Government Affairs Update

Government Affairs Update – June 19, 2018

From the Desk of Troi Hicks
Joint Government Affairs Director 


·        The NC General Assembly voted in the budget last Tuesday, so they’ll be wrapping up soon.

·        Two constitutional amendments have been proposed: HB 1092 would require photo id to vote; SB 75 would cap income tax rate at 5.5%. Both are in committees.

·        Special pertinence to WS: WS Conveyance Bill, HB 996- would allow city to sell city-owned property to buyers who promise to develop housing at the low to median income level; intended to assuage the need for “affordable” housing units. Still in Committee.

·        Legislative Priorities Update- All of the following have been passed!

  • Budget included changes to sales tax- members can receive credit for taxes paid on RMI materials immediately, instead of having to file the exemption form. Can still use the exemption form later.
  • HB 948- marketplace of retired inspectors; builder can use inspector from Dept. of Insurance in inspection request lasts longer than 2 days.
  • HB 826: Capacity Fees- technical changes as to when the fee can be assessed (whatever is later- when the plat is recorded or when water/sewer service is committed by local gov’t). Updating gallons per day usage- will take effect “on or before” Jan. 1, 2020.


System Development Fees: On Monday, June 11, the City/County Utility Commission (CCUC) voted on to delay implementation of the proposed System Development Fees until January 1, 2019. At that point, 50% of the water and wastewater fees will become effective. CCUC will revisit the fee amount in Spring 2019 before voting on the 100% rollout to become effective July 1, 2019.

Winston-Salem Fence Ordinance: The proposed fence ordinance has been updated slight. The proposed ordinance now specifies that the height standards apply to fences in front yards with an opacity of greater than 50%. Fences in front yards higher than 4 feet above grade will be permitted if no more than 50% of the fence is opaque. Masonry boundary fences and walls are exempted from this provision.

The draft ordinance includes the following provisions:

·        Prohibits residential fences within public-right-of-way or on public utility easements without written permission, or in areas that would obstruct visibility for motorists at street intersections.

·        Height: Prohibits installation of fence higher than 4 feet in front yard setback; prohibits fence higher than 8 feet in side or rear yard. Zoning officers can permit height of up to 10 feet in special circumstances.

·        Materials: Ornamental iron, steel, or aluminum, wood, composite materials designed to appear as wood, metal, or masonry, chain-link, and vinyl fence panels are PERMITTED fencing materials. PROHIBITED materials include barbed wire, razor wire, concertina wire, and debris, junk, rolled plastic, sheet metal, untreated plywood, or waste materials.

Enforcement of the ordinance would be complaint-driven. Temporary fences for construction purposes are exempted from the provisions in the ordinance. The ordinance will go back to committee on August 13th.

Forsyth County Quarter-Cent Sales Tax Proposed: The Forsyth County Board of Commissioners plans to put a quarter-cent sales tax increase for Forsyth County on the November 2018 ballot. Revenue from this sales tax would pay for the Forsyth County Hall of Justice project. Alternative plans to raise revenue included a property tax increase of 2.3 cents in the county. If the sales tax referendum does not pass this Fall, the County will raise property taxes 3.1 cents in 2019. If the sales tax is passed, it would not take effect until April 2019.