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Chiefs, Royals release terms of community benefits agreement with Jackson County ahead stadium sales-tax vote

Truman Sports Complex Kauffman and Arrowhead.jpeg
Posted at 2:47 PM, Mar 20, 2024
and last updated 2024-03-20 23:21:59-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Kansas City Chiefs and Royals released the terms for a community benefits agreement with Jackson County ahead of April 2, when county voters will decide whether to sign off on a sales-tax question to help fund the teams stadiums.

Terms from the Chiefs total $126 million, while the Royals' total $140 million, according to a news release from YesOn1JacksonCounty, the committee formed by the teams to convince voters to sign off on the sales-tax.

A copy of the CBA wasn't immediately included in the release.

The teams are asking voters to repeal a current 3/8-cent sales-tax that's been in effect since 2006 and replace it with a new sales-tax of the same rate.

If approved, the tax would last for 40 years until 2064.

The Chiefs are hoping to use the sales-tax to renovate GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium, while the Royals intend to use it fund a new ballpark in the Crossroads District in downtown KCMO.

Funding will be governed by boards appointed by the Jackson County Legislature and the teams under the proposed terms.

The boards would be in charge of overseeing distribution, governance, accountability and audit process.

Both teams say the CBA will cover a number of initiatives ranging from employment benefits, healthcare, children and families, education, workforce assistance, among others.

The Chiefs said they hope to have 43% of minority and women-owned business involved in construction phase for renovations at GEHA Field.

The Royals said they also will commit the same percentage for its new ballpark should the sales-tax pass.

“We entered this process with the goal of creating a better deal for all of Jackson County,” Chiefs chairman and CEO Clark Hunt said in a press release. “These CBAs demonstrate exactly that. Passing Question 1 will result in real, measurable impact across our entire community. We are grateful for the tireless work of everyone who was involved to ensure these agreements will benefit our region to the greatest extent possible."

Royals owner John Sherman also weighed in saying, “As I have said from the very beginning, we are committed to Jackson County, and these historic agreements represent how both teams will help lift up our fellow neighbors – from providing workforce benefits and assistance, diversity benefits, affordable housing, educational programs, and expanded mass transit."

The teams touted the proposed CBA as the largest of any in Kansas City's history.

But Jackson County Executive Frank White, who has opposed the sales-tax, expressed his doubts on the validity of the terms.

“These letters, while mentioning possible community benefits, do not represent a Community Benefits Agreement (CBA) in any formal capacity," White said. "The decision by the teams to exclude Jackson County from participating in or contributing to the drafting of these documents is a significant concern, amplified by their timing — released less than two weeks before a pivotal election. Such timing raises legitimate questions about the motivation behind and the potential effectiveness of the benefits proposed."

White also said there's no way of holding the teams accountable in following through with the promises made in the terms.

“These documents offer no mechanism for enforcement by either Jackson County or our residents," White said in part. "Consequently, the “commitments” made in these letters are yet another instance where the teams ask voters for their trust without providing a concrete basis for it. Basically, these letters represent non-binding expressions of intent, not the genuine, enforceable Community Benefits Agreements they intend to be."