Participatory budgeting
The Beacon city administrator has recommended that the City Council spend the $10,000 set aside for “participatory budgeting” projects on repairs to the skateboard park at Memorial Park. The project was one of four proposals made to the council on Dec. 4 by Beacon High School students.

City Administrator Chris White told the council on Monday (Dec. 18) that the Highway Department could repave the 90-by-90-foot park when it mills and paves streets in the fall of 2024, “so that it’s not just a patch but it really holds.” The city also will then have money for rebuilding ramps and purchasing new elements for skateboarders and BMX bike riders to use.

White said that, after consulting with police, Beacon does not have an area of enough concern to install emergency blue-light phones, which was another student proposal. In addition, 911 operators can locate lost callers by tracking their phones, he noted.

A third proposal called for a pollinator garden near the Recreation Department offices on West Center Street, but White said there is already a 300-square-foot pollinator garden there. There is room to expand, however, and that will be explored when improvements are made to South Avenue Park next year.

The final student proposal was to distribute condoms in public buildings. The school board has also received a proposal from students to allow the Beacon High School nurse to distribute condoms and is working on a policy. “We think that’s probably the better way to go forward on that,” White said. “We don’t have any public health staff on our staff and it should be supported by someone that can wrap it around with comprehensive education.”

Reparation remedies
The council unanimously approved a resolution that urged Gov. Kathy Hochul to sign a bill creating a task force to study “reparation remedies” for the descendants of enslaved people. The governor signed the bill the following day; the commission will issue a report with recommended measures to counter the historical effects of discrimination.

Staff-retention raises
After adopting the 2024 budget a week earlier, the council on Monday approved agreements with the unions that represent municipal workers, police officers and firefighters to implement $1,000 salary increases for all city employees. The votes were unanimous for the municipal workers and firefighters, but Justice McCray and Paloma Wake abstained from voting on the agreement with the police.

Salary increases in 2026
After a public hearing, the council approved salary increases for its members and the mayor, although the effective date was delayed two years, to Jan. 1, 2026. The six council members elected in November 2025 will be the first to receive a $2,000 raise, to $11,000 annually. Mayor Lee Kyriacou’s salary will increase by $5,000, to $30,000 annually, halfway through his current four-year term.

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

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