Beacon's City-Wide Yard Sale Is Back for 2019

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Now is your chance to kick your spring cleaning into high gear! It’s time to clear out the attic, basement, junk drawers and whatever other items you’re willing to let go of, and see them off to a new home. The City of Beacon is once again hosting their City-Wide Yard Sale held on Saturday, June 8, 2019, from 9 am to 3 pm. There is still time to register!

Get The Word Out

You can advertise your sale through the City of Beacon ahead of time to get the word out and gather some interest. List your yard sale for $10 or talk to your neighbors and list three for $20. Your sale will be listed by street address. This list will be available to shoppers on the morning of the sale at the Recreation Center as well as online for the weeks leading up to the sale. You will also receive a City-Wide Yard Sale sign to mark your house on the day of the sale. The City-Wide Yard Sale will be locally advertised in print and online by the Recreation Department.

No Yard? No Problem!

Not enough stuff to set up a whole sale? Consider being part of the sale at the Beacon Recreation Center this year. The city will have space and an 8-foot table waiting for you at the Recreation Center. Bring a chair, an umbrella and your wares for sale and the center, at 23 West Center Street, will host a flea market. All this for $15 and your sale will be part of our list. Use the same form to sign up.

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Latest Changes to Draft Legislation for Airbnb in Beacon, NY (Short-Term Rental)

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The Beacon City Council has made changes to the proposed legislation it is currently considering, to regulate short-term rentals by homeowners, commonly referred to as Airbnb-ing one's home. These changes are being discussed today in a City Council workshop meeting. The topic is #4 on the workshop agenda, which includes a dozen other areas for discussion. You can see all of the changes here at the city's website in red underlines and strike-throughs in the link called "Short Term Rentals LL."

The city has received a lot of public feedback about short-term rentals and Airbnb spaces in Beacon. The topic was first discussed in 2014, and with the city's skyrocketing popularity, addressing lodging space has only become more urgent. Since the City Council began to revisit potential short-term rental legislation, the following major changes have appeared in the public draft of the proposed city law. It would be the first of its kind for Beacon, and will be discussed at tonight's City Council workshop.

  • Language was removed from the overall introduction of the law that implied that short-term rentals in and of themselves cause bad behavior and disruption to neighborhoods at large.
  • "Non-owner" specification added to the determination that short-term rentals are inconsistent with the use of a residence for residential dwelling purposes.
  • Campers, garages, sheds, and other structures not approved for residential use - temporary or permanent - remain un-rentable in short-term residential situations.
    Editor's note: Just as an FYI, businesses that rent campers on their property, such as Kate's Lazy Meadow in the Catskills do exist, and require their own sets of business and insurance filings.
  • "Owner" has been more refined to exclude "entity corporation, limited-liability company, partnership," in addition to other forms of entities like a trust, or guardian of an estate.
  • Spaces available as rent-able have been more defined.
  • Requirements of the owner to show where the house has been advertised have been reduced.
  • Owner-occupancy remains the required status, which means that people would not be able to rent out a second or third home they owned on a short-term basis. The home would need to be the primary residence of the owner.
  • Weddings, concerts and other commercial uses of a property would remain unlawful for short-term rental.
  • The 100 days per year maximum amount of rental days has been removed. Nearly everyone who spoke at the public hearing for short-term rentals was opposed to that maximum. At that meeting, Council Member John Rembert voiced a request to "revisit the 100-day" maximum.
  • Permits would be required once the law is signed, and those who already rent out would have "45 days to file an application to obtain a short-term rental permit and 90 days to receive such short- term rental permit before any violations are issued" by the Building Department, unless the Building Department gets delayed.

The entire proposed law, called "Short Term Rentals LL," is here for you to read." The document at the link includes more changes not highlighted here.

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Airbnb Paid Over $220K in Taxes to Dutchess County in 2017

Photo Credit: Screenshot from Airbnb listings, A Little Beacon Blog.

Photo Credit: Screenshot from Airbnb listings, A Little Beacon Blog.

As the City of Beacon considers legislation for short-term rentals in residential houses, everyone involved is looking at their finances. During a public hearing for the legislation, homeowners who rent their homes out on a per-night, short-term basis, came out to speak in favor of continuing to allow short-term rentals in their homes. Many of the homeowners discussed financial implications they would face if Beacon legislated against short-term rentals or limited the amount of nightly rentals to 100 per year per house (the City Council has since scratched out that maximum from the draft legislation currently being discussed at City Council's Workshop meeting on 4/30/18), or imposing a New York State fire code law for Bed and Breakfasts that requires a sprinkler system or special windows installed in the home.

