(Michelle Higginbotham / American Press)
Last Modified: Saturday, October 13, 2012 8:13 PM
Members of the Republican Roundtable got a briefing Friday on a Burton Coliseum Complex tax renewal up for a vote on Nov. 6. Parish officials said the facilities at the complex have become major economic generators for Southwest Louisiana.
Police Juror Nic Hunter opened the discussion by noting that the Police Jury has rolled back its tax millages and is operating on a smaller budget than the previous year.
Bryan Beam, parish administrator, said Burton Coliseum was built on 50 acres donated to the parish in the 1970s by the late W.T. Burton. There were no established maintenance funds for the facility until 1993 when the first tax was approved.
The 1.5-mill tax renewal funds the coliseum complex, the parish county agent’s operations and the West Calcasieu Arena in Sulphur. The Sulphur facility also receives funds from hotel and motel taxes.
Beam said the Police Jury has been prudent in its operations, not asking for additional funds and by using FEMA hurricane recovery money to make $5.1 million in renovations to the complex.
The tax renewal on the ballot will produce revenues totaling $2.35 million, he said. Of that, $1.8 million funds the Burton complex, $325,000 goes to the county agent’s operations and $225,000 to the West Cal Arena.
The West Cal facility hosts 170 events annually, and 200 are held each year at Burton, Beam said. The two don’t duplicate services, but complement each other, he said.
The Police Jury owns the Burton Complex, and it is operated by McNeese State University. Beam said events held there include McNeese men’s and women’s basketball, livestock shows and rodeos, banquets, conventions, educational and youth events and special events like the Josh Ledet “American Idol” homecoming concert, held earlier this year.
Beam said the complex has been chosen as the site for the Louisiana High School Rodeo championships for the next five years.
People owning homes worth $200,000 pay only $1.56 a month to support the complex. Beam said the tax helps improve the quality of life in Southwest Louisiana and serves thousands of youngsters every year through parenting and nutrition classes and gun safety and 4-H programs.