City of Beacon's Earlier Response To Aging Infrastructure Of Water and Sewer Pipes

Aging Infrastructure At Local Levels

Prior to today’s water main break, Beacon had a sewer main break on February 24, 2019, as first reported by the Highlands Current, releasing thousands of gallons of partially treated sewage near Fishkill Creek in Beacon, according to state officials mentioned in the article. Drinking water supplies were not impacted, according to the article.

In May of 2018 a sewer line broke under Main Street and Tioronda Avenue in Beacon, causing waste to back up into the basements of some shops, and the closure of Main Street in that section during repair.

According to reporter Jeff Simms of the Highlands Current in a March 15, 2019 article: “Aging infrastructure — in many cases dating back a century or longer — is a major challenge for municipalities around the country. Because miles of pipe rest, in some cases, a dozen feet or more underground, repairs or replacement is expensive. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimates it will cost $271 billion over the next 25 years to upgrade the nation’s wastewater infrastructure. And, according to the U.S. Conference of Mayors, 95 percent of that spending will be at the local level.”

2019 Investment Planned For Beacon Water and Sewer Infrastructure Upgrades

On March 4th, 2019, Beacon’s City Council voted to approve monies being spent on upgrading water and sewer systems.

During the March 4 City Council meeting, City Administrator Anthony Ruggiero delivered a report on actions the City of Beacon is taking to repair February’s sewer main break. He also indicated that precautionary steps would be taken, with the city preemptively inspecting more pipe. From his report, for those who like details on how something is fixed, this a breakdown of what went on underground after the break. At ground-level, it’s easy to see a road get split, and then patched. But what goes on underground? Anthony breaks it out:


Tam Enterprises was called in to install a bypass pump to relieve the sewer main to stop the overflow, which it did. City staff excavated the main, and found the top half of the pipe had eroded, leaving the top section of the pipe brittle. We determined that at this point they bypass through the night and requested that Tam return the next day and evaluate the condition of the pipe and begin emergency repair.

“Tam televised the section of the pipe that was being bypassed, and found remaining sections of the pipe in the same condition as the collapse, so upon further inspection it was determined that three manhole sections were deteriorated, so it looked like it was a larger section, which we were afraid of.

“Currently Tam is in the process of replacing 100 feet of the 14” pipe with 15” plastic sewer drain pipe. So we’re upgrading it to modern standards. They have been alternating use of the bypass by replacing the sewer main. The Water Department Staff has replaced 25 feet of 4” cast-iron pipe with the new 4” ductile iron pipe and replaced the water connections to 150 Wilson Street. Tam is setting up a road bridge at the intersection of Round Tree and Liberty to allow traffic flow.

“Once the new pipe is installed and the manholes are set, the remaining 14” ACP will be slip-lined to prevent any further collapse. Since this is not a standard size, we’ve had to order this. It is a three-week lead time, which we are already one week in. So hopefully in the next couple of weeks we will have this material.

“Also, I’ve instructed the Water and Sewer Department for any of this type of ACP pipe that we may have out there for us to TV to see how they are holding up, as a precaution. We are taking immediate actions and steps on this, and it will be resolved in the next couple weeks.”


Mayor Randy Casale Says Sewer and Water Main Breaks Not Unique To Beacon

After the City Administrator gave his report at the March 4 City Council meeting, the Mayor contributed to the conversation as monies are spent to upgrade aging infrastructure:


“It is not unique to see a pipe collapse in any one of the communities. We are upgrading and we have spent a lot of money on our sewer system over the last seven or eight years, and we will continue to spend that money to upgrade the sewer and water system. We are putting an Asset Management Plan together, which will hopefully put us in a position to do some planning ahead to be job-ready to get grants to upgrade them.

“This is not unique to any old city along the Hudson River. If anybody believes it is, they are living in Fairy Land. Read the Newburgh paper, see how many collapses they had right across the river. Read the Poughkeepsie paper. Read down in Yonkers. It happens all over, from New York City to Albany because everyone has an old infrastructure because the taxpayers couldn’t afford to dig up every pipe and put new pipe. They’ve been in the ground for 100 years.

