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Plain Dealer, The ( Cleveland , OH) - Saturday, June 24, 2000 Author: CHRISTOPHER QUINN PLAIN DEALER REPORTER The cost of the Cleveland Browns Stadium finally is coming into focus, and it's at least $61 million more than the original estimate. With most building contracts settled, the maximum stadium price stands at $308.5 million, according to an announcement yesterday by Mayor Michael R. White. The original estimate was $247 million, but overruns and other problems led White to announce in December that the price tag could reach $314 million. Not included in White's latest figures is $800,000 in work that city utility departments performed at the stadium . Nor do White's numbers include $2 million in lighting improvements in what the city calls the " stadium neighborhood," which includes the stadium, the lakefront museums and train stations. "We greatly dispute the mayor's price," Council President Michael Polensek said yesterday. "It's this creative financing and creative accounting that has us all concerned." Cleveland City Council argues the price also should include $35 million in interest the city paid on short-term loans that got construction started. White has said that including the interest would be akin to including mortgage interest in the price of a house. White's announcement yesterday said city negotiators shaved $5.5 million from the stadium bills submitted by contractors. Only three contracts remain unsettled, and the most they could cost the city is $6 million, which is included in the mayor's $308.5million price tag. The city borrowed money to pay for part of the construction and is paying off the loans with extra taxes on entertainment, parking and car rentals. The NFL, the Browns, city utilities and the Regional Transit Authority paid for the rest. Polensek said council would keep holding hearings until it received a full accounting. "This is like political malaria," he said. "It doesn't go away. It just keeps coming back and coming back."