The Miami Dolphins and Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez reached an agreement late Monday on a deal to provide tax money for stadium renovations that voters will have to approve.
The funding plan is expected to be presented to the Miami-Dade Commission at a special session Wednesday in order to set a county referendum on May 14.
The Dolphins are seeking a $3 million-a-year state sales tax rebate for 30 years as well as a 1 percent increase in the hotel tax for mainland Miami-Dade to help pay for a nearly $400 million makeover of Sun Life Stadium. Dolphins owner Steve Ross has agreed to pay for more than half of the cost of the project.
"We are proud to join Mayor Gimenez in agreeing to an unprecedented public-private partnership that will modernize Sun Life Stadium and protect property tax payers, while helping secure the future for Super Bowls, college championships and international soccer in Miami-Dade," Ross said in a statement Monday night.
"We look forward to working with the county commission to ensure that the voters of Miami-Dade have the final say on creating more than 4,000 jobs and pumping millions of dollars into the local economy. When the people of Miami-Dade go to the polls, we are confident they will support this partnership."
The Dolphins are still a long way from gaining public funding for the stadium project. Bills are under consideration in both branches of the Florida Legislature to provide the revenue, pending approval in the public referendum.
However, if legislators don't pass the bills, the referendum will be moot. And although the bills cleared two key committees last week, there is opposition in Tallahassee, including from members of the Miami-Dade delegation.
If a referendum is held, the Dolphins will pay the cost of staging it, expected to be $3 million to $5 million.
Voters in Broward and Palm Beach counties will not vote on the matter as all of the publoic funds being sought would be generated in Miami-Dade County. ___
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