The Newsroom: Officials say New Hanover's $50 million housing bond is dead. What happened, and what's next?
Years of committees, surveys, and studies culminated in a big push for a $50 million housing bond — with elected officials, advocates, and developers all seemingly on board. Then, the idea abruptly died, killed in part by political concerns about raising taxes during an election season. So — now what?
On this episode, co-hosts Ben Schachtman and Kelly Kenoyer unpack the latest on the trials and tribulations of a housing bond to tackle affordable housing in New Hanover County.
Since 2016, New Hanover County and the City of Wilmington have supported joint committees, several studies, and surveys of public opinion. Last year, that boiled down to one thing: an ambitious housing bond on the ballot.
But the political winds shifted quickly, and a majority of county commissioners — who would need to approve a bond measure before the general public could vote on it — now say they don't want to raise taxes to pay for a bond, especially since the county has a massive $350 million reserve (which requires at least four out of five commissioners to tap into).
To discuss how we got here, what happened to the bond, and what comes next, we've arranged a panel of people who've been intimately involved in the issue:
- Paul Stavovy — Executive Director of the Cape Fear Community Land Trust
- Dave Spetrino — President and CEO of PBC Design + Build and former chair of the Workforce Housing Advisory Committee
- Rob Zapple — County Commissioner (2014, 2018) and member of the City of Wilmington and New Hanover County Sales Tax and Housing Bond Committee
Coverage of the bond's rise, and fall, and rise, and fall
- Officials support the bond — Housing Bond: Officials say they're serious, and will soon have a chance to prove it
- The bond dies — City, county leaders back away from $50-million housing bond after third-party polling by chamber of commerce
- The bond is resuscitated — After key officials reverse course, a $50 million NHC housing bond looks to be back on track for the 2022 ballot
- And dies again — The Newsroom: County Chair Julia Olson-Boseman, WHQR's Rachel Keith on the opioid crisis, and mask mandate redux