There was no public forum Wednesday, though groups linked to the deal the Dolphins, the Super Bowl host committee and the Greater Miami Visitors & Convention Bureau had their say.
Miami-Dade would provide the football team with about $7.5 million a year, for a total of $289 million over 26 years. The Dolphins will refund the county between $112 million and $120 million in 30 years.
Gimenez said the county would benefit because the Dolphins have agreed to bring a number of major sporting events, including four Super Bowls, over the next three decades, or pay up to $120 million in penalties in 30 years.
These events provide a big shot in the arm to our local economy and represent a clear return to our investment, he said.
But a few commissioners elected in the wake of the Marlins deal questioned the wisdom of giving public money to a private stadium owned by a billionaire, developer Stephen Ross.
It is time to reconsider whether these taxes should be used for these type of purposes, Suarez said. Many Floridians are getting tired of bailing out big franchises.
Bovo argued putting the proposal to voters would provide political cover for the commission. Were kind of like Pontius Pilate wiping our hands clean of this, he said.
Bovo and Zapata also worried about the ballot language, which they suggested was written to favor approving the deal. For example, the language mentions additional hotel taxes, which Bovo said should be amended to an increase in taxes.
What keeps popping in my head is that this was written by a pollster, Zapata said. Gimenez later said sharply that county attorneys drafted the language to accurately reflect the deal.
Jordan, the items sponsor, refused ballot changes, except for the Dolphins-backed amendment to remove mention of Super Bowl 50 or 51.
Also troubling commissioners was how many local construction workers the renovation project would employ. While the county cannot require that a certain proportion of workers live in Miami-Dade or Miami Gardens, or be minorities, the Dolphins had agreed to an aspirational goal of having half of the workers live in Miami-Dade, and 5 percent in Miami Gardens.
I just dont see a whole lot of folks who look like me in many of these projects, said Moss, who is black.
Dee said the team would commit to raising those percentages, and the proportion of minority-owned subcontractors hired, in addition to creating a countywide diversity plan for the renovation.
Moss also asked how much the NFL would contribute toward the renovation. A county consultant concluded the Dolphins would qualify for about $150 million in league financing that, according to the report, is paid back by team revenues that otherwise would have been paid to the league itself.
The report called the arrangement cash-flow neutral for a team. Said Moss: You can see why some people would refer to it as more of a grant ... Im still a bit concerned about that.
Dee countered that the loan must be paid back with team profits if the renovation does not generate enough new revenue for the team to cover the debt, and he noted the Dolphins have essentially been paying for other stadium construction across the country and now has the chance to bring the dollars to Miami Gardens.
We are bringing money from other NFL communities, he said.