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First Selectman Messages

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FY 24/25 Revised Budget Information


2/20/2020 - 02/20/2020

Dear Residents,

Here's the latest news...


The Board of Selectmen is considering seed money to form a non-profit Canton Arts Council in this year’s budget.  The proposal is intended to strengthen Canton’s economy as well as our quality of life by coordinating art events and activities that drive tourism and revenue to local businesses.

Statewide, cultural organizations generated $653 million in economic activity last year (source: Department of Economic and Community Development-Office of the Arts).  In Canton, the creative spark has resulted in beloved events, such as the Halloween Parade, Christmas in Collinsville, the Maxwell Shepherd Memorial Concert Series and Collinsville Hot, plus year-round venues, such as Canton Clay Works, Farmington Valley Stage Company and Gallery on the Green. 

If you would like to help form an Arts Council in Canton, please email Arts Council. 


James “Rusty” Tilney, General Manager of @Collinsville, LLC, has invited developers who expressed interest in buying the factory over the past 18 years to bid on the factory no later than March 3, 2020. The bid must be at least $1.2 million and include a 5% deposit – refundable until April 3, 2020. This is intended to give bidders an opportunity to perform due diligence on the site.

On April 3, the due diligence period ends, the deposit goes to @Collinsville, and final negotiations commence.  According to the @Collinsville invitation, May 3, 2020 will be the date of closing and transfer of the factory to the winning bidder.


At its February 12 meeting, the Board of Selectmen approved goals for our Town. The goals were presented at the Annual Town Meeting on January 22 and amended thereafter to reflect suggestions made at the meeting. The approved goals now have a section on Infrastructure plus several wording changes for clarity. To see the town goals, please click here.

Our goals helped guide town staff as they formed their budget proposal presented on February 10, 11, and 12 to the Board of Selectman. A big thanks to Bob Skinner, Chief Administrative Officer, who pulled everything together, and to everyone who participated in the goal setting process. Together, we are strengthening the Town of Canton.


Thanks to the hard work of the Temporary Senior & Social Services Strategic Planning Committee, the Board of Selectmen approved the plan as presented on February 12. The plan looks to:

  • Improve community outreach and engagement so that Canton’s citizens are aware of the services available through the Senior and Social Services Department.
  • Develop Senior Center services that meet the needs of Canton’s aging population.
  • Expand and improve the organizational efficiency of the Senior and Social Services Department through improved data gathering, analysis and reporting to the BOS.
  • Continue to address substance abuse and mental health issues in our community.
  • Gain a better understanding of the need for Youth Services so that we can make appropriate plans.

To see the entire plan, please click here.  


Democrats and Republicans will hold primaries for nominations for President this year. Polls will open at 6am on April 28 at the Canton Community Center, 40 Dyer Ave. Canton voters who are affiliated with one of these parties are eligible to vote this primary day until 8 pm.  View the Registrar of Voters web page for more election information.

As always, please feel free to reach out to me directly with your comments and questions at

Best Regards,
Bob Bessel
First Selectman




Kevin Witkos
First Selectman
Phone: (860) 693-7847

Office Hours:
 click here to make an appointment

Canton Town Hall
P.O. Box 168
4 Market Street
Collinsville, CT 06022