Tag: Erie County government

Sep 19

2022

No relief for local taxpayers on Bills stadium

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Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz likes to say the new stadium deal he and Gov. Kathy Hochul cut with the Buffalo Bills gets the county “out of the football business.” The deal, however, does not get the county out of the business of paying for a football stadium.  The county’s annual costs for the Bills current home, Highmark Stadium, have ranged from $10.7 million to $12.6 million in recent years.  Estimates provided to county lawmakers for paying off bonds to cover the county’s share of new stadium construction have come in lower, between $7.7 million and $9 million annually. The latest[...]

Posted 2 weeks ago

Jun 14

2022

No action on stadium benefits agreement

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In January, good-government activists and elected officials said there should be no public subsidies for a new Buffalo Bills stadium without a community benefits agreement. A memorandum of understanding outlining the deal, involving $1.13 billion in subsidies, was announced in March, with no CBA in place. The Erie County Legislature approved the MOU in May, two weeks after it approved a down payment of $100 million towards the county’s $250 million share of construction costs. Still no CBA, though the agreement calls for one to be negotiated. It’s now the middle of June, and there is still no CBA. No[...]

Posted 4 months ago

Mar 30

2022

Conflicting cost estimates to rehab stadium

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This story was updated Friday, April 1, at 12:39 p.m. Last November, a consultant working for New York State said it would cost $862 million to renovate the current home of the Buffalo Bills, Highmark Stadium in Orchard Park.  That number was often cited by team representatives and local and state officials as they advocated for what they said was a more cost-effective alternative: a new $1.4 billion stadium. “Many people believe you can renovate the stadium,” Jim Wilkinson, a spokesperson for Pegula Sports and Entertainment, told the Buffalo News in August. “That’s just not realistic.” Erie County Executive Mark[...]

Posted 6 months ago

Mar 28

2022

Taxpayer hit on Bills stadium tops $1 billion

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The fear: A new Bills stadium would cost taxpayers $1 billion. The reality: It’s going to cost even more. The deal announced Monday commits the state to spending $600 million upfront to help cover construction costs. Erie County would put up an additional $250 million. But the subsidies don’t stop there. The state is also on the hook for $100 million over 15 years to cover stadium maintenance and repairs. The county and the state authority created to oversee the stadium would be obligated to kick in $180 million over the 30-year lease for capital improvements. Most, if not all of[...]

Posted 6 months ago

Mar 4

2022

iPost sues over suppressed stadium records

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Investigative Post filed a lawsuit Monday in state Supreme Court seeking the release of an engineering report that assessed the condition of Highmark Stadium. Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz and Pegula Sports and Entertainment have asserted the stadium is in need of replacement. But the county, which commissioned an engineering study completed in 2021, has refused to provide details. The study, conducted by the engineering firm DiDonato Associates, identified problems with the upper deck and water and electrical systems while concluding that the 50-year-old stadium “remains in overall fair to good condition.”  Investigative Post requested a copy of the report[...]

Posted 7 months ago

Jan 17

2022

The hidden costs of housing the Bills

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There was a time when Erie County made money from Buffalo Bills games in Orchard Park.  From the opening of the football stadium in 1973 through 1997, the county collected millions of dollars from parking, concessions and the sale of stadium naming rights. No more.  Erie County in 1998 made major concessions that gave all the revenue from parking, concessions and naming rights to the Bills.  The county and New York State also agreed to take on a host of expenses previously covered by the Bills, ranging from stadium maintenance to the cost of ushers and ticket takers. The bottom[...]

Posted 9 months ago

Dec 1

2021

iPost sues to obtain Bills stadium studies

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Investigative Post filed a lawsuit in state Supreme Court today seeking the release of two studies that are central to negotiations involving a proposed new stadium for the Buffalo Bills. Both studies were commissioned by Pegula Sports and Entertainment, which is affiliated with the Bills, and shared with Empire State Development, the state’s primary economic development agency.  One study considered the feasibility of building a new stadium or renovating Highmark Stadium, the cost of doing so, and the possible location of a new venue. The other study evaluated the economic impact of the Bills and other sports and entertainment holdings[...]

Posted 10 months ago

Sep 1

2021

More danger lurking in the water

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A concrete pier juts hundreds of feet into the Niagara River from the northern tip of Unity Island. It’s isolated, quiet and where Antawyn Parker likes to fish. He makes dinner with his catch about once a month, Parker told Investigative Post. But unbeknownst to him the fish are contaminated with a toxin recently linked to a slate of disorders and illnesses, including cancer and immune system concerns. According to a study by the state Department of Health, Western New Yorkers who eat local fish have “substantially elevated” levels of the toxin PFOS in their bodies. Some of the readings[...]

Posted 1 year ago