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Brookline leading charge for others to pull out from Norfolk County

Posted by Brock Parker  February 5, 2013 10:04 PM

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Already attempting to secede from Norfolk County, now Brookline is seeking other municipalities to join them.

Selectmen unanimously approved a resolution Tuesday saying that the town is committed to pursue withdrawing from Norfolk County or supporting changes that will eliminate inequitable county assessments.

Brookline will now send the resolution to the executive officers of other Norfolk County municipalities asking them to sign on.

“I think it drives home the point we’re trying to make about the county,” said Brookline Selectman Ken Goldstein.

The resolution is the latest effort by the town to rid itself of more than $700,000 in taxes it pays annually to the county each year based on property value assessments. Brookline pays the highest assessment in Norfolk County, but officials say the town makes little use of services offered by the county.

Brookline has already filed a home rule petition with the Legislature seeking to secede from Norfolk County. Brookline Town Meeting authorized the move in May of 2012, and now the town is seeking other communities that feel burdened by the county taxes to join them.

Most county governments in Massachusetts were dissolved in the 1990s and as a result most communities, such as those in Middlesex County, do not pay county taxes.

Brookline officials, including Goldstein, have said it is an inequity that the state and the county need to address, and there are some efforts underway in the state Legislature to address the problem.

One proposal would allow Norfolk County to keep more revenue generated by the county’s Registry of Deeds to offset the need for property assessment taxes on member communities. Most of the money generated by the Registry of Deeds now goes to the state.

Brookline selectmen spent two weeks refining the wording of the resolution to send the other Norfolk County Municipalities. The original resolution had been drafted by Fred Lebow and Bobbie Knable, members of the town’s Advisory Committee.

Copies of the resolution approved by Selectmen Tuesday will be sent to the other 27 municipalities in Norfolk County and Brookline Town Administrator Melvin Kleckner said facts supporting the resolution will also be sent to the communities.

--brock.globe@gmail.com

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