WEST FORSYTH — Residents have a final opportunity to air comments and concerns on Forsyth County’s governance, including a potential second city in south Forsyth, tonight during the third in a series of town hall meetings.
State Sen.-elect Michael Williams will be the host for the community discussion, which is set for 7 p.m. in West Forsyth High’s auditorium.
Williams will take office in January representing District 27, which covers the vast majority of Forsyth, except for a small northeast corner in the 51st District.
All topics are open for discussion tonight, but priority will be given to local governance issues, including the makeup of the county commission and the potential for and impact of a second city, tentatively called Sharon Springs.
This is the same format the two previous forums have followed. They were held last month in south Forsyth by state District 25 Rep. Mike Dudgeon and earlier this month in north Forsyth by state District 26 Rep. Geoff Duncan.
Released over the weekend, an independent study of voters across the county showed a majority of those who responded did not support a new city in south Forsyth.
The study, conducted by Red Clay Communications, was “randomized to avoid self-selection bias,” asking voters the question through an automated phone interview on Nov. 13.
This was after “at least two town hall meetings, media coverage and social media response – indicating some education on the issue,” according to Red Clay President/CEO Josh Jones.
Survey results, which were broken down by county commission district, show that response was highest in Districts 1, 2 and 5.
While all five districts had most people say they didn’t want a new city, District 2 — the area Sharon Springs would occupy — had the smallest margin, as well as having the largest percentage of “undecided” respondents.
Overall, 55 percent of respondents did not want a new city, 19 percent were in favor and 26 percent were undecided.
Community-wide attention to the idea of a city in south Forsyth began to stir in August when Dudgeon, who like Duncan is a Republican from that area, wrote a guest column for the Forsyth County News.
In it, he cited the county’s size and population and noted that having just one city and one county government is unusual.
While the county is at the top in many quality-of-life areas — schools, parks, low taxes — not adjusting for the county’s growth may not be the best option for its future, he wrote.
A guest column submitted by Jim Wagner in response to Dudgeon’s raised concerns as to whether Sharon Springs is really the best option.