A new bill proposal would de-annex Smith Reynolds Airport from the City of Winston-Salem. House Bill 459 would take the airport away from the corporate limits of the city.

In his response to the proposal, Mayor Allen Joines amplified concerns among residents that further airport development could lead to increased noise, additional traffic, lowered property values, and it would hamper the city’s oversight capabilities. Joines puts potential lost tax revenue at roughly a half-million dollars annually.

The county board issued its own statement; acknowledged the potential revenue loss, and committed to ongoing discussions. Chairman of the Forsyth County Board of Commissioners Don Martin says single taxation — as opposed to the dual tax currently collected for anyone who parks their airplane at the airport — would help recruit business.

"So, if you had a four-and-a-half million-dollar aircraft parked, you’re going to pay an additional $17,000 to the city," says Martin. "Piedmont Triad International Airport is located only in Guilford County, so you do not pay the Greensboro city tax if you park your airplane there."

Martin cites Davidson County and Mid-Carolina Regional airports as other regional examples where only county taxes are applied. He says the de-annexation would simplify regulatory measures that otherwise must pass city and county governing boards. 

In response to the fears raised over increased noise, property devaluations, and oversight, Martin adds that the city and county constituents are the same. Martin says the only expansion plans currently being discussed are for electric-motored drone activity.


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