During Monday’s regular meeting, the New Hanover County Board of Commissioners celebrated employee service milestones, finalized legislative priorities, heard updates on the Street Outreach Program and much more. A few of those highlights are below.
Welcome aboard and thanks for your service!
Once a month, the Board of Commissioners recognizes employees who have reached career milestones with New Hanover County, as well as those retiring after longstanding commitments to public service. This month, seven new employees were welcomed to the NHC family representing five departments. Commissioners also honored Liz Perrone, who is retiring from the Sheriff’s Office after 25 years of service, as well as six employees with five years of service, one with 10 years, two with 15 years and another with 25 years. We are grateful for their incredible service to our community.
Review of legislative priorities
Commissioners heard, amended and approved their legislative priorities for the 2023 and 2024 legislative sessions. These priorities are lobbied for at the state, regional and national levels to help enact change and bring in support to address community needs.
Priorities include recurring funding for beach nourishment, resources to fund the replacement of the Cape Fear Memorial bridge, formal standards for PFOA and PFOS, streamlined federal regulations for aid to local governments after disasters and emergencies, continued funding for film grants, expansion of Medicaid and more. You can click here to see a full list of the legislative priorities.
Update on Street Outreach Program
Commissioners received an update on the Street Outreach Program, a joint effort between New Hanover County Health and Human Services and City of Wilmington Police Department to help unsheltered residents in the county be re-homed or find shelter while also linking them to services that meet their needs.
Since outreach began on December 10, the program has helped nine people find temporary or permanent shelter or reunite with a family member or support system. The team has also helped make sure donations that were previously left in public locations are now finding their way to outreach organizations who can make sure they are being fully utilized. The opening of the Bin Den, a storage space where unsheltered individuals can keep personal items secured, along with daily clean-up efforts have helped reduce debris and clutter previously seen on county-owned property in Downtown Wilmington. The team is committed to a person-centered approach to ensure access to vital resources.
Commissioners also heard from Sheriff McMahon about public safety concerns on the downtown block. Because of an increase in unsafe and unsanitary conditions, an ordinance is being considered by Commissioners that would prohibit sleeping on county property overnight and specifically outline the approved uses of county-owned public spaces. The ordinance was not unanimously approved at this week’s meeting (four voted for, one voted against). So it will have a second reading at the board’s February 6 meeting. It must have a majority vote at the second reading in order to be implemented.
That’s not all…
The Commissioners approved the lease agreement between the county and Cape Fear Community College for 319 North 3rd Street, which will add 55,000 additional square feet of classroom and lab space to the college’s nursing and allied health programs. The purchase of the building, which is in an ideal location next to the CFCC campus, is expected to be finalized in the coming weeks.
Commissioners also approved the $1.49 million purchase of property at 1605 Robin Hood Road that will be used for a much-needed medical detox and crisis stabilization center. It’s expected the facility, which is a partnership between the county, Trillium Health Resources, RHA and LINC, Inc., will have 36 total beds (16 for detox and 20 for transitional housing). This is another important effort by the board to help people recover from substance use.
Commissioners also voted to continue moving forward with a new Board of Elections building to be built adjacent to the Government Center, so voters and poll workers have a facility that ensures smooth and efficient elections.
And they received an update on the county’s five-year strategic plan, its outcomes and successes, and directed staff on next steps to develop another strategic plan for the county. Click here for more information about the county’s progress and what’s to come.
You can view the January 23 meeting here and below. The next regular meeting of the Board of Commissioners is set for 4 p.m. on February 6.
The New Hanover County Board of Commissioners holds its regularly scheduled meetings on the first and third Monday of each month, unless otherwise noted. These meetings take place at the New Hanover County Historic Courthouse (24 North 3rd Street, Room 301). A schedule of the 2023 meetings can be found here.
All meetings are broadcast live on NHCTV.com, through the New Hanover County YouTube channel and on Spectrum channel 13. For meeting agendas, minutes and exhibits, visit Commissioners.NHCGov.com.