MIAMI (CBS4) – Miami Dolphins CEO Mike Dee smiled as he delivered a small piece of paper today with a big number on it.
“Well this is it. I don’t know if I’ve carried a check this large. But it’s a great day for us. Vote of a confidence in the referendum process. A vote of confidence in what we just agreed to this week with the county,” said Dee.
The four-point-seven million dollar check, noted to Put Miami First, will cover an unprecedented privately funded election in Miami-Dade May 14th. At stake, whether to use a proposed new tourist tax to fund part of the renovations to the dolphin’s stadium.
“This is an incredible risk that you are taking. I mean it’s non-refundable situation you are going into,” commented CBS4’s David Sutta.
“That it is, but again I think it’s a vote of confidence in how far we’ve come,” said Dee.
A week ago Dee was actually walking away from negotiations empty handed. Then Monday, a late night deal was brokered, followed by a last minute vote Wednesday by county commissioners.
Now the real work begins. The $4.7 million is really just the beginning of the money the Dolphins will spend to get your vote.
“We have to inform the public. This can’t be a referendum just about sound bites. It has to be about these are the aspects of this partnership that are compelling. This is why it’s important to the community. So whatever it cost for us to get that message out to the voting public. We think that’s a good investment,” Dee said.
Part of the message will fall to super bowl committee chairman Rodney Barreto. In two weeks he’ll present these top secret plans to bring Super Bowl 50 to Miami.
“If we don’t do the renovations I think it’s going to be hard pressed for us to get future Super Bowls,” said Barreto. “It’s just that the competition is getting so fierce and tough out there.”
Barreto points out the tax Miami-Dade residents will vote on is charged on tourists and has made things like the NASCAR track in Homestead to the Adrienne Arsht center possible.
“If you took that all away we’d be some sleepy Southern town,” said Barreto. “I don’t want to bash Tallahassee, but we’d be another Tallahassee.”
With 30 days left, less if you count absentee and early voting, the Dolphins have their work cut out.