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County Commissioners To Weigh Economic Development Appropriations

By Christina Haley O'Neal, posted Jun 16, 2017
New Hanover County has laid out several economic development and economic incentive appropriations under consideration in its proposed budget for the 2017-18 fiscal year.

A public hearing on the economic development items takes place at the next New Hanover County Board of Commissioners meeting, which begins at 4 p.m. Monday.

According to the board agenda, the appropriations and expenditures identified in the budget “increase the population, taxable property, agricultural industries, employment, industrial output or business prospects for New Hanover County.”

The FY 2017-18 appropriations under consideration include, among about 12 agencies and organizations, increased funding for Wilmington Business Development at more than $196,000, up slightly from last year’s budget funding at just over $193,000.

Wilmington Business Development has another appropriated item in the proposal, $40,000 in one payment to provide project management for and procure a market demand study and site analysis for county-owned land located on Blue Clay Road, according to the agenda.

Wilmington Business Development CEO Scott Satterfield said Friday that the county has expressed interest in a study located on Blue Clay Road, near Juvenile Center Road.

If approved, WBD would help facilitate and manage the project to help determine the “highest and best use” for the property, Satterfield said.

Another project in the proposal is Project Grace, an initiative to look into the development or redevelopment of a 3-acre block in downtown bordered by Third, Chestnut, Second and Grace streets. 

More than $44,000 have been marked in the proposal for Charlotte-based Benchmarck CMR, a group leading a study into the possibility of attracting private investment while maintaining public services on the 3-acre site.

For the Wilmington Film Commission, funding in the proposal dropped from what was allocated last year. The recommended amount for the upcoming fiscal year, is more than $127,000 compared to nearly $146,000 the film commission received last year.

Funding in the amount of $100,000, in one payment, is proposed for Wilmington International Airport for a Small Community Air Service Development Grant match, a grant program that helps small communities address air service and airfare issues.

The funding also includes a line item for infrastructure investment. The county has recommended a capital project investment of $525,000 to the Cape Fear Public Utility Authority -- the first of three annual contributions -- to provide fire flow to the water system being constructed on U.S. 421, according to the agenda. In addition, the CFPUA could receive up to $60,000 to provide a preliminary engineering report regarding providing water service along Castle Hayne Road.

If approved by commissioners, the funding source for the appropriations and expenditures for economic development would come from general fund revenues.

See the full list of economic development and incentive appropriations included in the FY 2017-18 budget:
Organization Amount Paid Over Description of
Activities /Expense
Wilmington Chamber of Commerce
(Cape Fear Future)
$75,000 2 payments Fund a regional marketing plan that articulates the many assets the Wilmington region has for a business to expand or
Foreign Trade Promotion Council $2,500 1 payment Support job creation & sustainable growth
through expanding global trade by NC
The Southeastern Partnership Inc. $20,000 2 payments Provide regional & targeted industry
specific marketing & conduct familiarization events
Wilmington Business Development $196,813 4 payments Recruitment /assistance for business expansion and /or relocation efforts
Wilmington Downtown Inc. $25,000 1 payment Activities to increase the number of
businesses, jobs & tax base in Wilmington's Urban Core
Wilmington Film Commission $123,756 4 payments Promote /assist TV & film production
activities to drive local entertainment business growth, support local
production infrastructure & businesses
Cape Fear Council of Governments $36,648 2 payments Membership fee(s), local government
services & transportation planning, workforce investment
Southeastern Economic Development Commission $18,240 1 payment Assist with project development necessary for the solicitation of grant funding from the Economic Development Administration ( EDA)
Wilmington International Airport up to $100,000 1 payment Small Community Air Service Development Grant match, a grant
program designed to help small communities address air service &
airfare issues
Wilmington Business Development $40,000 1 payment Provide project management for & procure a market demand study & site
analysis for County-owned land located on Blue Clay Rd
Benchmark CMR Inc.

Qualified Engineering Firm to be Selected

up to $5,000
1 payment

1 payment
Development of RFP & assistance with selection & evaluation of offers related to development /redevelopment of Project Grace

Conduct a Phase 1 environmental assessment /study of the Project Grace site.


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