FORSYTH COUNTY, N.C. — Forsyth County and Winston-Salem are considering a property transfer to clear the city from money it owes the county for recent facilities projects, but first they have to agree to the same deal.
The city owes the county close to a million dollars because of overpayment for joint projects to construct an Emergency Services Training Center at the Forsyth Tech facility in King and the Firearms Training Center in Brookwood Business Park.
The plan is for the county to purchase the city’s half interest in the 186-acre Rolling Hills property in Tobaccoville and its half interest in a 112-acre piece of property adjoining C.G. Hill Memorial Park by canceling the city’s debt. The properties have been jointly owned by the city and county.
The Winston-Salem City Council approved an agreement in November, but now the Forsyth County commissioners will vote on a counterproposal Monday night.
The difference: about $75,000.
The city owes the county $966,545, and the estimated value of the property the county would receive is $1,041,136.
The city-approved version calls for the county to pay the difference of $74,591, but the county wants to swap land and call it a day. The commissioners could reject the land deal and request the money.
“The Board of Commissioners would rather not exchange cash,” said Deputy County Manager Damon Sanders-Pratt.
City Manager Lee Garrity said he will take the item back to the city council for consideration after the county votes on it. It will likely come before the city in March.
He said staff has taken another look at the interest the city has earned on the million dollars over the past few years, and the interest accrued would be close to the $75,000.
By keeping the million dollars and giving the county property instead, the city would have funds for upcoming projects.
“Our plan is to use those funds for land acquisitions for police districts,” Garrity said.
The three police district stations would house the department’s patrol operations.
After the land transfer, the city and county would still jointly own the main C.G. Hill Park property, but adjoining acres would be in the county’s hands. This could open the door for future expansions of recreational programming at the park. County Manager Dudley Watts said the county would have to do some future master planning.
The property on Rolling Hills Drive was originally intended for an outdoor firing range, but that plan was scrapped. The county would have to decide what to do with the property.
“We didn’t have any plans for either property,” Garrity said. “Neither property is in the city limits.”
The Forsyth County Board of Commissioners meets 6 p.m. Monday night at the county government center.