ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (WIVB) — The current Buffalo Bills lease is still 21 months away from expiring in July of 2023, but one of the key negotiators revealed on Friday that all sides are hoping to reach a deal by the end of this year.

The negotiations have been going on for months but Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz revealed that the goal is to reach an agreement on a Bills lease in the next ten weeks. “I think we all want to get the deal done and we’d like to get a deal done by the end of the year, it’s as simple as that. the end of the year is not that far away haha, two and a half months, so for us, the goal is to get a deal done that’s fair for all.”

Building a new stadium in Orchard Park is expected to cost about $1.4 billion, but City of Buffalo Common Council members support putting a new stadium downtown, which could cost more than $2 billion dollars.

“They’re not gonna negotiate this,” said Poloncarz regarding city lawmakers. “If it’s decided that the location for Buffalo is appropriate, then we’d approach the city because the city would have an interest and certainly we’d expect the city to contribute substantial dollars. The Council passed a resolution saying move it to the city but they didn’t pledge any money on behalf of the city towards the project and if it was to be moved to the city, there would be an expectation that the City of Buffalo would be contributing substantially as well.”

The money to build a new stadium would come from a combination of state tax dollars, County tax dollars, and the Bills organization, but how it is split is still being negotiated.

Joseph Lorigo, minority leader of the Erie County legislature, sponsored a resolution which commits the legislature to hold three public hearings before the legislature would sign off any “We could be looking at hundreds of millions of dollars in taxpayer expense and that’s something that shouldn’t be taken lightly. I know everybody wants to make sure we don’t lose the Bills. I also know there are people out there who don’t want the Bills to get any public money. So we have to find a good balance to figure out what’s best for this community.”

George Richert is an award-winning reporter who first joined the News 4 team in 1998, later returning in 2018. See more of his work here.

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