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CASTLE HAYNE, NC (WECT) – For the
first time in more than 50 years, residents will vote Tuesday whether or not to
become New Hanover County's fifth town.
The incorporation of Castle Hayne
has been one of the most openly debated issues in this year's election.
Tom Radewicz is running for mayor
of Castle Hayne, but first it's up to the 1,900 voters in the area to decide
whether or not to incorporate.
The Town of Bath was the first
area to incorporate in North Carolina more than 300 years ago. St. James Plantation in Brunswick
County was one of the most recent, incorporating in 1999.
At the time, the affluent gated community was
the target of annexation from nearby Oak Island. An incorporated town can't be annexed so, residents
voted to incorporate as a means of blocking annexation.
Radewicz said taxes will likely
go up, but not to block annexation. He
said annexation had nothing to do with the driving force behind the idea of
incorporation in Castle Hayne. Radewicz
said the move would prevent Castle Hayne from being swallowed up in an effort
to consolidate New Hanover County and Wilmington.
Wilmington and the County of New Hanover may consolidate completely as a
governmental body so we want to escape that as our own township," said Chuck
Bower. "All of those are very untrue
things but are being used as reasons to convince people to vote for
Wilmington City Officials have
publicly stated no interest in annexing the area.
Those against incorporation are
concerned about the tax increase and the governmental control from a town
council. Many say the county is doing a
good enough job for the area already.
Many had the same concerns when
St. James was incorporated, but that area is very fast growing. They have more building permits issued than
all the other towns in Brunswick County combined.
Bower doesn't believe Castle Hayne has the
same tax base to support a town like St. James.
"There is a
success story in the towns around us, but I don't think that success story
would play out here in Castle Hayne," said Bower.
thinks it does.
"With the dream
to be self reliant and to also control our own destiny, and that's what it's
all about," said Radewicz.
People against the
incorporation are also concerned with it being on the ballot during a
non-presidential election year. They
think there will be a lower turnout which will aid the success of the town
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