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Joplin Blasters say it's been a struggle to get a win/win with J - KOAM TV 7

Joplin Blasters say it's been a struggle to get a win/win with Joplin's City Council

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Joplin, MO -

An attorney for the Joplin Blasters baseball team says team owners were given a "twist" during last night's city council meeting.  There is a new contract proposal between the city and the team.  The Blasters rent Joe Becker Stadium from the city.

The Blasters' attorney, Steven Hays, says team owners weren't expecting the city wanting the Blasters to pay 30% of utilities, during times that the team is using the stadium.  Instead, team owners wanted the city to pay all utilities until paid attendance reached an average of 15 hundred people.  Last year, an average of just under 11 hundred people paid to watch the team.

The team's attorney read a prepared statement today:

"Over the past few months, the Blasters and the City of Joplin have engaged in thoughtful negotiations reference the lease at Joe Becker Stadium.  The Blasters want to thank those involved in these negotiations, especially Mayor Seibert, for the time and effort extended in their struggle to reach a win/win final agreement.  At last night's council meeting a twist to the negotiations was endorsed by a majority of the voting members.  Due to this new provision, the Blasters organization is in the process of running financial projects in order to ascertain whether or not the final proposal will compromise the overall integrity of the lease.  This process will take a few days to complete."

Joplin's city council has given the Blasters team until 5 o'clock Monday evening to sign the new contract proposal.  The Blasters also have to pay $10,000 to the city by Monday evening, to cover part of the $25,000 cost the Blasters owe the city from last year's baseball season.  

Also part of this newest contract proposal, $75,000 for annual rent is due in five monthly payments from May to September.  Once the team reaches an average of 3,000 people who pay for tickets, the Blasters will have to pay an additional $25,000.

City council members say this is the city's last proposal to the Blasters, and there will be no more negotiations with the team.  

We called the team's owner, Gabe Suarez, for comment on this story.  After we identified ourselves, the connection was terminated without us hanging up.

Here's a link to the city's December 2015 contract proposal with the Blasters that ended up being declined by the team.  Here's a link to the city's newest contract proposal with the Blasters.  Please note that these documents are blurry on mobile web browsers but clear on desktop web browsers.  We apologize.

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