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

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 recent history. It had been 19 years to the day (Hurricane Floyd made landfall September 14, 1999) since our community had seen a storm near this magnitude. Florence lingered for days, bringing hurricane force winds to our community for hours on end, and caused unprecedented flooding when it dropped more than 30 inches of rain.

While New Hanover County holds hurricane exercises each year, many of our county employees had never been asked to serve for more than a few hours or few days at most during an emergency; and many of our residents, having moved here within the last 19 years, had never experienced a hurricane at all. And still, our community has a tremendous amount to be proud of.

We came together and took care of one another. Our employees served in emergency roles for 21 days and operated shelters for 10 days. New Hanover County Fire Rescue conducted more than 350 rescues; we stood up a base camp which housed more than 550 first responders from all over the country; and the Community Recovery Resource Center, set up immediately after the storm, served more than 22,000 residents. Not to mention, the countless efforts in neighborhoods, churches, charitable organizations and businesses to bring vital supplies to individuals throughout our community. But this was only the beginning.

We have had six months to reflect, analyze and contemplate our response to Hurricane Florence. While it sometimes feels like the storm has only just passed, much has been done in hurricane recovery efforts in our community.

We value continuous improvement in all county operations, and after Hurricane Florence, it was imperative to embrace that value more than ever. In October we started a series of after action review debrief sessions with employees, businesses, non-profit organizations, faith-based communities and other partners that played a role in response to Hurricane Florence. We took an honest look at all that occurred, and received valuable feedback on what we can do better next time. All of this was compiled into an After Action Report which was presented to the Board of Commissioners on March 18.

From this report, the board will be considering policies in the areas of staffing, shelters and evacuation. And we are already working with our partners on things like expanding our communications efforts internally and externally, and creating detailed staffing, volunteer and donations management plans.

Moving forward, there is still much to do. Our Hurricane Florence Recovery Coordination Office, which we opened October 15, is working hard with all of our departments and community partners on long-term recovery. This office, which has a dedicated mission of storm recovery, is unique to New Hanover County, being the only locally-focused storm recovery office in the state. The team is working in the areas of housing, infrastructure, health and human services and economic recovery, as well as community planning and resilience.

We’ve developed a Long-Term Recovery Plan, detailing how each focus area of hurricane recovery and specific projects align with our strategic plan and the needs of our community. This includes about 29 stormwater projects across 7 watersheds to improve drainage and reduce the potential for future flooding, and working with the North Carolina Office of Recovery and Resiliency to best leverage disaster recovery funding to address housing.

Nearly 6,000 residential properties, 1,200 affordable housing units and 22 mobile home parks sustained damage from the storm, and we need to build back not only what we had, but more, and of higher resilience.

We have applied for Hazard Mitigation Grant Programs on behalf of our residents and continue to actively work with FEMA to get additional travel trailers and mobile home units into our community. The Sheltering and Temporary Essential Power (STEP) Program will put more than 300 homeowners back in their home by April 2, and our non-profit and faith-based partners are making miracles happen every day.

This is only a fraction of what is happening and what is ahead. I hope you will take a minute to review our After Action Review and Long Term Recovery Plan at HurricaneRecovery.NHCgov.com. While you’re there, you can see how we are moving forward in hurricane recovery and also find ways to get involved.

As Hurricane Season approaches June 1, I hope you will reflect on your own emergency plans so that we can all be better prepared and more resilient as a community moving forward. I assure you that New Hanover County will continue to focus on hurricane recovery and our own preparedness plans, so that we can best serve our community now and in the future.


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 »


New Hanover County’s Legislative Priorities Put Residents First

Posted January 24, 2019 at 4:00 pm

By County Manager Chris Coudriet New Hanover County Commissioners have been working hard to prioritize and advocate for our county’s local legislative goals for 2019-20, and they have been working … Read More »


One Thousand, Five Hundred and Ten

Posted December 20, 2018 at 2:17 pm

By County Manager Chris Coudriet One thousand, five hundred and ten. That’s the number of New Hanover County employees who stayed behind, served our community, and supported our residents for … Read More »


For These Things and More, I Am Thankful

Posted November 20, 2018 at 8:25 am

By County Manager Chris Coudriet Thankful. It’s a word most of us use around this time of year but it feels incredibly fitting for me to use it now as … Read More »