DeKalb County, Ga., Citizens Access Records, Pay Taxes Online

A new online services tool enables citizens and local businesses in DeKalb County, Ga., to use their computers to access property records, pay property taxes and receive an entire property history without having to go to the courthouse.

This addition to the county's World Wide Web site, developed by BellSouth Business, went online last week and is already handling a steady flow of users conducting business online, said Jeanette Rozier, the clerk of DeKalb County Superior Court. "We're getting a good response back so far because people are really using it," Rozier said. "They are e-mailing me with questions and also commenting on how wonderful it is and how glad they are about it."

The site (www.co.dekalb.ga.us) is helping county agencies reduce paperwork and is providing residents with improved access to local government. This frees government employees to pursue other tasks in the county, which has 600,000 residents, more than a half-million cars, and 213,000 parcels of real estate.

Citizens can use the ezProperty tool to pay property taxes online and ezDeeds to look at the value of their property, as well as receive a complete legal description of their plot of land, Rozier said. The electronic commerce applications were provided by ezgov.com through a partnership with BellSouth.

Mortgage companies and law offices also can access property tax information online instead of having to do live courthouse research or having to rely on an interactive voice response system.

The site has received about 5,000 hits since last week's debut of the new tools, and users are spending an average of six to seven minutes perusing the site, said Jimmy Donat, BellSouth's sales manager for DeKalb County.

Rozier credited the local media for making people aware of the site's new features. "It was on television, the radio, the morning talk shows and in the newspapers when we announced the project a couple of months ago at a press conference," she said.

Future applications will include more historical data of properties, increased online services, such as the ability to pay water bills and tickets through the World Wide Web, and motor vehicle registration and renewal, Donat said.

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