Housing, Infrastructure and Economic Development
These 3 topics are grouped together because we have to do all 3 of them to continue to have the thriving economy we have in NHC and keep NHC as the best place to live in the Country. These 3 items are all interrelated and we must manage/support all three of them.
- Housing: We all know housing (rent) prices are high in NHC and almost unattainable for our thriving service industry citizens. The reason for this is very simple. Over the last 2 years the tri-county area has become the 1rst or 2nd (depending on which study you look at) most popular destination in the US to move to. Our demand for housing is up over 50% in that period of time and that is not likely to change in the next several years, high demand for housing is here to stay. Over that same period of 2 years our inventory of available housing for sale/rent has decreased dramatically. 2 years ago our residential sale inventory for the region was roughly 13,500 properties any given day. As of mid-March 2022 that same inventory is in the range of 4,000 properties. That’s a 70% decrease in supply. Our housing supply must be managed to meet that increased demand. Failure to do so will result in a dramatic increase in home prices as well as rents. Housing and rents are barely affordable now, we can’t afford to make it worse
- Infrastructure: Our infrastructure has failed to keep up with housing development. This is not a failure of housing development as described above but a failure of our local and state government to keep up with needed infrastructure. We must focus on accelerating our infrastructure to catch up with the population increase. The most easily felt of these needs is the large amount of traffic. The current DOT projects on the books need to be accelerated/completed. Needed projects have to be designed and funded such as fixing the College Rd/Oleander Dr intersection for example and getting the rail realignment project as talked about the Budgets/Taxes section completed
- Economic Development: Economic Development is the engine that provides the resources for the needed Infrastructure improvements I talked about above. We have a thriving service industry and a thriving highly skilled intellectual industry (think lawyers, doctors, and etc) as well. What we are missing is a thriving middle class blue and white collar jobs industry. We need another Corning/GE Aircraft/GE Nuclear business as well as any number of mid-size engineering/manufacturing jobs in this area. Our median salary in NHC is around $45k/annually. We need to increase the good paying jobs available for our citizens. If we work to increase our median income then our affordable housing issue would be less of a problem as our workforce could more easily afford to purchase/rent a home. We need more programs that bring higher paying jobs to NHC such as the recently announced package for MegaCorp. MegaCorp is bringing 300 jobs to Wilmington with average annual salaries of $62k, that’s a almost 50% increase over the current NHC median salary (the county cost of that program is effectively 5 jobs over 5 years to bring 300 permanent jobs. I’d make that investment every time it’s a 60 to 1 return on investment). We need to install high pressure gas along the US421 corridor which would entice more medium-sized engineering/manufacturing operations to bring facilities here.
After my Nuclear Industry career I became a commercial and residential broker. I help families buy and sell their homes as well as help businesses locate/relocate and expand their operations in the tri-county area. I have a practical understanding of how each of these issues interrelate with each other. I can bring that real world experience to the County Commission