Kent County Commissioner President Tom Mason said running government operations in 2020 was difficult and and at times distanced the commissioners from the public, but that technology helped them to stay connected as best they could under circumstances created by the COVID-19 pandemic.
To help residents and homeowners endure through the year, the annual tax sale was cancelled and interest was forgiven on delinquent payments from March through October.
The County found savings through a hiring freeze on non-essential employees and money that went unspent for parks and recreation due to closure of facilities during the pandemic. The savings in these areas helped pay for a year-end bonus for county employees and helped subsidize a property tax credit for homeowners making less than $35,000 annually. Originally the tax credit had been for homeowners making less than $30,000 but tthe commissioners raised the threshold recently to try and help more homeowners.
Mason explains these efforts in the video below.
Early in the pandemic, and before federal and state money began to flow to the states, the commissioners used $65,000 remaining in the county’s revolving loan fund general funds to help local businesses with grants of $1,000. As 2020 came to a close nearly $1 million in state and federal money had gone to help local businesses.
In the video below Mason discusses the process of delivering the COVID-19 vaccine to Kent residents and efforts made by the commissioners to help businesses and local municipalities, with federal, state and county money as the year came to a close.
In the final clip below, Mason calls for unity and compromise in the year ahead.