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No, there won’t be a vote this week on new Rays deal

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

There will not be a vote on a new Rays deal this week. St. Pete City Council Chairwoman Amy Foster confirmed Wednesday that there was no chance a deal – brokered between Mayor Rick Kriseman and the Tampa Bay Rays to allow the team to look for stadium sites outside of St. Pete – would be voted on at Thursday’s meeting.

Tuesday, the Tampa Bay Times reported that Kriseman’s intent was to put a vote before council on Thursday. However, Foster said she wasn’t even meeting with the Mayor to discuss a new deal until 5 p.m. Wednesday. In a discussion with city attorney Jackie Kovilaritch, Foster said there wouldn’t be enough time to add an item to the agenda.

Foster also said she hasn’t received anything on the issue in writing from the Mayor’s office. She asked that something be provided before scheduling a vote.

The latest news on the long-standing Rays stadium debacle does not, however, mean there won’t be discussion on the topic. Foster said she’s not sure yet whether there will be a presentation during Thursday’s meeting, but will know more after she meets with the Mayor.

According to the Times, former City Council chairman and staunch Rays deal supporter Charlie Gerdes said the new deal Kriseman is presenting isn’t all that different from previous versions and there wasn’t anything “brand new.”

Previous versions of a deal included a sliding scale fee the Rays would have to pay the city for every year they played ball outside of Tropicana Field. The original deal required anywhere between $2 million and $4 million per year with the amount decreasing as the use agreement drew closer to expiration. That happens in 2027.

A new deal will likely include development rights on the Tropicana Field site should the team decide to leave its current home. Estimates show development on the more than 80 acres of land could be worth anywhere between $500 million and $1 billion.

St. Pete insiders generally believe a new version of a deal will likely pass a new council. Lisa Wheeler-Brown just replaced former City Council member Wengay Newton. Newton had been one of four holdouts on a deal. Wheeler-Brown indicated during campaigning that she would likely support a deal.

That means unless one of the previous yes-voters change their minds, a vote would garner the necessary five votes for passage. Council members Steve Kornell and Jim Kennedy seem unlikely to issue support for a new deal unless it includes vastly more monetary compensation to the city. New council member Ed Montanari has never voted on the issue, but when running for his seat said he would not have supported the Mayor’s previous deal.

Foster had originally voted no on Kriseman’s deal, but later switched her vote to a yes. Passage of a new deal may very well rest in her hands.

Check back with SaintPetersBlog this evening for updates on whether or not City Council will receive a presentation on the issue during its meeting Thursday.

Janelle Irwin has been a professional journalist covering local news and politics in the Tampa Bay area since 2003. She also hosts a weekly political talk show on WMNF Community radio. Janelle formerly served as the sole staff reporter for WMNF News and previously covered news for Patch.com and various local neighborhood newsletters. Her work has been featured in the New York Daily News, Free Speech Radio News and Florida Public Radio and she's been interviewed by radio stations across the nation for her coverage of the 2012 Republican National Convention. Janelle is a diehard news junkie who isn't afraid to take on big names in local politics including Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn, the dirty business of trash and recycling in St. Pete and the ongoing Pier debacle. Her work as a reporter and radio host has earned her two WMNF awards including News Volunteer of the Year and Public Affairs Volunteer of the Year. Janelle is also the devoted mother to three brilliant and beautiful daughters who are a constant source of inspiration and occasional blogging fodder. To contact, email janelle@floridapolitics.com.

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