Erie County Leg approves Bills lease

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — Erie County lawmakers have approved a new lease for the Buffalo Bills that some people have criticized for its large price tag.

It's estimated the agreement will cost the county and its taxpayers $103 million over its ten-year life period. Right away, Erie County will have to borrow $41 million to pay its share towards renovations at Ralph Wilson Stadium.

However, Thursday's vote was unanimous. All 11 county lawmakers approved the lease, signaling their support for the team.

RELATED | The vote was unanimous, just as County Executive Mark Poloncarz had hoped it would be to show the county's commitment to the Buffalo Bills

Lawmakers say the cost is worth it because of the money the Bills bring into western New York.

Legislator Kevin Hardwick said, "We have $168 million plus of payroll [for the team], right here in Erie County. We've got millionaires living here, paying sales tax, buying homes, paying property tax."

"The Bills are absolutely woven into the fabric of this western New York community, and as such, we have to prioritize them for the next ten years," said Legislator Ed Rath.

Legislator Thomas Loughran said, "The bottom line: the Buffalo Bills are staying in Buffalo."

The NYS Empire State Development Corporation and NFL still need to approve the Bills lease before it becomes official. Both are expected to do so.

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