Local News

State-Run Town Step Closer to Independence

Posted May 7, 2007 6:36 p.m. EDT

— Residents of Butner have never had a say in how the town is run. The state currently calls the shots, but that could soon change.

State legislators were presented with a petition Monday, which supports a bill to turn the town over to the people. Jack Abbott, who has called the town home for nearly a half-century, said he is worried the town's slow-pace way of life may soon disappear.

"It's been a nice town to live in," he said.

"The (State Department of) Health and Human Services is not real carried away with running a town. I think they're ready to spin off Butner," said Rep. Jim Crawford, who is behind a bill to incorporate the town.

Although incorporation of the town has been tried twice before, Crawford thinks the third time will be the charm. However, that decision will impact every town in Granville County.

"It will affect Oxford by about $187,000 (and) the county by about $1 million," said Oxford Mayor Al Woodlief.

Woodlief points out another town in Granville County will mean a smaller piece of the pie when it comes to sales tax revenue.

"We're going to have to ask Butner to step up to the plate and share in some of the programs that Oxford and Granville County, alone, have been serving such as our airport and our museum," he said.

"It would give people the choice in governing themselves," said county commissioner Ron Alligood.

If lawmakers vote to incorporate Butner, it could take place as early as July. State officials have said they will not oppose the move. Butner is believed to be the only state-run town in the country.