KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Jackson County Legislature held a special meeting Tuesday amid ongoing negotiations between county leaders and the Kansas City Royals on a proposed new downtown stadium.
Legislators voted 5-1 to give County Executive Frank White 48 hours to get back to them with his recommendations on the Royals latest reply and term sheet offer. Three legislators were absent.
If the Royals are to stay in Jackson County and build a new billion dollar stadium, taxpayers will be footing some of the bill.
The Royals have pledged to fully fund an adjoining billion dollar ballpark district.
How much the county will pay and for how long are currently in negotiation. But who should be involved in those negotiations and to what level also seems to be up for debate.
“I thought there’d be much more collaboration and opportunity to co-work together on these things. Unfortunately it becomes more clear now that we need to enact legislation that requires those processes to be in motion,” County Legislator Manny Abarca said after the vote.
“This is a big deal for the county, something we really need to take a look hard at to make sure that we are all equitable partners. The legislature sometimes they demand things that we can’t give them when they want it,” White said.
It’s why White said he’s opposed to the 48 hour deadline legislators gave him Tuesday to respond to the Royals latest reply offer sheet. Sean Smith was the lone no vote.
“We say we want the county executive to perform due diligence. Then we are giving a fixed time period to provide recommendations,” Smith said during the meeting.
“Forty-eight hours shouldn’t be that hard to produce what the long term strategy is. If it is, that’s a problem in itself,” Abarca said.
White said he’ll keep the legislature informed through closed sessions, but did give a first indication it might not be as simple as extending the 3/8 of a cent sales tax Jackson County residents are already paying. Especially if the terms are for 40 years.
“I also want the clubs (Royals and Kansas City Chiefs) to understand we’ve been under this lease for quite a while and it’s not beneficial to the county and we are just trying to be more equitable partners to make sure we can take care of some things the county definitely needs to get done in the county,” White said.
County legislators are the ones who have to approve the final terms of any possible agreement and the ones who get to vote on what goes on the ballot.