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NHC commissioners approve new funding sources for nearly $40 million in ‘community violence’ prevention

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From the Monday, January 24 Board of Commissioners meeting.

Back in October of 2021, County Manager Chris Coudriet rolled out his $89 million plan to combat community violence. At the time, he essentially had free reign to spend this money how he saw fit — today he presented a scaled-back plan closer to $40 million, which passed unanimously.

In the original plan, $46 million was allocated to “people-first” spending. This includes spending on community communication, at-risk intervention, relationship building and “wraparound services” – those wraparound services are designed to support families outside of the school system.

By the end of the October meeting, Coudriet was asked to bring forth budget amendments to be approved to keep spending “accountable”.

Throughout last fall, commissioners discussed tapping into $350 million into hospital sale funds – but at their November 2021 meeting, commissioners told Coudriet to look elsewhere for funding: escrow interests, property and sales tax, and American Rescue Plan Act money. This money was to be used to fund mainly two priorities to be completed by the end of fiscal year 2022. First, wraparound services, and then community communication services.

At Monday’s Board of Commissioners meeting, the final budget amendments for the ‘people-first spending’ were brought forth. Coudriet’s latest plan proposes $39.6 million to be spent through fiscal year 2025 – with $3.6 million spent this year (you can find a more detailed breakdown of the plan, below).

The current plan is to be funded from four sources: reallocated American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds, general fund balance, revenue stabilization funds (i.e. from the sale of NHRMC), and tax revenue.

Reallocation of ARPA funds will make up $10 million. In order to reallocate that money, funding for PPE and homeless shelters through ARPA money has been pulled. The general fund balance makes up $4.9 million, the revenue stabilization fund makes up $14.7 million and tax revenue, $10 million.

The money will go to several major projects, including a new grocery store on Wilmington’s Northside (in partnership with the Northside Food Co-Op and other non-profit groups), additional SROs in so-called ‘impact schools,’ expansion of existing programs like ‘Elements’ and ‘Too Good for Violence,’ and a community call center.

The budget amendment was approved unanimously.

Below: Full breakdown of the approved spending.