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And the real question is ...

... does NHC really even need Wilmington anymore? We know that Wilmington needs to gobble up as much of NHC as it can. The heavy handed and arrogant way they've handled annexations reflects their desperation. Why else would they go so far as to alienate NHC by allowing a developer in NHC to annex his property to the city just so he could circumvent NHC zoning? Annexation has become the triage of choice to stop its bleeding.

NHC residents get all of the basic services they need from the county. And they get these services without paying additional taxes. They don't have to deal with a downtown full of bars and increased crime. They don't have to deal with a city government that's trying to spend its way to prosperity even if they don't have the funds to accomplish that. That's one of the reasons Wilmington's so desperate to annex additional property.

The only way to really stop the bleeding is to have responsible city leadership. Leaders who respond to their constituents instead of their cronies. Leaders who look for intelligent creative ways to balance their budget instead of being distracted by the latest, shiny, toy-de-jour. Maybe that will happen, maybe not. Currently it looks more like maybe not.

Perhaps the concept of the continual growth of the small city has seen its day. At the very least, it looks like the concept of forced annexation has been brought to a screeching halt.

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