"Real liberty is neither found in despotism or the extremes of democracy, but in moderate governments.
Alexander Hamilton

Sunday, January 17, 2016

In Maine, Local Control Is a Luxury Fewer Towns Can Afford

Here is thought provoking article in the NY Times. There are a number of very small communities in Maine that are so small that it makes more economic sense to simply do away with local government entirely and look to the county and state for services. These are towns and villages of mostly far less than a few hundred residents. In Maine, there is a 12 step process to " deorganize" a local government and it can take two years to get there.
When successful, there are no salaries to pay, no infrastructure to support,town, but there is also loss of local control and the presumption that the state and counties can provide  all these services more economically. These now deorganized former towns are part of a large geographical called "unorganized territory" which comprises more than half of Maine.

3 comments:

Eric Taussig said...

This article is is in some respects analogous to the Carroll County problem. What does the County do for the Towns? Not too much, the Sheriff's Department, the Nursing Home, the County Jail, Land Record and recordings and some agricultural services. Most of those services should be transferred to the State and, in fact, some services are already duplicated by the State (e.g. police, jails, etc.). What does that tell towns such as MB? Perhaps to lobby our legislators to provide a reform of government structure path through legislation and constitutional amendments to eliminate unneeded county government.

Town Hall Junkie said...

Regionalizing has merit for many needed services. Central Florida is a fine example of it. Refuse, Fire, Medical Clinics, recreation, police.....it makes economic sense, and is a coalition of small towns, not HUD or the state. Ironic that we can not find more then 10 private citizens to attend B O S meetings......maybe we need to reach out to a larger geographic area.

Joseph Cormier said...

Eric and "Town Hall Junkie" make good points.

Like, Hale's Location, here in Carroll County:

"In New Hampshire, locations, grants, townships (which are different from towns), and purchases are unincorporated portions of a county which are not part of any town and have limited self-government (if any, as many are uninhabited)."

Some of us noticed "that" line item when admonishing the County, at their meeting regarding the $14 million "typo" in the County NH DRA forms.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hale%27s_Location,_New_Hampshire


Eric's comment about the legislature is on point.

"... probably familiar with the idea that New Hampshire is not a “home rule” state. Cities and towns have only the powers the legislature has expressly given them. All municipal authority must find its basis in some state law."

https://www.nhmunicipal.org/TownAndCity/Article/550


"Contrary to popular belief, New Hampshire is not a home rule state. Despite our political tradition of local control, New Hampshire’s Constitution does not grant any power directly to municipalities. Our municipalities only have authority to act if the state legislature gives it to them through a statute."

https://www.nhmunicipal.org/TownAndCity/Article/139

Although some of us are all for getting rid of government, all of it, then what do we do? I doubt many would want to be under Carroll County government.

NH State government is what?

"The legislature is called the General Court. It consists of the House of Representatives (400 members) and the Senate (24 members).

The General Court is the third-largest legislature in the English speaking world, behind only the British Parliament and the United States Congress, respectively; "

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Government_of_New_Hampshire

Didn't realize the language was English!

How's that working-out for us!