Dolphins, Miami-Dade Co. discuss Sun Life Stadium deal

Leaders still tight-lipped on negotiation plans

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MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. - Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez met with Miami Dolphins officials Friday night to discuss the possibility of using public money to renovate Sun Life Stadium.

After the meeting, the team leaders appeared confident that they had made some progress with the county on a stadium deal. But both sides were tight-lipped on where the negotiations stand.

According to Gimenez, the team put interesting proposals on the table that were different and "much more favorable" than other suggestions they'd had in the past. He would not elaborate on the proposals.

"If we put anything on a ballot at all, it has to be beneficial to Miami-Dade County and it has to be a good deal," said Gimenez.

In the past, he has said that he would like the team to pay more than half of the proposed $400 million in renovations. He also wants the county to be able to walk away from whatever deal is reached if Miami is not chosen to host Super Bowl 50.

The team went into Friday's meeting having scored a small legislative win in Tallahassee. Earlier in the day, a House panel became the third legislative committee so far this year to approve a bill that would guarantee $3 million a year in state

In an effort to sway some critics, the stadium bill has been changed to require a local referendum before local hotel bed taxes from Miami-Dade County can be used to help pay for the renovations.

A new poll by FIU professor Dario Moreno shows 73 percent of Miami-Dade County voters do not support public financing for the stadium.

According to Mayor Gimenez, the poll was not discussed at Friday night's meeting because both sides are still working on a deal that they feel will sway voters' minds.

"Rather than having a polling debate, I think we want to reach an agreement that voters can be excited about and embrace," said Dolphins CEO Mike Dee. "We're looking forward to continuing the process next week."

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