The Macon County Clerk of Court will no longer process passport applications after January 31, according to Clerk of Superior Court Vic Perry.
Perry said the federal government recently made changes in passport processing requirements that make it more time consuming for his staff and costlier to the state.
“I regret that it has become necessary to discontinue this service to the public, because we do process a significant number of passport applications each month,” Perry said. “However, the other side of that coin is that our staff spends a considerable amount of time doing so. With the additional requirements the federal government recently put on processing agents, I feel the time we would spend with passports would take away from our primary responsibility, which is to the court system and to the citizens who use it.”
The recent changes include tracking each passport application from the time it is mailed until it is received at a federal passport center, Perry explained. “I realize that a passport application is a sensitive document, but tracking each one requires a considerable amount of time, and that is time taken from our primary duties,” Perry said.
In addition, Perry said that the state is being asked to pay for priority mail envelopes in which to mail applications to processing centers. Essentially, “the federal government is asking us to not only spend more time processing applications, but we are expected to pay for it as well,” Perry said.
Perry added that a factor in this decision is that the Franklin Post Office is now processing applications, so residents will not have to travel out of town to get their passports.