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Water/Sewer Assessment Process

 

Assessment Confirmation Process

After a project is fully constructed and ready for connection, the property owners will receive a notice of the public hearing for assessment confirmation. This hearing will also include the levying of bills for each property owner and placing a lien on the property on the day of confirmation. Property owners may also appeal the assessment at this hearing if they feel they are not benefiting from the water or sewer line construction.

 The costs of requested water and/or sewer improvements are assessed against all affected owners based on the unit price per property foot frontage (the measurement of how wide the property is at the street).  The current rate for water improvements is $21.00 per property foot frontage and $45.00 per property foot frontage for sewer.

 

The property owners will be given 51 days to pay for the assessment without interest from the confirmation date.  If a balance remains after the 51 days, the customer may elect one of the three financing plans; Option 1- 3 years at prime rate +1%, Option 2- 5 years at prime rate + 1.5%, Option 3 – 10 years at prime rate plus 2%.  The property owner will receive one bill per year each December. The prime rate is established in July each year for new confirmations.  The maximum interest rate will not exceed 8%. The assessment can be paid off early without penalty.  

 

Is a Water/Sewer Assessment a lien?

When a water/sewer project is approved for construction by the Utility Commission each affected property owner name and the estimated assessment amount is entered into our database as a public record per NCGS 160A-233.  This database has a link to the City’s web page for title search purposes.  During the time of construction, the amount displayed is not a lien but a pending lien.  When construction is complete, the assessment will become a lien on the date the Utility Commission holds a public hearing and confirmation.  Letters are sent to each property owner providing these dates.  

Do I have to connect to public sewer if my septic tank is operating properly?

No.  However if your property has access to public sewer and your septic tank fails, you are not allowed to make repairs to the tank.  You must then connect to public sewer.

I am retired and on a fixed income and own a large tract of land that I still farm and raise cattle on.  Is there some form of exemption that would apply to me?

Generally speaking, there are no exemptions if an assessment is levied on your property unless you have an extreme hardship or an unbuildable lot.  However, there are several ways to have the assessment fees deferred under North Carolina General Statute.  In short, these statutes say that anyone over 65 years of age, with a low fixed income, or a permanent disability may apply for deferment.  Deferment means the actual delay of payment for assessments.  Property owners having Agricultural, Horticultural, and/or Forest Landscan also apply for deferment.  The Utility Commission relies on the Forsyth County Tax office (www.co.forsyth.nc.us/tax) to determine deferment eligibility.  If you already have a deferment from the FCTO and want to defer your assessment or for more specific information please contact our Revenue Division at 747-6956.

Will I have to pay an additional property assessment fee if City/County Utilities water and/or sewer already serves my property? 

Existing customers of the City/County Utility system have already paid for the service on one side; either through the Utility Commission’s policies or as a part of the cost of their lot if the property was part of a development.  However, if you own a corner lot and service is provided on the additional frontage, you may be required to pay for frontage exceeding 200 feet. 

 

I have a Duke Power line tower on my property causing the lot to be unbuildable, what can I do?

If your lot is unbuildable according to the Winston-Salem building code, you may submit a statement requesting “Relief of Assessment” which describes the reason why your lot is unbuildable.  Please mail the request to City of Winston-Salem , Revenue/Assessments, PO Box 2756, Winston-Salem, NC  27102   .  The Finance Committee of the City County Utility Commission will hear your request.  This hearing will be after the confirmation of the assessment.