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Jackson County Legislature overrides White's veto, stadium sales-tax extension approved for April ballot

JaxCo Legislature.jpeg
Posted at 3:34 PM, Jan 22, 2024
and last updated 2024-01-24 13:37:41-05

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Jackson County voters will decide in April whether to extend a 3/8-cent sales tax that helps fund the homes of the Kansas City Chiefs and Royals after the county legislature voted Monday to override County Executive Frank White Jr.'s veto.

The Jackson County Legislature brushed aside White's veto of an ordinance to place the sales-tax question on April 2 ballot. by a 7-2 vote.

Jeanie Lauer and Megan Marshall were the lone no votes.

In announcing his decision to veto the ordinance last week, White said he had concerns over a letter of intent sent to the county by the teams and the Jackson County Sports Complex Authority.

White doubled down on Monday on 10 specific concerns in a social-media post.

Among the issues he cited are detailed stadium plans, investment commitments and a community benefits agreement.

It appeared late last week White's veto might stand after Legislator Jalen Anderson and Legislative Chair Jeanie Lauer said they would vote to uphold it.

Legislator Sean Smith also said he'd be "willing" to uphold the veto if the teams didn't sign a letter of intent, a concern Anderson shared.

Anderson, Lauer and Smith all voted in favor of passing the ordinance on Jan. 8.

The measure passed 8-1, but six votes were needed to override a veto. Those defections would have handed White a victory.

However, Smith and Anderson both opted to override the veto after the teams signed a letter of intent.

After his vote, Anderson released a statement on his decision.

"Over the last several days, in-depth discussions have been with the Jackson County Sports Authority and the leadership of the Chiefs and the Royals," he said, in part, in a statement. "We have a terms sheet signed by both teams and the Jackson County Sports Authority. I have received overwhelming outreach from constituents and community stakeholders, asking me to allow them to vote on this issue."

The Chiefs and Royals, who previously committed to staying in Jackson County if the sales tax is extended in April, released a statement on the legislature's decision to override the veto.

"We took an important step forward today," the teams said in a joint statement. "We thank the Jackson County legislators for their attention and care in this matter. We look forward to continuing to work with them, and enabling the voters to decide on extending the longstanding partnership between the County and our teams on April."

Voters signed off on the initial 3/8-cent sales in April 2006, the last time the stadiums underwent significant renovations.

The Royals hope to use the money to build a new downtown stadium, if voters extend the sales tax at the ballot box, and have said they will agree to a 40-year lease extension.

Chiefs Chairman and CEO Clark Hunt said the Chiefs would prefer to renovate GEHA Field at Kauffman Stadium and want to take over the land Kauffman Stadium sits on after the Royals vacate the property.

The teams' curent lease is set to expire in 2031.

Kansas City, Missouri, Mayor Quinton Lucas applauded the legislature's effort to put the issue before voters in April.

“I appreciate the trust in our voters exhibited today by a majority of the Jackson County Legislature," Lucas said in a statement. "Over the months ahead, I look forward to working with the county, our state, the Chiefs, and the Royals to build a positive future for professional sports and entertainment that brings revenue and outstanding memories for generations of Kansas Citians. Kansas City is a major league city. We are proud of this step in keeping it that way.”