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Selectman's Message

Robert Bessel


 

August 21, 2020

 

All Elections Are Local

With so much talk about in-person and absentee voting, it’s easy to forget that all elections are run by local officials. Regardless of the offices or questions to be decided by an official vote, our town registrars ensure that every voter has an opportunity to vote, that every vote is counted and that the results are reported to the Connecticut Secretary of State in a timely manner as required by law.

This starts with ensuring that the voter rolls are up-to-date. This near constant effort includes reviewing lists of residents who have moved or passed away. The list of voters is compared each year to the names and addresses on file at the US Postal Service. This is called the ‘canvass’ and is required by statute. The list is also compared to the Election Registration Information Center, a private, membership-driven organization that tracks voter list integrity on a national basis.  

Ballots for absentee voting will be available starting on October 2. Voters can request an absentee ballot by completing a form online at http://www.townofcantonct.org/filestorage/19342/19345/19742/Absentee_Ballot_App_Ed-3_Nov_2020_COVID.pdf

For anyone concerned about the security of absentee voting, please also note that there are substantial penalties for false statements in absentee voting, including a one to five year prison sentence and up to $5000 in fines.  Should you have any questions about absentee voting, please contact the Registrar of Voters at 860-693-7839 or by email at rov@townofcantonct.org

 

Smoke Test

Collinsville residents may soon see smoke rising from drains and other plumbing fixtures in the area. That’s because the Town of Canton Water Pollution Control Authority (WPCA) is conducting a “smoke test” in Collinsville to identify sources of extra water that enter the sanitary sewer system. These discharges reduce sewer system capacity by nearly 50% during rainy periods, preventing new customers from connecting to the system and impairing economic development. 

The smoke test involves blowing white smoke into the sanitary sewer lines in the street and observing/recording if and where smoke leaks out. The smoke is generally harmless, odorless, non-staining, and leaves no residue.  Most residences and businesses won’t see anything. But if you do, open your windows and contact the testing field crew deployed to your street. Each member of the testing crew will carry photo identification and vehicles will be clearly labeled with the company name and phone number. Hours for testing are between 8:00 AM and 5:00 PM. Monday through Friday. Our Police and Fire Departments will be notified of all smoke test locations.

Should you have questions regarding the smoke test please contact the WPCA Superintendent Roger Ignazio at (860) 693-7867 or Rignazio@townofcantonct.org or Teri Demers, Project Manager at Woodard & Curran at (978) 482-7884.

 

The Storm

It may be some comfort that the storm hit Canton only half as hard as Avon and Burlington. Still, the number of downed trees and power lines created dangerous situations all over town. Repeated calls to Eversource for emergency repairs went unanswered until Thursday. Damage assessment personnel arrived on Friday followed by repair crews on Saturday. 

Overall, we found Eversource communication lacking and our emergency arrangements with Northeast Utilities non-existent. Our liaison had also lost power and his voice mail was always full. It will take time and effort for Eversource to regain the trust it won years after the October 2011 snowstorm.

Still, we heard or participated in many acts of local heroism. Our police, fire, EMS, and public works personnel spent hours clearing roads and handling emergencies. Our library and social services staff opened the community center for cooling, water and WiFi.  The police even found Eversource repair crews at the Shops on Wednesday and persuaded them to help with some of our emergency issues. Too bad they couldn’t stay!

Bottomline: Canton weathered this storm like many others, but wish that it didn’t have to be so hard on so many. Going forward, we have reached out to Eversource to ensure that the next storm has a less severe impact on us all.

 

Comcast Upgrades

Our Internet, cable and telephone provider has embarked on a service upgrade aimed at increasing throughput to homes and businesses in Canton. Comcast acknowledged that increased traffic due to home schooling and work had degraded service. The upgrade is expected to reduce the number of connections per communications “node” by half.  Hopefully, this will most return your Internet connection to ‘normal’ speed.



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