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The County Clerk’s Office has the Answer!

WHITE PLAINS, NY: Do both parents need to be present to apply for their child’s passport?  Does the child need to be present when applying for their passport? Are copies of birth certificates accepted as proof of identity? The Office of the Westchester County Clerk can answer these questions and more as well as help you process the necessary application for a child’s passport.  “We encourage parents planning an international trip to let our knowledgeable staff help them apply for a passport for their child, including taking their picture,” began Westchester County Clerk Timothy C. Idoni.  “Routine passport applications take only a few minutes to complete and our staff is well equipped to assist with more complex applications,” continued Idoni, whose office, is the largest passport agency for the U.S. Department of State in this region.

If you need a passport for your child, please remember
• The child must be present when applying for their passport.
• An original birth certificate with a raised seal must be submitted, but will be returned in a few weeks.
• Parents or guardians must present proof of identity to establish relationship to a child under the age of 16. 
• Both parents should appear together and sign the application or submit a notarized form (DS-3053) signed by the parent that cannot appear in person.
• Applicants age 16 and older must sign their name on the application in front of the passport agent.
• Passport applications and forms can be downloaded from the clerk website www.WestchesterClerk.com


The fee for a child’s passport is $105.00 and can be paid in cash, check or money order. If paying by check or money order, parents must bring one for $80.00 payable to the Department of State and one for $25.00 payable to the Westchester County Clerk.   In our White Plains Office, American Express, MasterCard and Visa are also accepted.  The Limited Use Passport Card, for land and sea border travel, only is $40.00 for children under the age of 16.  For expedited service fewer than four weeks, the fee is $60.00 per application. Passport photos are $10.00.

If you have any questions about what you need to have to apply for your child’s passport, do not hesitate to call our office at (914) 995-3086 or visit our website at www.WestchesterClerk.com.

Westchester Records Online Receives a 2010 Achievement Award Honorable Mention

DGAA award logo

Sept. 07, 2010

Making government easy through the use of 21st century technology is a primary goal of Westchester County Clerk Timothy C. Idoni.  Westchester Records Online (WRO) does just that.  WRO received Honorable Mention for the 2010 Digital Government Achievement Awards from the Center for Digital Government (CDG), one of only eight county-to-citizen applications to be recognized nationally.  The Center for Digital Government is a renowned national research and advisory institute for government technology best practices.  CDG recognized WRO as among one of the “outstanding agency and department Web sites and projects at the application and digital level” in the United States.

“On behalf of the Westchester County Clerk’s Office, I proudly accept this prestigious award from CDG for our user-friendly website, Westchester Records Online,” stated County Clerk Idoni.   Finalized in 2010, WRO allows visitors to perform fast, easy, and comprehensive online searches for County Clerk records such as deeds and judgments.  “When creating WRO, we listened to suggestions made by both frequent and one-time customers who needed access to our online records,” shared Idoni.   “By bringing our users together with our technology developers throughout the process of creating WRO, we succeeded in creating an application which meets high technology standards while also meeting the needs of our customers.”  Visit wro.WestchesterClerk.com to learn what Westchester Records Online can offer you.

County Clerk Idoni Urges At-Risk Homeowners to Get Help Now

Jan. 14, 2010

foreclosureWhile the country tries to recover from a serious economic crisis that is plaguing many key financial sectors, the news isn’t any better for New York as foreclosure filings continue to rise.  More troubling is in Westchester County, where the numbers are growing at an alarming rate. The number of foreclosure filings in the last quarter of 2009 was more than four times as high at 922 filings as they were during the same quarter of 2008 when 243 filings were recorded. “A foreclosure action, which is filed in the Westchester County Clerk’s office is the first step of a process that can result in the loss of a home or building,” stated County Clerk Timothy C, Idoni. “However,” continued Idoni, “Westchester homeowners need to know that commencement of a foreclosure action or filing does not mean that their home will ultimately be lost to foreclosure, especially if they get help.”

The county clerk’s office reports that the increase in the number of foreclosure filings in 2009 reached an all time high of 3,113 or 907 more filings than the 2,206 recorded in 2008.  There is encouraging news however as the number of judgments resulting in foreclosure or actual loss of a home for the last quarter of 2009 -186- were lower than 2008 when 215 judgments were recorded.  Judgments were also significantly lower for the year with 732 compared to a high of 1,033 in 2008.

“If you are at risk of foreclosure, seek help immediately,” urged County Clerk Timothy C. Idoni, whose office records all foreclosure filings. “Don’t wait until it becomes too late to save your home,” he cautioned, emphasizing how foreclosures can hurt our neighborhoods, our families and severely impact municipal budgets and services.  “And while judgments were down in 2009, the troubling rise in commencements of foreclosures is a clear indicator that more at-risk Westchester homeowners need to start now to pursue efforts to avoid losing their homes,” said Idoni.  He urged residents to consider the following: 

  • Avoid being subject to legal action by not falling behind in your mortgage payments. If you receive a warning letter from your bank or lender, or concerned that you will fall behind on payments, seek help now.  Westchester Residential Opportunities (WRO), a non-profit housing agency with offices in White Plains and Mount Vernon, conducts Mortgage Default Orientation Sessions most Tuesdays in their White Plains office.   Call a trained counselor at 428-4507 or visit http://www.wroinc.org/ to see how they can help you.
  • You don’t have to lose your home, even if you are served with foreclosure papers.  Do not throw in the towel and give up. Try to enter into a repayment plan, secure a modified loan, refinance with another lender or sell your home on your own to avoid foreclosure.
  • Avoid falling victim to foreclosure rescue scams.  As foreclosure rates climb, so do the number of mortgage foreclosure scams targeting at-risk homeowners. Don’t make a bad situation worse by falling prey to these scam operations. Only seek help from a reputable counseling agency or a trusted attorney to guide you through the process.
  • The Westchester County Clerk is the Clerk for the Supreme Court where foreclosure actions are heard.  The public can visit the Legal Division located at 110 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. in White Plains between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, excluding legal holidays to look up legal records, judgments, liens, lis pendens, and other business records.  For more information on our Legal Division, please call 995-3070 or visit our website at http://www.westchesterclerk.com/.

