Local Organizations See Increase In Economic Development Funding

By Johanna F. Still, posted Jun 7, 2022

Local governments are beefing up economic development appropriations for several area agencies during this summer’s budget approval process.

Funding for many agencies is on the rise, as New Hanover County and the city of Wilmington approve their respective 2022-2023 fiscal year budgets. 

This budget cycle, the Wilmington International Airport, which is overseen by the New Hanover County Airport Authority, is set to receive the largest tranche of economic development funds from New Hanover County, at $350,000, for providing "jobs and investments through new airlines." The airport is not listed as a recipient of funds in the county’s current 2021-2022 budget. Wilmington’s recommended 2022-2023 budget includes a new $25,000 line item for the airport, while its current budget also had no funds budgeted for the system. 

Behind the airport, the nonprofit Wilmington Business Development (WBD) will be allocated the second-highest amount from the county, set to receive $282,391, up 9% from $258,600 this current fiscal year. Wilmington’s contribution to WBD will increase slightly, from $102,000 this fiscal year to $107,500. 

Next, the Wilmington Chamber of Commerce is set to receive $197,652 from the county during the upcoming budget cycle, up from $181,000 this cycle. Wilmington’s budget does not include an allocation to the chamber. Last summer, the chamber launched a new three-year pilot effort in partnership with the county to target existing small business recruitment, retention and expansion that will continue for at least two more years. 

The Wilmington Regional Film Commission will receive $145,992 from the county in the upcoming budget, up from $133,692, and the city wil give the group $130,000, up from $121,890. 

Other recipients include Genesis Block Labs LLC, which will net $50,000 from the county, up from $25,000 this budget cycle, and $25,000 from the city, up from no city allocation this current budget cycle. Wilmington Symphony Orchestra will receive a threefold bump at $15,000 from the county, and will see a new $25,000 payment from the city, with none budgeted for the organization in the current city budget. 

Not everyone is getting an increase: The University of Wilmington Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, which receives no funds from the county, will see a 30% decrease from the city, with $50,000 budgeted under the next cycle.

Performance-based incentive payments to National Gypsum ($70,000 from the county; $46,000 from the city) will continue, and new incentive payments for Vantaca (up to $24,000 for the county) will kick in in the next budget cycle. Payments to MegaCorp (approved as "Project Transit") are not listed in either new budget, and three other economic incentive package identities still haven't been revealed. 

The 2022-2023 budget cycle begins July 1. ​

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