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

New Hanover County is top in the nation for good governance, innovation and best practices

Posted July 21, 2021 at 9:33 am
July 21, 2021

By County Manager, Chris Coudriet

Amidst the backdrop of a global pandemic, New Hanover County staff continued serving the community, creating innovative programs and enhancing our services, and recently earned 10 achievement awards from the National Association of Counties (NACo) that highlight some of those successes.

Not only did we receive 10 awards, but one of them was a “Best in Category” award for a process improvement within the Health and Human Services mailroom, where our Office of Strategy worked together with our Health and Human Services staff to increase the efficiency and customer service of the mailroom process.

When we consolidated Social Services and Public Health in 2019 into one Health and Human Services agency, and then moved into the new building together in early 2020, it was important to ensure the consolidated services were integrated and efficient. That’s when the mailroom process was reviewed, and our staff embraced innovation to create a new streamlined process for all incoming and outgoing mail.

The mailroom handles around 1,000 pieces of mail each week and is a vital part of the organization, handling time-sensitive and confidential documents like eligibility notifications, Medicaid or EBT cards, checks, and legal contracts, scanning and logging of information and records management. So if the mailroom is not efficient, other areas of Health and Human Services are hindered, and ultimately we are not serving our customers well.

This award-winning process improvement incorporates one touchpoint for mail instead of many, utilizes a contactless and secure drop box for customer access, and integrates technology for caseworkers to have easy access to logs with returned mail. It has drastically decreased the amount of time it takes for mail to get to its intended location – from three days to around one and half hours (yes, you read that right). It has led to improved mail security, ensured fast and efficient delivery of mail, and improved workflow agency-wide.

So it definitely deserves to be recognized as one of the very best in the nation. Of the 844 total awards NACo gave this year, only 18 won best in category – putting New Hanover County in the top two percent in the nation for good governance, innovation and best practices that are serving the community.

The nine other NACo awards the county received were equally as impressive and were a collaborative effort between multiple county departments with a team of public servants who, together, accomplished incredible work despite the challenges posed from the pandemic.

The awards highlighted the county’s overall COVID-19 response to provide the latest public health guidance, outreach efforts to ensure equitable access to the COVID-19 vaccine for homebound residents and minorities, COVID-19 financial assistance programs for child care, housing and small business grants, the Arboretum and Cooperative Extension’s innovative stormwater management system, resilience training for all employees and a supervisor support initiative for Health and Human Services employees, and the Cape Fear Museum’s virtual, interactive 1898 Story Map. You can see videos of these awards on the county’s YouTube page here.

NACo’s Achievement Awards are chosen by county staff and elected officials from around the country, who have the knowledge and experience to recognize when programs and initiatives are exemplary. New Hanover County has earned 44 of these achievement awards over the past six consecutive years, and that is a testament to the incredible and collective work of our county employees, who make a difference every day.

Over the years I have heard the phrase “it’s good enough for government,” but in New Hanover County that means it must be stellar, it must rely on teamwork, and it must serve the public effectively and well. I think we have successfully raised the bar as a leader in the nation for innovation and best practices.


County budget invests in important services, board priorities, and community needs

Posted June 21, 2021 at 12:16 pm

June 21, 2021 By County Manager, Chris Coudriet The Board of Commissioners has been clear about what its priorities are for public education and teacher pay, the need for enhanced … Read More »


Lower fire insurance premiums can help lead to economic development

Posted May 19, 2021 at 4:38 pm

May 19, 2021 By County Manager, Chris Coudriet A focus for New Hanover County is always on promoting intelligent growth and economic development. We want New Hanover County to be … Read More »


New Hanover County Makes Plans & Partnerships to Invest $45 Million in the Community

Posted April 20, 2021 at 8:43 am

April 20, 2021 By County Manager, Chris Coudriet Grants to businesses and nonprofits negatively impacted by the pandemic, infrastructure for a new business park on Blue Clay Road and programs designed to … Read More »


County saves more than $8 million through bond refunding

Posted March 19, 2021 at 9:15 am

March 19, 2021 By County Manager, Chris Coudriet Saving tax payer money is something that New Hanover County strives to do every day. It’s foundational to our strategy and vision … Read More »