Voters to decide on tax renewal for Burton Coliseum & Ag Service - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

Voters to decide on tax renewal for Burton Coliseum and Ag Services

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When voters go to the polls on Nov. 6, they'll decide on one tax issue -- whether to renew the property tax for Burton Coliseum and Agricultural Services, including the County Agent's Office and the West Cal Arena.

Years ago, people thought of Burton Coliseum only for rodeo and livestock shows.  But now, it hosts some 200 events each year including McNeese basketball, many graduations and educational events.

The property tax up for renewal has allowed them to maintain and improve the complex and former county agent Jerry Whatley said it's important to continue for the quality of life in the community.

"This is a local tax to provide local services to us that we deem beneficial.  I think it's important to separate federal taxes that we send up to Washington and have very little say so about, versus a tax renewal like this that we do have some input on and we do directly benefit from," Whatley said.

And Whatley said there's a lot to look forward to in the future.

"I'm really excited about kind of the new vision that McNeese and the Police Jury have to use it for more things and things that could actually help to generate more revenue.  For example the Josh Ledet concert that was out there," he added.

The tax also provides money for the agricultural services and the county agent's office here.

"We call it the extension service office here in the parish and they operate the 4H program parish wide. They also do a lot of educational programs and nutrition and diet, health.  The SWLA Garden Festival was an initiative that came out of that office. Naturally, they do service farmers--agricultural producers, cattlemen, rice producers and bring in research based information to our people," Whatley said.

And the tax supports the West Cal arena which hosts 170 events each year including western and equestrian events. Whatley said the benefits are worth what the tax costs property owners.

"For those people who have a home valued at a $200,000 dollars, they're going to pay like .31 cents a month, $200,000 a little over 60 cents a month. So, it's a very light tax.  It's spread out all over the parish," Whatley said.

If renewed by voters, the tax will run for another 10 years.

Whatley chairs a political action committee in favor of the renewal which he said is important for the quality of life in Calcasieu Parish.  For more information, click here.

Copyright 2012 KPLC. All rights reserved.


What follows is a fact sheet from Calcasieu Parish officials:

On Nov. 6, 2012, voters throughout Calcasieu Parish will vote on a renewal of the current 1.5 mill parish wide property tax for the purpose of operating, maintaining, and improving the Burton Coliseum Complex, and for funding other agricultural and community services in Calcasieu Parish.

Background


• The Burton Coliseum & Agricultural Services tax was originally approved by Calcasieu Parish voters in 1993. It is a 10-year, parish wide property tax. The Burton tax was renewed once before in 2003, and will expire December 31, 2012. The tax has been rolled back in each re-assessment year.

What does the Burton Coliseum & Agricultural Services Tax fund?

• The Burton Coliseum & Agricultural Services tax funds the following agencies and facilities:
Annual Revenue
- Burton Coliseum Complex
$ 1,800,000
- LSU AgCenter (County Agent)
$ 325,000
- West Cal. Comm. Center Authority
(West Cal Arena)
$ 225,000
Total $2,350,000
$2.35 Million = 1.5 mills


• The Burton Coliseum Complex – Owned by the Calcasieu Parish Police Jury and managed by McNeese State University, the Burton Complex hosts 200 events annually including the McNeese basketball and rodeo programs, the High School Rodeo Finals, High School graduations, and youth-based educational programs like the Calcasieu Parish Social Studies Fair and a variety of 4-H events.

• LSU AgCenter (County Agent) – The County Agent provides a wide-array of research-based educational programs to the community, especially the youth. Example topics of programs the County Agent offers include parenting and nutrition, outdoor skills, gardening, and the promotion of healthy lifestyles.

•West Calcasieu Community Center Authority (West Cal Arena) – The West Cal Community Center Authority owns and maintains the West Cal Arena including a future Events Center currently under construction and scheduled to be completed 2014. The West Cal Arena facility hosts 170 events annually including western events, equestrian events, rodeos, community events, and banquets.

What is the approximate cost to the average property owner (@ 1.5 mills)?
Assessed Value Annual Monthly $ 75,000 $ 0.00 $0.00 $100,000 $ 3.75 $0.31
$150,000 $11.25 $0.94
$200,000 $18.75 $1.56
$250,000 $26.25 $2.19 *The Burton Coliseum & Agricultural Services Tax is subject to the homestead exemption.

IMPORTANT DATES:
• Last day of voter registration: October 9 Register online at http://www.sos.la.gov/, or call 721-4000 for more information.
• Early Voting for the November 6th Election: October 23rd – October 31st
For more information, visit www.cppj.net or call 721-3595.

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