Cross-City Trail’s final leg, Property insurance rate hike opposed
Wilmington Police Department will hire two new special detectives to address domestic violence issues. City council unanimously approved the ordinance during Domestic Violence Awareness month, making a $117,432 appropriation to the special purpose fund supported by a 2012 Governor’s Crime Commission Grant Award during its Oct. 16 meeting.
A resolution authorizing the city manager to enter into a municipal agreement with North Carolina Department of Transportation for the construction of the final stretch of the Gary Shell Cross-City Trail from John D. Barry Drive in Pine Valley, to James E. Wade Park was passed. Council also approved a $75,000 supplemental appropriation for construction of the Cross-City Trail, a resolution authorizing the city to enter into a sponsorship agreement with Blue Cross Blue Shield North Carolina for completion of the trail and an ordinance appropriating $555,000 in funds from BCBS North Carolina for the project.
Of the trail, Wilmington Mayor Bill Saffo said, “This is a significant asset to our community that will be used for generations to come.”
A resolution opposing a rate increase by the North Carolina Department of Insurance passed unanimously, following a presentation on the subject by Wilmington Regional Association of Realtors governmental affairs director Kathleen Riely.
Riely said coastal regions in North Carolina see a 20-30 percent disparity in homeowners’ insurance rates on the pretense that they are more likely to be damaged in the event of hurricanes and severe weather, however, 80 percent of claims filed in relation to hurricanes and severe weather come from areas further inland. (See related story page 1.)
Property insurance rates for New Hanover, Pender, Brunswick and Onslow counties have seen a 163 percent increase since 1993, Riely said. The new increase the NCDOI is proposing is a new raise in insurance rates for coastal regions that will have a $457 yearly increase based on $75,000 of coverage. Homes east of I-95 will see an increase of $315.
Riely said she planned to attend a public hearing in Raleigh on Oct. 17 to discuss the proposed increases.
Councilwoman Laura Padgett suggested adding a line to the resolution to inform the NCDOI that the council was angry about the proposed increase, and to request a more equitable distribution of insurance rates across the state.
Saffo asked Riely to make the DOI aware of Wilmington’s resolution.
“We are vehemently opposed to it,” Saffo said, “and think it unfair that the coastal counties, Pender, Brunswick, New Hanover, the beaches, are getting these types of increases; while in Raleigh, Mecklenburg County and some of the other counties, they are getting decreases. We think it is absolutely appalling. …To be hit with this sort of insurance increase, again, is not fair.”