Local Government
Forsyth County Passes $500 Million Budget With No Tax Increases PDF Print E-mail
Local Government
By Administrator   
Tuesday, 15 June 2021 10:27

Forsyth County commissioners unanimously approved a $500 million budget that lowers the property tax rate by 6.57 cents while maintaining services and investing in the community. 

The budget lowers the tax rate to 67.78 cents per $100 of property value, a significant reduction from the current 74.35 cent rate. This is due to the year’s strong property tax revaluation, which increased the estimated revenue from each penny of property tax from $3.7 million to $4.2 million.

Education remains the county’s largest service area in terms of expenditures, with 32 percent, or $162.2 million, of the General Fund budget. Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools receives 92 percent of those funds, including $17.6 million for local teacher supplements from the ¼ cent county sales tax.  In addition to the funding approved by the Board in the FY22 budget, WS/FC Schools is expected to benefit from a mid-year increase of $3 million in sales tax revenue based on continued sales tax growth in the current fiscal year..  Education bond projects, like building and renovating schools, also take up most of the general fund budget devoted to debt service.

New spending in the budget included $1.2 million to improve Emergency Medical Services response time by adding new positions, reclassifying others, and purchasing two new ambulances. Public Health received $110,000 for a Neighborhood Equity Atlas that will map out inequality in the county and measure change in these areas to highlight successful programs and guide the decision making process for county departments and other organizations.

The adopted budget also includes $300,000 to finish the first floor buildout at Social Services that’s part of its long-term goal of streamlining intake and eligibility processes. Forsyth Tech received $169,028 for three additional security officersParks will be able to complete a greenway at Triad Park based on additional funding provided by the Board of Commissioners. The Sheriff was provided $100,000 for an additional intelligence specialist for the Real Time Intelligence Center. In addition to the Neighborhood Equity Atlas, Public Health received $60,216 for a men’s health coordinator and  additional resources were provided to Human Resources for marketing and recruitment, while the Commissioners also funded a citizen survey of county services, a contract for the legislative servicesand an internship program with two part-time positions in the commissioners and manager’s office.

For county employees, the budget has a 1-4 percent merit increase, market rate adjustments for several positions, and will increase the county’s minimum pay to $9.86.

The budget includespecial appropriations for local non-profits with several non-profits receiving increases in funding, including Senior Services, Shepard’s Center, Center for Creative Economy, Arts Council and Neighbors for Better Neighborhoods. The Winston-Salem Theater Alliance and a request from The Conservation Fund to help preserve the historic Shallow Ford site both received new funding. Other special appropriations included Kaleideum, National Black Theatre Festival, HARRY Veterans Services, Experiment in Self-Reliance and Children’s Law Center, along with the county’s contribution to TransAid transportation for residents with disabilities.

The commissioners will take another look at special appropriation requests in the next few months when they consider how to allocate American Rescue Plan Act funding after they’ve received more guidance from the U.S. Treasury DepartmentThis will include several requests that didn’t receive funding in the adopted budget. County staff will also be developing and coordinating a process to accept new proposals for this funding. Commissioners encourage applicants to focus on Qualified Census Tract with the hope that 80 percent of the funds available will reach the most marginalized populations.

The budget also set the tax rates for the volunteer fire departments serving the rural areas and the County-wide fire tax for the supplement staffing program.  The rate for the supplemental staffing program was reduced from .73 to .39 cents per $100 valuation due to the revaluation and the strong sales tax revenue. 

All the comissioners praised the budget staff for their hard work in preparing the budget during this tumultuous time.

The final, approved budget, which goes into effect on July 1, will be available online by the end of the month.

 

 
Forsyth County CFO To Retire After 47 Years Of Service PDF Print E-mail
Local Government
By Administrator   
Tuesday, 15 June 2021 10:14
Paul Fulton, Jr. will be retiring as the Chief Financial Officer (CFO) for Forsyth County at the end of the year, after 47 years of service. 

 

Fulton’s retirement will be effective Dec. 31, and the county will be conducting a nationwide search for its next CFO.  Fulton  is the head of the county’s Finance Department, which manages the county’s revenues, payments, investments, payroll, fixed assets, debt, financial record keeping, risk management and internal and external audits. “I have enjoyed the work and the people I have had the privilege to work with.” said Fulton. “I am grateful for the many opportunities afforded me during my career and for the many past and current Finance Department employees and their exemplary service and support.” 
 
