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 providing equitable opportunities and exceptional public services through good governance to ensure a safe, healthy, secure and thriving community for all.

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. He has more than twenty-five years of public administration experience, with fifteen years as a county manager or assistant county manager in North Carolina. He holds 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.

Mr. Coudriet currently serves in several leadership positions with the National Association of Counties (NACo), including vice-chair of the Public Health and Healthy Communities Subcommittee and vice-chair of the Resilient Counties Advisory Board. He is also a member of NACo’s Information Technology Standing Committee and the International Economic Development Committee. Recently, Mr. Coudriet received a Presidential Recognition Award from the North Carolina Association of County Commissioners (NCACC) for his contribution as a member of the opioid settlement working group, also known as the 555 committee, which helped NCACC and the North Carolina Department of Justice to maximize North Carolina’s share of a $26 billion national settlement fund to ensure resources reach communities as quickly, effectively, and directly as possible.

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.

In 2014, New Hanover County commissioned an economic development strategy entitled the Pathways To Prosperity Report by Jay Garner and Associates, which provided a road map to help New Hanover County strengthen the local business climate and assist in increasing the county’s economic competitiveness. Many of the recommendations outlined in the report have been implemented or are underway and helped to inform the county’s 2018 Strategic Plan. In 2021, the Board of Commissioners authorized an update to the report, given the many changes that have occurred since the initial report was developed. The updated Economic Mobility Report by Greenfield, completed in 2022, provides an overview of progress that has been made, current demographics and workforce data, important county assets, key findings, and an overview of the primary and emerging target sectors in New Hanover County.

Learn more and view the reports here »

Manager's Message

Change Agents on a Mission

Posted December 22, 2017 at 9:13 am

It is the end of 2017 and I am thankful for many things.

I am thankful for the more than 1,700 dedicated county employees who work hard, serve our citizens and make a difference in our community every day. I am thankful to the Board of Commissioners for their leadership, vision and strategic support that is helping create an environment for people and businesses to thrive. And I am thankful for the county’s many community partners and nonprofits that work tirelessly to create positive change in New Hanover County.

One community group that is creating change is the Criminal Justice Advisory Group (CJAG). They are working to free kids from gang life, addressing the opioid epidemic head-on, and helping to bring mental and physical wellness resources to schools.

CJAG was created in 2016 in response to community conversations and focus groups about public safety concerns. New Hanover County, in collaboration with the City of Wilmington, based our local CJAG on national best practices and local justice systems across the state.

The group is comprised of public safety community leaders from New Hanover County and City of Wilmington governments, including myself and the city manager, our Superior Court Judge, Chief District Court Judge, Sheriff, District Attorney, Public Defender, City of Wilmington Police Chief, Wrightsville Beach Police Chief, Kure Beach Police Chief, Carolina Beach Police Chief, Clerk of Superior Court, Trial Court Administrator, UNCW Police Chief, CFCC Police Chief, Judicial District Manager, Chief Court Counselor, and the county’s Community Justice Services Director and Adult Enhancement Services Manager.

This is an outstanding group of leaders with a strategic mission to transform public safety across all sectors of our community. They are change agents in our neighborhoods, schools, homes, and on our streets.

New Hanover County’s CJAG model creates a coordinated effort across all public safety entities to build a common community agenda, and set priorities to improve the overall effectiveness and efficiencies of criminal justice in our county. Those priorities are court efficiencies, gangs, opioids, sexual offenses, and youth crime and violence.

As a group, CJAG meets every other month, with smaller task groups meeting in between. Each task group is focused on a specific priority; and, while their work has just started, they have already made great strides in addressing local challenges.

In the courthouse, they are implementing LEAN efficiencies to make things fairer, faster, and more focused. They are also examining the citation process of local municipalities in hopes of encouraging more civil citations, when appropriate, which would keep people out of the courtroom.

The gangs task group is working on ways to enforce the probation of gang members so that there is less opportunity for them to assemble and recruit others. Their outside-of-the-box thinking has already been implemented with injunctions against verified gang members. As subject-matter experts, they are also compiling data on gang-related crimes to better understand the issue and the impacts.

To help combat the opioid epidemic, CJAG has worked with the county’s Communications and Outreach Department to launch a series of video Public Service Announcements to educate the community. They are also actively participating on SEAHEC’s Community Partners Coalition and Health Leadership Council to work in collaboration with other community stakeholders for better intervention and prevention of opioid abuse.

To make an impact on sexual offenses, the group is focusing on the need for intentional discussions with local students about crime related to sexual offenses. They are partnering with community agencies to understand what is currently being offered to local students, in order to ensure that children are aware of safe internet usage and to help create healthy, positive relationships.

The youth crime and violence task group is taking a new approach to handle crisis intervention more efficiently and successfully. They are working to provide all school personnel with youth mental health first aid training, which would help them intervene with behavioral issues and provide children with the resources and services they need early on.

Each of these priorities is a coordinated effort among the CJAG. While each priority focuses on different criminal justice challenges, they can’t be viewed as isolated issues. They have to be looked at collectively because they are inextricably interrelated.

And that is exactly what CJAG is doing. They are looking at public safety from every angle through a collective impact model. Through interagency cooperation, coordination, and planning, CJAG is making a significant difference in the community’s most pressing issues and, for that, I am grateful.

Thank you to our amazing leaders, incredible organizations, and dedicated citizens who make New Hanover County a place that we can all be proud of. Together, we can make a difference.


Investing In Early Childhood Education Creates Long-Term Benefits

Posted November 16, 2017 at 10:30 am

Providing every child with a strong foundation for learning matters. Research suggests that quality pre-kindergarten and educational readiness lead to increased high school graduation rates, higher earnings, less crime and a … Read More »


New Hanover County is Planning, Measuring & Strategically Investing

Posted October 3, 2017 at 12:07 pm

Since 2012, the New Hanover County Board of Commissioners embraced a five-year strategic plan that has guided and directed county decisions and initiatives. The strategic plan established three focus areas to meet the needs of our citizens; and through effective … Read More »


Project Grace And The Possibility Of Redevelopment

Posted September 11, 2017 at 10:16 am

September 2017 By County Manager Chris Coudriet In January 2017, the New Hanover County Board of Commissioners entered into a contract with Wilmington Downtown, Inc. and Benchmark Planning to conduct … Read More »


Lower Property Taxes Among County Budget Highlights

Posted July 27, 2017 at 11:00 am

New Hanover County started a new fiscal year on July 1. With that start comes an adopted general fund budget of $329.4 million and a continued focus on the county’s … Read More »