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Marlins, county still clashing over ballpark costs

Marlins Park

The Miami Marlins and Miami-Dade County are preparing for arbitration to settle a disagreement over the team’s contribution to Marlins Park opening costs.

The Marlins were obligated to pay $126.2 million toward new-ballpark costs, though the team was allowed to deduct money it spent directly on new-ballpark costs. The Marlins submitted some $110.9 million in deductions, and some of those deductions were questioned by county officials, such as money paid to concessionaire Levy Restaurants and legal fees. All in all, some $4.2 million is under debate. From Miami Today:

The heavily scrutinized deal to finance the building of a baseball stadium with features such as a retractable roof is a tri-party agreement among the City of Miami, Miami-Dade County and the Miami Marlins.

About $519.5 million was budgeted for the stadium, with the city responsible for $13.5 million, the county for $341.3 million and the Marlins for about $126.2 million. That’s excluding the issuance of $35 million in additional bonds as well as about $4.5 million designated for making the stadium a ‘green’ structure built and operated according to environmentally sustainable standards set by the US Green Building Council, a private non-profit organization that advocates for sustainability in building. Also not included are interest payments on county-issued stadium bonds that will cost about $2.4 billion in all to repay.

At the close of the final bid package, about $504 million from the budgeted $519.5 million was spent on stadium-related costs. The remaining $15 million falls within the Marlins’ share of the cost.

On the one hand, $4.2 million is a lot of money. On the other hand, this is only 3.8 percent of the $110.9 million in deductions — which is a pretty small part of the construction cost, and one that’s doesn’t appear to be causing aggravation on either side. But with the Marlins operating in what some consider to be a erratic fashion since the new ballpark opened (is this a small-market front office operating in a major market? is this team rebuilding or a contender? where are all the fans?), there’s probably more importance being placed on this disagreement than would be placed otherwise.

Photo by Roberto Coquis, via flickr.

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