Official: LEDC finance outlook promising for 2008

Aaron Looney

The general manager of the Lamar-Dixon Expo Center told the Parish Council’s Finance Committee Thursday that revenues at the center looked to improve through the end of the year.

Giving a report on the center’s activities through August, Eddie Crawford of management group SMG said the center lost $85,629 for the month. The loss was $33,515 less than the complex was budgeted to lose.

The center has sustained a loss of $2.1 million since the parish and SMG took over operations of the center in 2003, Crawford told the committee.

Crawford also said he is expects around $100,000 in reimbursement from FEMA for use of the center during the aftermaths of hurricanes Gustav and Ike.

The center was used by numerous utility agencies and the U.S. Army National Guard for staging purposes in the relief effort.

In other news, Chief Financial Officer Gwen LeBlanc told the committee that she expects an upward trend in sales tax revenues to continue through the end of the year.

All three of the parish’s sales taxes have experienced growth this year on pace to break last year’s record collection figures, LeBlanc said.

The East Ascension Drainage District’s half-cent sales tax saw revenues increase 16.43 percent through September, according to figures LeBlanc presented to the committee. The one-cent District 1 sales and use tax saw an increase of 16.84 percent; while the half-cent sales and use tax for District 2 showed a 17.65 percent hike.

In describing the sources of the revenues, LeBlanc said 52 percent of the taxes collected so far this year came from the petrochemical industry, followed by consumer retail at 30 percent.

At the start of the meeting, Councilman Oliver Joseph announced there will be a community meeting on the west bank Wednesday, Oct. 15 at 6:30 p.m. at the Donaldsonville Municipal Building on Railroad Avenue. The meeting will cover various government issues for the Donaldsonville area.