Debate still rages over whether voters should back new MLS stadium

ST. LOUIS (KPLR) - We are two weeks away from the April election and one of the big item on the ballot in the City of St. Louis is the MLS stadium.

City voters must approve two propositions April 4th in order for the stadium to be built.

The first is a half-cent sales tax increase to fund a MetroLink expansion. If approved it would trigger an automatic half cent use tax increase, a sort of sales tax that businesses charge each other.

The second part of getting a stadium built is that voters must approve the revenue from the use tax increase to go towards the MLS stadium. That will be roughly $60 million total or about $4 million a year.

Glenn Burleigh a volunteer with the group Team TIF thinks that it is not in the city’s best interest to put the use tax revenue towards an MLS stadium.

"Right now, money collected by the use tax goes to public safety, public health and affordable housing," Burleigh said. "What proposition two would do it divert $3.8 million dollars in new revenue from those three budget areas to the stadium and I know in my neighborhood our main issues are those three issues."

In a press conference Tuesday, the ownership group hoping to bring a MLS team to St. Louis announced a new community benefits agreement.

Some of the highlights of the plan are: $5 million over 20 years to grow youth soccer in the city.

100 free tickets for city youth to each home game.

The use of the new stadium for St. Louis Public Schools up to six times a year for things like sporting events and graduations.

Jobs and job training programs focused on minority residents in the city.