Brookline Stays in Norfolk County, For Now
Town Meeting voted down two articles aimed at getting Brookline out of Norfolk County, and possibly abolishing the county.
Despite two warrant articles filed for Brookline's Special Town Meeting, Brookline will remain a part of Norfolk County. Both warrant articles 11 and 12 were voted down at last night's meeting.
Harry Bohrs of the Advisory Committee explained the two articles. The first, he said, is home rule legislation to remove Brookline from Norfolk County. The second article was a resolution calling for the abolition of Norfolk as a county. He hoped the resolution would send a message to the state that "The natives are getting restless."
Selectman Ken Golstein, who has been attending Norfolk County meetings and speaking with representatives from other constituent municipalities, said the Board "unanimously and vehemently agree[s] with purpose of articles 11 and 12, but we do not agree with methods called for."
An argument made by Bohrs is that the town pays a $700,000 county assessment, calculated by property values in town. This $700,000 figure represents 13% of the county's income.
"I have yet to find another community that shares our view. As to the inequitable assessment, I don’t think they care that much," Goldstein added.
Membership in the county government earns the town access to county resources, such as County Engineering, the municipal golf course, Registry of Deeds, and the Norfolk County Agricultural High School. Brookline District Court in Brookline Village is also owned by Norfolk County.
When asked, Engineering and Transportation director Peter Ditto explained that he had asked County Engineering to perform a survey of conditions for a section of Cypress Street. He estimated this saved the town about $20,000, and noted that he has used the County for other surveys within the last two years.
Last year, Brookline sent only one student to the Agricultural High School, called the "Aggie" by students. This student, Aila Murphy, spoke to Town Meeting in the spring, when they voted down a similar warrant article.
Goldstein commented that one of the county commissioners had told him that, if Brookline left Norfolk County, the town could "kiss your courthouse goodbye."
Norfolk County commissioner and Milton resident, was at the meeting. He said that the County is working on legislation to increase the County's cut from the Registry of Deeds, which would allow them to readdress the assessments.
He added, "We will continue to work with town, and reps, and selectmen going forward."
Collins also noted that he was not the commissioner who made the courthouse comment.