Jeff Dixon’s last meeting as chairman of the Pasquotank Board of Commissioners was a memorable one.
The county and Sentara Healthcare announced an agreement for the hospital to build a new $158 million facility in Elizabeth City that is set to open in 2024. The deal means Pasquotank will redevelop the current county-owned hospital on North Road Street which Sentara is currently leasing into a possible mixed-use development.
The county also stands to get between $28 million and $32 million from Sentara in a lease settlement agreement.
County commissioners also finalized the last details of the purchase of the Pasquotank portion of the South Mills Water System and sold the old Elizabeth City Middle School to a developer who plans to convert the property into market-rate apartments.
“When you look at what this board has been able to accomplish under your leadership, you only have to look at this agenda,” County Manager Sparty Hammett told Dixon at the Nov. 16 meeting. “We also got our employees up to the state average in terms of pay. There have been some incredible accomplishments because of your leadership.”
Dixon, who’s leaving the commission board in December after choosing not to seek re-election to a fifth four-year term, choked up when he started to thank county staff for their work during his 16 years in office.
“I have never worked with a more professional group of people in all my life,” Dixon said. “They made my life a lot easier as far as I am concerned. Pasquotank County should be very proud. I want to thank the people of Pasquotank County for allowing me to serve them for 16 years.”
Dixon also thanked his fellow commissioners for choosing him to serve as board chairman the last four years.
“We got a lot done, and we should be proud of ourselves,” Dixon said. “We put partisanship aside and Pasquotank is better off because of the things we got done. We have all been pro-economic development and we have also been pro-education in that we gave our schools their fair share” of county revenues.
Dixon noted that his wife and two daughters always supported his work on the Board of Commissioners and that he missed more than a few family events while serving on the board.
“I want to thank them for supporting me,” he said. “My two children were very young when I became a commissioner and I missed a lot of basketball games.”
Fellow Democrat Charles Jordan thanked Dixon for his years of service to the county.
“I appreciate working with you and I wish you the best moving forward,” Jordan said.
At-large Commissioner Barry Overman, a Republican, praised Dixon for not playing party politics during his tenure as chairman.
“I appreciate your non-partisan attitude toward the work we did,” Overman said. “I am truly going to miss you being here.’’
Before the meeting, board Vice Chairman Lloyd Griffin presented Dixon with a plaque in honor of his service to the county. He also presented the chairman’s gavel to Dixon as a token of his leadership of the board.
“It was an honor giving you the plaque, and thank you for what you have done,” Griffin told Dixon.