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February 03, 2009
Could hotel woes nix Fish bowl?
The Florida Marlins stadium steamroller has been hitting a bumpy road of late. First, the city and county put off their final approval vote on the matter, saying they wanted to actually think about it before voting this time. Then on Sunday, the Miami Herald revealed the results of its analysis of county hotel tax receipts, which are supposed to pay for nearly half the now-$609 million cost of the project. Their conclusion: The taxes won't even come close unless tourists "spend record amounts of money" in Miami over the next 35 years.
There's lots in the Herald article projecting various different scenarios, but nothing that I can see about what happens if the county doesn't have enough hotel tax money to pay off the bonds. (Presumably it dips into general revenues.) There is, however, this tidbit buried deep on the jump page:
If commissioners in Miami and Miami-Dade approve the plan, either government would have until June 30 to cancel the deal. ''If we are presented with a worst-case scenario by June 30, we can walk away,'' Mayor [Carlos] Alvarez said in his statement.
So the final vote isn't the final vote after all? And what happens if the Marlins break ground in May as scheduled, and then the city or county backs out of the deal? Maybe thinking things over beforehand isn't such a bad idea.