Dec 3, 2009 2:06 PM by Associated Press

Cajundome tax plan approved by school board

LAFAYETTE, La. (AP) - The Lafayette Parish School Board has tentatively approved a settlement that ends a dispute with the Cajundome.

The school board spent about an hour in a closed meeting Wednesday discussing a proposal that would settle a lawsuit the Cajundome Commission filed against the school system and the state Department of Revenue concerning back sales taxes.

Because of the pending sales-tax issue, the school system's sales-tax director in October withheld a clearance certificate that the Cajundome needed to renew its liquor permit.

A deal was ironed out so the Cajundome could receive its liquor permit. The proposed settlement is a result of those negotiations. Settlement details have not been released.

The school board unanimously approved the proposal only on the condition that the Lafayette Consolidated Government also approve the proposal by Dec. 31. LCG has never been a party in the dispute, but also collects sales tax, School Board Sales Tax attorney Robert Rainer said.

Also, LCG Chief Administrative Officer Dee Stanley and LCG attorney Pat Ottinger have been involved in talks, School Board attorney Dawn Morris said.
"It's a public body and we believe they should have input to make sure their interests are being protected," Morris said.

The Cajundome Commission last week, after meeting in closed session for about an hour, also gave its approval to a proposal whose details have not been released.

Lafayette attorney Gary McGoffin, who represents the Cajundome Commission, has said the school board and a district judge must accept the settlement before the details are made public.

The dispute began when the director of the Lafayette Parish Schools' sales-tax division realized the Cajundome had not remitted sales taxes on items it sold between 2004 and June 2008.

Since June 2008, the Cajundome has been collecting sales tax and holding it in escrow until the matter is settled. The school system says the Cajundome still owes more than $1 million.

(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)



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