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Brookline Votes to Leave Norfolk County

Brookline votes to pull itself out of Norfolk County, but does not vote to abolish the county altogether. The debate over Brookline's place in Norfolk County continues.

Brookline hopes to get itself out of Norfolk County, but seems to see the county’s value to other towns.

At voted on Article 24, which pertains to the removal of Brookline from Norfolk County, and Article 25, which would abolish Norfolk County government in Brookline. 

The vote means that Brookline will petition the State to remove Brookline from Norfolk County's government, but does not mean the town is out just yet.

This recent discussion about Articles 24 and 25 is only the latest in a series of discussions concerning Brookline’s future participation in Norfolk County. These two articles appeared at  and , and both were voted down each time. 

Frederick Lebow, who submitted both propositions, addressed the meeting by noting that Brookline is paying more to Norfolk County than other communities while getting less in return. Brookline’s contribution is currently about 16 percent--and rising every year--largely due to the rate at which property taxes go up.

“So what are we paying for?” Lebow questioned.

Ken Goldstein of the Board of Selectmen said that this “inequity” has been discussed at Town Meeting on numerous occasions. Though the article has been voted favorably by the Board of Selectmen, Goldstein--who was appointed as a liason to the county--said that other communities in the county were not supportive.

Nor does Norfolk County itself support the articles, County Commissioner Peter Collins noted. Most other communities stand to benefit from the current arrangement and do not want to see the dissolution of Norfolk County, he explained, nor do they wish to lose Brookline’s contribution.

Concerning Article 25, Marty Rosenthal, also representing Brookline PAX, cited the risk that the Brookline District Court would close if this resolution passed.

Chief of Police Dan O’Leary added that, if the court were to close, “nothing positive could come out of it.”

Because Brookline is the only police department that uses the courthouse, it is localized and eliminates the need for officers to leave their responsibilities in town and the burden on victims and witnesses to travel.

Article 24 passed by a vote of 115-81, while Article 25 failed by majority vote. 

[Correction: A previous version of the article incorrectly identified Marty Rosenthal as an advisory committee member. This has been correct. June 4, 11:35 p.m.]

Bill Davidson May 31, 2012 at 01:09 PM
If I understand this correctly, despite the Town Meeting vote, the state could deny Brookline's petition to leave Norfolk County?
Grahame Turner May 31, 2012 at 03:53 PM
That is my understanding as well: the town has voted to petition for removal. At previous discussions, some people (I think Mr. Lebow) have observed that there is a precedent for this removal. A few other towns abandoned their counties in the past.
Mark Izeman June 04, 2012 at 11:47 PM
Question, What Advisory Board does Marty Rosenthal represent? Is he a member of the Town's Advisory Committee?
Grahame Turner June 05, 2012 at 03:34 AM
Oh, wait. I apologize, that was my mistake. He represents Brookline PAX, not the Town Advisory Committe.
dick kates August 11, 2012 at 08:40 PM
For 8 years, on a board in Brooklne, I was very impressed with the town's workers [in the Assessor's office]. They were union, and I'm grad they were [ for their protection]. My point is that pulling out of Norfolk County may be good, I don't know, as long as it doesn't affect the town's employees or their benefits. Dick Kates
Mark Izeman August 13, 2012 at 02:54 PM
Not sure I understand what being "union" has to do with Brookline's attempt to leave Norfolk County...

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