Kyriacou delivers State of the City address

In a word, the City of Beacon is in “excellent” shape. That was the theme of Mayor Lee Kyriacou’s State of the City address on Monday (Jan. 30).

Mayor Lee Kyriacou delivered his State of the City address on Monday (Jan. 30).Photo by J. Simms
Mayor Lee Kyriacou delivered his State of the City address on Monday, Jan. 30. (Photo by J. Simms)

The 25-minute speech was the first of its kind during Kyriacou’s tenure as mayor and covered his three years in office.

Kyriacou noted that the COVID-19 pandemic hit less than three months after he was sworn in. While the City Council spent time early in 2020 creating the Main Street Access Committee and considering firehouse consolidation, in March the pandemic and ensuing shutdown changed everything.

As mayor, Kyriacou said he had to shift “to providing regular broadcasts on COVID counts and precautions, keeping City Hall and city services operating safely, avoiding a total Main Street shutdown and urging everyone to do their part and stick together.” At the same time, a national conversation about civil rights and policing began after George Floyd was murdered by a Minneapolis police officer in May 2020.

“During these difficult times, everyone did their part; we stuck together,” Kyriacou said. “As a community, we have largely come through these trials better — not without loss, sacrifice and government help — but also with accomplishing long-term improvements in how we live and work, how we treat one another and how we ensure that no one is left behind.”

From there, Kyriacou provided updates across a number of fronts.

Municipal finances

Kyriacou called Beacon’s financial position “the best in memory.” He spoke about negotiating a 10-year sales tax-sharing agreement with Dutchess County that will net the city $20 million. Property tax rates are at their lowest in at least a decade, he said, “and I am committed to reducing them further to ensure that increasing property values don’t increase our taxes.”

The mayor also touted the $115 million that new construction has added to Beacon’s tax rolls, which he said has created revenue without increasing tax bills.

Public safety

For the first time ever, the city included $200,000 in its 2022 budget to hire Ambulnz, a private ambulance firm. That funding is part of the 2023 budget, as well. The city also hired paid, or “career,” firefighters, ensuring that two firefighters are on duty at all times.

Construction is expected to begin this spring on the city’s centralized fire station, ending two decades of consolidation studies and debate. Kyriacou also praised the hire of Lashaveous Dicker, a mental health case worker who has worked with Beacon police since 2021.


Kyriacou said that Beacon’s infrastructure — 55 miles of roads and sidewalks, underground water and sewer pipes, drinking water and wastewater treatment plants and parks and recreation facilities, among other assets — “is in the best shape it has been in decades.”

This spring, a full rehabilitation project, including repaving and new sidewalks, will begin on Fishkill/Teller Avenue. The city has secured federal and state funding allowing the $10 million project to be undertaken at almost no municipal cost.

Last year, the city repaved Main Street from end to end “for the first time in decades,” adding safety features such as corner “bump-outs” and new pedestrian crossings, Kyriacou said.

Quality of life

The mayor called Beacon a “leader in affordable housing,” noting that, in Dutchess County, only Poughkeepsie has more below-market-rate apartments. He cited the sale of the city-owned lot next to City Hall, which added 72 affordable units through construction of the West End Lofts. (The city sold the 3.14-acre lot to developer Ken Kearney in 2016, when Randy Casale was mayor. Kyriacou, then a member of the City Council, voted in favor of the deal.)

Kyriacou also spoke about “tighter” zoning on Main Street, where developers must now provide a “public benefit,” such as publicly accessible green space or added affordable housing, to build a four-story structure, and along Fishkill Creek and the Hudson River, where new development must be at least 25 percent commercial.

Climate change

In 2020, Beacon became one of two cities in the state to achieve silver status as a Climate Smart Community. The city has also enacted a “green-fleet” policy that is adding electric and hybrid vehicles for municipal workers.

All city buildings use 100 percent renewable electricity, the bulk of it generated at the 20-acre solar farm at the former Beacon landfill site, near Dennings Point. In addition, the City Council is considering legislation that would beat the state’s timeline for transitioning new construction to all-electric, the mayor said.

Good government

Kyriacou mentioned the hire in 2020 of City Administrator Chris White as a component of “a professionally run city — one that uses taxpayer funds effectively, that empowers department managers and develops our employees.”

Kyriacou said that White has negotiated fair, multi-year agreements with the unions that represent city staff, firefighters and police officers, providing predictability and lower legal costs. The city has also worked to increase diversity, including in the police and fire departments, and now recognizes Juneteenth, the federal holiday commemorating the end of slavery, as a paid day off for all employees.

Behind The Story

Type: News

News: Based on facts, either observed and verified directly by the reporter, or reported and verified from knowledgeable sources.

Simms has covered Beacon for The Current since 2015. He studied journalism at Appalachian State University and has reported for newspapers in North Carolina and Maryland. Location: Beacon. Languages: English. Area of expertise: Beacon politics

One reply on “Beacon Mayor: City in ‘Excellent’ Shape”

  1. Here’s hoping Beacon’s excellent shape continues to get better year by year. To borrow a saying, “It takes a village…” and leadership with integrity. Keep up the good work, Mayor Kyriacou.

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