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To please feds, Fayette to cut window at courthouse for passports

Fayette County officials are planning to build a service window for the county’s probate court to comply with a passport application requirement from the U.S. State Department.

The window will be from the office to the main lobby of the Justice Center complex, meaning that if any lines form they will be waiting in the main lobby of the courthouse instead of inside the probate court office, officials said.

The reasoning for the change is to create a separation between passport applicants and those who are there for birth certificate business, as the court is the local custodian and registrar for the state’s vital records system.

The new window will be built by the county’s maintenance department and will cost about $1,500, which will be paid for from revenues the county has received from the passport program.

The matter requires approval from the Fayette County Commission, which will vote on it Thursday night at its regular meeting.

The rest of the meeting’s agenda is fairly light, with a contract renewal for environmental monitoring and compliance activities at the two closed county solid waste dumps on First Manassas Mile Road. The $73,750 contract is being awarded to Jacobs Engineering Group, Inc. under the proposal from county staff. Jacobs Engineering had the lowest price among six firms when the project went through the county’s bid process in late 2010, officials said.

The work under the contract includes ongoing semi-annual groundwater monitoring and monthly methane monitoring along with the reporting of those results to the Georgia Environmental Protection Division.

The commission is also expected to consider a request to rezone a 2.49 acre parcel at the corner of Rising Starr and Old Greenville roads from agricultural-residential to agricultural-residential (legal nonconforming status).

The new rezoning would recognize that the lot does not meet the minimum size requirement of five acres because of actions taken by previous property owners in 1987 and 1992.

The parcel was purchased by its current owners, Gregory and Brenda Moody in 2006, who have informed the county they were not made aware of the fact the lot did not conform to county zoning standards.

The Moodys have also attempted to purchase additional adjacent property to reach the five-acre minimum lot size but have been unsuccessful in doing so, according to county zoning staff. The Moody’s tract contains a single family home and a detached garage.

If the rezoning is approved, the Moodys will have to request a variance for the garage because it is located 19 feet from the west property line when it was supposed to have been built at least 50 feet away.

The rezoning was approved by the county’s planning commission in November on a unanimous vote.



The Fayette probate court website indicates it charges $25 to process passport applications. That should be true only for first-time passport applications and not for applications for passport renewals. The probate court website does not explain that.

The Fayetteville post office, just a few blocks away, offers all the passport services the probate court can offer. Passport renewals carry no $25 "execution fee," and if the probate court charges for that folks might consider the cheaper alternative of getting the right form and mailing it in along with their old passport (just following the instructions on the form).

I agree with Loan Arranger...Do it cheaper elsewhere. Why spend taxpayer dollars on this? And while we spend more money, the Clerk of Court has shortened office hours from 9:00-4:30 while the identical court for Coweta County is 8:00-5:00. The tail is wagging the dog over here !

Unintended duplicate removed

yellowjax1212's picture

The Probate court does not even do renewals(you can do those online anyway) so the only charge is $25 (standard for any processing location).
AND the article clearly states that the construction cost will be covered by the fee money being brought in from the passport processing. So, while technically in the taxpayer pool it will be revenue neutral.
If the court didn't do it, good luck getting one at the post office. You usually have to make appointments just to get them to process your application. That can sometimes be several days or even weeks to get the appointment. The FAYCO Probate Court is one of the few processing locations in Georgia that handles walk-in requests.

cogitoergofay's picture

The suggestion that the convenience of a new passport window is "revenue neutral" is a good example of big government bias. You perhaps work in the court system.

Money is being spent on a construction project. That money could be spent, instead, on reducing the national debt or stay in taxpayers' pockets.

Why not simply use the post office ? Because you have to wait in line ? So you will borrow more money from the Chinese for your convenience while your grandchildren pick up the tab?

And how does this construction project fund itself? I thought passport fees were simply enough to cover the cost of the government issuing the passport.

No, this is clearly a "want" and not a "need" and I do not want to pay for it.

yellowjax1212's picture

First, no I don't work for the court system don't care to go inside a court thank you.
Think for a moment.
People pay fees to get a passport (same fees you would pay at the post office).
These fees generate money for the county.
The feds (likely because of Homeland Security) say if you want to keep issuing passports you must install a window for security reasons.
The county takes some of the money generated by the passport fees to construct the window.
Therefore no additional taxpayer money is used to keep this public service in place.
THUS...Revenue neutral!
If they stop issuing passports the county will take a bigger hit in revenue than the one-time construction will cost. Then you have negative revenue.
Why does everything have to be a tax stealing conspiracy?
Heck our mayor in Peachtree City misappropriated $12,000 from the city tax payers (not to mention his salary) and to my knowledge he hasn't generated one cent back to cause.

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