Parish sales tax revenue drops

Wade McIntyre

A drop in sales tax revenue for the first time since 2006 has Ascension Parish officials on alert due to the current recession, but not overly concerned about the revenue drop.

At a meeting of the Parish Council Finance Committee last week Parish Chief Finance Officer Gwen LeBlanc said revenue collected through April is still more than the amount taken in during the same period last year.

Collections for the first four months of this year remain about 17 percent ahead of last year LeBlanc said.

East Ascension Drainage one-half cent sales tax for April was down 3.92 percent, or $34,531, LeBlanc reported.

The one-cent sales tax for Sales and Use Tax District 1 went down 1.02 percent or $13,033, and the half-cent tax for Sales and Use Tax District 2 dropped 1.26 percent, or $7,691.

“It’s a slight dip but shows the first time we’ve had a decrease in two years,” LeBlanc said of the April collections.

When asked by a committee member what the possible cause for the decrease might be, LeBlanc said overall the chemical manufacturing sector has slackened and consumers have cut back on spending.

In a meeting of the Lamar-Dixon Expo Center Committee prior to the finance meeting, Parish President Tommy Martinez presented members a draft of the parish purchase proposal for the center.

Under the proposal the parish will pay the $7.5 million purchase price in annual installments starting with the first payment of $250,000 paid on the closing date. One year from closing another $250,000 would be due, and two years from closing $500,000.  Three years from closing another $500, 000 would be due, leaving a $6 million payment due one year later.

No penalty exists for early payment of the principal balance.

According to Martinez, the purchase agreement relieves the Lamar-Dixon Foundation of control over how the center is operated and managed after the purchase is completed.

The original Lamar-Dixon Expo Center mission statement will remain part of the purchase agreement.

It reads: To provide the community with a multi-use events facility, with an emphasis on equestrian and 4-H activities, to be used as a resource to enhance community quality of life through recreation, education, and economic development. Our aim is to attract diverse entertainment for the community, in a safe and user friendly environment.