New Hanover County

On this edition of the CoastLine Candidate Interviews, we meet the two people in the race for North Carolina Senate District 9.  This district covers most of New Hanover County, with the exception of a small patch in downtown Wilmington, which is part of Brunswick County Senator Bill Rabon’s District 8. 

http://www.nhcgov.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/MAY-2-POWERPPOINT-Recommended-FY16-17_Final.pdf

New Hanover County is in the midst of budget negotiations.  Despite Cape Fear Community College’s rising operating costs, the recommended budget includes the same amount of money from the county as last year. 

New Hanover County

At this week’s meeting, New Hanover County Commissioners reviewed the recommended budget for 2016-2017.  The proposal includes a 5.5-cent property tax increase.

NCACC

All 100 counties in North Carolina belong to an organization called the North Carolina Association of County Commissioners – or the NCACC.  Founded in 1908, this coalition of local elected officials shares best practices and works together to advance county agendas at the state and federal levels.  During a recent trip to Wilmington, Executive Director Kevin Leonard came to WHQR to talk about why every county in the state chooses to participate.   

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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New Hanover County


U.S. Geological Survey

Storm surge, coastal flooding, and beach erosion.  Those are the likely impacts from the combination of a wet system moving up from the Gulf of Mexico and the arrival of Hurricane Joaquin – now a Category Four storm.  But New Hanover County Emergency officials say it won’t be until Friday afternoon that they’ll have any confidence in the forecast track for Joaquin.

While the North Carolina General Assembly tries to hammer out a budget in Raleigh, counties around the state are scrambling to consider what a sales tax redistribution could mean for their own bottom lines.  Members of New Hanover County’s Executive Staff are bracing for what could be a significant blow.

How often have you wondered whether to toss a soda bottle into the recycling bin with or without the cap?  Do you rinse out food containers before you recycle them?  And what do you do with all those plastic grocery bags?

Wilmington Downtown Inc.

This broadcast of CoastLine originally aired on April 29, 2015. 

There’s good economic news today: unemployment is down slightly, and Wilmington has earned another accolade:  a San Francisco-based financial planning website named it the second-best city in the nation to start a business.

The development of the Cape Fear region – which includes Pender and Brunswick Counties – is all about coordinated strategy.

Wikimedia Commons

Commissioners from Brunswick, Pender, and New Hanover Counties just returned from a four-day trip to Washington, D.C.

Isabelle Shepherd, WHQR

New Hanover County is creating its Comprehensive Plan, which will determine how the community would like to see development occur over the next twenty-five years. Even the youngest citizens are offering input. 

County planners visited Castle Hayne Elementary to speak with 3rd, 4th, and 5th graders in Nicole Wolf-Camplin’s gifted classes. The students represent the next generation of residents, and their goals for the future of the county were very much in line with those set forth by the adult focus groups: 

New Hanover County's Community Justice Services Department / Penny Craver

When the state stopped funding Drug Treatment Courts in 2011, New Hanover County stepped up to support the program.  To measure effectiveness since that switch, the drug court commissioned an evaluation, which was completed last week.  UNCW sociology researchers found marked success, though recidivism rates for drug court clients are widely considered to be hard to gauge.  

Drug Treatment Court is an intensive substance abuse program.  For those who’ve been convicted of crimes connected with drugs—such as possession or stealing—it can serve as an alternative to prison time.

One new public elementary school is going up near Porters Neck in northern New Hanover County. 

Tri-County Economic Alliance In The Works

Aug 26, 2014
Isabelle Shepherd

It has oft been said that a rising tide lifts all boats. The City of Wilmington and New Hanover County are banding together to create a marketing alliance between Brunswick, Pender, and New Hanover counties. 

New Hanover County

Local government representatives are joining with environmental advocates and business leaders to create an alternative to a controversial recommendation from the Garner economic development report. Instead of doing away with the special use permit process, they hope to cut the red tape for some industries.  

New Hanover County's Comprehensive Plan Reaches Next Phase

Aug 14, 2014
New Hanover County

New Hanover County’s Comprehensive Plan is moving forward.  After four months of work, the citizen-led theme committees completed their recommendations.

