Wilmington City Council

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While health officials have yet to confirm a coronavirus case in the City of Wilmington, city leaders are working to address resident concerns. Last night’s city council meeting -- which was streamed and held in an almost entirely empty room -- featured discussions on COVID-19 testing and city-employee paid leave.

Graphic, Katelyn Freund; Images Provided by Candidates


Change is coming to the New Hanover County Board of Commissioners. Incumbent Republicans Woody White and Patricia Kusek are not seeking re-election -- but there are nine other Republican primary candidates on the ballot, vying for three open seats. WHQR spoke to two of them.

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A project city leaders once considered beyond reach is now inching closer to reality. On Tuesday Jan. 21, Wilmington City Council members approved $2.5 million in grants to fund the Rail Realignment initiative. The money, which comes from NCDOT and the Federal Railroad Administration, marks a major milestone for project leaders and supporters.

City of Wilmington


A rezoning request to add commercial development to a residential community generated controversy at the Tuesday, Jan. 7 Wilmington City Council meeting. The request was tabled, and was granted a 120-day extension. 

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Wilmington leaders want a 100% reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. That’s the announcement Mayor Bill Saffo made at the Tuesday, Jan. 7 City Council meeting. Saffo proposes an Ad Hoc Committee to help achieve this goal. 

Hannah Breisinger


 Wilmington’s City Council has a new addition. Kevin Spears was sworn in December 3, 2019, alongside Neil Anderson, Mayor Bill Saffo, and Mayor Pro Tem Margaret Haynes. 

Nick Santillo


Wilmington is moving ahead on the North Waterfront Park project. That’s despite a multimillion dollar budget increase and fewer features than initially planned. City Council approved several measures related to the $30 million downtown riverfront development last night. 

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This year’s election is the closest race Wilmington Mayor Bill Saffo has seen in his 12 years at the helm of city government.  It's the first serious challenge since 2007 to a Mayor now embarking upon his seventh term. 

Scott Monroe

Scott Monroe’s campaign for a seat on Wilmington City Council marks his first attempt at elected office.  This former firefighter and Marine says his highest priority is smart development and improved public safety.

Kimberly Spader is running for Wilmington City Council. She works as a licensed clinical social worker, and wants to use her listening skills to create open dialogue between city council and residents.


Wilmington City Council Candidate Mack Coyle is a newcomer to the race. Also new? His ideas. The small business owner installs mobile solar generators, and wants to convert all electricity in city buildings to solar and wind power, and all municipal vehicles to electric. But he has other priorities, too.

City of Wilmington

Young athletes in the area will soon have more fields to play on. Wilmington city council members unanimously approved a 65-acre donation from the Hammerheads Youth Football Club organization. The ten-million-dollar project will expand the Cape Fear Soccerplex.

Hannah Breisinger

Wilmington officials are working on a new noise ordinance, and they’re looking for public input. While the city has had a noise ordinance since 1989, a confusing permit process, no appeal process, unclear language, and concerns of subjectivity have led to the new proposal.

This week the Wilmington City Council will begin the process of approving its budget for the 2019-2020 fiscal year, which begins July 1st.  The city has a $200.6 million budget on the table. 

Vince Winkel

The process for getting a special use permit in Wilmington has changed. Last night the City Council voted to streamline the procedure and remove a step. The new rule means applicants will not have to appear before the planning commission.

Vince Winkel / WHQR Public Radio

Tuesday night the Wilmington City Council will hold a public hearing on short-term rental regulations. For more than two years, city staff and stakeholders have debated and studied the issue.  

RLH

During the last municipal election of 2015, only 10% of voters in New Hanover County showed up.  By Tuesday afternoon, it was too early to tell if the numbers are up, down, or even with the last cycle.  In an unscientific, anecdotal visit with voters at New Hanover County’s Senior Center – one of the polling locations in Wilmington today – I met a handful of committed voters who say they wouldn’t miss an election.

