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Kansas City Stadium Update

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  • Kansas City Stadium Update

    By DEANN SMITHThe Kansas City StarA roof at the Truman Sports Complex has been revived thanks to an 11th-hour curveball from some Jackson County legislators.
    They now hope to ask voters on April 4 to impose a use tax on out-of-state companies doing business in Jackson County, which then would pay for either a rolling roof over Kauffman and Arrowhead stadiums or a retractable roof over Arrowhead. The NFL has said Arrowhead would host a Super Bowl if Arrowhead gets a roof, and the Chiefs had pushed to get a roof added to the April ballot.
    The roof ballot item would be in addition to a three-eighth cent sales tax to raise at least $425 million to pay for most of the overhaul of the stadiums. If voters approve the tax, the current leases due to expire Jan. 31, 2015, would be extended to Jan. 31, 2031.
    As of earlier this week, legislators planned to vote next Monday only on the sales tax with no mention of a rolling roof.
    But the rolling roof option has been added to the proposed leases in the last 24 hours.
    The leases are available on the county’s web site at
    Under the leases, the Chiefs are to contribute $75 million and the Royals $25 million, and the state must approve $50 million in tax credits. In addition, a 10 percent across-the-board fee at both stadiums would help pay for stadium improvements.
    The teams will likely raise parking to a set dollar amount rather than just raising them 10 percent so that traffic into the stadium doesn’t get bogged down by attendants handing out quarters, nickels and dimes.
    Jackson County residents also would get more incentives in the county’s effort to gain their support for the taxes.
    In addition, the teams would have to pay for cost overruns, which have been millions of dollars in other cities.
    What happens if voters reject the sales tax but approve the use tax? The county legislature could consider diverting the use tax funds to pay for an estimated $80 million in improvements due next year so that the county does not default on the current leases. The teams could leave the sports complex as soon as 2007 if the county were to default.
    Attorneys for the Jackson County and Truman Sports Complex Authority were scheduled to present the county’s final proposal to the Chiefs and Royals at noon today. As of 12:30 p.m., the meeting had not begun and the leases were not signed.
    However, county officials were confident the leases would be signed by Monday when the county legislature is scheduled to vote on approving the new leases and calling the April election. But just in case, the county has called a special meeting for 11 a.m. Tuesday — the deadline to place items on the April ballot.
    Both the meeting Monday and Tuesday will be held at the legislative chambers at the downtown courthouse. Initially, the Monday meeting was scheduled for Independence. The legislators will discuss the proposed leases at 11 a.m. today at the second-floor legislative chambers, 415 E. 12th St.
    On Wednesday and this morning, county officials and the teams burned up the telephone lines and held private meetings to deal with the ever-changing leases. At one point, some legislators were talking about calling off a tax election to overhaul the stadiums and instead focus on getting just the use tax passed to pay for the minimal improvements or asking the teams to up their contribution if they wanted a massive overhaul.
    And county officials concede the leases could change again before Friday’s meeting.
    As proposed now, the Chiefs would continue to allow county property taxpayers to buy single-game tickets ahead of the general public. In addition, Jackson County residents could get to buy tickets to all other events at Arrowhead for two days ahead of sale to the general public. County residents purchasing those tickets early would not have to pay the new parking fee.
    Also, county residents who are Chiefs season-ticket holders would not have to pay the parking fee.
    The preferences for Royals tickets still must be worked out.
    Unlike most other team sports, in which teams usually have an equivalent number of players on the field at any given time, in baseball the hitting team is at a numerical disadvantage, with a maximum of 5 players and 2 base coaches on the field at any time, compared to the fielding team's 9 players. For this reason, leaving the dugout to join a fight is generally considered acceptable in that it results in numerical equivalence on the field, and a fairer fight.

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