According to the Trib's Chris O'Donnell, Councilman Jim Kennedy (potentially with the influence of his ally and former mayor Bill Foster?) proposes the Rays compensate the city of St. Pete $4 million a year for every year they play in Hillsborough County until 2027; or $2.5 million a year for every year they play in Pinellas County, outside of St. Pete city limits (like Toytown, Carillon, Derby Lane, etc).
Additionally, Kennedy is proposing the Rays pay a one-time fee to help redevelop the Trop: $5 million if they move to Hillsborough, and $2.5 million if they leave St. Pete but stay in Pinellas County.
The Rays wouldn't pay anything if they come to an agreement on a new St. Pete stadium, and O'Donnell reports all offers are off the table if Pinellas Commissioners dedicate their available bed taxes elsewhere, although the specifics on that weren't terribly clear.
Of course, the Rays had no comment on news of the proposal, and Kennedy told the Trib the team gave him an initial indication they would not go above their previous offer.
Kennedy's plan vs. the others
If the Rays announced next fall that they had settled on a new stadium in Hillsborough County to be opened in April 2019, here is how much each of the proposals would require the team to pay St. Pete for an early departure from the Trop:
- The original Kriseman plan, agreed upon by the Rays: $20 million
- Gerdes' newest proposal, announced last week: $25.5 million
- Kennedy's new plan: $41 million
Of course, Kennedy' plan had yet to be shared publicly prior to Friday, so some councilmembers' intimacy of the details - through contact with county commissioners - raises an eyebrow or two about Florida's Meeting-in-the-Sunshine laws. But I digress....
Kennedy's numbers are very similar to what Bill Foster was proposing while he was in office ($5M/yr), which the Rays reportedly rejected outright, leading to years of inaction.
We'll see Thursday where each of the eight councilmembers stands on the issue; but don't expect much reaction from the Rays. They, unlike municipalities, know not to negotiate against themselves in the court of public opinion.
Meanwhile, negotiator-in-chief Kriseman is out of town, spending time in Canada on trade mission (don't get your panties in a wad; he's in Toronto, not Montreal). His first day back in the office? It just so happens to be Thursday.
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