LACKAWANNA, N.Y. (WIVB) – Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz continued to stay mum about the status of Bills stadium negotiations Wednesday, but did dispute a reported price tag for the deal.
Outlets including the New York Post have reported that the public could be on the hook for as much as $1 billion in funding for the stadium, which would be the largest stadium handout in history. The stadium is expected to cost in the range of $1.4 billion.
Asked about the reported $1 billion figure Wednesday, Poloncarz cracked a wry smile. “It’s not an accurate number,” he said.
What is an accurate number? That info will have to wait. Poloncarz stuck to his usual talking points throughout the rest of the press conference.
“I want to remind everybody this is not just a discussion on the construction of a stadium but a long-term lease and everything that goes along with it,” Poloncarz said, reiterating that his goal is a “fair deal” for taxpayers that keeps the Bills in Buffalo long-term.
“Right now, we do not have a signed agreement, but I like where we are,” Poloncarz said. “The last few months have been much better than the initial few months. We were able to resolve a lot of issues.”
NFL owners have a league meeting in Palm Beach, Florida starting on Sunday. Some believed that date posed a key deadline for negotiations, since owners will need to sign off on the Bills’ agreement.
“I’ll leave it up to the Bills to make a determination about what they’re going to discuss at the ownership meetings,” Poloncarz said. “But I like our position right now.”
The Bills’ new stadium is expected to be built across the street from the current location on Abbott Road in Orchard Park. The new location borders ECC South, which announced plans to downsize earlier this week, but Poloncarz said those plans are not connected to the stadium.
“The issues associated with the college are wholly independent of the building of the Bills stadium,” he said.
* * *
Nick Veronica is a Buffalo native who joined the News 4 team as a Digital Executive Producer in 2021. He previously worked at NBC Sports and The Buffalo News. You can follow Nick on Facebook and Twitter and find more of his work here.