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First Selectman Messages

Town of Canton >> Boards and Commissions >> Board of Selectmen >> First Selectman >> First Selectman Messages

11/30/2020 - 11/30/2020

Dear Residents,

Here's the latest...

Play Ball!
After all that has happened this year, we have a bit of good news to share. The State of Connecticut has awarded a Small Town Economic Assistance Program (STEAP) grant in the amount of $128,205 to the Town to relocate the Little League softball field on Dyer Road to a vacant lot in front of Canton High School. 

This is good news on several fronts. The Town and Little League have long recognized that the Dyer Field is undersized. We have also known that expanding the field would encroach on the Collinsville Fire House, which is also a candidate for expansion. The grant will cover a significant amount of the cost of relocating the field.

The plan is to relocate the field next to the existing High School softball field, creating a girls’ softball complex with shared amenities such as a common concession stand and bleachers. Additional benefits would be existing parking and utilities including water for irrigation, ADA access, no land acquisition costs and a reduced cost to build the field, thanks to the grant.

The new field is estimated to cost $300,000. This includes reusing many of the fixtures and equipment located at the existing Dyer Field and some in-kind services by Canton Department of Public Works.  After the grant of $128,205 the remaining $171,795 would be a special appropriation from the undesignated fund balance. We expect the new field to be constructed and ready for use in the fall of 2022, pending approval of the final field design.

The Board of Finance will hold a special meeting to vote on whether to approve the grant and the additional appropriation of funds on Monday, November 30th at 7 pm via Zoom. The meeting will include a public hearing where residents can comment. Residents can also send questions and comments to either Board Chair Jennifer Rottkamp at or Finance Officer William Geiger at All comments and questions will be forwarded to the members of the Board of Finance and will be made part of the public record.

If approved by the Board of Finance the grant and special appropriation will be reviewed and voted on by the Board of Selectmen at its December 9th meeting at 7:00pm. The meeting will be via Zoom and include a public hearing.  Residents can participate through Zoom or send questions and comments to either First Selectman Robert Bessel at or Town Administrator Robert Skinner at All comments and questions will be forwarded to the members of the Board of Selectmen and be made part of the public record. Pursuant to the Governor’s executive orders approval by the Board of Selectmen will constitute final approval. 

Transfer Station Stickers
Count our transfer station stickers among the many things that COVID-19 has changed this year. In an attempt to reduce in-person traffic during the height of the pandemic, the Town Clerk has asked that residents apply for their transfer station stickers by mail.
To do this, send a copy of your vehicle registration with a check to: 
Canton Town Clerk 
Transfer Station Permit
P.O. Box 168
Collinsville, CT 06022

Your permit will be mailed back to you promptly.

Sticker fees are the same this coming year as last - $150 for the first vehicle owned by a town resident and $5.00 for each additional vehicle in need of a sticker. Registrations are required for each vehicle. 

The Election
The historic election of 2020 has come and gone. A record 85% of Canton’s registered voters made their choices known, and the outcome of all races was duly reported to the Connecticut Secretary of the State as required by law. 

Our election officials – Jack Miner, Lynn Homan and Amelia Miner – together with our Town Clerk, Linda Smith, and nearly two dozen volunteers plus police ensured that our election ran smoothly without incident. This is quite an accomplishment in a year full of incidents from coast to coast. Our Town owes these individuals a debt of gratitude for the superb job they did and for the integrity with which they did it. There was never a question that every legitimate vote would be counted and reported. 

As with any election, the time has come to temper the heat of campaign rhetoric. More important than parties or candidates are the newly elected public servants who will represent and lead us forward. Let’s welcome them, give them the benefit of our insights and help them write the next chapter of Canton’s story. 

It is easy to regard politicians as separate from regular citizens. I can tell you from personal experience that those who hold office are just as hopeful, fearful and perplexed as everyone else. It’s all the more reason to come together and work for a better tomorrow. 

One of the great mistakes we all make is to relegate governing to elected officials alone. Democracy works best when we participate. It’s a maddening form of government – some say the messiest - but it still is the most successful the world has ever known because it requires that we listen and reflect on our neighbor’s concerns. 

Let’s commit again to moving forward as one people with a common purpose, open to new ideas and ready to help each other in the days ahead.

Stay well,
Bob Bessel 




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