ST. CLOUD -- The Stearns County Sheriff's Office wants to hire another staff person to help with permit to carry, and handgun permit requests.

Chief Deputy Sheriff Bruce Bechtold says they have seen steady application increases at a pace they didn't anticipate.  Stearns County had a total of 3,335 permit requests last year, up from 2,034 the year before.

Bechtold says they need to hire an office person to handle the paperwork so staff members can get their other work done.  Bechtold says he is still responsible for approving or denying the requests.  The office position would be paid for using funds gathered through the $100 application fee.

The application fee must be used to support the conceal and carry program. Bechtold says after expenses, they still have more than $250,000 in that account. He says there is enough money in the account to pay for the new position for the foreseeable future.

The board of commissioners will consider the new hire at Tuesday's meeting.