Miami-Dade mayor, Dolphins CEO meet again

Pair negotiate county's involvement in Sun Life Stadium modernization plan

Headline Goes Here COURTESY: Miami Dolphins

MIAMI - The mayor of Miami-Dade County and the Miami Dolphins chief executive officer met for a third time as they negotiate the county's involvement in the Sun Life Stadium modernization plan.

Carlos Gimenez and Mike Dee met at County Hall Friday. Dee said he felt the team was making progress toward a deal with the county.

The meeting was expected to last about an hour and a half.

Dolphins owner Stephen Ross wants to use state and local dollars to help pay for $400 million worth of renovations to Sun Life Stadium, originally named Joe Robbie Stadium when it opened in 1987.

Dolphins management as well as other South Florida backers contend that the renovations will help the area in an effort to lure the Super Bowl for its 50th anniversary. But the renovations will also benefit the University of Miami Hurricanes and could help the state lure international soccer games.

Senate Bill 306 provides an annual $3 million state sales tax rebate to the Miami Dolphins for 30 years to fund upgrades at Sun Life Stadium, contingent upon a favorable vote by Miami-Dade voters to also raise the local bed tax levy by one cent. The legislation has already passed through three Senate committees.

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.

According to a poll by Dario Moreno, a Florida International University political science professor, 73 percent of Miami-Dade voters oppose the public financing. The poll asked 1,000 "super voters" whether they'd support publicly funding the stadium.

Norman Braman, a successful auto dealer and former owner of the Philadelphia Eagles, has called on legislators to defeat the legislation.

Copyright 2013 by The Associated Press contributed to this report. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.