• By Todd Luck
  • Posted Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Proposed county budget to be presented on Thursday

The Manager’s Recommended Budget will be presented to Forsyth County Commissioners next Thursday, kicking off a process that will lead to the adoption of the county’s 2020-2021 budget.

County Manager Dudley Watts will make his summarized presentation of the proposed budget following the commissioners’ 2 p.m. remote meeting on Thursday, May 28. Commissioners meetings are televised live and live streamed on WSTV and are live streamed on the county’s Facebook and Vimeo accounts. They are also available on the Forsyth County website later in the day. The proposed budget will be available for review in the County Commissioners’ Office at the Government Center, on the Budget Department webpage after the presentation, and copies will also be distributed to county libraries.

The Budget process will continue with these remote commissioner meetings:

• A Detailed Budget Presentation that will start at 9 a.m. on June 4.

• A Public Hearing on the budget, where residents can give their comments, will be held at 2 p.m. on June 8. Those wishing to speak can call 336-422-1200 at 1:45 p.m on the day of the meeting. You will be placed on hold, and you will be recognized to speak during the public session in the order your call was received.

• Budget Workshops will be held June 9 and 10 at 9 a.m.

A Special Meeting, where the commissioners may possibly adopt the budget, will be held on June 11 at 2 p.m.

If the budget isn’t adopted by the commissioners on June 11, they would consider it at their 2 p.m. meeting on June 18.

“Budgeting for cities and counties in the current environment is extremely challenging,” said Watts. “The COVID-19 pandemic will significantly impact revenue from sales taxes. Local sales and use taxes are second only to property taxes as funding for local services. This budget reflects a cautious, hold-the-line approach that challenges all department managers and agency leaders to continue the current level of service with minimal impacts. My hope is that local revenues rebound quickly and we can return to a better conversation about how to better serve our citizens.”

During his presentation, Watts will talk about the Continuation Budget, which is the estimated cost of continuing to provide the county’s current levels of service to citizens. He will also talk about the Alternate Service Level Budget, which consists of a full listing of additional funding requests from departments and community agencies. This is to ensure everyone involved— including commissioners, staff and taxpayers— are aware of these requests.

Watts will present a proposed balanced budget comprising the Continuation Budget with some Alternate Service Level requests for the commissioners to consider. County commissioners, who are elected to represent taxpayers, can make changes to the budget before approving it.

There have been numerous presentations previewing parts of the budget leading up to this:

• Forsyth Technical Community College President Dr. Janet Spriggs requested a 6.1 percent increase in the funds Forsyth Tech receives. The request is for water and electricity rate increases, enrollment growth and additional security. The county funds the community college’s maintenance, utilities and facilities, which have been open for essential personnel. Students are now doing some programs and labs on campus, with the goal of having in-person summer classes starting July 6 and tentative plans for in-person classes in the Fall.

• Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools Superintendent Angela Hairston and CFO Andrea Gillus presented a request for an additional $14 million for textbooks, additional security and classified staff salary increases. The State is currently making plans to reopen public schools for in-person classes for next school year. WS/FC Schools will receive an estimated $11 million for local teacher supplements from the quarter cent county sales tax.

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