Among the elected officials attending Friday’s announcement of a lease agreement MOU reached between Erie County, New York State and the Buffalo Bills are, from left: County Legislator Terrence D. McCracken (D-Lancaster, Depew, South Cheektowaga, Alden), County Legislator Lynn M. Marinelli (D-Buffalo, Tonawanda), County Legislature Majority Leader Thomas J. Mazur (D-Buffalo, Cheektowaga), Buffalo Mayor Byron W. Brown, Buffalo Bills CEO Russ Brandon, County Executive Mark C. Poloncarz, County Legislator Joseph C. Lorigo, County Legislator Timothy R. Hogues (D-Buffalo) and State Senator Patrick M. Gallivan.
Members of the Erie County Legislature Democratic Majority were pleased to join County Executive Mark C. Poloncarz, New York State Lieutenant Governor Robert J. Duffy and Buffalo Bills CEO Russell Brandon in announcing the new 10-year memorandum of agreement for the Bills to lease Ralph Wilson Stadium Friday.
The lease agreement, which will require the Bills to remain in Erie County for at least the next seven years, was signed today by Governor Andrew M. Cuomo, the Buffalo Bills and Poloncarz for Erie County. The agreement also includes $140 in upgrades to Ralph Wilson Stadium in Orchard Park, $35 million to be paid by the Bills, $41 million by Erie County and $54 million by New York State. The Bills would be responsible for a $400 million payment for relocating the team during the first seven years of the agreement and more than $28 million to buy out the last three years of the agreement.
The lease agreement also provides for the creation of a New Stadium Working Group and Fund to “explore the potential for constructing a future new professional sports stadium in Western New York,” according to Cuomo’s office.
“I am very pleased that County Executive Poloncarz and his team have completed the lease negotiations with the Buffalo Bills and New York State and are presenting the County Legislature will a well-developed lease,” County Legislature Chairperson Betty Jean Grant (D-Buffalo) said. “This will continue to foster economic development in Erie County and assist our taxpayers and residents.”
“This is a good day for the region and the fans, and proof positive that the Bills will stay in Western New York,” Majority Leader Thomas J. Mazur (D-Buffalo, Cheektowaga) said. “This is also a basis for discussing a future new facility.”
“As the only county elected official who was around during the previous stadium negotiations, I find this agreement very reasonable and proportional to National Football League economics,” Legislator Lynn M. Marinelli (D-Buffalo, Tonawanda) said. “I want to credit County Executive Mark C. Poloncarz, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo, Ralph Wilson and the Buffalo Bills organization for getting this done in a prompt, professional and efficient manner. Among the joys of our community, we are blessed with sports, arts, architecture and the most wonderful citizens.”
“I am excited for the lease agreement and looking forward to getting into the details of the agreement to get a better understanding of its meaning,” Legislator Timothy R. Hogues (D-Buffalo) said. “I want to be able to best perform my duties protecting the interests of all citizens of Erie County.”
“I am very glad to see that through this agreement, the Bills will stay in Western New York,” Legislator Terrence D. McCracken (D-Lancaster, Depew, South Cheektowaga, Alden) said. “This is both as an elected County Legislator and as a Bills season ticket holder for 25 years.”
The Erie County Legislature will vote on approving the proposed lease agreement following the Poloncarz administration’s submission of it to the Legislature, which is expected to occur next week.