The Miami Dolphins want to stop paying property taxes for Sun Life Stadium in exchange for privately funding a $350 million renovation, a deal that would put South Florida in the running again for Super Bowls but also endanger about $3.8 million that funds schools, libraries and other government services, according to people familiar with the talks.
Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez met with Dolphins owner Stephen Ross about two weeks ago, and said he would insist the team find a way for the arrangement not to dent the budgets of the School Board or Miami Gardens, where Sun Life Stadium is the city’s top taxpayer. Under the proposal, Sun Life would revert to county ownership and be free of property taxes, in the same way that the county-owned homes of the Miami Marlins and the Miami Heat are government facilities and exempt from taxation.
“He just wants to be treated fairly,” said Dolphins CEO Tom Garfinkel. “He wants to be treated like all the other franchise owners from that standpoint.”
The talks mark the first concrete sign that the Dolphins have not let up in their push for a renovated Sun Life after a bitter defeat last year in Tallahassee.