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Wilmington, New Hanover County leaders will tackle tough issues at this week's joint meeting

Benjamin Schachtman

On Tuesday morning, Wilmington City Council and the New Hanover County Board of Commissioners will hold a joint meeting — a follow-up to February's wide-ranging, and occasionally tense, discussion of major issues facing the two governments, including homelessness, affordable housing, economic development, and WAVE transit.

Related: Wilmington and New Hanover leaders find common ground, and some tension, on shared issues

  • The issue of homeless has largely been dealt with by both the city and county through the funding of non-profits, in particular Good Shepherd. Other suggestions, including the construction of one or more day shelters, could require more direct funding from the city and or the county.
  • Officials may also discuss a bond to tackle affordable housing, an issue which many now believe to be a full-blown crisis. Wilmington and New Hanover has discussed the issue for years, but haven't taken much action. A recent study revealed residents generally favor a housing bond, and Wilmington Mayor Bill Saffo recently told WHQR one could land on the ballot in 2022.
  • Economic development is seen by some, including Councilman Kevin Spears, as part and parcel of the affordable housing crisis — after all, more higher-paying jobs mean more residents can escape being housing burdened. The region's economic development organizations have been criticized in the past for lacking a unified strategy, and leaders are likely to discuss how to improve that.
  • WAVE Transit has had funding issues since it was created and over the last year the city and county have publicly disagreed over what WAVE's mission should be and how it should be funded. The fate of WAVE probably won't be decided on Tuesday, but it will definitely be debated.

The meeting will be held at 9 a.m. on Tuesday, April 27, at the Wilmington Convention Center. The meeting is open to the public and can be watched online at GTV8 or on the city's YouTube channel.

Ben Schachtman is a journalist and editor with a focus on local government accountability. He began reporting for Port City Daily in the Wilmington area in 2016 and took over as managing editor there in 2018. He’s a graduate of Rutgers College and later received his MA from NYU and his PhD from SUNY-Stony Brook, both in English Literature. He loves spending time with his wife and playing rock'n'roll very loudly. You can reach him at BSchachtman@whqr.org and find him on Twitter @Ben_Schachtman.