Other Areas of Economy Impacted by Airbnb

A Beacon resident and Airbnb user, Eileen O'Hare, shed light on another economic area that is impacted by Airbnb rentals, and that is the service industry. According to Eileen's presentation at the public hearing, Airbnb recommends for homeowners to pay for house cleaning and lawn care in order to attract good and consistent bookings. She then posed this question to the City Council at that meeting: "I pay my cleaning lady $25 per hour. What do you pay yours?"

Tax Revenue Going to Dutchess County Generated by Airbnb Bookings

People who make money from Airbnb bookings, like house cleaners, also attended the meeting to request that the short-term rentals be allowed to continue. This got us to thinking about the wider economic impact of short-term rentals on the area, and so we reached out to Dutchess County Legislator Nick Page to get some answers about any revenue generated by the Bed Tax. That tax, as well as sales tax, goes straight to Dutchess County and does not directly get paid to the City of Beacon. Here are some economic statistics derived from tax revenue raised for Dutchess County through Airbnb short-term bookings, according to Nick's understanding, from conversations with the Dutchess County Department of Finance:

  • Airbnb paid a total of $221,918 of the 4% Bed Tax to Dutchess County for 2017. 
  • Dutchess County began collecting the 4% Bed Tax from hosts using the Airbnb platform on March 1, 2017. 
  • The payments to the county are not broken down by municipality (i.e. city, town, or village) and the county does not have access to the host addresses from Airbnb.
  • Airbnb remits one payment to the county by the 20th of each month for the preceding month's activity.
  • Dutchess County is about to begin tracking other short-term rental sites as well. Currently, Dutchess County only collects from Airbnb.

The discussion continues, as the City Council meets tonight to go over the latest changes to the draft legislation based on feedback from the community. On the public agenda for tonight, this topic is filed under "Short-Term Rentals" and is currently #4 out of 12 topics to discuss. Bring your coffee.

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Beacon Continues In Stage 2 Drought - But Good News - It's Raining and Snowing!

Photo + Graphics Credit: A Little Beacon Blog

Photo + Graphics Credit: A Little Beacon Blog

Who's only happy when it rains (and snows)? It's not just the '90s alternative rock band Garbage, who wrote that song for their self-titled debut album. Closer to home, Beacon's Waste and Wastewater Superintendent Ed Balicki is who you can thank for doing the rain and snow dancing, according to Anthony Ruggiero, City Administrator for the City of Beacon at the January 16, 2018 City Council Meeting.

Beacon is in a Stage 2 Drought, which means that the city is asking residents to conserve water. Beacon pulls water from three reservoirs: the Mount Beacon Reservoir, which was down 8 to 9 feet last week; the Cargill Reservoir, which is the largest; and Melzingah, the smallest. "We are waiting for a greater recharge from the Cargill," says Ed. As for the Melzingah, "It’s the smallest, and drains the fastest. It typically goes offline during the summer. The fall rains in October and November usually fill it, but there was not as much rain then."

Ed explains that the reservoirs are like bowls, and fill up with precipitation. "We had a late snowfall back in March 2017. We had rainfall through the spring, but since June, we had very little rainfall that would replenish the reservoirs." Ed's team goes out on Wednesdays to make the Reservoir Rounds to measure them all. During last week's city council meeting, Beacon Mayor Randy Casale said the Melzingah is getting put back online. "When it fills up, it fills up quick, and then runs off," explained the mayor. "So that's why they are turning it on, so that we don't lose it in runoff."

Do all water supply systems depend on these big bowls of water? Or can groundwater be counted on, too? Ed says that the two wells that Beacon can tap into gain water that way, and that reservoirs can have springs running into them. However, the Mount Beacon reservoir was built in the early 1900s, before Beacon's current development was even a glimmer in the eye of builders' ancestors, and before the nearby correctional facilities also began using the water. Concern over the limited water supply was the inspiration for the current building moratorium in Beacon right now.

Said Anthony of the current water supply: "The snow is definitely helping. With the weather, we are doing OK." For more information and latest on Beacon's water, you can visit the City's water page, and download past reports.