City Comptroller says she’s not against new NFL stadium

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ST. LOUIS (KTVI) - Contradicting recent reports, St. Louis Comptroller Darlene Green told Fox 2 on Thursday she was not out to block the building of a new riverfront football stadium to keep the Rams in St. Louis.

“I want to be part of the solution to saving the Rams. I want to be part of the solution for building a new stadium,” Green said.

If that sounded like an “about-face,” then Green said you didn’t hear her right the first time. There’d been understanding all along in the effort to build the new billion-dollar stadium that there would be no additional burden on taxpayers, she said.

The governor and the mayor have said so repeatedly.

St. Louis County, which—like the City of St. Louis—committed $6 million a year for the Edward Jones Dome, has opted out of the new stadium deal. Green said the most recent plan she’d seen had the City of St. Louis essentially picking up the county’s portion of the tab.

“Now, I am understanding that this (version of the plan) is outdated. So they need to work harder to deliver on their promises to the taxpayers: no new taxes,” Green said. “We need more police. The people are clamoring for more police. So that is a priority for my office as comptroller when I look at balancing essential needs against building a stadium.”

She’s calling on the Stadium Task Force to come up with a new funding stream: perhaps a statewide sports authority to fund stadiums and improvements for all six major league teams in Missouri: the Rams, Blues, and Cardinals in St. Louis, along with the Royals and Chiefs in Kansas City.

“Those guys need to go after those tourist and visitor dollars. That’s a responsible way to fund major league sports these days. Think major league, stop thinking small,” she said.

Green also took issue with the task force for giving a “term sheet” to the NFL, outlining stadium financing while refusing to release it to the City of St. Louis or the public.

The “term sheet” is an all-encompassing overview of the project.

Stadium Task Force leaders said last week the final numbers for the city’s portion were still being worked out; they will of course become public once finalized.

“The construct of this has never changed. We’re looking at 15 percent of the funding coming from the city. When the dome was built it was 25 percent,” said Task Force Co-Chair Dave Peacock. “It was a smaller number because obviously things change over time…we’re not trying to do this in a vacuum, we’re being very transparent and open.”

“I don’t have a new plan in front of me to approve,” Green said. “I’m saying they have an opportunity to do the right thing on behalf of the taxpayers. Do the right thing. Deliver on your promise and let’s build a stadium.”

Green admitted she couldn't stop the stadium alone, even if she so desired.

If aldermen approve a deal, the three member Board of Estimate and Apportionment, made up of Green, Mayor Francis Slay, and Board of Aldermen President Lewis Reed, would have the final say, Green said.

They could always outvote her 2-1.