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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — After days of tension between the City of Wilmington and New Hanover County, some elected officials are ready to move on.

The past couple of days have been filled with bold statements from both sides. The question now is will the city and county be able to work with each other from here on out?

Tensions started to rise Tuesday, when Wilmington City Council decided to approve a developer’s request for voluntary annexation despite county officials urging the city not to do it.

The county fired back the next day by backing out of talks to build a minor league baseball stadium downtown.

While both sides may have their own thoughts on the recent disagreements, the city and county have to work together, like it or not.

“We’re all in this together,” Wilmington Mayor Bill Saffo said. “We’re all trying to provide a level of service to our community, to our citizens, and it’s going to take us working together.”

Saffo has seen his share of disagreements during his years in office. He says there will always be tension between elected leaders, but he says part of the job is moving on.

“Hopefully we can overcome this strife, and I think we will, and I feel we will,” Saffo said.

But not everyone feels the same way.

“Until the city treats me and the county with respect, I don’t know how we will be able to work together down the road,” County Commission Chair Ted Davis told us during a phone conversation.

Davis says he’s disappointed in the city’s decision to approve the annexation request before hearing the county’s concerns.

“There has always been some disputes between us: the division of the sales tax, extra territorial jurisdiction. Those things come and go. You just have to get by those and continue to focus on what is important,” Wilmington City Councilman Kevin O’Grady said.

Former City Councilman and current County Commissioner Jason Thompson says as an elected official issues and agenda items have to be considered individually, without the hard feelings of previous outcomes.

“The bottom line is everything has to be evaluated on its own merits: this deal, the next deal and the ones thereafter. That’s how I always try to do it. I really don’t hold anything personal, and I can only speak for myself,” Thompson said.

We also asked the mayor and Councilman O’Grady about the future of the baseball stadium. They agreed it will be tougher without the county’s support, but they are hopeful that the city will find a way to build it.

Comment on this Story

  • Guest757

    I was not at the meeting that was held on Jan.3rd, but I did watch it on TV. I loved the statement that Commissioner Barfield made and he hit it right on the head. ” That this was like a child playing Mother against Father. That is exactly what happened and the council fell for it. There are many,many people that have been annexed into the city years and years ago and they are still waiting to get what was promised to them. The City Council just seen a cheap way to get more money.
    They can do all the studies they want that part of Market St CAN NOT handle any more traffic.
    I have a question for them have they been on Market ST. during rush hour. It backs up from the area of D&E heading north all the way past Porters Neck and now they want to put another 282 cars into that mix. What type of deal was made under the table for them to do that?
    Stand strong County Commissioners the city is being under handed.

  • Guest7577

    The Mayor says ” we’re all trying to provide a level of service to our community, to our citizens” is he kidding???

    What level of service is he talking about?
    Can he explain that to me?

    All the city did was make waves with the county. That part of Market St. CAN NOT handle anymore traffic.
    I would love to see the City council members stand on Market and Gordon, Market and Middle Sound Loop Rd. and March Oaks and all the way to Porters Neck durng rush hour. Then let them tell us they are providing a service to the community. The only service they will be providing is more 911 calls because of wrecks.
    All they seen was fast money.. and what are they getting in return from the developer?

  • Stuck in This Place

    When the County and City merger, then this foolishness will stop. The County is responsible for the whole county, including the City and Beach Towns. The City only cares about increased revenues, I grew up in Pine Valley which was annexed in the early 80’s, well My Mom got her side walks in the last few years. The City will take and never provide, to much time and money spent on areas that don’t pay taxes. We as Property owners need to stand up to the Developers(Saffo and his Cronies), start getting the services that we pay for as taxpayers. How many city residents actually pay any taxes to the city other than the occasional sales tax? There is a reason that folks abandon the City limits to get away from the double taxation without an increase in City services. I am stuck at the moment, but when I can, I will move. Its not worth it to live in the City limits. The Sheriff (who by state constitution is the Highest LEO in the county) needs to take over all law enforcement and then combine all the duplicate departments in the County/City mess. Its time that someone figures out things are not working and are just getting worse.

  • Guest326

    Only if we can get rid of Barfield, and Thompson. They always seem to be having problems with someone.

  • Guest461

    …that perform only to serve their self-interests, who really gives a damn?

  • Guest Reply

    “In the event that there is no clear decision…the only other option is to do nothing”….
    Our leaders practice that advice on a daily basis…and still get voted into office.
    (Let us break this all down for Screen Gems to evaluate a new TV show)
    1. Johnny wants a new Convention Center and gets one during failing economy! (Let’s continue on now Council…and find more $$$ to blow.)
    2. Same Johnny wants a hotel next to said Convention Center but can’t have one. Ooops! Do Nothing!
    3. Johnny wants more land grabs and taxes on *NEW* citizens paid to squander and find that needed $$$! Ooops! Failed…hands were slapped…can’t Do Nothing!
    4.”Election Accomplished for another Term in city office” (Do more **Nothing** for the citizens is once again secured)…..
    5. Johnny now wants a new baseball park (for God knows what) to over crowd even more an already screwed up traffic system…screwed up from “Doing Nothing”. Who will play here…the Spring Training teams…or Joey and his buddies on Saturday mornings????
    6. Johnny and friends most likely are now planning another *Property Tax Increase* to help pay for the bumbled handling of tax payers $$$ now the Monkey has bit back.
    #7 and Beyond: Repeat numbers 2 thru 6 for the next few years as we watch the potholes get bigger and deeper, and increased property taxes as our homes *Depreciate* in value.
    Screen Gems has a *Gem* of a new series here without brain storming a thing!!!


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