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St. Petersburg City Council votes on the "Exploration Fee" today

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Mike Ehrmann

In what has become a quick turn around, considering the normal pace of events regarding a new Rays stadium, the St. Petersburg City Council is ready to vote on the proposed amendment to the Rays stadium contract.

The current agreement for Tropicana Field lasts through 2027 and includes a covenant to prevent the Rays from pursuing stadium locations outside of St. Petersburg. The proposed amendment, forged by council member Charlie Gerdes, would require the front office to pay $1.42M for permission to explore stadium locations - the cost for the city to operate Tropicana Field.

The proposed amendment is backed by Council chairman Karl Nurse, and would require a majority of 5 votes to overrule any objections from St. Pete mayor Bill Foster.

The front office received the amendment in writing last week, and Rays VP Michael Kalt released a statement in response:

"We are pleased that the council is taking up this issue. We appreciate that Councilman Gerdes has brought it up for discussion. It is going to take a number of conversations to help move this along, and we look forward to greater collaboration with St. Petersburg."

The amendment would allow the Rays to explore locations for a total of three years, amounting to nearly $5M in revenue for the City should the front office accept.

The meeting is scheduled to take place this morning, and it is currently unknown if Rays officials will be attending.

Should the Rays accept, they have promised to begin their search by considering the Carillon Proposal, which has also been reportedly required in the amendment.

Council will be in session around 8:30 this morning.