Ownership of the stadium would remain in private hands for the life of the deal, according to the source. That means the Dolphins will continue to pay property taxes on the stadium, a bill that in 2012 came to nearly $4 million.
The team shared details of the negotiations, which also include a pledge to cover cost overrun, with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, multiple club owners and other high-ranking league officials last week.
Dolphins owner Stephen Ross and CEO Mike Dee declined comment Monday.
“We are looking forward to finalizing a fair agreement with the mayor this week, but until then we will not negotiate in the media,” team spokesman Eric Jotkoff said.
Gimenez’s office also declined comment. “The mayor is not going to negotiate in public,” communications director Fernando Figueredo said.
Gimenez, who came into power partly because of his strident opposition to the highly unpopular public financing for the new Miami Marlins ballpark, has repeatedly said the negotiations might not result in any deal, if the terms do not benefit the county.
The mayor and the Dolphins have met four times. They did not meet last week and have no meetings scheduled this week.
The Dolphins want a referendum to take place May 7 or 14, before the May 22 NFL owners meeting. That would require county commissioners to set the special election sometime in the next two or three weeks, since Miami-Dade is required to provide legal notice 30 days before an election.
The referendum would be contingent on state lawmakers approving a bill allowing the county to increase the hotel taxes and providing the Dolphins with the sales-tax rebate. The legislation was quickly approved by several Florida House and Senate committees before slowing down last week.