The Associated Press reports that Erie County and the Buffalo Bills owners may be nearing agreement on a $200-million-plus renovation of Ralph Wilson Stadium, as part of a new lease for the team. That’s more than double what Bills owner Ralph Wilson was proposing last year — no explanation of why the higher price tag.
As for who’d pay for this, Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz said only that (in the AP’s words) the Bills and the NFL have been “asked to contribute an undisclosed share,” while New York State will be asked to “provide a commitment.” More details will be laid out in a memorandum of understanding that is expected to be drawn up in coming weeks, but even then we may not know a lot of the details — such as whether the Bills will repay any public expense via lease payments or shared stadium revenues — until an actual lease is drawn up over the next year, not to mention until the state legislature sinks its dysfunctional teeth into it.
Basically, this is all just an opening gambit. If you’re an Erie County resident or New York state taxpayer — hey, wait, that’s me! — curious about whether your money will be used to prop up the value of the Bills when they get sold, you’ll just have to stay tuned for further details.