“It is an honor serving the people of Monroe,” he said in a press release. “Despite the fact that most of my second term has been primarily focused on responding to the COVID‐19 pandemic, my administration continued to make strong progress, deliver essential services, and keep our local economy strong.”
Town Democrats have yet to announce whether or not a candidate will challenge the incumbent Republican.
Kellogg said he is proud of his administration’s efforts in managing the public health emergency. It began when he declared a local civil preparedness emergency in March of 2020, once the first confirmed case of COVID‐19 was reported in Monroe.
“Without question, the number one priority is the health and safety of our community,” Kellogg said. “Priorities shifted very quickly throughout the pandemic, from state mandated lockdowns and social distancing, to testing and contact tracing, and the ongoing massive undertaking regarding mass vaccinations. I have great gratitude for our Emergency Management and Health Departments for assisting at the forefront of this response.”
Throughout the pandemic, the first selectman kept residents informed by providing weekly updates on the town’s website, social media, and through the local media. He also regularly used the town’s Code RED system to update residents by phone.
Kellogg said has not lost sight of the hardships the pandemic has caused for businesses, families and seniors. In response, his administration implemented several municipal programs.
“Our Community & Social Services staff and volunteers handed out bags of groceries to our seniors, our Senior Center workers helped make vaccination appointments, and our library staff assisted residents while running a ‘Library to Go’ curbside service,” Kellogg said.
The first selectman established the community and economic recovery coordinator position nearly a year ago, with the primary task of keeping businesses informed and helping them navigate the ever‐changing state “sector rules,” he said.
“The functions of this position are directly related to emergency response and recovery, and therefore eligible for federal reimbursement,” Kellogg said. “This position has been important, not only in reducing the spread of illness, but in expediting business re-openings, especially when they have transitioned to new ownership. We worked hard to help our Monroe businesses survive and keep them open during the pandemic.”
Providing town services
The first selectman said maintaining town services was another priority.
“I am so proud of our team,” he said. “Our police, fire and EMS rose to the challenges presented and maintained response levels. Our public works crews continued to pave, plow and clear our roads. This was most evident in our local response to Tropical Storm Isaias. Despite challenges with our utility companies, our local crews did not miss a beat.”
While many towns closed their parks due to the pandemic, Kellogg said Monroe was able to keep Wolfe Park open.
“There was ample space at Wolfe Park for residents to use the park while adhering to the social distancing rules,” he said, “and I wanted our residents to be able to use this tremendous asset.”
Record high attendance was recorded at Great Hollow Lake in Wolfe Park last season, according to Kellogg.
Meanwhile, town boards and commissions continued to hold important meetings virtually, before hosting hybrid meetings — with a mix of in-person and online attendance. Kellogg said there are projects he is anxious to see through.
“Certain projects were dependent upon other agencies and personnel and simply had to be reprioritized,” he said. “However, we did everything we could to keep them moving forward, and with the pandemic coming under control, we are really well-positioned to move ahead.”
These efforts range from new fields at Wolfe Park and public safety infrastructure improvements to online permitting to enhance customer service.
“Monroe is such a great town,” Kellogg said. “I look forward to continuing to serve as first selectman as we emerge from the isolation of COVID, continue our strong progress and hopefully return to normal very soon.”