KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Jackson County legislators react to a document released to FOX4 showing how much a new Kansas City Royals stadium could cost.
The document shows the county could give anywhere from four to six billion dollars to the Royals over a 40 year time period.
A Jackson County document sent to FOX4 showing what County Administrator Troy Schulte believes a new stadium would cost for the Kansas City Royals. Schulte works in Democratic County Executive Frank White’s office.
The data shows a ‘Lower Range Allocation to KC Royals’ from 2032-2071 could be more than $4.3 billion. An ‘Upper Range Allocation to KC Royals’ from 2032-2071 would be more than $6.4 billion.
Democratic Legislator Manny Abarca is trying to verify the numbers.
“The reality that this spreadsheet comes as an Excel document with big circles drawn in with a pencil on this document. That doesn’t give me full faith and credit of this being a legitimate source,” he said in an interview with FOX4 Friday.
FOX4 stopped by the Jackson County Courthouse. County Executive Public Information Officer Marshanna Smith said White was not in the office at the time.
“The reality is that this number’s made to create a large and scary figure is the component that they want to have happen,” Abarca said of the County Executive’s office.
Abarca called the document misleading, saying it included figures for both the Royals and the Chiefs. The document on the other hand, says it’s just for the Royals.
The county legislature is the group that would let taxpayers decide on an extension of the 3/8ths cent sales tax extension. The money generated from that would help the Royals pay for their new stadium, and it would also go to another upgrade and renovation of GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium for the Kansas City Chiefs.
If voters approved of the sales tax extension, it could keep the teams in Jackson County for decades to come.
While Abarca supports putting this on a ballot for the taxpayers to decide, Republican Legislator Sean Smith says eventually he’d support that measure, once the county negotiates the right deal with the team.
“Once we determine that it’s really not viable for the Royals to stay where they are. I mean I feel like I’m probably the furthest behind in terms of getting to a yes because I’m not even convinced that the best place to play baseball isn’t still Kauffman,” Smith said in an interview with FOX4 Friday.
Smith has also seen the document and has crunched his own numbers. He found his baseline and the document from the County Executive’s Office to be pretty close together.
“Over a 40-year period, right?” Smith said when asked if the stadium could cost $4 billion not $2 billion. “That’s not the construction cost. That’s not how much we’re paying for it today, but that’s if we financed it this way, that’s what the total cost to the taxpayer could be and not just to build the stadium but to build and maintain the stadium over that long period of time.”
“The suggestion that a new stadium for the Kansas City Royals would cost Jackson County taxpayers $4.4 billion to $6.4 billion is erroneous, misleading, and inconsistent with what we’ve shared publicly and in private negotiations,” a statement read from the Kansas City Royals.
“Together with the Chiefs, we have been clear in asking for an extension of the existing Jackson County 3/8 cent sales tax. For the Royals, this would result in an approximate $350 million up-front contribution from the County toward the estimated $1 billion construction cost of the stadium. Private investment from the Royals alongside other public funds will also pay for the stadium and associated infrastructure. Additionally, the Royals would cover cost overruns to the stadium, as well as the proposed $1 billion surrounding district to generate year-round, long-lasting economic output and other benefits for the county, city, and region.
Kansas City is on the rise. A successful public-private partnership is critical to secure the future of the Royals and Chiefs for decades to come.”
The Chiefs are not commenting. The Royals have also said they’re considering a new stadium site in the city of North Kansas City, Mo. in Clay County.