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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Since Governor McCrory signed the Voter ID Bill into law on Monday, three civil rights groups have filed lawsuits. They challenge new requirements for state-issued IDs, elimination of same-day registration--and an early voting period that will be shortened by seven days. Critics of the bill say the latter in particular will cut off voting opportunities for hundreds of thousands of North Carolinians—particularly minorities. About 64 percent of New Hanover, Brunswick and Pender County citizens voted early in the 2012 election.
Wilmington and its nearby beach communities are enjoying record visitor spending. New Hanover County saw an eight percent increase in tourism dollars last year -- the second-biggest statewide gain after Currituck County. The Wilmington and Beaches Convention and Visitors Bureau credits this hike to increased in-state visitors.