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

Combating COVID, helping our community take center stage in 2021

Posted December 17, 2021 at 8:28 am

By County Manager, Chris Coudriet

Around this time one year ago, we reflected on all that had occurred in 2020 and knew we were finishing a year unlike anything any of us had ever experienced. A year later, 2021 proved to be just as difficult. 

As we look ahead to 2022, it is important that we take a moment, pause and reflect on all that we have been through, but more importantly, all that has been accomplished in New Hanover County over the last 12 months.  

So much of the last two years has focused on battling the impact of COVID-19 in our community. While the virus has not gone away, it is important to realize the progress that we have made in keeping ourselves and our neighbors safe while addressing the hardships associated with the pandemic.  

In January 2021, Health and Human Services staff began rolling out COVID-19 vaccines to our community and haven’t stopped since. Clinics continue to operate at Health and Human Services and Independence Mall. There were even in-home vaccination efforts that allowed us to reach homebound residents who could not get to a clinic. Vaccine clinics were held in partnership with local churches and organizations to directly reach into communities and eliminate barriers to access. Thanks to the tireless efforts of our Health and Human Services staff, along with other area health care providers, more than 60 percent of our county residents have been fully vaccinated as of December 2021. We are so grateful to everyone who has helped make this possible and hope those of you who have not been vaccinated yet will take advantage of these opportunities to keep yourself and your neighbors safe. With everyone working together, we know the end of this pandemic is within reach.  

Our COVID response also featured help for individuals and businesses through the $45.5 million in funding provided by the American Rescue Plan Act. The funding was approved by the federal government on March 11 and the dedicated staff at New Hanover County worked with community leaders and service providers to develop plans, which were initially approved by the Board of Commissioners on April 5, that would provide meaningful assistance to our residents. We wanted to make sure this money got into the hands of those who needed it most as quickly as possible, and I believe we have, and continue to, deliver on that expectation. This has included free broadband internet access for qualifying families, paid job training opportunities, grants for businesses and nonprofits, rent, mortgage and water bill assistance, mental health supports, affordable housing infrastructure, and so much more.   

One of the biggest changes in our region this year came when our county officially finalized an agreement to sell New Hanover Regional Medical Center to Novant Health. That sale created a $1.25 billion Community Endowment and $350 million in escrows for county revenue stabilization and mental health funding. While this is something new for our community, the research and discussion that took place in coming to the decision to sell validated this opportunity to impact positive change in New Hanover County, not just now, but for future generations. This partnership has and will continue making for a better community and better healthcare for our citizens.  

The Office of Diversity and Equity was especially busy in its first full year of service to our community. They were an integral part of the COVID-19 vaccine rollout, making sure the county’s response was equitable for all residents. The inaugural New Hanover County Equity Awards recognized 10 community members for their efforts to expand diversity and build a more inclusive community. The partnership between the county, City of Wilmington, and community partners for the remembrance of the 123rd anniversary of the 1898 Massacre garnered national headlines as we continue to heal forward.  

New Hanover County Fire Rescue earned an improved Class 2 fire response rating, which means homeowners in the unincorporated parts of the county will benefit from lower home insurance rates and shows the county’s commitment to provide the best service possible for our residents. We adopted a five-year Master Aging Plan that will help shape the resources and services for older adults in our community. Construction was completed on the Division of Juvenile Justice building. The county received 10 Achievement Awards from National Association of Counties for innovative practices and programs, including the county’s first Best in Category Award for a process improvement in the mail room at Health and Human Services. 

To say we have been busy is an understatement.  

Obviously, these are only small pieces of what has been going on in the county over the last year and I am so proud of all the efforts highlighted above and so many more that I have not mentioned. We accomplished a lot and have plenty to celebrate.  

That said, the work is never done.   

Construction on the Healing Place and the new Government Center Complex will be complete in 2022. Our work with New Hanover County Schools, community wraparound service providers and others to address school safety and community violence is ongoing. New Hanover County’s Pandemic Operations Team will be finalized in the coming months, giving us a group capable of being both responsive to the needs of our community’s health as we look to end the COVID pandemic, but also working to be preventative for future health crises.  

The last year was certainly a challenge and we know the new year will have its own obstacles to overcome. We look forward to taking them on, continuing to enhance the services we provide our community and being the model of good governance you expect. Happy Holidays and see you in 2022. 

County takes innovative, forward-thinking approach for pandemic operations

Posted November 19, 2021 at 8:37 am

By County Manager, Chris Coudriet The past 20 months have been grueling for many of us. Among those most impacted in their workload and care for the community has been our Health and Human … Read More »

COVID-19 relief dollars directly benefit residents

Posted October 26, 2021 at 8:54 am

By County Manager, Chris Coudriet In April, the message I shared with you talked about the Commissioners approval of its strategy to utilize the $45.4 million in federal money from the American Rescue Plan to address … Read More »

Connecting Resources for Safer Schools and Community

Posted September 22, 2021 at 2:11 pm

By County Manager, Chris Coudriet Over the past few weeks, after a shooting occurred on the campus of New Hanover High School, I have taken a lot of time to … Read More »

Masks, Vaccines, and Workplace Safety

Posted August 24, 2021 at 8:49 am

August 24, 2021 By County Manager, Chris Coudriet The COVID-19 pandemic has been an exhausting, ongoing crisis. Those of us in New Hanover County are used to encountering a hurricane … Read More »