart disease in 2006.  “The “Go Red” movement empowers women with the information they need to reduce their heart risks by making lasting lifestyle changes that improve their overall heart health and lead to living longer, stronger, and healthier lives.”  County Clerk Idoni was elated by the tremendous outpouring of support from employees who wore red and volunteered to raise funds, as well as the monetary donations received from other county employees and the general public at their bake sale and raffle.   “I salute my staff, our county colleagues, and the public for enthusiastically embracing the “Go Red” movement.  Their support is further evidence of a commitment to improving not only their own health, but also the health of so many important women in their lives,” said Idoni.

Proceeds from the bake sale, which featured an assortment of delicious home-baked goods donated by staff, and the raffle will go to the American Heart Association to continue the fight against heart disease in women. To find out more information about the nationwide “Go Red for Women” movement, or to make a donation, contact the local Westchester/Putnam regional office of the American Heart Association at (914) 694-6464 or visit http://www.goredforwomen.org/.

Hiring a Plumber or an Electrician? Strikes Gold in Issue Awareness Category

April 16, 2008:  Lights! Camera! Action!  An informational video from the Office of the Westchester Clerk recently received a Gold Award in a premiere international and independent film and video competition.   The Aurora Awards, which targets regional, local and special interest products, programs and commercials recognized Hiring a Plumber or an Electrician? for its outstanding video use of graphics and production.  The video, which offers step by step tips for county residents about hiring a licensed plumber or an electrician, was produced by the County Clerk’s Office with the assistance of the White Plains TV Cable Access Commission and the cooperation from both the Westchester County Electrical and the Plumbing Boards.

County Clerk Timothy Idoni, was pleased to learn that his office received this important award and remarked, “It is the goal of my office to put the needs of Westchester residents first by providing information on ways that we can be helpful through outreach methods such as videos like this one,” Idoni stated. But more importantly, he stressed the purpose of creating this video was to protect residents by making them aware that the plumber or electrician they hire to do work in their home must be licensed in this county. “My office, which provides the exams and licenses, can assist residents in obtaining this information,” said Idoni.  “I commend my staff, the members of the Westchester Plumbing and Electrical Boards, and the White Plains TV Cable Access Commission for their outstanding work on creating this award winning video,” County Clerk Idoni said.

The production of the videos was paid for entirely by a New York State Community Project Grant, which has funded community outreach and public education efforts of the Office of the Westchester County Clerk.

This video and one about applying for a U.S. Passport can be viewed anytime day or night, on the Westchester County Clerk website at http://www.westchesterclerk.com.   Stay tuned for a new video entitled, Just Ask, which answers commonly asked questions about the County Clerk’s Office, to be added to the rotation in the coming weeks.

Takin It to The Streets: County Clerk Idoni's Outreach Services Tops 2007 Accomplishments

January 16, 2008

Westchester County Clerk Timothy C. Idoni’s second year in office brought with it a new challenge – letting Westchester residents know that the Office of the Westchester County Clerk is here to help them.  With the elimination of the six-month backlog of deeds and mortgages and improved employee productivity the norm, the county clerk hit the streets of Westchester County to let residents know what he and his staff can do to make their lives easier.

When new travel requirements resulted in increased demand for passports, the county clerk’s mobile office traveled to fairs, festivals, municipal buildings and local downtowns.  Working from this mobile office, community outreach staff accepted 1,368 passport applications, including taking passport photos for most of their customers.  And when county residents began to receive letters from questionable companies asking for big dollars for a copy of their deed, County Clerk Idoni headed out to thirty seven senior centers.  He warned seniors to beware of these mailings and shared that his office can provide a certified copy of a deed for as little as $5.00.    In addition to visits to senior centers and mobile office appearances across Westchester, County Clerk Idoni continued to meet with and speak to numerous civic and professional associations throughout the county. 

“I worked hard during my first year to be sure that residents who visited the Westchester County Clerk received a professional level of service from a government office,” began Idoni, a former municipal manager and Past President of the Westchester County Municipal Officials Association who holds an M.P.A. from New York University.  “And having achieved that goal by the end of 2006, this opened up opportunities to let the residents of Westchester know what we do and that we are here to help,” continued Idoni.

These achievements and more are documented in the which was released on January 15, 2008.  “Our website, www.westchesterclerk.com, underwent a comprehensive update and now features vastly improved access to services, information, forms and links,” shared Idoni.  “And now for a modest fee, customers can obtain online access to millions of images allowing them to research the history of their property or obtain a recent legal filing,” continued Idoni.  “And in the year ahead I look forward to continuing the successes of 2007 while striving to increase and improve our service to the residents of Westchester County.”

The Office of the Westchester County Clerk is located at 110 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. in White Plains and is open from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, excluding legal holidays.  For more information, or for a copy of the 2007 Annual Report, please visit our website at http://www.westchesterclerk.com/ or call us at (914)995-3081.

County Clerk Idoni simplifies tax case filings in partnership with the Courts

April 9, 2008: The Office of the Westchester County Clerk handles over four million pieces of paper each year.  County Clerk Timothy C. Idoni has embarked on a series of e-filing initiatives intended to vastly reduce that number, saving time and tax dollars for county residents.  The first initiative is e-filing of tax certiorari cases.

It’s fast, it’s convenient, it’s paperless and it’s available in Westchester County.  Now all Westchester County Supreme Court tax certiorari cases may be commenced electronically through the Unified Court System’s e-filing program.  E-filing allows attorneys to electronically transmit, serve, file, retrieve and receive electronic notification of court filings.  In addition, it allows Judges and court clerks to receive and access files electronically.

This voluntary program results from a partnership between Westchester County Clerk Timothy C. Idoni and Administrative Judge Francis A. Nicolai.  “Westchester County has historically been a governmental leader in the area of technology and in that spirit my office has committed itself to providing the staff, equipment and technological support to successfully launch e-filing in this county,” stated Westchester County Clerk Idoni, who acknowledged key support from Westchester County’s Department of Information Technology in this project.

What does e-filing mean for tax certiorari attorneys?  Documents can now be filed at any hour of the day from any location, court fees can be paid online by credit card, and the entire case file can be easily accessed online reducing the need to transport voluminous files between or from offices.  There are no additional fees charged in connection with e-filed cases. 

To access the Unified Court System’s e-filing website, go to nycourts.gov.  Click on “E-Courts” and then “Electronic Filing” or visit www.westchesterclerk.com.  The Legal Division of the Office of the Westchester County Clerk is located at 110 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. in White Plains and is open between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, excluding legal holidays.  For more information on our Legal Division, please call 995-3070 or visit our website.

Calendar of Events

Thursday, June 22

Mobile Passport Outreach
Bronxville Village Hall
11am - 2pm

200 Pondfield Road
Bronxville, NY 10708


Friday, June 23

Mobile Passport Outreach
Yorktown Town Hall
11am - 2pm

363 Underhill Avenue
Yorktown Heights, NY 10598


FireworksTuesday, July 4

Independence Day
OFFICE CLOSED
Office will reopen on Wednesday, July 5th at 8am


 

Full Calendar of Events

Visiting Our Office?

To visit our office, enter through the Richard J. Daronco Courthouse located at 111 Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd. in White Plains. Our office is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m., excluding official holidays.