- By Todd Luck
- Posted Friday, December 6, 2019
Commissioners year-end remarks focus on progress and the future
Forsyth County Commissioner Chair Dave Plyler gave a year-end overview for the county during the commissioners’ organizational meeting on Dec. 5.
Plyler gave a thorough look at the county’s accomplishments. This included the completion of voter-approved bond projects like the new Lowrance-Paisley school, Konnoak Elementary School and ground being broken on the new Clemmons Branch Library.
Ground was also broken on the Mazie S. Woodruff Aviation Technology Lab at Smith Reynolds Airport, which is a major project from the Forsyth Tech bonds. The aviation lab will prepare students for jobs in Maintenance Overhaul and Repair (MRO) needed by aerospace companies at Smith Reynolds Airport and around the state.
During this year’s budget, the commissioners approved the Sheriff’s Office assuming responsibility for and facilitating Animal Services to enhance the services that department provides. The county’s partnership with the Forsyth Humane Society for dog and cat intake, sheltering and adoption is now in its second year, and has increased the save rate at the county animal shelter to more than 80 percent.
The county also began plans for a potential park at Belews Creek. The project is in its due diligence period, with a final decision on purchasing the land to be made next year.
Planning also began on a potential Family Justice Center in Forsyth County that will provide a multitude of services in one location to victims of family violence
The county-supported District Attorney’s Treatment Alternatives (DATA) program expanded to help more people with substance use issues. Commissioners also approved the Stepping Up Process to End Recidivism (SUPER) program expanding its services to both men and women with mental health and substance use issues.
Among the county’s biggest initiatives for next year is a ¼ cent sales tax referendum to fund local teacher supplements in the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County School System, which will be on the ballot in the March 3 Primary. Commissioners have made a commitment to remove a one-cent property tax increase that was added this year for teacher supplements if the sales tax passes. The sales tax would not apply to groceries, gas and prescription drugs. The ¼ cent sales tax is expected to bring in $13 million to help recruit and retain the best educators.
“We’re giving the voters in Forsyth County the opportunity to pay the teachers more money to raise their families and live a quality of life we think they deserve,” said Plyler.
The other commissioners also voiced their support for the ¼ sales tax for teacher pay in their own year-end thoughts. They said it’s been a productive year, and thanked county staff for all their hard work that made that possible.
Also during the meeting, Plyler was re-elected as board chair by his fellow commissioners and Don Martin was re-elected as vice chair.