Under Fulton’s leadership, Forsyth County became the first county in North Carolina to receive a AAA credit rating from all three rating agencies in 1996. It has maintained that rating ever since.  The Finance Department’s independently audited Comprehensive Annual Financial Report for the county has won a national Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting every year since 1984. 
 
County Manager Dudley Watts said the recent hard work of Fulton and his staff will save the county, and its taxpayers, a lot of money for years to come. “Under Paul’s leadership over the last year, the County has taken advantage of the historically low interest rates and greatly reduced the tax burden,” said Watts. “Paul has positioned the County extremely well and it will benefit all taxpayers for the next 20 years. ”  
 
Fulton received the Outstanding North Carolina County Finance Officer Award from the NC Association of County Commissioners in 1999, the Outstanding Member in Government Award from the NC Association of Certified Public Accountants in 2008 and the CFO of the Year from Triad Business Journal in 2010. Fulton is a South Carolina native who moved to Winston-Salem in 1961. He attended Elon College where he earned B.A. degrees in Accounting and Business Administration in 1971. He then worked as a controller for a small firm before joining Forsyth County in 1974 as an internal auditor. 
 
He continued his education as he worked, graduating from UNC Chapel Hill School of Government County Administration Program in 1975. He received his M.B.A. with Concentration in Financial Management from UNC Greensboro in 1977. Fulton became assistant finance director for Forsyth County in 1976 and became Chief Financial Officer in 1988.  
Fulton has certifications as a Certified Public Accountant, Certified Local Government Finance Officer, Certified Government Financial Manager from the Association of Government Accountants, Certified Public Finance Officer from the Government Finance Officers Association and Chartered Global Management Accountant from the American Institute of CPAs. 
Fulton is the NACo State Representative for the National Association of County Treasurers and Finance Officers, and a state representative for the Government Finance Officers Association. He is a past president of the NC Association of County Finance Officers in 1998, which, under his leadership, merged with the NC Government Finance Officers Association, which he also served as president of in 2010. He is also a past director of the Piedmont/Winston-Salem Chapter of the Institute of Management Accountants. 
 
His other professional associations include American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, NC Association of Certified Public Accountants and the Association of Government Accountants. He’s also served on NCACC committees, NC State Treasurer’s Public Finance Advisory Committee, and as a Governor’s appointee to the North Carolina State Bar Council and its Grievance Committee. 
 
County Manager Watts stated,  “I appreciate Paul’s willingness to work through the CFO transition and helping with two significant efforts – the American Recovery Plan compliance and the information system overhaul that is currently underway. Paul has dedicated his professional career to Forsyth County, and we are better because of his service.” 
 
State Offers $5,000 Reward In Union County Murder PDF Print E-mail
Local Government
By Administrator   
Tuesday, 15 June 2021 10:10

North Carolina is offering a reward of up to $5,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible for the murder of Joshua Tramaine Allen, age 33. 

It is believed that Mr. Allen was last seen alive on Bost Street in Marshville, North Carolina on January 23, 2021. On the afternoon of February 9, 2021, the body of Joshua Tramaine Allen was found in a wooded area off Monroe Ansonville Road in Wingate, North Carolina. 

Anyone having information concerning this case should contact the Union County Sheriff’s Office at 704-283-3789, the State Bureau of Investigation at 919-662-4500 or the Union County Crime Stoppers at 704-283-5600.

 
Major Boat Manufacturer Will Launch New Operation In Craven County PDF Print E-mail
Local Government
By Administrator   
Monday, 24 May 2021 17:27
White River Marine Group, LLC, a leading manufacturer of recreational boats, will open a manufacturing facility in Craven County, with a target of 500 jobs. The company will make a significant investment in New Bern, creating its first coastal manufacturing site and adding Hatteras to its portfolio of well-known brands.
 
“Boat and marine manufacturing requires specialized and experienced workers, and White River Marine knows our state can deliver the people they need to successfully expand their business in New Bern,” said Governor Roy Cooper.  
 
