Twp. clerk seeks to become passport facility

FLINT TWP. — Pick a proper public place to apply for a passport?

If your answer is the Flint Township Administration building, 1490 S. Dye Road, you might be in luck.

Township Clerk Kathy Funk would like to make that happen. She requested and received from the township board permission to pursue the possibility of becoming a Passport Acceptance Facility.

Many municipalities throughout Michigan are becoming Passport Acceptance Facilities.

It was a trending topic at a recent Clerk’s Institute Funk attended, she said.

Among benefits to the township, she said, would be:

• Increased exposure of services offered by a municipality with residents coming directly into the facility. Non-residents can also use the service — putting Flint Township in a positive light through interaction with staff.

• The $25 application fee stays with Flint Township.

• It’s a “feel good” interaction with the public. Instead of paying a bill, or filing a complaint, it generally is a positive experience for applicants anticipating travel abroad.

Funk said that one city clerk she spoke with told her the revenue generated by the passport fee can amount up to $14,000 a year. In 2015, about 7.9 million (60 percent) of the 16 million passports issued were accepted through passport acceptance facilities, according to statistics Funk provided from the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Consular Affairs which administers the Passport Acceptance Program.

Over the next two years, demand for passports is projected at 20 million issuances a year, according to the Bureau.

Trustee Carol Pfaff-Dahl questioned whether the township has adequate staffing to handle the extra work of taking passport applications.

“It is a huge undertaking,’’ said Township Treasurer Lisa Anderson.

But the township board gave Funk its unanimous approval to pursue the designation.

Applying to join the program is not a guarantee of acceptance which is based on various criteria including passport demand in a given area and exiting acceptance facilities in the community.

The Post Office is a passport acceptance facility.

There are 24 passport agencies nationwide including a regional office in Detroit, three high volume centers, two printing facilities in Arizona and Arkansas, and one Special Issuance Agency.

Headquartered in Washington D.C., passport services include regional passport agencies, and two customer contact centers in Lansing and in Phoenix, Arizona.

Training is provided to selected Passport Facility applicants.

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