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Burgaw votes to annex surrounding area

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BURGAW -- One Pender County town is about to get a little larger. Last week the Burgaw Board of Commissioners voted to annex a surrounding area. But some residents say they're still not on-board. Local business owner Vernon Harrell said, "I am essentially against forced annexation." Harrell runs Harrell's Department Store in downtown Burgaw. It's a family-owned business that has flourished in the town for more than a century. Harrell says he's seen plenty of changes in Burgaw over the years, but more are on the way. Commissioners have approved annexation of land surrounding the small town. Harrell said, "I know a number of people that would prefer not to be in the Town of Burgaw because of the extra expense and it's something that the town leaders have tried to avoid in the past." The annexation adds more than 700 acres to Burgaw's town limits to allow for the town's expansion. But with growth comes increased expenses. Residents living in the annexed areas will now have to pay town taxes on top of existing county taxes. While some say they aren't happy about the decision to expand, others are welcoming the change. Local business owner John Westbrook said, "I think annexation in itself is a good thing because with annexation comes water and sewer and with that could come more housing and more employment. It could ultimately benefit me and the business." As for Harrell he says he hopes his business continues to boom, despite whatever changes the future holds for this small town. Harrell said, "I want to see the Town of Burgaw grow in a reasonable manner." Some residents say they're still on the fence about the annexation. They say while more taxes certainly are not welcome, they're looking forward to the benefits, like more water and sewer services, street lights and police and fire protection.

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