Local governments are bolstering economic development appropriations for several regional 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 budgets for the 2022-23 fiscal year.
This budget round, Wilmington International Airport, which is overseen by the New Hanover County Airport Authority, is set to receive the largest tranche of New Hanover County economic development funds, at $350,000, to provide ” jobs and investment through new airlines”. The airport is not listed as a recipient of funds in the county’s current 2021-2022 budget. Wilmington’s recommended 2022–23 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, nonprofit Wilmington Business Development (WBD) will be awarded the county’s second-highest amount, which is expected to receive $282,391, up 9% from the $258,600 in the county. exercise in progress. Wilmington’s contribution to WBD will increase slightly from $102,000 this fiscal year to $107,500.
Next, the Wilmington Chamber of Commerce is expected to receive $197,652 from the county in the next budget cycle, up from $181,000 this cycle. Wilmington’s budget does not include a room allowance. Last summer, the chamber launched a new three-year pilot effort in partnership with the county to target recruitment, retention and expansion of existing small businesses that will continue for at least two years.
The Wilmington Regional Film Commission will receive $145,992 from the county in the upcoming budget, up from $133,692, and the city will give the group $130,000, down from $121,890.
Other recipients include Genesis Block Labs LLC, which will return $50,000 to the county, versus $25,000 this budget cycle, and $25,000 to the city, versus no city allocation this current budget cycle. The Wilmington Symphony Orchestra will receive a triple increase of $15,000 from the county and see a new payment of $25,000 from the city, with no budget for the organization in the current city budget.
Not everyone gets a raise: Wilmington University’s Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, which receives no county funding, will see a 30% cut from the city, with a budget of $50,000 for 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 from the county) will take effect in the next budget cycle. Payments to MegaCorp (approved as “Project Transit”) are not listed in either of the two new budgets, and three other economic incentive package identities have still not been revealed.
The 2022-2023 budget cycle begins on July 1.