Beacon, NY: The City of Beacon City Council unanimously adopted the city’s 2021 budget on December 7th. The budget stays under the state tax cap – a first for Beacon — limiting the overall tax levy increase to taxes from new construction and a 1% increase. This permitted strategic investments in some of the areas hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic as well as community and social justice programs. Funding was allocated for a food distribution program, alternative policing, a comprehensive recreation needs study, a municipal broadband study, income-based recreation fee reductions, additional trash and recycling in city parks, et al.
Beacon benefits from the additional property tax revenue from new construction adding to the tax base, contributing more than half the increase in the overall tax levy this year, without raising taxes for existing properties. The adopted budget also increased the total tax levy by 1%, spread across all properties. The tax increase for a home with a $300,000 assessment was kept to under $40. A substantial portion of the budget will be covered this year by city reserves that have been built up for use on a “rainy day” such as a difficult economic environment.
The revised mayor’s budget included $25,000 for emergency supplemental grants to strengthen Beacon’s food distribution programs and provide groceries to hundreds of families. Another $70,000 were earmarked for alternative policing – which can be used for community mental health services. The Council dedicated $30,000 for a study of municipal broadband. The Recreation Department will issue income-based fee waivers for programs thanks to a budget dedication of $20,000. There will be $14,000 for trash and recycling collection from parks on Saturdays and Sundays. Park bathrooms will be open, maintained and cleaned regularly from March to November thanks to $25,000 in new funding. And the budget set aside $10,000 for a potential taxi voucher program to help seniors and others with needed transportation.
Mayor Kyriacou said, “This year’s budget involved greater scrutiny and community participation than any in past memory. I’d like to thank all those involved – city staff, the council and many residents who came and voiced their views. I believe this budget properly uses city reserves to keep any tax increase to a minimum, while funding needed one-time programs for these difficult times, as well as continued improvements in quality of life community programs.”