WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) — There’s controversy and confusion over a new sales “fee” for the Wichita Wind Surge. It comes as a surprise to many across the city, and some are questioning whether or not this new fee is legal and asking if this is a tax disguised as a fee.

The City of Wichita made it very clear during a Friday meeting that his new fee did not come from the city. Wind Surge said they implemented this new fee to recoup their initial $10,000,000 investment into Riverfront Stadium.

When you buy anything at the stadium, including tickets, merchandise, or concessions, the team will charge you an additional 8% of your total purchase before factoring in taxes and other fees. The line item is identified as a “ballpark development fee,” shown on receipts as “Bpk Dev Fee.”

KSN interviewed Wind Surge CEO Jordan Kobritz and asked him what he would tell the fans about this new fee.

“The first thing I would tell them is [to] check your grocery bill, and I’m sure that they can see groceries have gone up somewhere between 15 and 20% in the last year and a half, and then compare our concession prices with the last year, and they’ll see that those prices did not go up,” said Kobritz.

“I just think at some point we’re a private entity, we want to stay in business, and that means we have to make a profit and recoup our investment, and again, we’ve tried to balance that,” added Kobrtiz.

“They have made an investment. I get that they have to recover their costs. I just don’t like they went about verbalizing this,” said City Council member Bryan Frye.

“We need to make clear that it’s not a city fee,” said City Manager Robert Layton, who tried to clear up any confusion during a council meeting Friday. “They do have obligations to us that have to be met, and that includes maintenance and all operations of the facility, and then, they pay us rent, and then there are provisions that when the stadium is named that we also get naming revenue.”

Some, like Mayor Brandon Whipple, are questioning the wording of this new fee.

“There’s a difference between fees and taxes, and it feels like this fee is actually mimicking a tax because it’s not a straight fee, it’s a percentage of what is being purchased,” said Whipple.

“I hate to see a price increase, and I know it’s happening everywhere, but one of the key things to bringing baseball to Wichita was we wanted to make it affordable to everybody,” said City Council member Jeff Blubaugh.

Here’s how some of those costs could break down for you. Let’s say you buy two general admission tickets, currently priced at $10 apiece. The Wind Surge would charge you $1.60 for what it calls a “ballpark development fee.” Then if you bought the tickets online, there’s a $6 ticket fee, $1.50 sales tax, and a $0.40 Community Improvement District (CID) Tax, which helps pays the city’s debt of Riverfront Stadium. Your grand total would be $29.50.

“If you’re going to change the price, change the price, don’t call it a development fee. It’s not a development fee. It’s a management fee or some kind of operations fee, but it has nothing to do with developing the stadium,” added Blubaugh.

“I hate that it’s come up on Opening Day for people that have to make that decision. They can get that figured out great, but I am concerned that it could put a damper on attendance,” said Frye.

Kobritz did tell KSN that it’s possible the team could sunset this new ballpark development fee.

“We did not increase concession prices. We did not increase our ticket prices this year. Unfortunately, looking down the road, I think that’s probably inevitable,” said Kobritz. “This is new, maybe, and a surprise to some people in Wichita, so perhaps I think that’s where some of the reaction is, but again we were trying to be transparent. We could’ve just increased our prices, and people would never know that it was designed to reimburse us for our investment in the ballpark.”