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Poloncarz: Legislators 'can't force me' to provide Bills stadium updates

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Buffalo Bills stadium

Erie County legislators say they do not intend to be left in the dark any longer when it comes to Buffalo Bills stadium lease negotiations.

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Last month, Erie County legislators unanimously demanded that County Executive Mark Poloncarz to provide regular updates about the status of Bills stadium lease negotiations.

His response Wednesday: "The Legislature can't force me to do anything."

Poloncarz said neither he nor his administration would meet with the Legislature publicly or privately to discuss stadium lease negotiations. He added that lease negotiations would be hurt if county legislators or state lawmakers were given information about the status of bargaining over the stadium.

"We're negotiating with the Bills like we're negotiating with the state, and the only way to get a good negotiation done is to do it among the entities that are there," Poloncarz said. "If you have interference from third parties, whether they're legislators in your county, Assembly or Senate, or just the general public, it doesn't help us get a deal done."

When pressed on whether anyone in his administration would even meet privately with legislators, he said individual legislators could call the county's attorney, but he reiterated that the county Legislature has no power over him. He said if they want to know what the county executive knows, then they should run for the office.

In response to the county executive's statements on Wednesday, Legislature Minority Leader Joseph Lorigo said, "His arrogance is on full display," Lorigo said, adding: "He’s also completely and totally wrong."

Under the charter, he said, the county executive is legally bound to "perform duties as prescribed to him or her by administrative code, county ordinance or resolution."

Democratic Majority Leader Timothy Meyers said the Legislature's resolution didn't demand a seat at the table, just updates. If the administration won't comply, he said, "It’ll take a little longer to review any proposed deal." 

The Legislature's resolution on Sept. 23 requires the county administration provide them regular updates about the status of negotiations concerning the construction of a new Bills stadium. The governing body subsequently adopted a resolution last week stating that the Legislature would hold at least public hearings regarding the lease negotiations and have 30 days to review any draft lease agreement.

The administration has not responded to the Legislature about the status of negotiations. Poloncarz said he found it interesting that the Legislature wants to handle these contract negotiations differently than any other county contract negotiations.

Finally, in response the Buffalo Common Council's request that the city be considered for a stadium location, Poloncarz said he would take that more seriously if the city was chipping in any money for a stadium.

"You're going to hear zip from the Common Council, because truthfully, they don't have the money to do it," he said.


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