Despite the fact that presidential election years turn out the highest numbers of voters, municipal elections have the most direct impact on quality of life.  This fact is pretty widely accepted.  But even the most educated and engaged among us – most notably a political scientist at an esteemed local university – even they are unlikely to know the people who are running for Wilmington’s City Council.

The City of Wilmington is home to more than 117-thousand people.   That’s growth of about 11,000 people since the last census in 2010.  73% of the population identifies as white, less than 20% is African-American, and 6% is Latino or Hispanic.

Vince Winkel / WHQR

The Wilmington City Council approved the 2017-18 budget Tuesday. The $217 million fiscal year budget includes a small property tax decrease. Before tackling the budget, the council heard from several speakers on the topic of GenX, which is why close to 200 people crowded into council chambers. 

Vince Winkel / WHQR

The politics of budgeting for city and county government in the Cape Fear region may have some clashing priorities. 

North Carolina State Board of Elections

After yesterday’s elections, incumbents Margaret Haynes and Neil Anderson have secured their seats on Wilmington City Council for another term. But the open seat—left by exiting Laura Padgett—is still somewhat in the air. 

With over 22% of the total votes, Margaret Haynes was the first clear winner as the results rolled in late yesterday. Neil Anderson is set to return to City Council with just 17%. Currently, the third highest vote getter is Paul Lawler, but Deb Hays trails him by just 88 votes.

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In Wilmington, eight candidates are vying for three open seats on City Council. During this week’s CoastLine Candidate Forum, WHQR’s Isabelle Shepherd reports the candidates were asked to explain their best original idea.   

Paul Lawler says his background as an accountant would bring more financial efficiency.

This CoastLine Candidate Forum of 2015, featuring candidates for the Wilmington City Council, aired live from WHQR's MC Erny Gallery on Wednesday, October 7, 2015.  This is a sizable race – eight people are competing for three open seats – so we allotted two hours in order to cover a comprehensive range of issues.

Isabelle Shepherd, WHQR

This November, voters will choose from eight candidates to fill three open seats on Wilmington City Council. At the candidate forum hosted by Residents of Old Wilmington and the Downtown Business Alliance, the candidates discussed local transportation issues.   

Alvin Rogers has served on the Wilmington Planning Commission. He remembers when Oleander Drive was just a two lane road, and he thinks transportation has become a problem throughout Wilmington. 

City of Wilmington

Laura Padgett is poised to leave behind more than 20 years of public service.  She was first elected to Council in 1993. After five terms, she has decided against seeking a sixth and will step down at the end of the year.

Isabelle Shepherd, WHQR

In a unanimous decision, the Wilmington City Council passed a resolution opposing oil drilling off the North Carolina coast. Advocates on both sides focused on the economic pros and cons of drilling’s precursor seismic testing. 

 

Before making their decision, City Council heard arguments from both sides of the offshore drilling debate. Lindsey Deignan of the SurfRider Foundation spoke against seismic testing and offshore drilling. Deignan says the entire coastal economy is at stake: 

City of Wilmington

Laura Padgett has served on the Wilmington City Council for over twenty years.  But Padgett, the longest-serving member of the council, will not seek a sixth term. 

Laura Padgett was first elected to the Wilmington City Council in 1993.  During her tenure, she focused largely on historic preservation and transportation issues.  And in 2006, Padgett was instrumental in the passing of the Parks & Green Space Bond.  In addition to her role on the council, she serves on the Metropolitan Planning Organization and Wave Transit Board.

City of Wilmington

At the most recent meeting, Wilmington City Council reviewed three downtown houses in violation of the minimum housing code. That's the first set of homes to come before the council since changes were made last summer to speed up the process of addressing dilapidated buildings.

Tri-County Economic Alliance In The Works

Aug 26, 2014
Isabelle Shepherd

It has oft been said that a rising tide lifts all boats. The City of Wilmington and New Hanover County are banding together to create a marketing alliance between Brunswick, Pender, and New Hanover counties. 

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