“We’re working at it. As we get more income, we’ll do a better job at it. And we will continue to work at it. I want the public to know that. If they think that this situation was done through development, the last I looked at this City, there hasn’t been a lot of development up in that area.

“I know people want to blame it on development, but development hasn’t caused the problem. What has caused the problem is that the pipes have been in the ground for over 100 years, and nobody has put money into upgrading the infrastructure anywhere, throughout the United States. It’s one of the places the government puts the least amount of money - into infrastructure improvement. Pick up the national papers across the country. It’s not unique to this city.”


Application Opportunity: Home Repair and Renovation Programs from Rebuilding Together Dutchess County

Photo Credit:  Rebuilding Together's  website.

Photo Credit: Rebuilding Together's website.

Homeowners who live in their homes (aka owner-occupied homes) in Dutchess County and who meet certain income requirements have the opportunity to apply for home repair and renovation projects from Rebuilding Together Dutchess County (RTDC). The deadline is Sunday, September 30, 2018 to be considered for 2019 Rebuilding Day Programs, so act fast! After applications are evaluated, decisions will be made after February 2019.

Making homes "warm, safe, dry and independent" are the main goals of the program. If you meet certain requirements and are considered for participation in the program, a staff member or volunteer from RTDC will come to your home to discuss the program with you and evaluate the repairs needed. That's just one step of the qualification process, however, and doesn't mean that you've been awarded the repairs.

You can find the application online here. We've screenshotted the income limits from the application to make those easy to see as well, as you consider the program. Good luck!

Photo Credit: Screenshot taken from the RTDC online application

Photo Credit: Screenshot taken from the RTDC online application

The Storm Photos - Macrobursts and Tornadoes Everywhere Ripping Down Trees, Cutting Power

The fire in this picture is on 9D, near Stony Kill Farm. A transformer exploded on the road.  Photo Credit: A Little Beacon Blog - photos taken from various sources, noted below.

The fire in this picture is on 9D, near Stony Kill Farm. A transformer exploded on the road.
Photo Credit: A Little Beacon Blog - photos taken from various sources, noted below.

Turns out that a sick day, with three kids in quarantine after a diagnosis of strep throat, was a blessing in disguise. A major storm hit Beacon (and the Hudson Highlands, NYC, CT, PA, and NJ) at around 4 pm on Tuesday, May 15. Weather watchers were expecting rain, but when warnings of hail and high winds came across the TV, severe-weather veterans took to their yards to bring in potted plants and lower the basketball hoops. My neighbor is such a veteran weather watcher that he warned me of imminent hail before I embarked on a family walk to Key Food to fill up the fridge after my little ones ate through everything. An hour after returning, my phone vibrated its insistent SOS call, which we usually only hear for Amber Alerts. Only this time, it said "Tornado in your area. Take shelter."

"This was the storm rolling in! Hudson Valley Weather called this photo a gust front!"  Photo Credit: Sheila Lassen, Mountainville, NY (Part of Cornwall)

"This was the storm rolling in! Hudson Valley Weather called this photo a gust front!"
Photo Credit: Sheila Lassen, Mountainville, NY (Part of Cornwall)

I gathered my brood, and we went straight to the basement. Thank goodness that for Mother's Day I treated myself to a bunch of new flashlights and lanterns. After a brief power outage from our winter blizzards, I realized I had no working flashlights anymore. Normally at this time of day, my husband would be working in New York City, but on Tuesday, he was headed home early (he'd been recovering from his own bout with strep) and was on 9D when the rains, macrobursts and tornadoes hit. The winds flattened trees around him and literally ripped through other trees.

