• By Todd Luck
  • Posted Tuesday, December 12, 2023

Commissioners reflect on Forsyth County’s 2023 initiatives

County Commissioners reflected on Forsyth County Government’s accomplishments for this year during a meeting held on Dec. 7.

During the meeting, Don Martin was re-elected by his fellow commissioners as chair and Gloria Whisenhunt was re-elected as vice chair.

Martin gave a year-end review looking at what the county has done in 2023 and began by thanking County staff for their hard work.

“The Board acted on a lot of these things but the planning and heavy lifting was done by staff, so I want to take this time to begin this review by complimenting and thanking the staff of the County from management-- senior level-- to all those others who have worked to implement all these things this year,” said Martin

Martin also thanked the local legislative delegation for their support. The County received $20 million from the General Assembly to expand sewer service in eastern Forsyth County. Additional state funding the County received for construction projects included $5 million for the agricultural park near Tobaccoville, $4 million for the Tanglewood Clubhouse, $1 million to support Senior Services Cross Generational Wellness Center and $250,000 for Kaleideum.

It was also a year with many changes. The County resumed management of the Animal Shelter, which Martin said has been well received by the community and operates at lower cost than what was proposed by the Humane Society. The Commissioners approved funding to hire and train Social Services staff for Medicaid Expansion, which began in December. The Behavorial Health unit at the Detention Center expanded with a new women’s program and a pay raise was given to detention officers, who will be returning to permanent shifts.

At Smith Reynolds Airport, two new corporate hangars were completed, renovations began on the terminal building and the County got approval for a grant for drainage improvements for Brushy Fork Creek, which the City has agreed to financially support. An agreement was also reached with the City to mitigate the dual City/County tax burden on airplanes parked at the airport, and the state budget included property tax exclusion that reduces the valuation by 50% for certain airport property.

In January, the County purchased land on Liberty Street adjacent to the Linville General Services Complex, which will let the County share vehicle storage with Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools, expand the airport’s footprint and clean up a blighted area. A Fleet Services garage edition, which will provide space to service non-bus WS/FCS vehicles, will be completed in the Spring and allow the expansion of the Gardner Foods facility into the area that formerly housed WS/FCS’s maintenance garage.

This year, the new Forsyth County Courthouse opened to the public. Ground was broken on Belews Lake Park, which was made possible by $3 million in state funding. Construction began to upfit the Public Safety center so it can house both City and County 911 services. The Commissioners approved designs for Highland Avenue Park construction and awarded a contract for renovations for the Behavorial Health Plaza on Highland Avenue. And many residents are now enjoying the new pickleball courts that recently opened at Joanie Moser Park.

This year, the Commissioners also approved contract for $50 million in ARPA projects and developed plans for spending $36 million in opioid settlement funds that the County will receive over the next 18 years. The County also provided more than $77 million to WS/FCS for their capital needs

Future possibilities for Forsyth are also exciting, as Wiston-Salem has received federal funds for a study on the possibility of bringing passenger rail service back to the area.

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