County bond hearing scheduled for Aug. 8

Forsyth County commissioners

County bond hearing scheduled for Aug. 8
July 14
08:05 2016



The public will get their chance to weigh in on the bonds on Aug. 8, when Forsyth County commissioners make the final decision on whether to add them to the November ballot.

The county commissioners took another split vote to move the bonds forward and set their next regular meeting in August as a public hearing on the bonds. The three bond items are a $350 million Winston-Salem/Forsyth County School bond, a $65 million Forsyth Technical Community bond, and a $15 million Parks and Recreation bond. The county calculates that it could pay up to $217 million in interest on the combined $430 million of bonds. If all three pass the final August vote and are approved by voters, county taxes will increase by 3.6 cents per $100 of property value in 2018 and another 3.8 cents in 2022.

The measure to move the bonds forward passed 5-2 with Commissioners Richard Linville and Gloria Whisenhunt voting against it.

“I do believe the needs could be met with lesser amounts,” said Linville.

Linville said he believed the bonds, combined with renovating or building a new courthouse, would be too much debt for the county to take on. The county commissioners will be deciding this year on a plan for a new or renovated courthouse, which will cost more than $100 million and will most likely be paid for with limited obligation bonds.

Whisenhunt echoed Linville’s thoughts, saying it would be her first time opposing a school bond, which she found “heartbreaking.”

“It’s too much at one time,” she said.

Commissioners Walter Marshall and Everette Witherspoon spoke in favor of the bonds. Witherspoon said it’s been 10 years since the last school bond.  He said if the commissioners hadn’t passed up the opportunity to do a school bond in 2012, the needs wouldn’t be so great now. He hopes the county can do school bonds on a more regular basis going forward.

“I think it is needed,” said Witherspoon. “The amount came from our neglect to do our duty in the past. Some things just build up.”

Marshall agreed and said he felt the school board did a good job of accessing its needs in its bond proposal.

“I trust their judgement on what our schools need,” said Marshall.

School board chair Dana Jones said she was pleased the bonds are going forward. She said the board started with $600 million in needs and narrowed it down to $350 million.

“We have done our due diligence to put forth projects that have to be done,” she said.

The school bond deals with aging buildings and technology, along with having enough classrooms to accommodate the grow-ing student body. It’ll pay for two new middle schools, four replacement schools, additions to four schools and renovations at four others. It includes new or refreshed technology in classrooms and 3D printers in media centers.

The Winston-Salem NAACP and other organizations have advocated at school bond meetings for a new middle school in East Winston. Jones said that request wasn’t added to the bond because the new schools in the bond are designed to relieve other schools in their area that are over capacity.

There is already a middle school in East Winston at Winston-Salem Preparatory Academy, which is currently under capacity. The school system has been exploring ways to entice more parents to send their children there.

The Forsyth Tech bond will create a new aviation program at Smith Reynolds Airport, along with paying for building renovations and construction at the college’s various locations.

The parks bond includes several park renovations, mostly concentrated in Tanglewood Park in Clemmons, and $5 million for a multi-use agricultural center, also located at Tanglewood.

The next county commissioners meeting is 4 p.m. on Aug. 8.

About Author

Todd Luck

Todd Luck

Related Articles


Featured Sponsor

Receive Chronicle Updates

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.



More Sponsors