Local News

Butner Examines Pros, Cons Of Incorporation

Posted February 2, 2006 4:51 a.m. EST

— Butner is growing. A new state regional psychiatric hospital should open for business there in a year. The areas surrounding Butner are growing, too.

New subdivisions are popping up to give the future hospital's employees somewhere to live, but the town can't cash in. The reason -- Butner is state-run and unlike nearby towns, it can't annex land. That's putting a squeeze on the town's boundaries.

"I don't think it can't grow much more," said Butner resident Garland Walker. "There is nowhere to go."

Because the state owns much of the land in Butner, the town is unincorporated. There's no mayor, no town council, and no tax base. The public safety officers are on the state payroll. There's now a move though to change all that.

"I think the state has reached the point where they are ready to get out of the town business," said Butner Advisory Council member Tom Lane. "The community is beginning to recognize the need to change the way we operate."

"My personal feeling is, we can enhance the living conditions here and expand and make this a real small town to live in," said Butner Advisory Council member Christene Emory.

The members of the council are working with state lawmakers to change Butner from a state-run town to a municipality run by the people. That could be a tough sell.

"Convincing the people here that this is what we've got to do, we don't have a choice," said Butner Advisory Council member Carlene Fletcher.

It's a choice that needs to be made soon. Neighboring Creedmoor wants to annex a business district near I-85 -- a business district Butner wants, too. If the state doesn't act fast, Butner could lose out on that land, as well as all the new homes going up around it.

Creedmoor's town commissioners are expected to vote on annexation of the I-85 business district later this month.