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Building Fees From Mansion Boost Hastings' Coffers

HASTINGS-ON-HUDSON, N.Y. – The building permit fee from a mansion under construction on Broadway helped Hastings end the 2012 fiscal year with a large budget surplus, according to a recently released village audit. The $227,000 building permit fee for the mansion that hedge fund founder David E. Shaw is building helped offset decreased revenues and left the village with a hefty $748,240 surplus, according to Village Manager Francis Frobel.

The 30,000 square foot home, initially estimated to be worth $75 million, sits on several lots that have been joined to create a sprawling estate overlooking the Hudson River. Mayor Peter Swiderski said the one-time fee was "extraordinary." “The village’s financial condition continues to improve and is arguably stronger than it’s been in at least a dozen years,” Swiderski said, in an email. The total budget for the village, which doesn’t include school district expenses, was nearly $13 million, Frobel said. Although revenue overall declined compared to the previous year, the surplus rose $277,018 from 2011 partly because of the large building permit fee and reduced winter storm maintenance spending, said Frobel.

“We had a very mild winter last year and that was a big help,” Frobel said. “A mild winter makes a big difference in regards to fuel, equipment use and man power.” Frobel said he expects additional budget surplus growth for the current financial year, unless heavy snows drive up winter storm management and clean-up spending.

The fees from the Shaw mansion couldn't have come at a better time for the village. Mayor Swiderski said the surplus is especially impressive considering the state-mandated 2 percent tax levy cap.

“It really eliminates our ability to expand programs or offer additional services,” Frobel said. “It restricts the ability to have your community grow.” If the village were allowed to collect a higher percentage of property taxes, improvements like hiring more police officers, sidewalk construction and neighborhood drainage maintenance could be funded, Frobel said.

Although the surplus may not bring about glaring changes in the community, the additional funds will have an effect. “Some of the things that are occurring aren’t readily apparent,” Frobel said. “When our financial health is stronger we are able to take a more proactive approach to the budget, our borrowing credit rating is up, and we have more cash to work with.”

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