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Dolphins stadium renovation deal: the fine print


We read the 81-page proposed agreement between Miami-Dade County and the Miami Dolphins so you don't have to (though hopefully county commissioners will, even though the documents were not publicly available until late, late Tuesday night. The board meets at noon Wednesday).

Here is the agreement. Here is the proposed May 14 referendum asking voters' permission to raise mainland Miami-Dade hotel taxes to fund the Sun Life Stadium renovation.

Here's some of the fine print that did not make it into our story tonight, in no particular order:

--The prime sponsor of the legislation is Commissioner Barbara Jordan, whose district includes the Miami Gardens stadium. Co-sponsors: Commissioners Bruno Barreiro and Jose "Pepe" Diaz.

--The nearly $4.8 million the Dolphins must pay Miami-Dade up front to cover the referendum is non-refundable -- even if the election gets cancelled, as would occur if Florida lawmakers fail to approve Dolphins-backed legislation before the end of the legislative session May 3.

--The proposed referendum language, in an apparent appeal to as many football fans as possible, mentions that the 1987 stadium is home to both the Dolphins and the University of Miami Hurricanes.

--The Dolphins must secure the privately funded portion of the at least $350 million renovation before the county puts in its share (75 percent of the hotel taxes raised by hiking the rate to 7 percent from 6 percent, beginning at $7.5 million in year one of the 26-year payments).

--The Dolphins must tap the private money first to pay for the construction.

--The Dolphins can use the hotel-tax revenue to finance at least $112 million but no more than $120 million toward the renovation -- and must refund the county that money in 30 years.

--According to the county's projections, the Dolphins will receive some $289 million in hotel taxes over 26 years -- beginning at $7.5 million in Year One, with 3 percent annual growth.

--The county will pay the Dolphins, through a trustee, the hotel-tax money on a monthly basis.

--Up to $4 million in hotel-tax money collected by the county in excess of the amount due to the Dolphins will accumulate in a reserve fund. If there is a shortfall of hotel-tax revenue as of Aug. 14 of any year of the deal such that the Dolphins cannot make their private debt payment, the trustee will ask the county to use the reserve account. The county has no obligation to fund the reserve fund using dollars from any other pot of money, or if there is no excess hotel-tax money. At the end of 26 years, the reserve funds will be released to the county.

--Miami-Dade will identify a building department staffer to serve as liaison with the Dolphins to obtain construction permits.

--The Dolphins will pay the county $390,000 to monitor the team's compliance with Miami-Dade small-business standards, $50,000 for deal consultants and $50,000 for financial advisors.

--The Dolphins' list of stadium improvements, provided in the agreement, can be revised, except for the proposed canopy/partial roof to shade spectators.

--As part of the Dolphins' 30-year agreement not to leave the county, the team also agrees to keep the word "Miami" in its name.

--The Dolphins will use South Florida Workforce to try to hire construction workers, and will try to hire at least 35 percent of its subcontractors from Miami-Dade.