Dolphins Offer To Reimburse County For Cost Of Public Referendum

Posted Mar 22, 2013

CEO Mike Dee made the announcement at the Latin Builders Association luncheon.

DORAL – This afternoon at the Latin Builders Association luncheon, Miami Dolphins CEO Mike Dee further strengthened owner Steve Ross’ commitment to ensure That Miami-Dade taxpayers are not burdened in connection with a public/private partnership to modernize Sun Life Stadium (photos).

He announced that – if permitted under state law – owner Steve Ross and the team will reimburse the county for any costs associated with the public referendum on the use of public money for a 22-project modernization plan for Sun Life Stadium. This came on the heels of yesterday’s announcement that the Dolphins will not accept public tax dollars from the county should Miami-Dade not be awarded a Super Bowl at the May owners meetings.

“We are going to step up and reimburse the county for any cost associated with this special election,” said Dee in a brief interview before the lunch began. “We’ve felt that way from the get-go, that we should be responsible for those costs. We were told initially that that was impossible and that there was a state law that prohibited that, but to the extent that the feedback that the Mayor receives on the letter they sent yesterday is positive, we think that’s the right thing to do.”

No official date for the referendum has been set but Dee hinted it could happen either May 7th or 14th. The NFL owners will meet again as a group on May 22nd in Boston to vote on Super Bowls L and LI, with Miami competing against Santa Clara, California for L and the loser going up against Houston for LI.

By the time he was finished addressing what is a very influential group of local business leaders, Dee had elicited his fair share of applause. In fact, when he announced to the crowd about the promise to reimburse the county he got his loudest round of applause. When a member of the audience asked how the modernizations would impact local jobs, Dee gave another promising answer.

“You can take our commitment today to the bank. We are going to locally source these jobs,” Dee said. “And when I say locally source, I mean Miami-Dade County sourced. We’re going to have an orientation in making sure that as many jobs stay in Miami-Dade County.”

Dee used the rest of his time up at the podium to reinforce some of the points he made along with Super Bowl Host Committee Rodney Barreto at yesterday’s press conference at Sun Life Stadium. These proposed modernizations to the stadium include, adding a canopy over the 25-year-old building, improving the seating and stadium lighting and adding four new video boards in each corner, among other upgrades.

These will be paid for through a majority of private funds and a minor percentage of public money, which would be generated by a 1-cent increase in the tourist tax in Miami-Dade County and a $3 million per year tax rebate from the state of Florida on goods and services sold at the stadium. To date, bills filed by Rep. Eduardo Gonzalez and Senator Oscar Braynon have passed three Senate Committees and one House Committee by overwhelming majorities.

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