At least three fatalities were blamed on the winds, which brought trees down, right onto people in cars (see details in this Highlands Current article). Three tornadoes went through Connecticut, and at least four hit New York (including one in Newburgh) bringing winds between 75 and 100 mph, spanning paths of several miles (see a photo here from Central Hudson). Some of the worst damage was caused by macrobursts that ripped through Dutchess County and other counties. Macrobursts possess wind speeds of 100 mph or more, and travel in straight lines for miles, unlike tornadoes, which have rotating, swirling, damaging winds. Central Hudson also confirmed that 1,000 lightning strikes happened per hour: “Storm with winds up to 78 MPH + 1,000 lightning strikes per hour has interrupted service to more than 72,000 customers.” Dutchess County Executive Marcus Molinaro declared a State of Emergency, and Governor Andrew Cuomo declared a State of Emergency and deployed 125 National Guard members to help with the storm's effects.

On Wednesday, Central Hudson stated that many workers were on duty to clear trees (from street scenes like these) and restore power: “Approximately 185 line workers together with nearly 180 tree personnel are clearing roads and restoring power in our service territory today. Additionally, more than 270 mutual aid line workers are anticipated to arrive throughout the day.” See Central Hudson's trucks here restoring power.

By Thursday, that number grew: “A field force more than 1,000 strong is at work today clearing roads, responding to emergencies and restoring electric service.” They noted: “Mutual aid crews from as far as Niagara Falls, Michigan and Vermont have arrived.”

The Stony Kill wagon, a reliable sight on route 9D promoting the Open Barn, was turned over. Amazing that it did not get torn to smithereens! The wagon has since been righted back up.  Photo Credit: Katie Hellmuth Martin

The Stony Kill wagon, a reliable sight on route 9D promoting the Open Barn, was turned over. Amazing that it did not get torn to smithereens! The wagon has since been righted back up.
Photo Credit: Katie Hellmuth Martin

In Wallkill, my assistant was working on a project with me via email, and the next minute she was MIA, as the wind had ripped open a tree in her yard, and it tore apart a newly completed shed at her neighbor's house.

Castle Point, which is located along the Hudson River just north of Beacon, is the home of many families as well as the VA Hudson Valley Health Care system. Macrobursts ripped through the area. My friend's wife works at the VA hospital, and he was waiting for her to come home, as it's a 10-minute drive. She did not get home for several hours, after being stuck in Castle Point as it dealt with trees and debris that had been tossed around by wind.

Beacon school teacher Brian Antalek, who lives in Castle Point, was quoted in the Poughkeepsie Journal as having to park his car at neighboring Stony Kill Foundation and walk two miles to his home in Castle Point. One man who I encountered at the grocery store told me about the huge oak tree in his yard that blew into the next yard. Shingles and pieces of housing landed in his yard, and he could only surmise that they were from Newburgh, as they didn't match anything nearby.

A map of a tornado path in Saugerties shows a tornado traveling across the Hudson River.  Photo Credit: National Weather Service via  Hudson Valley Weather .

A map of a tornado path in Saugerties shows a tornado traveling across the Hudson River.
Photo Credit: National Weather Service via Hudson Valley Weather.

Newburgh received extensive damage, and is still recovering and still has areas without power. According to Eastern Dutchess Fire and Rescue: "Electrical substations which supplied power to the City of Newburgh sustained heavy damage requiring extensive repair. It is very possible that vast areas of the City may experience many days without electricity." Residents are boiling their water and those with gym memberships were using the facilities to shower. I got a call from a sales person living in Newburgh on Friday trying to set up a meeting, which she couldn't quite commit to, saying "I can't see anyone like this, I have to wait until the power comes back on."

Stony Kill Farm and Common Ground Farm in Fishkill suffered many trees down. A fire erupted on 9D near the farm (in the picture below with red bathroom barn). A transformer had exploded and caught fire on 9D. Stacey from Stony Kill Foundation reports that all of the farm's animals were unharmed and OK.

We had been to Stony Kill and Common Ground a week prior, on school field trips to see Common Ground Farm's pride and glory, the thriving tomatoes under the tarp greenhouses they built - which were destroyed by the winds.

