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