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Your guide to understanding Winston-Salem’s budget funds

A majority of the city’s projects are funded by property and sales taxes residents pay on a daily basis.

Wstoday: Winston-Salem city skyline view

Property taxes are the largest single source of revenue for the city.

Photo by WStoday

Winston-Salem City Council is preparing to vote on the 2024-2025 fiscal year budget on Monday, June 17. City Manager Pat Pate proposed a $658.9 million budget that would take effect July 1 if approved. Here are some funding terms you should know regarding the city’s budget + how your tax dollars are contributing to future projects.

General Fund

This budget comes from property taxes, income tax, sales tax, intergovernmental revenues (includes utilities franchise tax, beer and wine tax, and gasoline tax), and charges for services. The city uses this fund for expenses and to provide municipal resources such as police, fire, sanitation, streets, transportation, and recreation services.

The city is required to maintain 16% of its budgeted expenses in the general fund balance so that there’s sufficient funding for operations and capital needs (see page 33).

Special Revenue Funds

This come from specific revenue sources that are reserved solely for special projects like the Midtown Economic Development Grant Fund, the Downtown Winston-Salem Business Improvement District Fund, and the Emergency Rental Assistance Fund.

Debt Service Fund

The city has debts, too. These funds pays the principal or interest accrued over time for long-term projects like water sewer services and parking. Part of this fund comes from property tax revenues and sales taxes.

Capital Project Funds

This fund goes towards the acquisition or construction of major capital improvements. Think street resurfacing projects, the Salem Parkway Multi-Use Path project, and sidewalk maintenance. These projects are funded by general obligation bonds, federal and state capital funds, general fund balance appropriations, and capital reserves.

Want to have a say in how the city should spend tax dollars? Residents can phone in comments about the proposed budget on the city’s citizen feedback line at 336-734-1400.