Lyon County passport business succeeding

About a year ago, the Lyon County Board agreed to go back into the passport business at the Lyon County Government Center. Since then, the county has collected $4,130 for 413 passport photos.

There have been 327 passport applications issued for $8,765. In March of this year, there were 51 passports issued through the office. Other monthly highs were 40 in January; 30 in December, 2017 and 26 in April of this year.

The amount of passports has gone as low as six in July after starting in March 2017 with four. The issuance of passports has basically grown by the month.

The county went out of the passport business for a couple of years before bringing the service back to the county.

“We really don’t know why some months are more than others,” said Julie Miller, who directs the passport business. “We don’t take money for renewals,” Miller said, adding, “But it’s going well.”

Lyon County Commissioner Rick Anderson said, “Michelle’s (DeSmet) office (county recorder) should get some of the income.”

He added, “I think it’s been good to bring it back into the county offices.” County Commissioner Gary Crowley asked if the service has been advertised sufficiently in the county. Miller indicated she wasn’t sure if there has been significant advertising.

The board indicated the use of its website to post the passport business was a good idea.

“I’m glad we’re doing the passport business,” said County Board Chairman Paul Graupmann.

IN OTHER action the board:

•Approved the Emergency Response Unit with Brown, Redwood and Renville counties.

The unit is jointly providing specialized police services for members during high risk or critical indents.

The unit responds in areas of hostages; barricaded subjects; building or field searches; high risk warrant service; incidents of civil disturbance and ground control and providing and assisting with dignitary protection.

“It seems like it’s becoming more and more frequent that this unit is being called out,” said Lyon County Sheriff Mark Mather. The board also approved joint powers agreement with the Drug Task Force, which is the same four counties that deals with enforcement of drug use in the area. While these units have been in operation, County Attorney Rick Maes felt it was time to revise the current contracts between the four counties.

These units get funding from the state and also receive funding from the county.

•Approved a request by Verizon for a conditional use permit for the construction of a new 259-foot, self-supporting, non-guyed communication tower.

It includes an equipment compound that includes Verizon base state equipment. The area affected is zoned agricultural and is owned by Betty Lovsness Life Estate in Vallers Township.

The county planning commission approved the permit and there was no opposition to the tower.

•Approved a contract with Traffic Marking Service, Inc of Maple Lake to do striping on various county highways. The contract was for $230,073.24.

•Approved rate reductions for appliances and home electronics collection at the Lyon County Landfill. “The special rates are to try and give people a break,” said Public Works Administrator Roger Schroeder.

Basically, the price will come down $5 on most computer and home electronics and appliances. Schroeder will set a special date for collection of these devices at the landfill.

•Heard a report on the recent Lincoln-Pipestone Rural Water financial report from General Manager Jason Overby.

Three board commissioners from the area were present, including Ken Buysse, Bill Ufkin and Frank Engels, all of the Minneota area. Buysse has indicated he will retire from the board at the end of the year.

Overby told the Lyon County board there are 11 new customers of Lincoln-Pipestone in Lyon County.

“We hooked up three livestock facilities and eight residential,” he said.

He also indicated there are 919 accounts in Lyon County, just under 20 percent of the total accounts, which are 4,600. Overby also gave the board an overview on the projects and services Lincoln-Pipestone has, and is accomplishing.

“We’re looking at developing water sources (in this area) in the future,” Overby said.

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