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Miami-Dade mayor on Dolphins' partly tax-funded stadium redo: 'The devil is always in the details'

Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez has not endorsed or opposed the proposal by the Miami Dolphins to renovate the team's privately owned stadium partly with tax dollars. And he said Thursday he doesn't plan to take a position one way or the other until he knows more about the plan, which would require legislative and county action to fund about half of the $400 million renovation.

"The devil is always in the details," he said. 

For the first time, the mayor said the Dolphins' plan should "probably" have gone to county voters. The team has said there is no time for a referendum before Miami presents its bid to host Super Bowl L.

"I think they probably should go to referendum, but do we have the time? I don't know," Gimenez said. 

He added that the proposal shouldn't focus on hosting a singe event but on a series of them, from Super Bowls to college football bowls to soccer games, that could benefit the county from national or international exposure.

"Those sporting events really put the spotlight" on Miami-Dade, the mayor said. "There is value to that."

As county commissioner, Gimenez vociferously opposed the financing deal for the publicly owned Miami Marlins' ballpark in Little Havana. He was elected mayor after Carlos Alvarez was recalled, in part because of voter frustration over the stadium agreement.

"I wasn't against the Marlins stadium -- I was against the deal," Gimenez said. "There has to be a public benefit."

Gimenez said he wants to examine the Dolphins' proposal if and when the team provides more details. That likely won't happen unless the team's efforts to obtain $3 million more in state tax money a year go anywhere in Tallahassee -- a big if in the tax-averse Legislature.

"I don't speculate about things that don't happen," the mayor quipped.