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Miami-Dade mayor says Dolphins make more 'palatable' proposal


Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez said late Friday that the Miami Dolphins have made a "considerably different" proposal seeking some public financing for stadium renovations.

Gimenez, who met for an hour and a half Friday evening with Dolphins CEO Mike Dee, wouldn't go into details on the football team's latest offer, but the mayor called it "progress." (UPDATE: Dolphins owner Stephen Ross was also at the meeting.)

"There was a much different proposal that I think was much more palatable," Gimenez told The Miami Herald, adding that it's "nowhere close to the original deal."

Through a spokesman, Dee declined to comment. Both sides have said they are loath to "negotiate in public."

County commissioners tasked Gimenez to try to come up with a deal with the Dolphins, who initially proposed funding a little more than half of a proposed $400 million renovation to Sun Life Stadium in Miami Gardens. The rest would come from a state sales-tax subsidy and a hike in mainland Miami hotel taxes.

Gimenez has repeatedly called that proposal a starting point, indicating that he would prefer that a larger portion of the renovations be covered by private funds. The mayor was elected in part because of his stubborn opposition to the largely publicly financed ballpark for the Miami Marlins.

State lawmakers must sign off on any subsidy and on allowing the hotel-tax increase, which would then require county commission approval. The Dolphins have cleared two Florida Senate committees and a House subcommittee Friday morning, which Dee characterized earlier Friday as a sign of the team's "momentum and traction" in Tallahassee.

The bill now includes a local referendum requirement -- the first agreement reached between Gimenez and the Dolphins, who are aiming for a special election to take place around May 14. NFL owners are scheduled to award the 2016 and 2017 Super Bowls on May 22; the Dolphins say the proposed renovations, including a partial canopy, are necessary to bid for those games.

Gimenez said Friday that he will meet with the Dolphins again next week. In the meantime, he said, the county will examine the team's latest offer.