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Nov 24, 2009 10:39 AM by sleonard

Cajundome forwards back-tax settlement

LAFAYETTE, La. (AP) - A first step was taken Monday toward settling a dispute between the Cajundome Commission and Lafayette Parish school system over back taxes.
The Cajundome Commission, after meeting in executive session for about an hour, gave its OK to a proposal that would settle a lawsuit it filed against the school system and state Department of
Revenue.
The details of that 13-page settlement were not released Monday.
Lafayette attorney Gary McGoffin, who represents the Cajundome Commission, said the school board and a district judge must accept the settlement before the details are made public.
The School Board is scheduled to meet Dec. 2 and Dec. 16.
McGoffin, in recommending commission approval, specified that the school board should be made aware that an intergovernmental agreement signed in 1988 that obligates Lafayette Consolidated
Government to contribute up to $500,000 a year towards the Cajundome's operation and establishes the Cajundome Commission expires in 2012.
The state, through the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, owns the Cajundome but contributes only towards its capital improvements, not towards its operations. The Cajundome relies on
self-generated funds and the LCG contribution to operate the facility.
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.
The Cajundome filed a lawsuit arguing that, as a government entity, it is exempt from paying sales tax. A judge ruled that the exemption applies to items the Cajundome buys, not items it sells.
Since June 2008, the Cajundome has been collecting the sales tax and holding it in escrow until the matter is legally settled. The school system argues the Cajundome still owes more than $1 million
in sales taxes from before June 2008.
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 advanced Monday by the Cajundome Commission is a result of negotiations over the liquor permit.

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Information from: The Advertiser, http://www.theadvertiser.com
(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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