After a long battle in the primaries, the Seventh Congressional District—that stretching from Wilmington to the Raleigh suburbs--is down to one Republican contender for the U.S. House seat being vacated by Democrat Mike McIntyre. Former state senator David Rouzer of Johnston County won more than fifty-three percent of the vote last night, beating Woody White, chairman of the New Hanover County Commission, and Chris Andrade, a Fayetteville military veteran.

Danny Hefner, the Ocean Isle Beach Democrat who lost 2012’s Senate District Eight race to incumbent Bill Rabon, has thrown his hat into the same ring again. A former Marine Corps officer and truck driver, Hefner now works as a local delivery driver, an inter-faith minister, and a therapeutic foster parent to abused and troubled children. The third-time Senate candidate recently sat down with WHQR to discuss his plans for a range of social issues—but first, Hefner says he plans to address the economy.

The question of what to do with New Hanover County’s solid waste is still open. After hearing long-awaited presentations Monday from two private companies vying to haul local waste to neighboring counties, the commissioners were left dissatisfied with projected costs. While the outside companies have been invited to justify their numbers during next month’s commission board meeting, the county could simply continue to handle waste management operations on its own.

Garner Economics, LLC

New Hanover County is well-positioned to serve international markets through its port facilities, but the area doesn’t have sufficient access to national markets. 

The report, entitled Pathways to Prosperity:  New Hanover County's Plan for Jobs and Investment, contains a list of recommendations that consultant Jay Garner will present to the Board at 2 PM today.  Whether recommendations from the report will be used to develop or adjust county policy is not yet clear.
 

Today's meeting at the Courthouse in downtown Wilmington is open to the public.

Today at 2 PM, WHQR brings you a live online stream of the report announcement via NHCTV:

Home Leisure Direct

The City of Wilmington is expected to gain 60,000 citizens by the year 2040. In anticipation, city planners have launched a comprehensive plan similar to that of New Hanover County. While the Wilmington plan also asks residents to describe their ideal community attributes, its public engagement process is less orthodox. In fact, city planners have been hitting the local bar scene to collect input.

Talk of regional branding, what to do about gang violence, how to re-write New Hanover County’s special use permit… it’s all part of the current public dialogue.
 

Thalian Hall Center for the Performing Arts

Today is the last chance to pay the usual admission to movies, museums and cultural events. Effective New Year’s Day, the State General Assembly is imposing a 4.75% privilege tax on admission to such entertainment—which includes a host of nonprofit events.

Arts and culture.  The Film Industry.  Access to outdoor recreation a la the beach or the river.  Even road infrastructure…

Proposed Titan Cement plant site as seen from the Northeast Cape Fear River

Significant changes could be underway for manufacturers seeking permits to operate or expand in New Hanover County. At a work session this morning, the planning and inspections department presented an amendment to the county’s industrial zoning ordinance that would require new companies, such as Titan Cement, to present burden of proof when filing for special use permits to operate.

During the seventies and eighties, Felix Cooper served as New Hanover County’s finance manager and later, its county manager. Following those sixteen years of local service, a subsequent stint as city manager of Key West in Florida, and several years of retirement, the Democrat is throwing his hat in the ring again.  This time, he’s vying for a seat on Wilmington’s City Council. And, Cooper is a major proponent of increased synergy between the city council and the county commission.

Google Maps

Duke Energy Progress will be closing its coal-fired power operation serving New Hanover County this December. Pollutants are slowly leaching from the coal-ash basins surrounding the Sutton plant toward groundwater wells that supply drinking water for the nearby Flemington community. However,  decommissioning the plant’s ash basins will not guarantee safety for nearby groundwater supplies—not for a long time, that is.

WHQR News / Data provided by Wave Transit

Over the summer, New Hanover County cut WAVE Transit’s funding significantly from the previous year, resulting in the likely closures of routes serving northern New Hanover County and Pleasure Island. However, WAVE was granted slightly more state funding this year for its Rural Operating Assistance Program. But since WAVE won’t be able to use that money to help salvage the routes in question, it will likely extend their current closure date—September thirtieth—until after WAVE’s board meets with the New Hanover County Commission to make final decisions in October.

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