The St. Louis Board of Aldermen on Friday passed legislation that would ask voters in April whether to increase the city’s sales tax and use a corresponding rise in the local use tax to build a soccer stadium.
A spokeswoman for Mayor Francis Slay, who plans to immediately sign the bills, said the city would on Friday afternoon ask the St. Louis Circuit Court to put the measures on the April ballot; the deadline to get measures on the ballot was Jan. 24, but Alderman Steve Conway has said that the city can argue that inclement weather led to the cancellation of city meetings.
The Major League Soccer plan would see the city contribute some $60 million for the $140 million stadium, planned just west of Union Station downtown. Changes made to the plan include capturing some tax increment financing revenue on the site, which would have gone to NorthSide Regeneration. The potential MLS ownership group, SC STL, has also agreed to make payments in lieu of taxes to the city totaling some $7.5 million to $12 million over the next 30 years, rather than having the city implement a 2.5 percent ticket tax.
This spring, the city will give voters a chance to pass a half-cent sales tax increase that would go toward creating a north-south MetroLink line in the city. Next, voters will be given the option to use money generated by a corresponding increase in the city’s business tax to partially fund a downtown soccer stadium.
The two measures are structured so that funding for the soccer stadium will pass only if voters first approve the MetroLink tax.