What Is Beacon's Municipal ID Program, And How To Get A City-Issued Photo ID

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Beginning in June of 2019, the City of Beacon began accepting applications to grant residents of the City of Beacon Municipal IDs. Having a Municipal ID is voluntary, and was deemed useful to people who cannot get a drivers license “because the state makes it so difficult. They don't have all of the documentation that the state wants,” explained Mayor Randy Casale during an official Public Hearing on the program on December 17th, 2018.

According to the City Attorney, Nicholas Ward-Willis at that meeting, "The Council finds that some residents don't have access to an ID to take advantage of certain services.” These services can include getting a library card, picking up a child from school, picking up a prescription, picking up food from a food pantry and other daily activities that require proof of identification that a drivers license can secure.

Requirements To Get A Municipal Beacon ID

According to the City Attorney, Nicholas, the Beacon ID cards can be available to a any resident over the age of 14. They are $10 for adults, $5 for kids under 18 or adults over the age of 62. ID cards can be renewed for $5.

Open hours for application are with the Registrar’s office during regular business hours, Monday-Friday between 8am - 3:30pm.

According to the City Attorney, to protect confidentially, the City shall not disclose the application, including to law enforcement or the county. The City Clerk’s Office shall not retain original documents to prove residency. Nor will it keep the listing. Documents will be immediately returned to applicant.

A full list of what is needed at the time of the application is here:

Applications available in English can be downloaded here.

Applications available in Spanish can be downloaded here.

Important to people during the creation of this program was the life changing impact it can have on a resident, as well as protecting the identify of that resident. Applicants do need to supply at least one of the following, including other proof of identity and residency items (which are listed in the links above):

  • U.S. Permanent Resident (Green Card)

  • U.S. Citizenship and Naturalization Certificate

  • U.S. Federal Government or Tribal-issued photo ID

  • State Veterans ID with photo.

Benefits To Having A Municipal Beacon ID

Before the City Council voted to approve this program, they heard from the public who largely came out in support of creating the program. During that Public Hearing on December 17. 2018, Reasons that those with drivers licenses do not encouter include:

  • Food Pantry: People who receive food from food pantries may need photo ID in order to receive food. If a person is elderly and has no license anymore, this can become a problem. We verified with Atticus Lanigun of Zero To Go, who works with Dutchess Outreach food pantry, to see if people need photo ID. She told us: “Dutchess Outreach does require an ID for anyone claimed as a member of the household. In part because people can only get food here once a month.”

  • Public Safety: One person mentioned that a police officer from New Haven, CT said the ID cards have bolstered relationships with people who have the cards, as they feel more secure making a call for a complaint or help.

  • Everyday Things:

    • Opening Bank Accounts

    • Picking Up Kids From School

    • Prescriptions

    • Library Card Cards

    • Times During Hospice Care Such As Notarizing a Will

One resident from Middletown spoke at the podium to give her personal experience of what can happen when a parent does not have a photo ID to pick up their child, or if that ID is questioned.

When this person was six years old, she was sick in school, and her mother was called to come pick her up. However, when her mother showed her Consulate ID from Mexico, the administrator at the school deemed it fake, and would not let the child go home with her mother.

 

“The administrator said it was fake. I had to say ‘that's my mom.’ The administrator said they could not let me go home with her. I didn't know how to translate for her. ‘Mommy, they say I can't go home with you. This is my mom, this is her ID, I am sick, they need this.‘ The administrator told me to go back to class. The only way my mom could pick me up was after school at bus drop-off. I thought I'd never see my mom again.

“My mom had taken me to the doctor. I needed medication. When we went to the pharmacy, they needed ID, so we had to ask my neighbor. [When my neighbor went to the pharmacy to pick up for us, they gave it to her] without asking for ID, nothing. If [my neighbor] had tried to pick me up [from school] that day, would they have let me go home with a complete stranger? I hope you consider passing it so that no child in Beacon has to go through this experience.

 

Beacon Businesses Have Offered Discounts To Those With Municipal Beacon IDs

As first reported by the Beacon Chamber of Commerce, some Beacon businesses have begun offering discounts to those with a Beacon ID. You can find that list here, which was published in June 2019. Maybe there are more now!

A Little Beacon Blog does offer $5 off A Little Beacon Tote Bag to anyone who has an ID. Look for us at an event where we sometimes have the totes!