BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — The Erie County Legislature has amended the amount of surplus funds going toward a new Buffalo Bills stadium.
County Executive Mark Poloncarz initially proposed using $75 million, but on Thursday, lawmakers approved $100 million. At the end of the day, this is designed to save an estimated $35-42 million in bond payments over time. However, it requires the county to put down an additional $25 million up front.
Erie County Legislature Minority Leader Joe Lorigo has been pushing for this. Previously, he noted that rising interest rates are a reason for paying a higher cost up front.
The proposal was originally met with skepticism by Democrats in the Legislature. Legislator Howard Johnson noted the unpredictability of what was ahead.
“We don’t know if there is going to be a recession,” Johnson had said.
Even as recently as Thursday morning, Democrats were saying they supported the $75 million allocation. But, by early Thursday afternoon, the idea seemed to have gained more support from the left, as the county’s budget balancing resolution was amended with the additional $25 million.
“This is a win for taxpayers,” Lorigo said in a statement after the vote. “I am proud to have worked with both my colleagues in the Legislature and the Administration to reach a deal that will save Erie County residents over $40 million over the course of the new stadium borrowing.
“As stadium discussions progress, I hope we can continue working together for the benefit of our community.”
A spokesperson for Poloncarz said the county executive was fine putting down an additional $25 million and that he discussed the issue with the legislature before it voted.
“(T)he $100 million will be put towards the stadium, although that is a designation and could technically be recalled or used elsewhere if an emergency arises,” the spokesperson said in an email.
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Chris Horvatits is an award-winning reporter and anchor who started working at WIVB in 2017. A Lancaster native, he came to Buffalo after working at stations in Rochester and Watertown. See more of his work here and follow him on Twitter.