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First Selectman Messages

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12/23/2020 - 12/23/2020

Dear Residents,

A Thousand Points of Light

Many of us remember President George H.W. Bush and the phrase he coined at his 1989 inauguration: “A Thousand Points of Light.” It was a call to action for individuals and organizations to help their communities all across America. It’s a fine concept this holiday season with COVID cases rising and the vaccine close yet frustratingly far away. 

A few years ago, I had the privilege of learning more about H.W. and how he helped ignite those thousand points of light. Our 42nd president used to handwrite 20 letters every day, each engineered to change someone’s life for the better.

I heard about this from H.W.’s nephew Jaime Bush, who was the object of a letter in 1975. At the time, Jamie was an unpaid volunteer for the mayor of Boston’s re-election campaign. H.W. was the U.S. Envoy to China. At a family picnic, H.W. took the time to ask Jaime about his work for the mayor. 

“It was typical of my uncle that he would know about or care about a college kid working on a democratic mayor’s campaign,” Jamie recalled. 

Two weeks later, Jamie received a phone call from the mayor’s secretary; she wanted to know if he was free that day for lunch. Completely surprised, Jamie found himself at lunch with the mayor of Boston who explained that he had received a letter from the U.S. Envoy to China. The letter read: “I know the last thing you need is advice, especially from someone in the other party. But people like you and I have an obligation to develop an interest in politics among young people.” 

This letter and the mayor’s response sparked Jaime’s interest in service that continues to this day.  

It would be easy to see Jamie’s experience as a relic from a bygone era – something that may never happen again. Jamie views the experience through a different lens and asks a question so relevant in today’s social climate: “How can we echo the leadership of earlier generations instead of wallowing in our misery?”

There are role models in our community today who actively apply their expertise and energy to the problems of equity, homelessness and inter-generational poverty, among others. Sometimes it takes a letter from a well-placed leader to open doors for our future leaders.  Sometimes it takes a moment of realization that we are all points of light – here to make our communities better. 

This holiday season, as the world laments the pandemic and its many tolls on our daily lives, let’s think of the days ahead, the neighbors in need and the opportunities we have to shed more light. In Canton, we have far more than a thousand points of light. All we have to do is flip the switch and we will light up our lives.

Tax Deferral

Good news on taxes! On December 16, 2020, Governor Lamont issued Executive Order 9R, which allows towns in Connecticut to adopt the same tax deferral program for taxes due January 1, 2021 that was offered for taxes due July 1, 2020.

This means that the second installment due January 1, 2021 of non-escrowed real estate taxes, business/personal property taxes and motor vehicle supplemental bills can be paid without penalty until APRIL 1, 2021. Please do not regard April 1, 2021 as the new DUE DATE - you do not have 30 days from April 1st to pay your tax bill! Please also note that if the tax due January 1, 2021 is not paid in full by April 1, 2021, interest will be charged from the due date of January 1, 2021, at the rate of 1.5% per month. Of course, you are always welcome to pay your tax bill by February 1, 2021 if you can.

If you have any questions regarding this notification, please contact us by phone at (860) 693-7843 or by email at taxcollector@townofcantonct.orgClick here for more info.

Stay well,
Bob Bessel




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

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