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

FY15-16 Recommended Budget

Posted May 5, 2015 at 11:06 am

Monday, May 4, 2015 I presented a recommended budget for fiscal year 2015 and 2016 (FY 15-16) to the New Hanover County Board of Commissioners. If you did not get a chance to see the presentation live you can always watch it “on demand” via the county’s webpage:

It was not an easy ask and not something I did without great care and concern, but I did recommend to the board to raise the county’s property tax rate by 5 cents, which would bring the county’s overall property tax to 60.5 cents per $100 of value effective July 1, 2015. If the board accepts my recommendation, the additional 5 cents would cost the taxpayer on the value of a $250,000 home in New Hanover County $125 more next year.

A few other illustrations:

  • The average sale price of a home today is $238,000 so that would cost that taxpayer $119 more;
  • the median sales price of $190,000 would cost that taxpayer $95 more;
  • the median value of an owner-occupied home of $215,000 would cost the owner $108 more.

The obvious and fair question: Why are you recommending a 5 cent tax increase? Simply stated, I don’t see another sustainable alternative to meeting the county’s ongoing obligations. A quick or deep dive into the budget will demonstrate the overall increase in next year’s budget is below the rate of growth in the economy – I’m proposing a budget for FY 15-16 that spends only 1.3 percent more next year than the current year, and this is after the recommendation to increase funding for public education by an average of 7 percent. We accomplish the total, limited growth of the proposed budget by reducing spending on a range of other fronts to include cuts in the Cape Fear Museum (a county owned asset), the public library system, parks and gardens, public health, social services, and others.

If the board accepts my recommendation to adjust the property tax rate, I can assure each of you the new dollars raised will only be used to pay for voter-approved debt obligations, and specifically, voter-approved debts from 2006 and 2008. It’s been a while ago, but in 2006, 67 percent of those voting approved an $18 million county park bond for mostly improved parks facilities in the unincorporated county, and in 2008, 62 percent of those voting approved a $164 million community college bond for new facilities downtown and on the north campus near the I-140 by pass. For the fiscal year that beings July 1, 2015, the county will be paying fully on the principal and interest for the $182 million approved by the voters. That equals $15,030,000 in debt payments next year, and the 5 cent tax increase will raise the revenue ($15 million) to pay that debt obligation.

The recommended budget does not ask only for additional revenue; in fact, it recommends a reduction in the fire service district tax for those who live in the unincorporated county, and it recommends for the second consecutive year a reduction in the tip fee for disposal of solid waste at the county’s landfill. Specifically for those who receive their fire protection from the New Hanover County Fire District, I’m recommending a fire service tax of 7 cents per $100 of value; currently you pay 7.9 cents. For all of us, the cost to dispose of solid waste next year, if my recommendation is accepted, is $52 per ton versus the current tip fee of $55 per ton.

The entire proposed budget that I recommended to the board for FY 15-16 is $350 million. That includes the general fund, the fire fund, the solid waste fund, the room occupancy tax fund, and others. The associated property tax increase is specific to the general fund, which is recommended at $306.6 million next year.

I hope you’ll take the time to read the budget materials in detail. You can visit the Budget page on our website to see all the materials the board is using to make its decision about the spending plan it ultimately adopts for next year. The best summary, in my opinion, is the budget message addressed to the board and dated April 30, 2015. This can be found in the Recommended Budget book. It’ll outline the proposal for paying debt, doubling down on economic development, enhancing public education, and funding a robust system of public safety.

A MRF in the future

Posted April 22, 2015 at 2:08 pm

The following blog is provided from “Shorelines,” an internal communication channel for New Hanover County employees. The county manager posted this blog following the Board of Commissioners’ meeting Monday, and … Read More »

County Concern with Proposed Sales Tax Distribution

Posted March 27, 2015 at 3:32 pm

You may have recently read or heard about a North Carolina General Assembly proposal to redirect local sales taxes that you pay in and to New Hanover County to other … Read More »

2014 Citizen Survey Results

Posted March 23, 2015 at 10:48 am

More than 1,300 of you responded to the second New Hanover County Citizens Survey during October and November 2014. The county sent 4,000 randomly selected households a survey instrument with … Read More »

Our Vision

Posted February 27, 2015 at 1:39 pm

As a resident, local business owner, or someone who visits New Hanover County, I hope you’ll spend time “surfing” our most effective tool for teaching and communicating about the success … Read More »