LSU wants $30,000 for Lamar-Dixon livestock show

Wade McIntyre
The fate of the Lamar-Dixon Expo Center in Gonzales may lie in the hands of parish voters in November, if Parish President Tommy Martinez and the Parish Council place a 3-mill property tax issue on the ballot. Martinez has said that if voters do not pass the tax, he will not renew the current lease-purchase agreement between parish government and the Lamar-Dixon Foundation.

DONALDSONVILLE – Ascension’s Parish Council entertained a request from the LSU Livestock show for a $30,000 one-year grant to help defray operating costs for putting on the annual LSU AgCenter Livestock Show at Lamar-Dixon Expo Center this year.

Dwayne Nunez, who runs the state livestock and horse shows for LSU, made the request at the regular meeting Wednesday.

The AgCenter was put in “a pretty rough spot” last summer when it appeared Lamar-Dixon would close, Nunez said.

LSU held off on making a decision to schedule the show at another location in spite of lucrative offers to do so, he said.

“We held out for this facility,” he said, referring to Lamar-Dixon.

The one year grant would reduce this year’s negotiated $80,000 fee for the Expo Center.

Nunez reminded council members that five to seven thousand kids would participate in the event.

Each would be accompanied by three to four people attending with them, creating a multiplier effect that will boost the area economy.

Council members deferred the request to the Finance Committee, where it is expected to be approved.

Councilman Kent Schexnaydre, who made the motion to move the request forward, said “I think everyone is in favor of this.”

Parish President Tommy Martinez noted that the parish would be charging for parking at the event for the first time, which bring in extra income from the event this year.

In other business, attorney Malcolm Dugas requested that council adopt two resolutions in order to call for an election for proposed taxes by the West Ascension Consolidated Tax District.

Following its meeting this week, the district proposed two five-year millage taxes for 4.6 mils and 5.33 mills.

The council unanimously approved the request.

During the short session, council members also approved an amendment to the 2009 Operating and Capital Budgets that would appropriate an additional $246,659 for planning and design of infrastructure improvements proposed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

The funds are to be paid from the Fund Balance.