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 232,000 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 operates on a $392 million multi-fund budget for the fiscal year that began July 1, 2018 and ends June 30, 2019, serving more than 227,000 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 nearly twenty-five years of public administration experience, with more than a decade as a 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 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

Your tax dollars are being spent wisely

Posted June 18, 2019 at 10:52 am

By County Manager Chris Coudriet

New Hanover County’s $399 million balanced budget for Fiscal Year 2019-2020 has been adopted by the Board of Commissioners. It focuses on investments in education, public safety, economic development and the community – both now and in the years to come.

The current county-wide tax rate of 55.5 cents per $100 of value will continue (it’s the third year in a row that the county has either cut or maintained the tax rate), and it also keeps the fire services tax rate for residents in the unincorporated county at 7.75 cents and the landfill tip fee at $48 per ton. So taxes will not go up.

The budget proactively addresses needs that we have now and looks to the future to ensure we are more resilient. It begins to replenish the county’s fund balance, which was affected by Hurricane Florence, and strategically funds important initiatives like the opioid crisis, workforce housing and public education.

It accomplishes a lot without increasing your taxes, but I think I know what you may be thinking: as a taxpayer, it’s not always clear how your money is being spent or what impact it is having. I can assure you that building New Hanover County’s budget is a thoughtful and deliberate process to ensure your tax dollars are spent wisely.

One of the most recent examples of strategic impact that comes to mind is our success with a Pre-K pilot program launched in 2018 with New Hanover County Public Schools. At that time, there were 400 at-risk children in our community on the Pre-K waiting list who wouldn’t have any exposure to a high quality day care or Pre-K curriculum before Kindergarten. That could cause them to fall behind, and affect them even later in life.

We took a hard look at that list and wanted to make a change. So our Commissioners funded an expansion of the county’s Pre-K to add three more classrooms for 45 at-risk three-year olds at a cost of approximately $476,000 each year (for a total of three years).

Your tax dollars are funding the wrap-around services for mental and physical health the students receive. They are helping us as we work with each family to build skills and educate parents, and they are creating a structured learning environment – with the North Carolina Pre-K curriculum – for three and four year olds to thrive.

The results have been outstanding. Every students’ performance over six different learning domains has improved and the percentage of students who are meeting or exceeding expectations within the individual measures continues to increase. These children will now be ready for Kindergarten – and that has lasting effects for the child, the family, and our entire community.

So in this strategic investment alone, your tax dollars have benefited 90 students so far, and 45 more three-year-olds will be enrolled in the 2019 school year – so that is 135 children you will have helped.

New Hanover County is using data like this to help inform our policy and funding choices. And that is just one example of the power of your tax dollars. This coming fiscal year, New Hanover County will:

  • Provide $116.2 million to support public schools, which is a 6.9% increase in funding from last year. Read about the county’s funding to public schools here.
  • Transition the responsibility of the Forensic Lab to New Hanover County Sheriff’s Office from the City of Wilmington, with a 60/40 cost-sharing arrangement to ensure we keep effective and efficient processing of lab results available locally.
  • Fund more than $3.3 million in strategic economic development initiatives that will encourage private investment, bring more diverse and higher-wage jobs, and enhance our quality of life.
  • Invest in workforce housing in partnership with the City of Wilmington, including $45,000 for a workforce housing study and survey.
  • Support 29 human services community partners in the great work they are accomplishing locally, for a total of $977,000.
  • Begin construction of the Healing Place substance use treatment center in partnership with Trillium.
  • Provide a market and merit salary increase for all eligible county employees, because they are our greatest asset and are the people who make our county services possible.

There are numerous other initiatives that the county is funding, and so many ways that your tax dollars are making an impact and a difference. And we are accomplishing all of this without raising your taxes. We are being good stewards of your money, and I appreciate your trust in us.

I hope you will take some time to look through the county’s budget and learn more about the important work taking place.


Thank you, New Hanover County employees

Posted May 14, 2019 at 10:01 am

By County Manager Chris Coudriet Recently, we held our fifth-annual “Reach for the Stars” Banquet, where the county recognized 232 people who received a Stellar Award over the past year … Read More »


County construction projects stay on budget & on schedule

Posted April 18, 2019 at 12:53 pm

By County Manager Chris Coudriet In any construction project, whether it’s building a new home or renovating your kitchen, it’s important to know how much things will cost. And it’s … Read More »


Hurricane Florence: Six Months Later

Posted March 21, 2019 at 10:44 am

By County Manager Chris Coudriet It has been six months already, since Hurricane Florence made landfall in New Hanover County. This storm was unlike any other we have seen in … Read More »


The possibilities of Project Grace

Posted February 18, 2019 at 4:29 pm

By County Manager Chris Coudriet The possibilities of Project Grace are exciting. It has been over two years since we began talking about the opportunity of a public-private partnership to … Read More »