An electrical fire blazing on 9D, in front of Stony Kill Farm. This view is of their bathroom facing 9D. The fire was not in any of Stony Kill's buildings and all of their farm animals are OK.  Photo Credit:  Common Ground Farm

An electrical fire blazing on 9D, in front of Stony Kill Farm. This view is of their bathroom facing 9D. The fire was not in any of Stony Kill's buildings and all of their farm animals are OK.
Photo Credit: Common Ground Farm

The greenhouse that protects the fledgling tomatoes at Common Ground Farm.  Photo Credit: Common Ground Farm

The greenhouse that protects the fledgling tomatoes at Common Ground Farm.
Photo Credit: Common Ground Farm

In Dutchess Junction, a tree fell on a power line. That caused an electrical fire for about 45 minutes until Central Hudson came and turned off the power, according to Maria Garcia Mojica, who submitted the picture below.

An electrical fire in Dutchess Junction.  Photo Credit: Maria Garcia Mojica  

An electrical fire in Dutchess Junction.
Photo Credit: Maria Garcia Mojica 

The interior designer Ryan Samuelson experienced severe damage to his home on Washington Avenue in Beacon while he was in the basement. "I was just coincidentally down in the basement grabbing something. I didn’t even know about the storm warnings. Then I felt and heard a loud crunch and knew something pretty serious just happened."

Ryan Samuelson's home on Washington Avenue in Beacon.  Photo Credit: Ryan Samuelson

Ryan Samuelson's home on Washington Avenue in Beacon.
Photo Credit: Ryan Samuelson

In Fishkill, Route 52 was brought to a standstill, contributing to the traffic blockade that delayed people for hours trying to get into or out of Beacon. The CVS pictured below is the one on Route 52 near Love Nails. These photos were submitted by Kathy Harrison.

Many construction projects are in progress here in Beacon. The most recent are those on 9D which cleared parcels of trees to prepare for the construction of new apartment buildings. One of two trees left on one property blew over (doesn't seem to be dead yet, however). Fencing blocking the other construction project blew away. A reproduction of the children's book, The Lorax, which is about preserving trees, had been posted on the fence in a statement about the removal of the trees. That portion of the fence remained through the wind blast. The fencing destroyed in the storm has since been replaced.

In Beacon, many trees came down. This yellow house on Verplanck is a known abandoned house, which is rumored to be lost in bank foreclosure paperwork. Just who will haul away this tree may not be straightforward.

Abandoned house on Verplanck.  Photo Credit: Katie Hellmuth Martin

Abandoned house on Verplanck.
Photo Credit: Katie Hellmuth Martin

A tree blown down on Willow Street by the storm blocked this alternate backroads artery for two days after the storm. With 9D already limited by planned construction to finish NYSDOT ADA curb-cut ramps between Main Street and I-84, side streets like Willow, Orchard Place, Dutchess Terrace and others become back-road alternates. This made getting into or out of Beacon even more difficult. This tree below was cleared swiftly on Friday.

This Tree, down and blocking Willow Street, was Cleared away two days after the storm.  Photo Credit:  Dana Devine O'Malley

This Tree, down and blocking Willow Street, was Cleared away two days after the storm.
Photo Credit: Dana Devine O'Malley

The macrobursts took out bits and pieces of structures in their path, making some of the destruction seem random. A brick wall and bush were taken out at this house on Rombout Avenue.

A house on Rombout Avenue.  Photo Credit: Katie Hellmuth Martin

A house on Rombout Avenue.
Photo Credit: Katie Hellmuth Martin

The small Fanny Fay Girl Scout House, at the end of Rombout Avenue, is surrounded by trees. We headed over to check out if any had fallen. This one did, but fell away from the house, further into the woods.

This Tree uprooted at the end of rombout avenue, at the Fanny Fay Girl Scout House.  Photo Credit: Katie Hellmuth Martin

This Tree uprooted at the end of rombout avenue, at the Fanny Fay Girl Scout House.
Photo Credit: Katie Hellmuth Martin

Please note that most businesses in Beacon are now open! Several opened soon after the storm. Some parts of Main Street were without power, while others retained it. Main Street Beacon is back in business.

Statistics on a Few Tornadoes in New York

While the macrobursts, with winds of 100 mph and higher, caused major widespread damage, here are some statistics on the recorded tornadoes.

