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Town reports shows the challenges and growth of Kent in 2021

KENT — The Kent town report for 2021 was presented at an annual town meeting held on Thursday, Jan. 20, on Zoom. The audited financial report was presented as well.

The town report can be accessed online at www.townofkentct.org.

Overshadowing all of 2021 were the public health challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic and the town’s response.

On behalf of the Board of Selectmen, First Selectman Jean Speck reported that the town rolled up its sleeves to achieve one of the highest vaccination rates in the state, early on. Key to the success of the town’s pandemic response were the efforts of the Kent Volunteer Fire Department and EMS personnel, she noted.

A pilot glass recycling program at the town’s transfer station collected nearly 30 tons of glass, eliminating that tonnage from the waste stream, and redirecting it for use in construction materials. Speck described the advance as a “clear win for the planet.”

Volunteerism remains a priority in the town. Speck said that more than 100 residents serve in volunteer roles on boards, commissions, committees and subcommittees.

There was even a bit of population growth during the past year. A 1% increase brought the population up to 3,019 according to the 2020 Census.

Animal Control dealt with 12 animals during the year. Ten were dogs who were all reunited with their owners and one was a rooster who found a new home. The remaining animal was a cat whose illness required humane resolution.

The Building Department reported an increase in activity during 2021, issuing 584 building permits, up by 160 over the previous year.  Nine new dwellings were built during the year.

Vital Statistics as reported by the town clerk held steady during 2021, with 24 births, 23 deaths and 20 marriages reported.

The Kent Community Fund reported that in 2021, residents responded with appreciated generosity, providing financial help to their neighbors, supporting the Food Bank, funding scholarship assistance and enabling some elders to receive the services of visiting nurses.

For readers who crave pictures, the report is peppered with artful photos contributed by Bonnie Donzella and Casey Aakjar.

The town’s budget details are included in the annual report. The business of the town meeting is to accept the auditor’s financial review for the 2021 fiscal year.

Details of the report indicate that the town’s General Fund increased by $36,022, or 1.2% during 2021. At the end of the year, total expenditures proved less than what was appropriated. The result was that the town did not need to use any funds from the General Fund to balance out the budget.

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