Dixon: Conserve county’s finances, environment

Published 12:01 am Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Donald Dixon, a candidate for Beaufort County Board of Commissioners, says it’s time for county leaders to stop wasting the taxpayers’ money and lower their taxes.

“I am running as a conservative Republican,” he said. “I want to use common sense and my business knowledge to help the people of Beaufort County.”

Dixon said he decided to run for the board following the commissioners’ deliberations of the county’s 2011-2012 fiscal-year budget when many local residents urged the county leaders not to raise taxes.

He said he was distressed when those voices were not heard by the panel. Dixon said, if he’s elected, he will work to “take the waste out” of subsequent county budgets.

When asked, he identified excess spending in the Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office and spending by the county’s Economic Development Commission as particular targets for cuts.

“Economic development in Beaufort County is important to me,” Dixon said, adding that the current Economic Development Commission has not been successful in its efforts to recruit businesses and bring jobs to the county.

“It’s not working,” he said. “We should get rid of it.”

Dixon also said he would work to make it easier for businesses to operate in Beaufort County by lobbying lawmakers in Raleigh and Washington, D.C., to eliminate some of the burdensome regulations and fees that hinder small businesses.

He said economic growth should not come at the expense of the county’s quality of life and the environment that makes Beaufort County a special place to live.

If he were currently a commissioner, Dixon said, he would not support plans by Chicago-based Invenergy to build a wind farm in eastern Beaufort County.

“I’m not going to go along with anything that degrades the quality of life in Beaufort County, and I feel the wind farm would,” he said. “I think it’s going to hurt the county more than it brings in.”

Dixon also said he has concerns about a Martin Marietta Materials plan to discharge some 9 million gallons of water a day into the headwaters of Blounts Creek.

“I think the risk is too great for Beaufort County, and the rewards are just not there,” he said.

Dixon said he has concerns about the hands-off attitude of the current commissioners toward these projects.

“I feel like they are prostituting the county,” he said. “There are more important things than tax revenue.”

Dixon is one of seven Republican candidates who have filed to earn the GOP nominations in the race for Beaufort County commissioner in the May 8 primary. In addition to Dixon, they are incumbents Jay McRoy and Hood Richardson and challengers Gary Brinn, Larry Britt, Rick Gagliano and Tony “T.J.” Keech.

Six Democratic candidates are seeking their party’s nomination, including incumbent Jerry Langley and challengers Lloyd Ballance, Robert Belcher, Wayne Sawyer and former commissioners Mickey Cochran and Carolyn W. Harding.

Four seats on the county board are up for grabs this year.

Dixon said that in the coming year, Beaufort County’s leaders would have “difficult tasks to ponder.”

One of the most pressing of these issues is the planning and future construction of a new county jail, he said.

Dixon supports the construction of a new jail, but he said it is important for the commissioners to consider the current economic climate and build a jail that “we can afford.” He opposes the idea of building a “complex” that would include extras such as law-enforcement offices and a fitness center in addition to a detention center.

Dixon, 52, is completing his 24th year as a heating and air conditioning contractor. He owns the Washington-based East Coast Heating and Air Conditioning. A former deputy sheriff with the most recent rank of corporal, Dixon also holds a private investigator’s license and has worked in that business for about 10 years. Dixon also serves as an instructor in the criminal-justice program at Beaufort County Community College.

A native of Beaufort County, Dixon graduated from Washington High School in 1979. He earned certification in basic law enforcement training from BCCC, a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from Mount Olive College and a master’s degree in criminal justice from East Carolina University. He also earned several emergency-medical and law-enforcement certifications.

Dixon has volunteered as a mentor for at-risk youth in Salemburg. He serves on the Board of Directors of the Washington (evening) Lions Club, of which he is a charter member.

Dixon and his wife, Crystal Adams, who works in her family business in Kinston, live in the Washington area. He has two daughters and one grandson. Dixon attends Second Baptist Church in Washington.