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The Newsroom: Officials say New Hanover's $50 million housing bond is dead. What happened, and what's next?

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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:

Coverage of the bond's rise, and fall, and rise, and fall

Housing studies for New Hanover County

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.
Kelly Kenoyer is an Oregonian transplant new to the East Coast. She attended University of Oregon’s School of Journalism as an undergraduate, and later received a Master’s in Journalism from University of Missouri- Columbia. Contact her on Twitter @Kelly_Kenoyer or by email: KKenoyer@whqr.org.