Local News

Butner Might Break Free From State Control

Posted July 19, 2007 7:19 p.m. EDT

— While some local cities and towns are dealing with record growth, development in Butner is moving much slower. But that could soon change.

On Thursday, state lawmakers agreed to give up control of the only state run town in the entire country.

“We need to have some control over what goes on. For so long, the state has pretty much dictated what happens in Butner,” said Tom Lane, who is on the Butner Advisory Council.

A local barber shop serves as the part-time meeting place for the town council. The elected body recommends to the state what it would like to see happen in the town.

“This barber shop is our other headquarters, and we get a lot of work done through it,” said council member John Wimbush.

Thursday’s vote in the House and Senate brought Butner one step closer to autonomy.

“A lot of monies that were available to other communities now would be available for Butner,” said resident Bill McKellar.

In the age of growth and development, Butner has its hands tied. With only about one house coming in every year, council members said it has been next to impossible to grow.

“The state owned the land and wouldn’t give it up,” Wimbush said. “This incorporation will allow us to reach out into areas that haven’t been developed.”

With some services already in place - such as fire and police protection – council members said they expect the transition to local control to be a smooth one.

Butner sits on what was once Camp Butner. The U.S. Army used it as a training site during World War II. The federal government eventually turned the land over to North Carolina, and the state has had it ever since.

If Governor Easley signs the bill into law, the state will give up control.