New Hanover County Budget Challenges

May 25, 2017

When New Hanover County Commissioners meet on June 19 to vote on a new county budget, they will be doing so without holding the customary public hearing two weeks in advance. The scheduled June 5 public hearing was cancelled. 

However the public is still invited to the old county courthouse on that date.

In New Hanover County’s proposed budget, 10 non-profit organizations found themselves with reduced funding at a May 11 meeting.

Commissioner Patricia Kusek said at that budget work session that cuts are part of bringing spending back in line.

Then commissioners announced the budget’s public hearing had been cancelled.

“We were surprised and naturally a bit disappointed.”

Katrina Knight is the Executive Director of the Good Shepherd Center, which focuses on feeding the hungry, sheltering the homeless, and finding folks a transition to housing. Her budget took an $11,000 hit.

“This is a particularly difficult year that we’re heading into at Good Shepherd. HUD and others have begun issuing steeper cuts and so it’s particularly important that our local government continue to invest in our services, particularly for the homeless.”

But Knight and her colleagues will be able to voice their concerns in a public forum.

Commissioner Rob Zapple is going to hold a community meeting instead. He says it is to discuss the county budget, for anyone who wishes to attend. It is not a formal hearing, and there is no guarantee that other commissioners will attend. Yesterday chairman Woody White told WHQR he will not be at the meeting.

That community meeting is at 5:30 pm, Monday, June 5th, at the Old County Courthouse. Rob Zapple is a member of the Board of Friends of Public Radio, WHQR’s governing body.