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 $398 million multi-fund budget for the fiscal year that began July 1, 2019 and ends June 30, 2020, serving more than 233,000 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 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

NHRMC’s future: where we are and where we’re headed

Posted October 25, 2019 at 11:32 am

By County Manger Chris Coudriet

The future of New Hanover Regional Medical Center (NHRMC) is a main topic of conversation throughout the community. I understand why – it is an incredible asset, provides high-quality health services, and is our region’s largest employer. All those reasons, and more, make the process we are embarking on incredibly important.

After the New Hanover County Board of Commissioners voted on September 16 to explore different ownership structures and partnership for NHRMC in light of the known and unknown changes coming in health care, we began the work of forming a Partnership Advisory Group (PAG) to help lead this process.

The advisory group is made up of nine community members, five physicians selected by NHRMC medical staff leadership, five members of NHRMC’s Board of Trustees selected by the trustees, and NHRMC President and CEO John Gizdic as well as myself. The 21 members are diverse in opinions, backgrounds, and professions; and I think they are an outstanding group who will offer a clear direction on behalf of our community on the appropriateness of any changes to the hospital’s current model. You can read their impressive bios here.

This group will be responsible for developing priorities for the hospital’s Request for Proposal (RFP), selecting a minimum of five health systems that will receive the RFP, evaluating the proposals received and examining the options for maintaining county ownership. After months of due diligence, they will then provide a recommendation on next steps to the Board of Commissioners and NHRMC Board of Trustees. A recommendation could include negotiating with one or more systems regarding proposals or pursuing other ways to support NHRMC as a county-owned hospital. We are going to look at every option available to us.

This process will likely take a year or more, and will include thorough research and open, public discussions. I encourage everyone in the community to continue to be engaged and informed, attend PAG meetings to hear the conversations (they are open to the public and our first one will be held on October 29 – view those details here), and attend the public hearings that will be held throughout this process to share your thoughts.

We want this process to be open, we want the community to trust that we have heard you – and this 21-member advisory group, along with the Trustees and Commissioners, will take the time that is needed to thoughtfully and thoroughly examine any and all options for our health system. We all want what is in the long-term best interest of the community and health care delivery for our citizens. And I believe this process will help answer if there is a better model or not, and how we achieve that.

The process going forward is neither pre-determined nor likely to take less than a year. The PAG has a lot of work to do and will have clearly defined goals. They will be supported by staff from the county and hospital with legal representation, and several consultants (one of which will be an outside financial advisor) will be part of the process.

At the first few meetings of the PAG, the members themselves will elect the group’s co-chairs and vice co-chairs, provide input on the financial advisor that should be selected, and learn about all that is happening in the healthcare industry and NHRMC’s current position and priorities. It’s important the PAG members make these decisions and have all of the information necessary as we move into this process.

The Request for Proposals will be one of the first things the PAG works on, developing it based on the public’s priorities as well as the vision of the hospital and county. I anticipate that to be completed and shared with the Trustees and Commissioners sometime in December. Potential partners would then have at least 60 days to respond to the RFP, so it will likely be February or March before proposals are received. While waiting for the proposals to come back, the advisory group will be evaluating what it would mean for NHRMC if it were to remain independent and county owned. This will serve as the baseline to understand whether a partner would help NHRMC accelerate or enhance what it could do on its own.

The proposals that come back will be shared at NHRMCfuture.org for the community to see and another public hearing will be held on the proposals. If the Partnership Advisory Group, Trustees and Commissioners all agree to move forward with one or more of the proposals, several more months of exploration and due diligence will occur before a final proposal is brought to Commissioners for a vote that would allow a change in ownership, affiliation or structure. If we get that far, any agreement would be shared publicly and a public hearing would take place for the community to comment.

I believe that over the coming months, the community will be able to see the work being done and the deliberate and thoughtful process that we are going through, as opposed to us just talking about. The advisory group is going to look at all options, all alternatives – and the public will be included in every step along the way.

I can’t thank the members of the advisory group enough for their willingness to serve and guide this important process. It is going to take a significant amount of time (likely more than a year), but they are willing and certainly able to help the hospital and county ensure the best outcome for healthcare in our community.


Purpose-designed government center & redeveloped land will benefit the community

Posted August 21, 2019 at 10:17 am

By County Manager Chris Coudriet A new government center. Possible retail, residential and commercial space. A new hub of activity for New Hanover County and the city of Wilmington. That’s … Read More »


County Zoning Gets Full Revamp After 50 Years

Posted July 16, 2019 at 1:22 pm

By County Manager Chris Coudriet Fifty years is a long time, especially when it comes to development. The way we think about development, its connectivity, density, affordability, and so much … Read More »


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, … Read More »


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 »