It is an understatement to say that 2020 was a rough year. We’ve never seen anything like this pandemic, and hopefully never will again. Despite these uncertain times, I believe there are still many things to be thankful for in St. Charles County as we start this new year.
I’m grateful, and I hope you are, too, for how the many facets of our community respond to and manage the pandemic: Our amazing healthcare workers who have been on the frontlines providing exceptional care since day one…our teachers and school districts making certain students receive an excellent education whether they opt for in-person or virtual learning...our businesses and restaurants for pivoting their services and thinking outside the box to meet customer needs…our essential and public-facing workers, including County and local government employees, for providing outstanding service in difficult circumstances…our generous and resilient residents for supporting their neighbors and for following safety precautions.
My list wouldn’t be complete without acknowledging the extraordinary work of the St. Charles County Department of Public Health. Since before COVID-19 first hit our county in March and in the many months since, staff have worked fervently to provide testing and education, answer questions, manage quarantines, track data, and are now working to help roll out COVID-19 vaccinations in accordance with the state’s vaccination plan.
We’ve been very fortunate to maintain a strong economy during the pandemic. Nearly 10,000 employers, from entrepreneurs to global companies, are located in St. Charles County. Our unemployment continues to be lower than other areas of the state and nation, and despite the pandemic, the County reports year-end totals for housing and commercial construction permits are well ahead of 2019. The estimated cost of construction exceeded last year in all categories as well.
Thanks to county residents who participated in the 2020 Census, St. Charles County may see an increase in federal funding in 2021 and beyond. The county had the highest response rate of Missouri’s 115 counties at 81.6 percent, a rise from 77.3 percent for the 2010 census. Census results are used to determine the number of congressional seats for each state and to distribute more than $675 billion in federal funds, grants and other support to states, counties and communities for schools, hospitals, roads, public works and other vital programs.
There are so many other things we can be grateful for – our wonderful County parks, road infrastructure, nonprofits that help those in need… St. Charles County is more than 400,000 strong, and while we may have different views and perspectives on how to handle the pandemic, I truly believe we ultimately want what’s best for each other. Let’s continue to work together and look out for each other in 2021.
What are you grateful for in our community? I’d love to hear: firstname.lastname@example.org.