County Wants Review Of Uses Of Convention Development Tax
By Victor Cruz
Miami-Dade commissioners will review all possible uses of the county’s convention development taxes today (4/26), when they consider an amendment to their interlocal agreement with Miami Beach that returns a portion of the fee to that city.
The issue flared when Beach officials began trying to prevent the county from spending the tax for new projects unrelated to convention centers, such as the proposed Florida Marlins baseball stadium. Though interested in using the fund for new projects, commissioners balked Tuesday at approving changes to an agreement which would increase the Beach’s apportionment from the tax.
"I’m not voting on any CDT tax measures until I have all the alternatives," said Commissioner Jimmy Morales Tuesday. "I’m not going to act with a gun to my head."
His contention was that the commission’s hand was being forced too quickly on the county’s portion of stadium financing because legislators are simultaneously considering a $122 million tax rebate to build a stadium. His comments were echoed by other commissioners.
Along with Mr. Morales, commissioners Natacha Seijas, Katy Sorenson, and Betty T. Ferguson said they wanted at least a month before ruling but were unable to convince their colleagues to hold off that long.
In December, Beach commissioners complained of not getting a fair share of the tax after the county agreed to help finance the stadium. The city wanted a revision of the agreement before money is committed to the stadium because the Beach generates 40% of the tax.
The county has since been presented with more than three other requests for new uses of the tax money.
An amendment was drafted in mid-December by Beach officials. But approval of a modified version of it, allocating more funds for the Beach, was delayed Tuesday by county commissioners, who said they first wanted a full list of possible uses for the tax.