BUFFALO, N.Y. — The Erie County Legislature passed a resolution Thursday asking the county executive for regular updates on negotiations for a new Buffalo Bills stadium, including the release of any reports or studies of which the county is in possession of.
"If they have it, we want to see it," Legislator John Gilmour said. "We just want to be brought up to speed. We don't want to be asked to vote on something at the last minute. We want to know how things are progressing as they go along."
Specifically, legislators are asking the county executive to release a stadium study commissioned by Pegula Sports and Entertainment. However, County Executive Mark Poloncarz said he's been clear the Bills ownership has not turned that report over to either the county or the state.
"The county executive might not be in possession of it, but his agents or his designees certainly may be, and if he's not in possession of it, then he should be because he's dealing with the Pegulas on a potential $1.4 billion ask. He should know exactly why they're asking for a new stadium. He should know what the Pegulas are basing that ask on and he should have every tool at his disposal as well," Minority Leader Joe Lorigo said.
The Legislature minority conference also pushed for the resolution to require the county allow two members from each conference in the room during negotiations as silent observers. Democrats rejected that measure.
"I believe we should have as transparent a process as possible," Lorigo said. "We were each elected to represent approximately 86,000 people in various districts across Erie County. Those people deserve to know what's going on to the best of our ability."
Gilmour, who has helped negotiate contracts for Buffalo police and fire, said that is not how the process works.
"That is not our job to sit in on negotiations," he said. "That is the job of the county executive and his team. Just like the Pegulas who hired a team to negotiate on their behalf, they're not sitting in on the meetings. That's what Mark Poloncarz and his team were elected to do."
Legislators from both conferences said they just learned Wednesday the state has also commissioned a study and they're eager to see it.
"I think everybody is," Gilmour said. "I mean this is a big, huge deal. It's a huge impact on Erie County and the city of Buffalo. I want to keep the Bills here, I'm committed to doing so and yeah, I want to get my hands on it."
Lorigo said any study done should be made public.
"If Kathy Hochul, governor, is going to release it then good for her, but also if she has the Pegula study, she should release that one too,” he said.