Thursday, June 13, 2024

114 West Elm Street
Graham, NC 27253
Ph: 336.228.7851

Memo to county manager: Graham is the center of the county


We hate that we apparently need to provide remedial education for the county manager Bryan Hagood, but someone needs to remind him that the county seat of Alamance County is in Graham, not Burlington. And some commissioners may need a refresher, as well, if they give any credence to his latest misdirected suggestion.

Hagood’s idea this week to consider relocating the Alamance County Board of Elections to an office on Harden Street in Burlington is, quite frankly, ridiculous.

Graham was selected as the county seat a century and a half ago because it was in the center of the county.

In fact, Graham, as a municipality didn’t even exist when the county was formed; it was created precisely in order to serve as the county seat.

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And the parameters for its creation explicitly included that it was to be in the direct center of the county.

That makes it equally convenient for citizens in every direction – north, south, east, and west – to come to Graham: to pay their taxes; register to vote; attend sessions of court; get a marriage, birth, or death certificate; meet with county law enforcement officials (the sheriff’s office); and otherwise conduct business involving county government.

We thought that a new site for the board of elections – now situated at the corner of South Maple and West Pine streets – was in the grand master plan of the county manager for renovating the 200 block of West Elm.

He’s outlined that previously.

What makes no sense is recent talk about razing the elections board building years before he’s ready to proceed with building his grand plan for a replacement location.

And the idea of moving the elections office to Burlington – whether “temporarily” or permanently – makes no sense at all.

Neither does buying the property in Burlington.

The county would be stuck with it for who knows how long, when any of the functions that the manager might put there belong in Graham.

County offices for all manner of government functions should be in Graham.

Unfortunately, the county government already feels somehow obligated to put some departments or programs in otherwise defunct Burlington locations: social services at the former county hospital, for example.

In each case, however, the government is merely patching up an already bad decision that removed the heart of government from the center of the county where it belongs.

News coverage of the commissioner meeting where this topic was raised and discussed:

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