Ulster County
Saugerties, NY

Rating: EF1
Estimated Peak Winds: 90 mph
Path Length: 5 miles
Path Width: 528 feet (0.1 mile)
Start Time: 2:29 pm
Location: The tornado path started along Route 212 between Woodstock and Saugerties and moved east through the western and southern part of Saugerties before crossing the Hudson River and ending in Tivoli, NY, just south of Clermont State Historic Site.

Orange County
Newburgh, NY

Rating: EF0
Estimated Peak Winds: 75 mph
Path Length: 0.62 miles
Path Width: 50 yards
Start Time: 4:16 pm
Location: Originated near Albany Post Road, south of Bennett Road. The tornado lifted near the Hudson River behind Susan Drive.

Putnam County, NY Tornadoes
Kent, NY

Rating: EF2
Estimated Peak Winds: 115 mph
Path Length: 100 yards
Path Width: 1.14 miles
Start Time: 4:29 pm
Location: Originated near apartments on Route 52, continuing along Route 52 before lifting near Town Road

Patterson, NY
Rating: EF1
Estimated Peak Winds: 100 mph
Path Length: 75 yards
Path Width: 2.89 miles
Start Time: 4:32 pm
Location: Originated along Route 22 north of Haviland Hollow Road, lifting near the intersection of East Branch Road and Fairfield Drive.

What was your story during the storm? Please share it in the comments below.

The Lofts at Beacon Falls - Gorgeous Apartments in the Heart of Beacon in a Historic District (Sponsored)

lofts at beacon falls MAIN.jpg

The very first pioneers to The Lofts at Beacon Falls, the new apartment complex located in Beacon's Historic District at 50, 52, and 54 Leonard Street (between Grove and Amity), were true out-of-towners: Many of them were parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles, of couples who had moved to Beacon with their young families to start their new lives as Beaconites. The Lofts at Beacon Falls are located on the mountain side of Fishkill Creek, just up the road from Dogwood and The Roundhouse. If you sit on the benches across from Wickham Solid Wood Studio and what used to be The Hop, you are looking right at them, though they are hidden behind trees (see the picture below). Current residents moved from Florida, Michigan, North Carolina and other far-off states to settle in here and live within walking distance of Beacon's businesses. Small city living has a strong appeal, and The Lofts at Beacon Falls are delivering on that.

lofts at Beacon falls front buildings 1000.jpg

The Historic District

Because the Lofts at Beacon Falls are nestled into Beacon's Historic District, the newly designed buildings needed to conform to certain standards to keep with a historic look. You'll notice similarities between The Roundhouse complex and The Lofts at Beacon Falls on Leonard Street, with the gray-brown coloring, brick and black trim on the exterior. According to Bob Murphy of the Beacon Historical Society, the property was part of the Matteawan Manufacturing Company; by the mid-1930s, it was the Braendly Dye Works.


Insider Tip: If you sit on the benches across from Wickham Studio or the former Hop to reflect on things on the Fishkill Creek, you can see parts of The Lofts at Beacon Falls through the trees.

Another Insider Tip: Leonard Street is one-way if you are driving towards the Lofts at Beacon Falls, so you'll need to take a right on Amity to drive around the block to come into the entrance down Grove Street, which turns into Leonard Street.

lofts at Beacon falls long bridge 1800.jpg

Modern Apartment Life in Beacon's Historic District

Inside, you'll find modern design and amenities of apartment living. Designer kitchens and open floor plans make for a spacious feel in the one- and two-bedroom apartments, trimmed with granite counters, laminate wood floors, and Edison-style lighting. A washer and dryer come with each unit, making it super convenient to plan a cozy day of laundry, tucked inside an apartment surrounded by the wooded landscape of the Fishkill Creek.

