Franklin County to explore offering passport photo service

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Jul. 22—FARMINGTON — Franklin County commissioners voted Tuesday to allow Heidi Jordan, register of probate, to explore taking passport photos at the county building.

Jordan said they process new passport applications and children's applications but the person applying has to have a photo specifically for a passport that meets size criteria and associated rules. Applications are sent by office staff to a federal agency that issues passports.

The applicant usually has to go to local stores to get a passport photo taken for $15.

Jordan said if they can take the photos it would make it easier for the applicant and would bring in revenue. She said they would use an old phone from the Sheriff's Office that is not used for anything else and a printer in the probate office.

The only cost would be the paper, she said.

"I think the biggest challenge would be lighting," she said.

On average, about 450 applications are processed in a three-year period.

She estimated that at most they could make about $13,000 a year if they processed new applications and renewals.

"This would make it much easier," Commission Chairman Terry Brann of Wilton said. He said he has gone through the process to get a passport.

Commissioners also unanimously approved a one-year trial for ATV riders to drive on a 5-mile section of Reeds Mills Road in Madrid Township to get to a trail.

Mike Pond, county road supervisor for the unorganized territory, said the ATV club in the Madrid Township area asked him about riding on the entire length of Reeds Mills Road to access the next trail.

Chairman Brann asked Chief Deputy Steve Lowell for his input and Lowell said he would be a little concerned because the road is not very wide and has hills and curves.

Pond added there have been two pretty large land purchases in the area and people don't want ATVs and snowmobiles on the property.

"I am not against this but I can see it being abused by people," Commissioner Clyde Barker said.

Harvell suggested it be done for one year and if it gets misused, commissioners will not extend it.

Commissioners voted to switch its service from U.S. Cellular to AT&T for all county cellphones. Every new phone will cost 99 cents, Lowell said. The company will also give the county $200 credit per unit for the existing contract with U.S. Cellular. The Sheriff's Office cruisers will also be able to run the cruiser mobile data terminals from the the system, he said.

According to Lowell, the change in cellphone providers will save the county money.

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