Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez said Monday he may require South Florida hosting a Super Bowl first as a condition for using county hotel taxes to fund part of a $400 million renovation of Sun Life Stadium.
At Monday morning news conference announcing a referendum requirement for the taxes, Gimenez also said he would like to have voters give the county the option to withhold the money if the NFL snubs Miami-Dade in its Super Bowl bid.
"I don't want to be eligible for anything," Gimenez said. "I want to be awarded."
Over the weekend, the Dolphins dropped objections to a countywide referendum on their stadium plan and now are pushing for a vote in time for the May 22 meeting of NFL owners to decide between Miami Gardens and the San Francisco area for the 2016 Super Bowl. The loser will take on Houston for the 2017 Super Bowl, but the '16 game is considered the big prize since it is the 50th game.
Gimenez said he would not call for a referendum until he has approved a financing deal with the Dolphins. "We haven't started negotiations. It doesn't mean a deal is going to be done," Gimenez said.
Dolphins CEO Mike Dee said the team would welcome the referendum, and did not realize it could be held between the team's January unveiling of their financing proposal and the May 22 decision on Super Bowl.
The team has been pushing for tax dollars for Sun Life since 2010, and has not proposed a referendum before. Dee said Monday the Dolphins are confident the public will support the plan.
"We believe a decision by the voters will go our way," Dee said.
The county needs 60 days' notice for a referendum, meaning the language must be approved by commissioners in March.