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Neighborhood wants out of Roanoke Rapids

Posted May 26, 2010

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— City officials are backing an effort to remove a neighborhood from Roanoke Rapids jurisdiction because residents can't afford the property taxes associated with a nearby entertainment district.

The Brandy Creek subdivision was annexed into Roanoke Rapids several years ago when the state created a special tax district surrounding Carolina Crossroads and entertainment complex and the Roanoke Rapids Theatre to pay off the $21.5 million loan used to build the struggling music theater.

Neighborhood near Roanoke Rapids Theatre Living in music theater's shadow means big tax bills

By 2007, their property values had jumped up to nine-fold, and their taxes skyrocketed.

"When I first decided to move over here in this area, I said the only way I was leaving was when I left this world," said Ilene Belcher, who moved to Brandy Creek more than a decade ago and now owns a home there with her daughter, Danielle Adkins.

"Never, ever in my life was I expecting to pay this high of a property tax," Adkins said, noting their taxes went from about $700 to $2,600 a year.

Other residents of the subdivision saw similar increases.

"Thousands, over thousands a year, for taxes," Jesse Arrington said of his annual bill.

The Halifax County tax office said homeowners appealed their most recent property assessments and were able to get the values lowered, which will be reflected on their next tax bill.

Still, the residents are working with an attorney form the Center for Civil Rights at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in an effort to be "de-annexed."

"I should not have to pay two taxes. I didn't ask to be part of the city," Belcher said.

Mayor Emery Doughtie says he supports moving the community back into the county and out of Roanoke Rapids.

"This was not a voluntary annexation. It was done without the consent of the people in the area," Doughtie said Wednesday. "(Moving them outside of the city limits) is the right thing to do."

City officials said the move would require legislative approval since lawmakers created the entertainment district.


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