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INTEREST ON $441.7 MILLION CONVENTION CENTER: A STAGGERING $255,116,287 MILLION


Modified: February 13, 2020 11:30am
Created: February 13, 2020 11:30am

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February 13, 2020

Combining principal and interest, taxpayers would be responsible
for the unrealistic payment of almost $700 million

According to an independent fiscal analysis by financial advisors Hilltop Securities completed on Wednesday, February 12th, the estimated interest payment on a proposed $441.7 million convention center would be $255,116,287.  That brings the real cost of a new convention center in the heart of downtown Buffalo to a whopping $696,816,287. That is almost double the cost of retrofitting an NFL football stadium, Arrowhead Stadium, home of the Super Bowl Champion Kansas City Chiefs.  The cost for that project was $375 million in 2010. 

To give you an idea how costly this would be to Erie County taxpayers, the interest payments per year on a proposed new convention center would be $23,229,886 million.  This would increase the county’s annual debt service by more than 50%. 

In addition to the total cost of almost $700 million, the back breaking financial burden of a new Convention Center on already over-charged taxpayers of Erie County is something not likely worth the risk, according to fiscal data compiled by Erie County Comptroller Stefan I. Mychajliw, Jr.  With New York State facing a $6 billion shortfall, potentially sticking Erie County with an additional $177.5 million Medicaid bill, combined with the costs of a new or retrofitted stadium for the Buffalo Bills, Erie County revenues will already be stretched thin. 

“Where is Mark Poloncarz getting the money for a new Convention Center?  He’s going to dip into the pockets of overburdened taxpayers.  High tax burdens are forcing people to flee New York State in droves.  Erie County government might get gutted if Governor Cuomo has his way and sticks us with a bigger Medicaid bill.  Taxpayers will also bear the burden of paying for a new or retrofitted stadium for the Buffalo Bills.  Enough is enough.” 

“Keep in mind, politicians have talked about building a new convention center from almost the time the lights were first turned on in our current facility.  The fact remains: since 2017, $386,000 was wasted on studies that tell us what we already know.  The current convention center is outdated and ill-equipped. A new one might be nice for some.  The reality is, we don’t have the money to pay for it.  Building a new one would cost money this community, and now even the state simply doesn’t have,” said Mychajliw.  

Erie County taxpayers are already on the hook for principal and interest payments for the outdated building on Franklin Street.  An additional authority with debt to build a facility would cost Erie County taxpayers millions more.  For example, Erie County taxpayers are already paying for expensive interest payments on bonds going back a decade for the current facility: 

  • Since 2010 Erie County has issued $10,280,026 in bonds for current convention center improvements
  • The interest on those bonds alone is $3,701,350
  • This makes the total debt service incurred over the life of those bonds (principal and interest) is $13,981,376