Dolphins Still Lack Stadium Renovation Deal With County Weeks Before Possible Vote
Six weeks from a possible Miami-Dade countywide vote on a subsidized renovation of Sun Life Stadium, the Dolphins “still lack a crucial element for their pitch to the public: a deal,” according to Douglas Hanks of the MIAMI HERALD. The team’s plan “to use local hotel taxes and state subsidies to fund part of a $390 million upgrade ... continued to move closer to state approval Wednesday, with a key Florida House committee endorsing a bill needed for the public dollars.” Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez said, “We’ve got a lot of work to do. It’s hard, but it’s doable.” One of the “biggest questions remaining is how much of the new hotel tax the Dolphins want annually.” County forecasts show that raising mainland hotel taxes “to 7 percent from 6 percent, as called for in the Dolphins’ bill, would generate about $690 million over 30 years.” The Dolphins and Gimenez “have been negotiating over how much of the tax should go to the team, with Miami-Dade’s largest hotel group advocating a portion go to tourism promotion.” Details could be “revealed at any moment.” Sources said that a deal with Gimenez “is close.” Dolphins lobbyist Ron Book on Wednesday “told lawmakers an agreement with the county would be announced ‘in the coming days.’” But Gimenez has “made no such prediction” (MIAMI HERALD, 4/4). In Miami, Hanks & Mazzei cite sources as saying that the “tentative plan is for a special County Commission meeting on Tuesday to schedule the countywide vote in May.” Gimenez said that he “wants commissioners to have at least two days to review any deal.” Crucial to that timeline is “a pending opinion from the Florida division of elections, whom Gimenez asked to weigh in on whether the Dolphins can reimburse the county for the special election.” The referendum is “expected to cost between $3 million and $5 million.” Without that “opinion in hand, Gimenez hinted the vote could be delayed past May 21” (MIAMI HERALD, 4/5).