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

Strategic Plan Progress Metrics

Posted December 19, 2014 at 10:20 am

In 2012 the county committed fully to advancing its strategic plan (you can find the entire plan here) by formulating its annual budget around policy focus areas and articulating 6 broad community measures of success. Effectively, how do we know if the strategic plan is being successful? The county set the time horizon for the plan and its measures of success as 5 years – July 2012 until June 2017.

While the plan created and adopted by the county commission identified 5 policy themes or foci, the community went further by saying loudly that economic development is the first priority among 5 equals. The county uncovered this priority fact by surveying the community in late 2012. (The county just completed its second community survey in November 2014, and those priority facts will manifest themselves into priorities set by the county commission going forward – expect a full report on your opinions in March 2015.)

So, where do we stand as a community 2.5 years into advancing the county’s strategic plan – especially on the metrics the county set for economic development?

The metrics in terms of goals . . .

  • New Hanover County will be successful if at least 6,000 new, private sector jobs are created by 2017
    • Since July 2012 the private sector has created 4,600 net new jobs in the county
  • New Hanover County will be successful if its average weekly wage increases by 10 percent before 2017
    • Since July 2012 the local average weekly wage has increased by 3.6 percent
  • New Hanover County will be successful if the private sector invests at least $1 billion of capital investment by 2017
    • Since July 2012 the private sector has invested $700 million of new taxable capital
  • New Hanover County will be successful if the rate of juvenile recidivism decreases by 5 percent before 2017
    • Since July 2012 juvenile recidivism locally has decreased by 7 percent
  • New Hanover County will be successful if at least 80 percent of children entering kindergarten are ready for school by 2017
    • Since July 2012 the county has redoubled its investment in the early child and family but we do not yet have a metric to report that is verifiable; however, partnerships with the public, private, and home-school system are being developed to measure our success
  • New Hanover County will be successful if the rate of obesity declines, on average, 6.5 percent by 2017
    • Since July 2012 the county has redoubled its investment in opportunities to engage in an active lifestyle, commissioned a community health assessment with an eye toward obesity reduction, and developed a tool for determining the wellness of most local children ages 4, 5 and 6

I’m of the opinion that, as a community, if you agree

  • more and better jobs is a sign of success,
  • tax base growth is a sign of success,
  • kids who commit crime don’t commit another crime is a sign of success,
  • kids are academically, emotionally, and socially ready for school is a sign of success, and
  • obesity is a predictor for personal health and community health and that we need to stem the tide of obesity is a sign of success . . .

then New Hanover County is making progress as a community, and that in particular the county government is making good on its promise to make you safe, healthy, and well.

School Bonds

Posted December 1, 2014 at 12:41 pm

In early November nearly 64 percent of those that voted in the New Hanover County general election checked yes to the question for $160 million in school bonds for the … Read More »


Posted November 24, 2014 at 8:07 am

This week begins what I consider the most important holiday of the year: Thanksgiving. It’s the time so many of us reflect on where we’ve been, what we’ve faced, what … Read More »

Economic Development

Posted November 13, 2014 at 3:56 pm

New Hanover County leaders have made economic development a priority. I can point to partnerships in the past 18 months that have led to more than 500 new private-sector jobs … Read More »

Second citizen satisfaction survey

Posted October 24, 2014 at 11:46 am

If you’re a regular reader of this blog, you’ll remember that I recently wrote about the public promise of New Hanover County. If you’re a first time reader, I want … Read More »