courthouse-clocktowerHere in New Hanover County, the community, elected officials and county staff cooperate to balance a high quality of life with a progressive business and economic climate.

At less than 200 square miles, New Hanover County is the second smallest – geographically – of the 100 North Carolina counties; however, it is home to more than 225,702 people.

New Hanover County is not just a great place in which to live or visit. New Hanover County is also a great place to do business. Tourism, film production, the service and retail sectors are the engines that power our economy.

Our Mission: New Hanover County is committed to progressive public policy, superior service, courteous contact, judicious exercise of authority, and sound fiscal management to meet the needs and concerns of our citizens today and tomorrow.

The government of New Hanover County is committed to ensuring that you are safe, healthy and secure; that is our promise to you.

New Hanover County Manager Chris Coudriet serves as chief administrator of county government and maintains responsibility for administering all departments under the general control of the five-member Board of Commissioners.

The county manager’s work includes the development of the county’s annual budget. The budget is the policy document, financial plan, and operations guide and communications device of county government. It reflects the county’s response to the needs of the community and residents’ requests for services. New Hanover County’s government is operating on a $458 million multi-fund budget for the fiscal year beginning July 1, 2021 and ending June 30, 2022, serving more than 225,000 residents.

In addition, the manager and his executive leadership team are responsible for aligning the operations of the county to the adopted strategic plan and advancing the county’s mission and vision through five key focus areas: superior education and workforce, superior public health and safety, intelligent growth and economic development, strong financial performance, and effective county management.

Mr. Coudriet has served as the county manager since July 2012. Prior to his appointment, he served as assistant county manager for New Hanover County for four years and as county manager in Franklin and Washington counties, N.C.

Mr. Coudriet has twenty-five years of public administration experience, with fifteen years as a county manager or assistant county manager in North Carolina. He has a Bachelor of Science Degree in Urban and Regional Planning from East Carolina University and a Master’s Degree in Public Administration from the University of North Carolina at Pembroke.

He is a native of eastern North Carolina. Chris and his wife, Leigh, and two children Montgomery and Silas, reside in Wilmington.

New Hanover County’s work is aligned with six shared values: Professionalism, Equity, Integrity, Innovation, Stewardship, and Accountability. The county’s employees consistently exemplify these values and go above and beyond in carrying out the mission to serve the county’s citizens.

Learn more about the county’s mission, vision, and strategy here.

New Hanover County has received the final economic development target analysis report from Jay Garner titled Pathways to Prosperity: New Hanover County’s Plan for Jobs and Investment and it’s critical companion piece, the Competitive Realties Report.

Manager's Message

Connecting Resources for Safer Schools and Community

Posted September 22, 2021 at 2:11 pm

By County Manager, Chris Coudriet

Over the past few weeks, after a shooting occurred on the campus of New Hanover High School, I have taken a lot of time to sit down and talk with people in our community. There have been some eye-opening moments for me as a public administrator and as a community member.

What has been a common thread in those conversations is that community violence – whether that is street violence, gang violence, gun violence, or any other form it may take – is, at its core, tied directly to chronic stress like poverty, unstable housing, food insecurity, mental health, and other like factors. Community violence is also not just about those who perpetrate the violence, but those who are exposed to it and its life-long impacts.

As a community, we have talked about school and community safety for years. The Safer Schools Task Force, which is a multi-agency group, began in 2013 after the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School. They have developed plans, recommendations, and accomplished a lot to make our schools safer over the past eight years. We also have dedicated organizations and people in the community doing incredible work serving youth and families.

Now, we have an opportunity to further that work even more with the Board of Commissioners’ recent authorization for the county to access a portion of the $350 million in funds we have from the sale of the hospital. This funding will remove a barrier that so often exists when we are working toward meaningful and lasting solutions.

In no way should, or will, we spend the $350 million in its totality. We must be deliberate, community-minded, and ensure the investments we make now can be sustained into the future. We have to ensure the right efforts, initiatives, and paths forward are being funded with equity and diversity at the forefront. And we have to do our homework, consult with the experts, and listen to the community all along the way.

We all know and recognize that this is a community issue. Our schools are integral in our community – so we must treat our actions and objectives around school safety in the bigger context of the community. And that is what we are doing.

County staff are actively working in small groups throughout the community, with school staff, teachers, principals, parents, law enforcement partners, mental health experts, facility experts, and school experts – to determine what the near-term priorities are for safer schools and how to accomplish those.

These conversations, so far, have resulted in establishing several priorities as it relates to the safety of the facilities and campuses themselves, safety monitoring systems, and overall communications. To begin making near-term and more immediate investments, I believe we will be able to look at the needs already identified in previous safety audits and risk assessments to start improving school facilities and campuses.

Also identified is a need within the schools to support students and families with wrap-around services, mental health support, and community-based resources. Delivering those direct services within our schools is something we must do a better job of and will be a core part of our plan. And paramount in all of this is the desire and need to bring diverse students into the conversation and hear directly from them, and to have them engaged in the solutions.

In addition to school safety, we must also talk about this from a community-wide perspective in the context of community violence. We are actively working with community partners and individuals who have a vested interest in this discussion and who are already on the ground doing a lot of this work, and they have been for years.

They know our neighborhoods and they have a keen awareness of the foundational issues and disparities that are leading to violence. We are committed to continue our work to bring these community partners together, build trust and consistent prevention resources, holistic support for families, and intervention in the structural determinants of community violence.

This community-based work is not as near-term as school safety and supports within schools. It is a much bigger, future-focused discussion that must start small and evolve with an intentional and comprehensive plan. We may not see immediate change, but I believe it is going to create lasting change.

In the coming weeks and months, we will be working with the schools and our community partners to host community forums and provide other feedback opportunities to hear from the public and learn about community needs, concerns, and priorities as it relates to school safety and community violence.

All of these conversations will help us determine the investments that are needed and how we need to move forward – both in the short-term and long-term – and our path will be fully informed by the voices of our community.

We don’t have a concrete plan today or a timeline of when investments may be made, but we are working toward that and will be intentional, equitable, and committed to the results.

The county has created a webpage to provide updates to the community, and I invite you to bookmark it and check back often as we progress: NHCgov.com/SchoolSafety.


Masks, Vaccines, and Workplace Safety

Posted August 24, 2021 at 8:49 am

August 24, 2021 By County Manager, Chris Coudriet The COVID-19 pandemic has been an exhausting, ongoing crisis. Those of us in New Hanover County are used to encountering a hurricane … Read More »


New Hanover County is top in the nation for good governance, innovation and best practices

Posted July 21, 2021 at 9:33 am

July 21, 2021 By County Manager, Chris Coudriet Amidst the backdrop of a global pandemic, New Hanover County staff continued serving the community, creating innovative programs and enhancing our services, … Read More »


County budget invests in important services, board priorities, and community needs

Posted June 21, 2021 at 12:16 pm

June 21, 2021 By County Manager, Chris Coudriet The Board of Commissioners has been clear about what its priorities are for public education and teacher pay, the need for enhanced … Read More »


Lower fire insurance premiums can help lead to economic development

Posted May 19, 2021 at 4:38 pm

May 19, 2021 By County Manager, Chris Coudriet A focus for New Hanover County is always on promoting intelligent growth and economic development. We want New Hanover County to be … Read More »