By a 7-2 vote, the Jackson County Legislature overrode a veto by executive Frank White, allowing a ballot measure to proceed before voters in April that could fund a new downtown ballpark for the Royals.
The measure would go before Jackson County voters on April 2, asking them whether or not the county should extend the 3/8 sales tax for another 40 years to pay for improvements to Arrowhead Stadium, and help fund a new ballpark for the Royals. The current sales tax passed in 2006 to pay for renovations to the Truman Sports Complex and was set to expire in 2031.
The Royals have still not determined a site for a new ballpark, one of many sticking points for White. In a statement, White reiterated his concern over unresolved issues, such as a commitment to keep Chiefs headquarters and training facilities in Jackson County, the need for enforceable leases, and a Community Benefits Agreement.
As I have consistently said during this process, my goal is to reach a fair & equitable agreement for Jackson County, one that respects the significant financial commitment of our taxpayers & contributes positively to the legacy & future of our community. Statement & Scorecard⬇️ pic.twitter.com/BOHLhMQHDF— Frank White (@JCEFrankWhite) January 22, 2024
The teams have made some recent concessions, such as agreeing to cover insurance costs for the stadiums and allocating their share of the park property tax to other county uses. County Legislators Jalen Anderson and Sean Smith cited those concessions as reasons to override the veto after initially saying last week they were inclined to support White’s veto.
Both teams and the Jackson County Sports Complex Authority have signed a non-binding Letter of Intent that would give the Royals a 40-year lease with two five-year options, and a 25-year lease for the Chiefs. Each team would make a “materially substantial private contribution” to their projects that has yet to be determined. The Royals pledged to have a site selected by February 29.
The teams would split the tax revenue equally with money only to be used for the stadiums and not club operations. The teams also agreed that the county would not be responsible for the demolition of Kauffman Stadium, a concern previously raised by White. The teams have also promised to cover cost overruns once budgets are set.
The Royals are reportedly considering two sites in Jackson County, one on the east side of the downtown loop and one that is rumored to be the favorite now just south of T-Mobile Center where the Kansas City Star printing press is currently located. The Royals would aim to have the new stadium ready for the 2028 season.
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