lofts at beacon falls interior collage.jpeg

Walk outside of the apartment complex and follow East Main down to Main Street at Beacon's famed Dummy Light, and you're just about at Beacon's East End, an area dominated by more former factory buildings with renovations under way, making room for more art galleries, boutiques and eateries to frequent. Numerous boutiques, including Style Storehouse, Kaight, King + Curated, Lambs Hill Boutique, and more, cater to a variety of personal styles. Need something as specific as a brow wax? Find it at The Blushery, at the T where Main Street meets the end of East Main - just one of the niche storefronts available to Beaconites.

lofts at Beacon falls kitchen 1000.jpg

The Perks

A full workout center is located in the heart of the apartment community for anyone who needs easy access to a quickie workout on the machines. Residents may even bring in their personal trainer for a guided workout. Staying fit is certainly do-able from this location, with access to trailheads on Mount Beacon, as well as nearby fitness centers on Main Street like Zoned Fitness (formerly Hudson Valley Fitness), and the Shambhala Wellness Center and Live Your Life Gear.

The planners at The Lofts at Beacon Falls made certain to build pet-friendliness into their offerings, allowing animals as residents for an additional fee. No one's circling the neighborhood looking for parking, because one spot is allotted to each unit, and additional parking spots are available. Security is of top importance, so there is surveillance inside and outside, as well as keyless entry that can even work from a smartphone. The full list of what's included can be found here on their Amenities page.

lofts at beacon falls amenities collage 1000.jpg

Pricing for 1- & 2-Bedroom Apartments

There are 78 apartments available at The Lofts at Beacon Falls. The community of already-established residents is waiting to grow. Monthly rental prices range from $1,800 to $2,700, with spaces ranging from 800 to 1,400 square feet. Some apartments boast an office, a feature that has attracted people who work from home as well as commuters who want to set up a workspace in their home.

lofts at Beacon falls dining room 1000.jpg

About the Developer, James M. Bello

James founded James M. Bello and Associates, his family-run business, in 1985. In the decades since, he has employed several hundred subcontractors to design and build homes, renovations, and light commercial projects. A native of Brooklyn, James and his wife have lived in Dutchess County for the last 18 years, and currently reside in Hopewell Junction. Says James: "We noticed a big change in Beacon and we wanted to be part of it. We want to offer value to some of the people who live in Beacon, or are moving here."

lofts at Beacon falls under bridge 1000.jpg

Looking to Move? View an Apartment

Dorothy Bizzoco
Call: (845) 765-8044

You can view the apartments any time, just contact Dorothy Bizzoco, who would love to show you around. Who knows, maybe you'll be moved in in time for their Christmas Party this December. Bring the eggnog from your kitchen down to the party!

Publisher's Note: This has article has been produced as Branded Content, and was written in partnership as an advertisement for The Lofts At Beacon Falls. It is through sponsorships like this one that A Little Beacon Blog can continue to bring you coverage of Beacon and beyond. Please see our Editorial Policy for more information. Thank you for supporting businesses who support us!

Condo Insurance or Homeowners Insurance? A First Time Homebuyer's Experience


After spending my entire life living in rented apartments, 2017 was the year that I became a homeowner! Back in the spring, I went to an open house for a two-bedroom, two-bathroom condominium that was move-in ready. I made an offer two days later. With all the excitement that surrounds buying a new home, there were some things I overlooked - like insurance. Oh yeah, I need that, don’t I? When you rent an apartment, you could have renters insurance, but it’s not required. I never had renters insurance, but now that I’m buying a home, this is necessary. I've seen so many commercials on TV - with the little green guy, with Flo, and with the guy who played Jay Jonah Jameson in the Spiderman movies - but how do I know which insurance to go with?? Where do I even start?

Wait - Homeowners Insurance for a Condo?

And then I remembered our friends at Antalek & Moore! Through them, I learned that I don’t need homeowners insurance, I need condo insurance - there is a difference. Like homeowners policies, condo policies typically provide structural coverage for a condo’s structure, personal property, and liability. The structural coverage they offer, however, is usually different from that provided by homeowners policies, because condo owners don’t own freestanding houses.

