Miami Marlins President David Samson is my guest on "News & Views," Sunday at 11 a.m., right after Face the Nation.
In an interview taped Friday, Samson talked about the new Marlins Stadium and the “soft opening” that has included 3 games—two pitting the Marlins against college teams FIU and UM—and one high school game pitting Belen vs. Columbus. Samson said the Marlins are working out problems with traffic getting into the games and parking.
He said fans may not know about parking lots located a few blocks from the stadium that are serviced by shuttle buses. The stadium seats 37,000 and has about 6,000 parking spots, which are pre-sold to season ticket holders.
I asked Samson about the controversy over who should pay the property tax bill on the parking garages. He said, “Supposing there is a property tax bill, that’s an issue between the county and city that they’ll work out. I’m confident they’ll figure out a way to get thru it.”
At this point I asked if the Marlins bore any responsibility for the property taxes, or even a portion of the bill. Samson said the team was not responsible for the property taxes on the garages.
“There are city garages all over Miami-Dade county so they’ll figure it out I’m sure. We bought the spaces so its 4.5 million dollars that helps pay for most if not all the cost of the garages.”
The garages cost the city of Miami $100 million to build.
By pure coincidence, my second guest on the show is Miami-Dade property appraiser Pedro Garcia, who will decide how much is owed in property taxes and who should pay up.
“The decision is mine,” Garcia said. “I believe it is taxable.”
I asked Garcia who should pay.
Garcia said it appears from looking at the contract between the city and the Marlins, that the city of Miami is on the hook for the estimated $1.5 million annual property tax bill. Garcia says his decision is based on state law that says municipal property can only be exempt from property taxes if it is used exclusively for a public purposes. The garages, he said, do not meet that criteria.
Garcia says his office is still reviewing the issue but that as of now everything seems to point to the city being liable for the bill. The tax bill will be sent out June 1st.
Eliott Rodriguez | News Anchor
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