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Marlins Stadium Update No. $64 million (Countdown to County meeting)

What’s meant to be the FINAL ballpark vote looms this afternoon at the Miami-Dade County Commission. It’s sounding as if there may be the nine votes needed to pass the plan for a $515 million ballpark and $94 million in parking lots.

With the Miami City Commission’s 3-2 approval Thursday, the plan is expected to get a thorough debate at the Stephen P. Clarke Center at 1 p.m. The five ballpark agreements and accompanying elements, which include waiving competitive bidding requirements to allow stadium construction manager Hunt-Moss to also oversee the adjacent street and sewer work, will be presented to commissioners as one resolution that needs approval of nine of 13 commissioners.

It’s possible the agreements and the bid waivers could be considered individually, if commissioners want to separate them. If that occurs, here’s how the breakdown on what votes would be needed for passage:

The parking, assurance and non-relocation agreements each need a simple majority – or a total of seven votes if all 13 members are present. The construction administration agreement, which spells out the financing, has three elements that need a larger vote. The bid waiver for the infrastructure work needs nine votes and the ones that allow the Marlins Stadium Developer LLC to act as stadium developer and provide a sales tax exemption on construction materials each need a two-thirds vote of the members present. Finally, the waiver allowing Marlins Stadium Operator LLC to be the ballpark’s operator, which is included in the operating agreement, also requires a two-thirds vote of the members present.

Yes, I know, we’re in the weeds here, but that’s partly what these updates are for – so you can keep score.

Which reminds me, here’s some more clarification on the amendments the Marlins agreed to before the city vote:

+ Increased the percentage of profits Miami and Miami-Dade County would share, should the team be sold within 10 years of the ballpark agreement being forged to 70 percent in the first year; 60 percent in the second; 50 percent in the third; 30 percent in the fourth; 10 percent in the fifth; 7.5 percent in the sixth; and then 5 percent in each of the remaining four years.

+ Agreed to contribute $500,000 annually to charities that include youth and community programs, with $100,000 going to the Parks Foundation of Miami-Dade County and $25,000 to the City Heart of Our Parks Fund annually during the first seven and a half years of the deal.

+ Agreed to build or improve 39 baseball fields in the county, including two in each city commissioner’s district.

+ Amended the termination clause to allow any party to end the deal by July 1 or before the county completes the bond sale for the stadium, whichever is earlier.

Expect a long afternoon. County commissioners haven't given the stadium a thorough vetting for a year. Commissioners Carlos Gimenez and Sally Heyman have lots of concerns and are likely to vote no. Commissioner Joe Martinez also has questions. Expect to hear the stadium plan mortgages the county’s future, and relies on bed taxes the county isn’t sure will be generated and on general fund revenue as secondary pledge for bond repayment if the bed tax money runs short. Commissioners are also likely to express concern the plan gives too much to a private business and not enough back to the public.

City Commissioner Marc Sarnoff, who voted against the financing plan Thursday, said county commissioners should think carefully before they vote.

“I’m hoping the county commissioners take a sobering look at what the true income stream of the bed taxes are right now, it’s 22 percent down,” Sarnoff said.

After the city vote, Marlins officials likened their situation to winning Game 6 and awaiting Monday’s Game 7. Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria sounded hopeful.

“It’s a very important thing to happen, and as we look back years from now we’ll realize how good this decision was today,” he said.

Categories: Florida Marlins (193), Marlins Stadium Updates (112)

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About the author
CRAIG DAVIS In more than 33 years at the Sun Sentinel, Craig Davis has written about a wide variety of sports topics from baseball to yachting, fishing to triathlons, and also worked as a copy editor and page designer. Recently he reported on local sports, including running, swimming, cycling, equestrian and beach volleyball. He enjoys sports as a participant as well as a spectator, is active in the South Florida running scene plays in the curling club at Saveology Iceplex. This blog offers a glimpse at the business side of sports in the interest of enhancing enjoyment of the games and sporting options as a spectator as well as a participant.
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