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Miami-Dade commissioners mull over extra Dolphins cash

@PatriciaMazzei

More than $1 million was left over from the nearly $4.8 million nonrefundable payment the Miami Dolphins made to Miami-Dade for a special election.

Now county commissioners must decide how to spend the cash.

Miami-Dade required the team to pay for a scheduled May 14 election on a proposed Sun Life Stadium renovation, to be paid for in part with public dollars. The referendum was canceled after Florida lawmakers failed to pass Dolphins-backed legislation in Tallahassee — leaving the county with the extra elections money.

Dueling proposals on what to do with it emerged at a committee meeting Thursday.

Commissioner Barbara Jordan said the money should help establish a low-interest loan program for small businesses. Commissioner Juan C. Zapata said it should be divided evenly among the 13 commissioners to fund summer programs for children or mom-and-pop business grants.

“I really see this as being an incubator of something that is sorely needed, to grow our small businesses,” Jordan said of her plan.

Said Zapata: “I like both ideas.”

So did the rest of the economic development and PortMiami committee. Commissioners decided to forward both alternatives to the full board for a vote.

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