As is the case in neighboring Gwinnett County, Walton County will have a new Chairman of the Board of Commissioners come 2021. Incoming Chairman-elect David Thompson will be chairing the BOC meeting in January so the December meeting was outgoing Chairman Kevin Little’s last official BOC meeting – and it was an emotional one for him.
“This is my last commissioners meeting and honestly it is bitter sweet. The timing is right for me to retire. I’ve had a good track record, it’s been fun, we got a lot done,” Little said at the opening of the meeting, going on to list some of the accomplishments during his five terms, noting that he took over when things were in a shambles and Walton County was a laughingstock in the state. “Now we are the model in Georgia.”
As the featured Community Leader in the 2020 issue of Walton Living Magazine, Little told Robbie Schwartz some of the things he is most proud of achieving during his tenure as chairman of the Walton County Board of Commissioners. Little said a key tool for helping the county improve came in 2001, the year he first took office, with the approval by Walton County voters of the first Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax since the 1980s. Little said this resulted in the building of the current county government building, the expansion of the county jail as well as the ability for the county to take over and manage the various parks and recreation facilities that were at the time managed by the cities.
“In a way this began the slow process of uniting the county as one Walton and showed everyone that working together was the best way,” Little told Schwartz. “For the four years prior to me taking office, the Board of Commissioners cut taxes and there was not enough money to make payroll in November 2001. We had to take out tax anticipation notes to survive. That was very discouraging and disappointing as a newly elected official to learn of this awful decision that was made without any foresight. But we weathered it and survived.
“I think as a testament to how far Walton County has come, we were used as an example of what not to do in the first class I took at the Association of County Commissioners of Georgia back in 2001. Now the classes use Walton County as an example of how things are done right.”
At that final meeting Tuesday, Little went on to thank the County employees for all they do, noting they are ‘hard working, loyal, proud of their community and excellent employees.” He made special note of County Clerk Leta Talbird saying, “I’m here today because of her great leadership and always her support.”
He wished the incoming chairman good luck, noting in doing so that things are not always as they seem from the outside.
“You are new to politics and will find very quickly it’s a different world. You’ll find out that old Kevin wasn’t as bad as you thought,” Little said, adding that in 98 % of the decisions he’s made as chairman he would do the same again. “There has been nothing in it for Kevin Little. I will leave the County proud.”
Little’s family was on hand for his final meeting as his fellow commissioners presented him with some parting gifts. These included a gun mounted in a case fabricated with wood from a 100-year-old local barn as well as flags that had flown over the U.S. and state capitols.
You can read more about Little’s 20 years of service to Walton County starting on Page 21 in the online 2020 issue ofWalton Living Magazine at this link.