Condo Insurance Varies and is Good for Non-FreeStanding Structures

The protections that condo insurance policies provide for condos’ structures vary. Some policies don’t include much protection for a condo’s structure, while other policies afford a lot of coverage for cabinets, appliances, plumbing, wiring, flooring, and similar items. Whatever isn’t covered by a condo association’s master policy ought to be insured with a condo policy. Thus, a condo owner normally needs to purchase much less coverage if their condo association has an all-in master policy than if the association maintains a bare walls-in master policy.

The Insurance Bundling Effect

I connected with Terry Williams from Antalek & Moore and suggested that I bundle condo insurance with our current auto policy (I was purchasing the condo with my boyfriend). Not only was Terry easily available by phone and email to answer any questions we had, she was involved in the closing process. She was able to negotiate an even better annual rate than what was originally quoted to us. She was even okay with me dropping into their office for a quick “Hello!” just so I could meet the face behind the emails and phone calls. After we closed, she was still involved with making sure we were getting the best coverage possible, while dropping other coverage we were paying for that we didn't need. 

Choosing to go with Antalek & Moore when buying my first home was a great decision and I’m happy to have someone like Terry working with me and looking out for our best interests.

Antalek & Moore is a sponsor of A Little Beacon Blog, and this article was created with them as part of our Sponsor Spotlight program. It is with the support of businesses like this, that A Little Beacon Blog can bring you coverage of news, local happenings and events. Thank you for supporting businesses who support us! If you would like to become a Sponsor or Community Partner, please click here for more information.

Homeowners Courted With Financing For Energy Improvements From Energize NY/Beacon

Beacon's Conservation Advisory Committee (CAC) is charged with advising the Planning Board and the City Council of Beacon, NY, on matters affecting the preservation, development and use of the natural and manmade features in the City. This week, the CAC is co-sponsoring an event from Energize Beacon,  a program to help homeowners make intelligent decisions about home improvements that increase comfort and reduce energy waste, while saving money on utility and heating (fuel oil or propane) bills.

The event is Tuesday, March 28, at 6:30 pm at Scenic Hudson's River Center (aka the Red Barn) next to Long Dock Park, just south of the Metro-North train station. Energize Beacon is funded by a New York State grant and a broader program, Energize NY, which was created in 2011 and recently launched coverage in Beacon. Its purpose is to reduce the carbon footprint of homes and businesses and save people money at the same time. The Energize programs accomplish this by sending Independent Energy Coaches to homes for free assessments of ways to improve the homes' retention of heat and cool air during the appropriate seasons.

To qualify for financing, "savings [from recommended improvements] must outweigh the cost of the energy upgrade work proposed," says Alice Quinn, Energize NY's Residential Director for the Hudson Valley. "Homeowners get a free/reduced-cost comprehensive home energy assessment done by a BPI-certified contractor, who will run a blower door test and check your home for leaks and inefficiencies in your insulation, air sealing, mechanics (like boilers) and health and safety issues. The contractor will provide the homeowner with a report that outlines all of their findings from the assessment and how much it will cost."

From there, says Quinn, financing options may be available through On-Bill Recovery or a Smart Energy Loan. Windows seem to be the first changes to come to people's minds, according to Tom Bregman, a senior consultant with Energize NY, quoted in a Highlands Current article, but windows aren't usually the most efficient replacement - at least to qualify with this program. Quinn agrees: "Windows are tricky; they are expensive to replace and not the best 'bang for your buck' because the R-value of brand new, super 'efficient' windows is still so low that the savings you would get from insulating your attic, for example, is way higher than what you would get from replacing windows." Seems hard to imagine, especially if you live in one of Beacon's 95-year-old homes. (A familiar scene: sitting in front of a window that lets gusts of cold air blow down your neck as you try to relax on the couch.) It might be the right time to take advantage of the true assessments that Energize Beacon is offering, and really find out where your home could be efficiently improved.

If you're ready to make the move on financing, then Energize NY has a list of "home performance contractors" that you can choose from. "We at Energize took that a step further and vetted those who do Home Performance work in the region of the communities we work in and created a list called our Energize Comfort Corps," offers Quinn.

You can learn more about the Energize Beacon program here.