GONZALES — The Lamar-Dixon Expo Center reached the midpoint of the 2011 fiscal year on the plus side with more than $1 million in savings as revenues flowed from oil giant BP, events and recreational vehicle space rentals, unaudited figures show.
Purchased by Ascension Parish government for $7.5 million in 2009, the 247-acre 4-H and events facility off La. 30 was $183,513 to the good after revenues and expenses were tallied through June 30, the parish figures show.
That midyear surplus adds to a prior year savings of $868,125 — or what is called a fund balance — that the center carried into the fiscal year started Jan. 1. The total fund balance through June 30 is $1.05 million, figures show.
“We are looking pretty good. We’re right in there where we think we ought to be, a little over six months into the fiscal year,” center director John Vogt told the Ascension Parish Council Finance Committee Monday night.
Vogt reviewed Lamar-Dixon finances and plans during a quarterly report with the committee, on which the entire 11-member council sits.
As happened last year, lease revenues from BP have boosted the bottom line. BP began using Lamar-Dixon in early July 2010 as a storage location, nearly three months after the Deepwater Horizon blowout and oil leak.
Of the $1.24 million in revenue the center has earned this year, 42 percent came in BP lease payments of $524,225, the most of any single source, figures show.
Revenues from recreational vehicle rentals and events, other major sources, were $220,166 and $228,140, respectively, and are ahead of budget for the midpoint in the year.
Expenses were $1.06 million through June 30, figures show.
BP’s time at Lamar-Dixon could be coming to a close.
On Tuesday, BP spokesman Curtis Thomas said the company is moving oil recovery boom from the center to a storage facility in Hammond “in an effort to consolidate equipment for storage and rapid deployment, if necessary.”
He said BP will be at Lamar-Dixon until all the boom is moved and the yard is cleaned. He said that mission could take until later in August or possibly September.
Thomas’ schedule is more aggressive than what Vogt described Monday.
Vogt said his best guess is that BP could be out of the center by October or November but emphasized he had not received BP’s official word.
His answer responded to a question from Councilman Chris Loar, committee chairman, about BP’s lease timeframe. Vogt said it is month to month.
Vogt said later the center is in discussions with companies seeking to recycle BP containment boom. He said the center could have another six months of rentals from subcontractors needing space for the boom after BP leaves.
Vogt said discussions involve a site separate from the boom’s current location at Lamar-Dixon.
BP’s Thomas said Tuesday it is a possible a recycler could lease the space but it would not be BP doing it.
“That would be their purchase,” said Thomas, who is based in New Orleans.
Also during the discussion Monday, Councilman Dempsey Lambert asked whether the 4-H building would available. BP materials have been stored there, though not boom.
The building, which is also set for a major upgrade, has been used in years past for horse and livestock events.
Vogt said that when BP leaves, it will clear out that building.