While 2020 has presented many challenges, it has also provided opportunity. We have persevered through a global pandemic and significant weather events. We figured out new ways to work, to educate, to host meetings, to gather with friends and family safely and to support local businesses and non-profit organizations.
I’m especially proud of the accomplishments of our town and it’s volunteers. Our fire and ambulance service volunteers organized and delivered weekly community convoys to unite us and provide hope. The community bell ringing also reminded us each night at 8 pm. The expanded Community Emergency Response Team quickly stepped into action to deliver food and medicines to our most vulnerable residents. The Litchfield Community Center and it's collaboration with Food Rescue US organized the Community Food and Provisions Hub, with delivery help from Litchfield school bus drivers. Bravo to the school administrators and teachers who, with steady and grounded leadership, adapted to a hybrid/virtual learning model, when necessary, to educate our students. The restaurants, libraries, grocery stores, toy stores and other retail shops quickly arranged curbside pickup to keep their staff and customers safe. The Town employees, boards and commissions have adapted so they can continue their good work for the benefit of our Town's residents.
1. The Town of Litchfield joined Sustainable CT and The Sustainable Litchfield Committee was formed. The group continues to work towards bronze and silver certification with the submittal of over 10 action items. We saw the completion of a 3-hour Community Resilience Workshop, comprised of 21 community members, which included representatives from all areas of town.
2. The solar project at our 3 schools was passed unanimously at a Town Meeting after years of planning. As of December 22, 2020, the solar power has been switched ON and is projected to save millions in tax dollars over 30 years
3. The S.M.A.R.T. (Save Money and Reduce Trash) Task Force was created. The placement of clothing recycling bins has been very successful with diverting used clothing out of the waste stream and providing a revenue of $100/ton to the Town. Food waste composters are now located at the Recycling Center. By exploring new initiatives to reduce trash and increase recycling, these actions will reduce the tipping fees currently budgeted at over $500,000/ year.
4. The Town has Increased its social media presence via Facebook and Instagram to educate and highlight all the offerings of the Town of Litchfield for residents and people looking for a new home or business in this area.
5. The Town has Introduced the acceptance of credit cards at the Town Clerk's, Building and Land-Use Offices, as well as at the Recycling Center.
6. The Town was awarded a $128,000 Small Town Economic Assistance Program (STEAP) Grant to offset costs for road work and a $10,000 Benas Grant and an anticipated State Matching Grant Program (MGP) for Elderly and Disabled Demand Responsive Transportation for the municipal bus that the Town now operates, in house, as a FREE service for our seniors and disabled residents.
7. The Board of Selectmen has created the Town Facilities Review Committee to analyze the best uses of our Town-owned buildings.
8. The Town passed a Town Budget with a .5 mill tax reduction and offered a nearly $1,000,000 surplus from the previous fiscal year.
1. Continue to work with the Land-Use/Planning Dept. to update and align our regulations to meet the needs and wants of local businesses and residents.
2. The development of a Broadband Discussion Group to explore the needs and wants of our community as it's related to and can benefit virtual education, telehealth, work from home capabilities, business continuity structure, recreation and leisure.
3. The creation of a Community Traffic Action Group to work with the CTDOT, DPW and residents to implement strategies to enhance the safety of our pedestrians and crosswalks on our State and local roads.
4. Explore further grant opportunities, Green initiatives and technology updates to reduce the tax burden on our residents.
5. Create a Town food pantry and medical equipment library in collaboration with the Social Service Coordinator.
6. Continue to explore opportunities to regionalize our schools, share resources and develop partnerships with our neighboring communities.
7. Working with our Litchfield Economic Development Commission to develop a business recovery plan.
8. Planning a post COVID community block party!
In this New Year, I am committed to the residents of this Town and will continue my best to offer a transparent government with open communication.
I hope each of you have a Happy and Healthy New Year!
Litchfield First Selectman