The Forsyth County Board of Commissioners held an organizational meeting on Dec. 5 and elected Don Martin as chair and Gloria Whisenhunt as vicechair.
Martin thanked Dave Plyler-- who’s served as chair since 2014-- for his friendship, guidance and service to the county. Plyler said he’s enjoyed serving as chair and looks forward to continuing to serve the people of Forsyth as a commissioner.
Martin was first elected as Forsyth County commissioner in 2014 after retiring from a long career in education that included 19 years as superintendent of Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools. He had been serving as the vice chair of the board.
Whisenhunt has been a Forsyth County commissioner since 1996 and has previously served as both vice chair and chair of the board. She also serves on the Board of Directors of the National Association of Counties (NACo) and North Carolina Association of County Commissioners (NCACC).
State statute requires the Board of Commissioners to elect a chair and vice chair on the first Monday of December during even numbered years. Traditionally, this meeting is also when newly elected commissioners and Social and Water supervisors are sworn in. A local election protest that will be heard by the NC Board of Elections has postponed the swearing-in of local elected officials. Outgoing commissioners Ted Kaplan and Fleming El-Amin will continue to serve until the matter is resolved.
Martin gave year-end remarks summarizing what the commissioners did this year, which included passing a budget with no tax rate increase. Commissioners also approved two rounds of American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding for county government and non-profit projects. They voted for various pay raises and bonuses for County employees. After listening to residents, they moved forward with placing an Agricultural Park Complex in Tobaccoville. Martin said he was thankful for the various partnerships that help the county serve the community and is proud of the work commissioners have done approving various items to grow the economy.
Martin said there’s also a lot to look forward to in 2023. He said the county should start to see impacts in treatment and prevention in the opioid epidemic from the Opioid settlement. Commissioners will be dedicating a new Kaleideum, Hall of Justice and new hangars at Smith Reynolds Airport next year. They also expect to break ground on Belews Lake Park, Terminal renovations at the airport, the Tanglewood Clubhouse and the Behavorial Health Center on Highland Avenue.
Other commissioners also gave their year-end remarks, thanking county residents for their support and county staff for their hard work.