This may be a little premature as we don’t have a ballpark site or a budget, but later today Jackson County will consider a 3/8ths of one percent sales tax to fund a new Royals ballpark and potential Arrowhead Stadium renovations for the Chiefs. UPDATED!
Yes, it is a little unusual to seek legislative approval of a sales tax dedicated to funding sports facilities without a solid commitment from a team. In this case, the Royals are considering at two sites in Jackson County for a new ballpark as well as a site in North Kansas City. The Chiefs, meanwhile, have been publicly committed to Arrowhead Stadium despite being wooed by Kansas officials. But neither team have an agreement or lease in place.
So the proposal from chairman DaRon McGee may be premature–but it also may have the intended effect of tying both teams to Jackson County, and it’s also being undertaken with the approval of both Royals and Chiefs ownership. So, in a not-so-subtle way, both teams are tipping their hands about their preferred courses of action. From the Kansas City Star:
The deadline for getting something on the April ballot is in late January. A majority of the nine-member county legislature would have to approve any ballot issue by then.
County Executive Frank White Jr. is heading up lease agreements and will almost certainly veto McGee’s ordinance unless leases are signed before the ballot deadline. It would take six votes to override the veto.
If the Royals leave Kauffman Stadium, the Chiefs have said they would like to stay at Arrowhead Stadium and build other amenities at the sports complex. Neither team has threatened to leave the Kansas City area, but members of the public and legislator Manny Abarca have raised that possibility as reasons for haste in putting a measure on the ballot.
UPDATE: No action was taken at today’s meeting. The legislators will return to the topic after Christmas; January 23 is the deadline for getting any proposal on the spring ballot.
Rendering courtesy Kansas City Royals.
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