Pick your county, for a fee

Apr. 02, 2013 @ 09:34 AM

Some Gibsonville and other residents along the Alamance County line who have been residents of Alamance and Guilford counties for years may have a choice soon,  if they are willing to pay an estimated $450 for a new survey. 
The proposed new county line would zig and zag its way through Gibsonville if officials in Guilford and Alamance counties have their way and the General Assembly ratifies what Guilford officials approved during a work session last month.
From Gibsonville to Kimesville, just where the border lies has been questioned for years.  The border is important because it determines where children go to school and which county provides fire and police protection.
The line changes won’t require parents to move their children from school, but the  alterations would become part of deed paperwork for tax purposes. Public safety officials in both counties have shared fire and police coverage for decades.
Guilford commissioners voted unanimously for the zig-zag line.  Alamance commissioners also must approve the plan before the issue goes to the General Assembly.
“There is some confusion about where people live and where they should pay taxes,” said Tom Manning, chairman of the Alamance County Board of Commissioners.
Alamance commissioners likely would approve on split votes either a zig-zag line through properties similar to one approved recently for the Alamance-Orange County line, or a straight line, Manning said.
Although some Gibsonville residents complained the most, the problem arose from several new subdivisions, including Mackintosh on the Lake and Beaver Hills Estate, that straddle the border line. Although tax officials in both counties developed working agreements so that border-line property owners would be billed only once, several have been billed twice through the years.
“I’d like to get this resolved for good,” said Republican Commissioner Alan Branson who represents the area.
About 60 percent of the properties affected are in Gibsonville where the line goes through the center of town. Mayor Leonard Williams, who has advocated for adjustments, said he liked the compromise and estimated that 32 property owners within a 150-foot buffer line would choose to stay in their county of record. Williams said the town may help with survey costs for other residents who want to place all their property in one county. 
“We support what we heard from Alamance,” Williams said. “I think most of these residents can pay for a survey.”

Line History
—1770: The Guilford-Alamance border line was established by the Colonial Legislature as a north-south line 25 miles due west of Hillsborough, but no marker in Hillsborough has been found.
—1849: The current straight-line border was drawn.
—2008: A state survey provided a revised straight line.
—2010: Guilford commissioners voted  for a straight line border and resolution powers from the General Assembly.  But some residents complained because they did not want to live in Guilford where taxes are higher.
— 2013: The proposed zig-zag line affects about 72 border properties.