Reflects higher assessments, lower rates
The Beacon City Council is expected to vote on Monday, Dec. 2, on the city’s proposed $30 million budget, which includes a general fund and separate water and sewer funds, for 2020.
Because property assessments increased by 12 percent (residential) and 7 percent (commercial), the proposed budget includes tax rate decreases of 7.5 percent and 1.2 percent, respectively.
The proposal balances $21.8 million of general fund spending with $10 million in revenues, an $11.5 million tax levy and $380,000 in fund-balance spending, which is a slight increase over this year’s allotment. Projected spending for the water ($3.8 million) and sewer ($4.4 million) funds is unchanged. The tax levy, which includes an allowable growth factor based on new properties added to the city’s tax rolls, is within the state’s 2 percent cap.
Below are some significant factors:
- Health insurance costs increased significantly, by $190,390, and continue to represent 15 percent of general fund expenses.
- Recycling disposal increased to $100,000. In recent years the city has gone from receiving $15 per ton for recyclables to paying $83 to dispose of each ton.
- Three firefighters will be hired, bringing the number of full-time Beacon Fire Department members to 16. A three-year, $537,423 federal grant will pay 75 percent of the new firefighters’ salaries in the first two years and 35 percent in the third year.
- One police officer will be added, bringing the patrol division to 30. The officer will patrol Main Street.
- A part-time Climate Smart Coordinator position is included for $9,500.
- The Beacon Free Loop bus will receive $12,100.
- Pension costs for police and firefighters increased 12 percent ($111,407), while retirement for other city employees went up 5 percent ($23,994).
- Workers’ compensation costs decreased by 3 percent ($11,891) for the city workforce, and by 9 percent ($6,409) for career and volunteer firefighters.
- The Beacon solar farm has completely offset electricity for city-owned buildings.
- Streetlight costs are down 98 percent from 2018, when the city spent $75,308. The 2019 budget included $55,000, but only $4,480 had been spent by the beginning of October as a result of the conversion to LED lights and energy produced by the solar farm.