One Monday December 21 the Beacon City Council passed the 2010 budget which included a 9.9% increase from 2009 for homestead properties and a 2.4% increase for non-homestead. The tax levy will be 7,581,203. The homestead tax rate will be 5.83 per 1,000 of assessed value. That translates into a home valued at 300,000 will pay $1,748, an increase over last year of $159 or $13 a month. The reason for the increase is attributed to the extreme reduction of sales tax related revenue and the city’s decision not to use any of its remaining fund balance. The city reduced operating expenses to meet the challenge. The council conducted a thorough line-by-line review of expenses and revenues with the goal of providing only essential services in Fire, Police and Public Works. In the non-essential areas, some of the reduction included to close the city’s pool, eliminate funding for private sports leagues, and to end senior programs. The 2010 budget does not contain the elimination of any full time positions or work furloughs; however, a number of vacant positions will not be refilled. The budget does not include salary increases across the board, with hopes that labor unions will understand our serious financial situation. One part time position is being eliminated. For the first time in recent budgets, the city’s fund reserve was not used to balance the budget. It is at current level of approximately 1,200,00 and remains available for any emergencies that might arise. A controversy during budget discussion regarding the possible closure of one of the city’s three firehouses was ended when the council decided to conduct a professional study to evaluate the safety risks associated with the move.
Several City Council members stated that the 9.9% increase was more than they wanted but less than what it might have been considering the extremely difficult challenges this economy presents. One council member thought the reduction in expenses did not go far enough and sited as one example that no money should be spent to maintain the Universit Settlement Camp. The council voted 5 to 1 in favor of the budget.
In addition the council identified several issues it wanted to take up with the Dutchess County Legislature, in the form of a resolution. The Council stated its support to remove the clothing sales tax exemption as early as possible. The city stands to gain approximately 150,000 of revenue. They also expressed their dissatisfaction that the County Legislature charged back money for Board of Election machine expenses costing the city 38,000. They went further to ask why the county is not helping the Beacon School System to fund a resource officer as it does in other schools.
Mayor Steve Gold