White River Marine Group (WRMG), an affiliate of Missouri-based Bass Pro Shops, is the world’s largest manufacturer of boats. Founded by noted angler and conservationist Johnny Morris, WRMG builds legendary performance boat brands like TRACKER, the No. 1 fishing boat in America for the past 45 years and ASCEND, the world’s best-selling kayaks. Other leading brands include MAKO, Ranger, Nitro, Triton, Tahoe and more.
 
The expansion will shift the focus of the company’s saltwater manufacturing from the Midwest to the sea, closer to the saltwater market and a thriving community of craftsmen and women. The company will continue to support and grow Hatteras, as well as relocate production of iconic saltwater boat brands MAKO and Ranger Saltwater to New Bern, which is a premier location for saltwater fishing. 
 
Plans call for a major investment to modernize the Hatteras facility and establish a state-of-the-art coastal manufacturing center generating hundreds of new jobs. Consistent with Bass Pro’s reputation for turning shopping for outdoor gear into an experiential adventure, the plant will offer customers demo rides on the Atlantic Ocean and opportunities to tour the factory. It will also serve as an R&D center for sea-trialing and product development across all three brands.
 
Morris is a big fan of the area and has spent many days fishing in the Outer Banks for big tuna and marlin. The local sportfishing culture is a major inspiration for the company to relocate its saltwater manufacturing.
 
“With Hatteras’ rich heritage of craftsmanship and access to some of the world’s best offshore angling, our aim is to help solidify New Bern as the world’s capital for saltwater gamefish and boat building,” said noted conservationist and avid angler Johnny Morris, who founded and grew both Bass Pro Shops and White River Marine Group to become North America’s premier outdoor and conservation company. “We love the passion for fishing and commitment to craftsmanship found in New Bern. We’re very grateful to Governor Cooper and his team, as well as local officials and leaders including Craven County Manager Jack Veit and Craven County Board of Commissioners Chairperson Jason Jones for their genuine welcoming spirit and their leadership in supporting our vision to invest in this incredible angling community.”
 
“The marine trades are an important part of North Carolina’s heritage,” said North Carolina Commerce Secretary Machelle Baker Sanders. “It’s great to see a company with the leadership and reputation of White River Marine choose our state for this important expansion of their company.”
 
The regional economy will benefit from a more than $22 million payroll impact each and every year.
 
White River Marine Group’s project in North Carolina will be facilitated by a Job Development Investment Grant (JDIG) approved by the state’s Economic Investment Committee earlier today. Over the course of the 12-year term of this grant, the project is estimated to grow the state’s economy by $1.17 billion. Using a formula that takes into account the new tax revenues generated by the new jobs, the JDIG agreement authorizes the potential reimbursement to the company of up to $5,441,400, spread over 12 years. State payments only occur following performance verification by the departments of Commerce and Revenue that the company has met its incremental job creation and investment targets. JDIG projects result in positive net tax revenue to the state treasury, even after taking into consideration the grant’s reimbursement payments to a given company.
 
White River Marine’s JDIG agreement could also move as much as $604,600 into a fund that helps rural communities across the state attract business in the future. When companies select a site located in a Tier 2 county such as Craven, their JDIG agreements move some of the new tax revenue into the state’s Industrial Development Fund – Utility Account. Local communities in more economically challenged areas of the state use grants from the Utility Account to build public infrastructure projects, which can improve a community’s ability to attract companies to their regions.
 
“It’s great to see the next chapter open for this important manufacturing site in our region,” said N.C. Representative Steve Tyson. “White River Marine Group is the number one company in their industry, and we welcome the new jobs and investment they’re bringing to New Bern and Craven County.” 
 
“Great economic development announcements don’t happen by themselves,” said N.C. Senator Norman Sanderson. “I’m proud of the many community partners that worked tirelessly behind the scenes to help us reach this achievement. All of us will continue to support the company as they put down roots and grow here.”
 
Partnering with the North Carolina Department of Commerce and the Economic Development Partnership of N.C. on this project were the North Carolina General Assembly, the North Carolina Community College System, the North Carolina Department of Revenue, Craven County, the Craven 100 Alliance, North Carolina’s Southeast, and the Craven County Economic Development Department.
Last Updated on Monday, 24 May 2021 17:34
 
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