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Check processing machines boost efficiency at public agencies

Municipal government bodies are constantly looking for ways to do more with less, which means investments in check processing machines may lead to long-term payoffs. Financial tasks such as collecting property taxes, negotiating deals with public universities or partnering with private companies all require a substantial amount of organization and work on the part of administrators at state and local agencies. Rather than spending an excessive amount of time manually depositing checks or taking frequent trips to the bank, automated technology can help these organizations make better use of their available resources. As government bodies across the U.S. struggle to balance their budgets, any opportunity to limit overhead costs can have a positive impact on overall operations.

Municipalities seek to maximize income
Property tax is one of the most reliable sources of civic income. Many cities depend on these annual checks to fund essential government programs and services. Amid slow economic growth ever since the Great Recession in 2008, a large number of municipalities have made efforts to slightly increase property tax rates to generate more income. According to The Southern Illinoisan, a news publication based in Carbondale, Ill., the local city council recently approved a measure that would raise the current tax levy more than 10 percent. Massachusetts-based newspaper The Republic reported the city council in Worcester, Mass., approved a similar decision in early December. Under the new rules, single-family homeowners would pay nearly $20 per every $1,000 in assessed value while commercial property owners would pay roughly $30.

Some cash-strapped municipalities have also been able to strike deals with local nonprofit organizations and academic institutions that are typically exempt from having to pay property taxes. A recent article in The Atlantic Cities said the government in Providence, R.I. was missing out on more than $100 million in income from organizations that own large swaths of property for which they're not obligated to pay tax. However, city officials were able to convince many of the area's major universities to shore up a fair amount of money in exchange for certain amenities such as dedicated parking spaces or extra parcels of land.

Whenever local government bodies accept money from the public, there is an especially high standard for operating with as much efficiency as possible. Residents often have little patience for municipalities that aren't able to use their resources wisely. Tools such as check processing machines can help many agencies deposit property taxes with little overhead cost. Instead of relying on a large number of employees to manage these task when they could otherwise be working on more important projects, city officials can use technology to save time.

01/10/2014