Getting a passport for Redwood County residents is going to be a bit more of a challenge in the future, as the Redwood County Board of Commissioners voted to stop offering the service through the Red-wood County auditor-treasurer’s office.
The decision came at the end of a discussion the board had during its meeting Tuesday morning regarding some efficiencies it is hoping to accomplish among its departments.
With the announced retirement of Deb Tholkes, who has led the county license center for a number of years, at the end of this year, as well as the retirement of Mary Ann Jensen from the same department the board has been talking about bringing that department under the auspices of the auditor-treasurer.
It is the auditor-treasurer’s office which has been handling passport requests recently.
According to Vicki Knobloch, passports can not be included in the services of those provided by the license center to ensure avoidance of vital records conflict that could exist with the license center. This is the same reason the passport services were moved from the county recorder’s office.
Knobloch said the county does not see a lot of passport business, with an average of 240 applications per year and revenue of approximately $5,000.
Knobloch said passports services are a federal program, which means other entities in the community could offer them, including the U.S. Postal Service and even the library. Wheth-er those services would be offered there in the future is not known.
Although the county board did approve the end of the services at this time when it completes its reorganization it may consider reinstating the service through another department.
In other action during its meeting, the board:
• Approved a pass- through snowmobile maintenance grant from the DNR in the amount of $87,331 which is used by area snowmobile clubs to groom trails.
• Approved an allocation of up top $5,000 from reserves to help cover the costs of digitizing records in the veterans services office. The project has a total cost of $15,000, with the initial $10,000 funding come through a state grant offered to help improve veterans services.