Attended Norfolk Selectman Association meeting last night – focused on regional services for towns, provided via Norfolk County government.
Norfolk County’s budget is way down – by way of example, the County Engineering Department has been reduced from 13 FTE to 5 FTE employees. In rough numbers, of the $25 m. per year county budget, $5 m. goes to the Aggie School, $3 m. to the Norfolk Registry of Deeds, and a large portion goes to cover legacy costs from the former county hospital that has been closed (i.e – pensions and health insurance for former hospital employees).
The Norfolk County government is seeking legislation to add $10 to the fee to record documents, from $75 to $85. $45 of that fee currently goes to the state, $25 to the Community Preservation Act funding, and the county government gets the remaining $10. It generates $1.4 m. per year for Norfolk County. The new monies would be used to create regional solutions to municipal needs, such as veterans agents, animal control, dispatch, assessing, and collections.
If Norfolk County government ceased to exist, the towns get a bad deal. Under the state system, the legacy costs of the county would be assessed against the municipalities in the county, but the county income that formerly used to pay those costs will go instead to the state.