Jonathan Barfield

New Hanover County

Democrat Jonathan Barfield is seeking reelection for a third term on the New Hanover County Board of Commissioners.  In the past six years, New Hanover County voters have approved bonds to fund improvements to the parks system, public schools, and Cape Fear Community College.  To pay off that bond debt, the Republican incumbent who voted against the tax increase suggested dipping into the county’s fund balance, but Jonathan Barfield says that would jeopardize the county’s Triple-A bond rating: 

New Hanover County’s Board of Commissioners has three open seats this year.  On an earlier edition of CoastLine Candidate Interviews, we met the Republicans.  On this edition, we meet the Democrats vying for those spots – which carry four-year terms.  

As of last year, the U.S. Census Bureau estimated New Hanover County’s population to be a little over 220,000.   

New Hanover County

Back in 2009, the New Hanover County Human Relations Department was shut down due to budget cuts.  Now, the county is joining forces with the City of Wilmington to reach out to the public in a new way.  Vice-Chairman Jonathan Barfield hopes the new Community Relations Advisory Committee will help improve relations between citizens and cops.

Barfield says the sheriff and police chief are doing a great job communicating with the public, but he still sees work to be done.  This view is supported, in part, by some recent interactions between his family and local law enforcement:

There are three open seats on New Hanover County’s Board of Commissioners.  The top three Republican candidates will now battle it out with Democrats Jonathan Barfield, Julia Boseman and Nelson Beaulieu in the general election.
 

Incumbent Woody White came in first – with more than 24% of the vote among seven candidates.  Beth Dawson, also running for reelection and the current Board Chair, fell to fourth place which means she won’t be on the ballot in November.  Patricia Kusek and Derrick Hickey took the second and third spots, respectively. 

New Hanover County Commissioner Woody White, in cooperation with two other Republican candidates for the County Board, delivered a scathing criticism of Chairperson Beth Dawson, after her state of the county address Monday nightThe response, posted on YouTube, attacks Dawson, who is a Republican, for abandoning GOP principles and cooperating with the Democrats.   

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The New Hanover County Board of Commissioners has a new chair:  Beth Dawson takes the helm after a narrow three-to-two vote at Monday's meeting. 

Skip Watkins nominated Woody White for Chair; White seconded the motion. 

Jonathan Barfield nominated Beth Dawson – as he promised publicly that he would a year ago.  This was widely expected after Dawson helped Barfield to the Chairmanship in a three-to-two vote last year.   The local Republican Party blasted Dawson last December for that move.

New Hanover County

This week, New Hanover County Chair Jonathan Barfield attended a national roundtable to address issues for communities of color.  The event was sponsored by the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies, which conducts research and suggests policy solutions to create equal opportunities for all Americans, regardless of race.

New Hanover County Commissioners have rejected a proposed limit on travel expenses for Board Members. 

At Monday's regular meeting, Commissioner Woody White suggested travel decisions be shaped by the answers to three questions.

"Is the travel, whether it’s by a commissioner or particularly by employees or department heads and so forth, is it necessary for licensing and certification?  Secondly, is the topic of the conference relevant to an issue we’re addressing?"

City of Wilmington

In New Hanover and Pender counties, almost 40% of homeowners are cost burdened, meaning they spend over a third of their income on housing. That’s not even factoring in renters, who are about half of the local population. This lack of affordable options leads to housing instability, which hits those who’ve already had a hard knock—like imprisonment and illness—especially hard. 

photographer: Billy Hathorn

New Hanover County residents will see a two-cent property tax increase in the next fiscal year. 

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