The City Council of cash-strapped Miami learned recently that it may be forced to pay property taxes on four parking garages nearing completion to service the Marlins' new baseball stadium, according to the Miami Herald.
The city sold $100 million of bonds to build the garages assuming that they would be exempt from taxes.
But Miami-Dade County property appraiser Pedro Garcia informed the city recently that the structures may go on the tax rolls upon completion. because the garages will not be used solely for a public purpose.
The city has leased all 5,700 parking spaces to the Marlins for every home game and special team events, the paper said.
The city will make $10 on each parking spot, though it could be liable for up to $2 million a year in taxes.
In addition, the contract between the city and the Marlins specifically states that the city will be responsible for all taxes, according to the paper.
Most public contracts make the private user responsible for such taxes. There was no explanation for this change in Miami's contract with the Marlins.
Mayor Tomás Regalado, who opposed the stadium, reportedly said the garages would not generate enough revenue for the city to cover the taxes and debt service. The money would have to come from the city budget.
Garcia said he was not consulted when contract negotiations took place. He is expected to make a final determination about the tax liability in January when the structures would go on the tax roll.
The publicly financed, $642 million Major League Baseball stadium is nearing completion about two miles from downtown Miami. The retractable-roof facility with 37,000 seats is being built on the site of a former football stadium. The land was donated by the city to the project.
The stadium will open in April 2012.