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KSHB 41 News obtains letter of intent between Chiefs, Royals and Jackson County

Document sets framework for leases and tax dollars
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Posted at 1:26 PM, Jan 18, 2024
and last updated 2024-01-18 16:39:33-05

Editor's Note: This story has been updated that Jackson County Executive Frank White, with the support of three Jackson County legislators, vetoed the ordinance that would have placed the 3/8-cent sales tax extension on the April ballot. Read more about White's veto.

KSHB 41 News obtained Thursday a letter of intent that lays out the framework for new, long-term leases for the Kansas City Royals and Kansas City Chiefs with their landlord, the Jackson County Sports Complex Authority.

The terms of new leases have been the center of a debate on whether to create a new, 40-year sales tax to generate roughly $2 billion to help the Royals build a new stadium and help the Chiefs renovate and expand GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium.

While the Sports Complex Authority has signed-off on the letter of intent, it still needs the approval from the Royals and the Chiefs. Neither club provided a comment as of Thursday afternoon.

Jackson County Executive Frank White, Jr. said he wants the teams to sign new leases before voters decide on the sales tax. The question is slated to go to voters on the April 2 ballot.

White had until the end of Thursday to decide whether to veto the legislature’s move and take the item off the ballot. It would then take six votes from the nine-member legislature to override the veto. Monday, Jan. 23 is the deadline to put an item on April 2’s ballot.

The term sheet KSHB 41 obtained is signed by the Sports Complex Authority, but not the Chiefs nor Royals. The deal would give the Chiefs at 25-year lease and the Royals a 40-year lease.

The letter of intent would allow the Chiefs to use tax dollars to expand, renovate, improve, and maintain GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium. The agreement would give the Chiefs control of the Kauffman Stadium land after its demolition.

The 22-page document says the Royals can use tax dollars to build a replacement stadium, and requires the team to keep playing at Kauffman Stadium during construction. It does not say where the new stadium would go. The team has said it’s considering two sites in downtown Kansas City: the East Village, near East 12th and Holmes streets and the East Crossroads near East 16th and Oak streets.

The letter of intent reinforces an offer from both teams to take over payments for a park levy and insurance, which the county has paid in the past. The teams estimate that would save Jackson County roughly $200 million over 40 years.

The teams also agree to enter new community benefits agreements to include a variety of programs and initiatives to be determined at a later date. It lists options for a CBA like requiring a minimum amount of minority and women-owned contractors, providing childcare to stadium workers and other suggestions.

Money from the new sales tax would pay for the demolition of Kauffman Stadium. White said on Jan. 8 he wanted answers about who’s paying for that project.

There’s been a 3/8-cent sales tax in place on retail sales in Jackson County since 2006. It is set to expire in 2031. This proposal currently on the ballot would repeal the current tax and replace it with a new one for 40 years.