Senator Patrick M. Gallivan (R-C-I, Elma) is calling on Governor Kathy Hochul and Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz to work diligently in negotiating a responsible and justifiable lease agreement with the Buffalo Bills.
The NFL team’s lease at Highmark Stadium in Orchard Park expires in 2023. The Bills have proposed a $1.4 billion, 60,000-seat replacement be built across the street from the current facility.
In letters to both Governor Hochul and County Executive Poloncarz, Senator Gallivan is urging an extensive cost-benefit analysis be used to help determine if a new stadium is built and who pays for it.
Senator Gallivan says he supported a ten-year lease extension in 2013 and a public-private partnership that included $130-million in renovations at the current stadium based on an analysis of the anticipated return on the state’s investment. The state paid about $54 million toward renovations, but the revenue the Bills generated directly to the state from sales tax and income tax exceeded the cost to New York taxpayers.
“A similar cost-benefit analysis must be conducted now,” Senator Gallivan said. “Building a new stadium will obviously be much more expensive for all parties involved, but it will come, presumably, with a long-term lease, keeping the Bills here for the next 20-30 years. How much revenue will the team generate for New York State and Erie County over the life of the new lease? The numbers should help determine how much public money might be considered to help fund a new stadium.”
Senator Gallivan is also calling on the governor and county executive to ensure the process is transparent.
“Simply put, if public dollars are going to be allocated for this project, the public must be informed of the figures prior to any vote of the legislature necessary to approve any negotiated contract,” Senator Gallivan wrote.
Senator Gallivan has re-introduced legislation (S.1714) that would require those involved in negotiating a new lease and possible new stadium for the Buffalo Bills to follow New York’s open meetings law and make their deliberations public.