Commission working on deal for Sun Life renovations
MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. (WSVN) -- The Miami-Dade County Commission and the Miami Dolphins are coming up with a framework for a deal to use some county dollars for renovations at the Sun Life stadium.
Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez said, "It needs to be done by today. We want to get a package to the commission because the latest we can have a special meeting by the commission, to call a special election by the 14th of May, would be Wednesday, and that's what we're working toward, and I don't want to say on Wednesday, 'Here's the package.' I want the commission to have at least a day to look it over and think of questions they may have on Wednesday. So, if we can't get this done by today, and it could be later in the day, but we need to get this done by today."
Car dealer Norman Braman who opposes the deal said, "It's welfare for a multibillionaire, they can wrap it up in any package they want."
Braman is not the only one that feels that way about helping wealthy NFL owners improve Sun Life Stadium in order to bring another Super Bowl to Miami.
The basic plan for a $400 million renovation calls for the Dolphins chipping in just half of that, with the rest coming from state tax dollars and an increase in the hotel bed tax. "It's just a stream of revenue from the taxes that's to be imposed," said Gimenez, "and we're not legally allowed to do that, and that's the framework right now."
Dolphins General Manager Mike Dee said, "It's very important to have the wind at our back in Tallahassee. The time is short."
County Mayor Carlos Gimenez has made it clear no plan goes forward without a tax pay-out referendum with the election paid for by the Dolphins. "Any potential deal to renovate Sun Life Stadium will be subject to a binding public referendum. This is a must," said Mayor Gimenez.
Gimenez knows full well the sour reaction to public funding for the Marlins stadium is one thing that cost his predecessor his job. Carlos Alvarez who ousted Miami-Dade Mayor said, "If this did cost me my job, I'm here to tell you, it was worth it."
Mayor Gimenez is well aware of what happened to his predecessor and also well aware of what the latest public opinion polls show. Last Wednesday, Miami-Dade County voters made it clear, 73 percent disapprove of using any public money for the Sun Life stadium.
The Miami Dolphins' CEO does not have as much hope as Gimenez. "We have been at it for a long time since yesterday," said Mike Dee, "and we continue to work at it, and I'm not as confident as the mayor is to reach an agreement. I think we still have a lot of work to do."
Monday night is the deadline because this would have to go to the county commission by Tuesday to get their OK in order to provide 30 days notice for a public referendum in which the taxpayers will give the final vote. They have to get that done before the NFL meets to see where they will have Super Bowl L and Super Bowl LI.
(Copyright 2013 by Sunbeam Television Corp. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)