County officials say their main concern in talks was to reduce the share of public dollars in the deal, regardless of the source of the private dollars.
And theres risk for the Dolphins: Should the stadium revenue fall short, the team must pay back the NFL loan themselves. Two county consultants concluded the stadium and team do not generate enough profit to fund the renovations alone.
Gimenez endorsed a plan late Monday to provide the Dolphins with about $7.5 million a year to help fund the renovation, if county voters approve raising mainland hotel taxes to 7 percent from 6 percent. At a special meeting at noon Wednesday, commissioners will vote to set a May 14 countywide referendum, and to approve the deal pending voter ratification.
Commissioners received Gimenezs memo around 8 p.m. They had even shorter time four years ago to examine the deal that build the new Miami Marlins ballpark.
The Dolphins plan is smaller and far less complicated, and commissioners did receive a one-page summary of the general terms Tuesday afternoon. Gimenez also met individually with a majority of commissioners to brief them.
Gimenez a leading Marlins deal critic had said last week that he hoped to give commissioners two days to digest the documents. He reiterated Monday that the board should have a day to study it. But the documents were tied up with lawyers Tuesday.
The referendum would take place a week before NFL owners meet to award the 50th and 51st Super Bowls. The Dolphins would not receive county money if one of the games is not awarded to the stadium.
Also among the deal terms:
• The Dolphins would receive 75 percent of the new hotel-tax revenue, up to $7.5 million in Year One, for 26 years. The cap would increase by 3 percent each year.
At the end of 30 years, the Dolphins would refund the county its share at least $112 million.
• The Dolphins would be on the hook for up to $120 million in penalties if they fail to bring in major events over the next three decades, including four Super Bowls or World Cup soccer finals, four college football championships and 20 international soccer matches.
• The team would be rewarded for any additional Super Bowls. And key Super Bowl events would all be hosted in Miami-Dade and not in Broward County a big change from previous South Florida games.
No referendum would take place if Dolphins-backed legislation allowing the county to raise the hotel tax and giving the team a sales-tax subsidy fails to pass the state Legislature before the annual lawmaking session ends May 3. The Florida House and Senate have two very different blueprints for how any tax break should be structured.
The Senate wants the states sports teams to compete for a pot of tax dollars, with the money going only to those who can prove the money will boost economic development. The House plan more closely mirrors the Dolphins original proposal: an additional $3 million annual sales-tax subsidy to last 30 years.
Any legislation would go to Gov. Rick Scott, who continued to sound warm to the proposal Tuesday when he visited Miami.
I like the fact that the Dolphins are putting a lot of [the clubs] money up, he said. I like the fact theyre committing to stay. I like the fact that theres a referendum.
Miami Herald staff writers Marc Caputo and Toluse Olorunnipa contributed to this report.