As Land System Becomes Mandatory, County Realizes $700K Savings Each Year

Jan. 05, 2010

land system“Doing more with less is no longer an option,” began Westchester County Clerk Tim Idoni.  “It is a mandate for each of us in public service.  Increasing the productivity of our staff is the key to reducing the cost of government.”

The Office of the Westchester County Clerk has rolled out a number of technology projects over the last four years which have saved tax dollars, increased intergovernmental efficiencies and moved the clerk’s office firmly into the 21st century.  But the newly minted Property Records Electronic Portal (PREP) surpasses all of them.  By changing the way documents are submitted to the Land Records Division of the Office of the Westchester County Clerk, the office will save hundreds of hours of staff time each month and hundreds of thousands of dollars annually.

PREP moves work previously performed by the county clerk’s staff out to those that submit documents to the office - the land records industry.  A web-based application, PREP, facilitates the creation of certain tax forms and cover pages for land documents, such as deeds and mortgages, which are submitted to the office for recording.  The system is designed to reduce submission errors and prevent rejections, thus saving both the county and the real estate industry time and money.  Further, reduced rejections will translate into faster recording times which protect the interests of the parties to land records.  “By simply transferring the creation of cover pages from the government to the private sector, while providing the tools to make it easier to perform, Westchester taxpayers are the ultimate winners,” Idoni said.

The launch of the PREP System on the first day of his second term marks the culmination of a process which began four years ago when Idoni entered office and found that tens of thousands of land documents had been sitting in boxes for months.  He began by auditing every position in the department and then assessing each employee to be sure they were properly assigned.  By reorganizing the staff and working with the title industry, he was able to eliminate the backlog.   Idoni then set out to develop what is now known as PREP, but he was not able to obtain funding until 2008.  With funding in place, Idoni and his staff went to work implementing the new system with the county’s Office of Information Technology.

Idoni believes the PREP System is so good as a result of the help received from not only his own and county staff, but in large part through partnerships with the New York State Land Title Association, the local bar associations, the Westchester County Assessors Association, and the Office of the New York City Register, which implemented a similar system in 2004.  Westchester is the only county outside of New York City to develop a web-based system.  “We put a particular emphasis on making the system easy, which the industry has embraced,” shared Idoni.  “We have understood from the beginning that providing training and customer service is essential and I am proud to say in preparing to launch the PREP System, we have already provided in-person training to hundreds of users through both on-site training sessions and offsite Continuing Legal Education courses.”

With the knowledge that the PREP System would launch in 2010, Idoni was able to eliminate ten positions from his operating budget over the last two years.  The eliminated positions ranged from Chief Deputy County Clerk (whose responsibilities in running the Land Records Division, Idoni has assumed) to Senior Messenger and will result in a savings of salaries and benefits in excess of $700,000.

Idoni’s next mission is to bring the entire state into the 21st century through legislation allowing for the eRecoding of land records. Currently New York is the only state in the nation that does not allow for some form of eRecording.   The legislation supported by the eRecording Committee of the New York State Association of County Clerks, which Idoni co-chairs, would allow land records such as deeds and mortgages to be scanned and transmitted electronically to the clerk’s office.   The proposed process saves time, postage costs, and manpower for both the public and private sectors.   Idoni looks forward to lobbying the State Legislature to allow for this common sense, big money saving initiative in the coming year.

For more information or to use the PREP System, visit https://prep.westchesterclerk.com/ or call the PREP Help Line at (914)995-3111.

Partnership with New York State Department of State Reduces the Cost of Government

Jan. 19, 2010

E corpWith municipal budget cuts at all levels, government partnerships which save tax dollars and increase efficiency are a must these days.   And being able to put an “e” in front of any document filed in the Office of the Westchester County Clerk means protecting the environment as well.  The eCorps project, recently launched by Westchester County Clerk Timothy C. Idoni, accomplishes these goals.

“Our eCorps goal was very simple.  Our office did not want to have to re-index and scan corporate filings which had already been indexed and scanned up in Albany,” began County Clerk Idoni.  “Instead, we worked with the state to set up a method by which data and images could be transferred to our office and then into our index automatically,” continued Idoni.

“Replacing paper corporation filings with eCorps will increase the accuracy of our indexes, enhance the speed with which these records will be available in our office, and increase efficiency as these filings will no longer have to be manually indexed, imaged, or filed by my staff,” concluded Idoni, who noted that his office receives approximately 10,000 corporate filings each year.

This accomplishment was the result of a partnership between the Office of the Westchester County Clerk and the New York State Department of State, Division of Corporations and was facilitated by the Westchester County Department of Information Technology.  For more information on the Office of the Westchester County Clerk, please call (914)995-3080 or visit http://www.westchesterclerk.com/
 

Translator

Visiting Our Office?

Enter through the courthouse and proceed to the third floor.

Richard J. Daronco Courthouse
111 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd
White Plains, NY 10601

Hours: Mon - Fri, 8am - 5pm
Passport Hours: 8am - 4:30pm
Closed on official holidays.

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