Erie County Legislature Agrees to Business Terms of Bills Lease

January 24, 2013 Updated Jan 24, 2013 at 11:14 PM EDT

By Ed Reilly

January 24, 2013 Updated Jan 24, 2013 at 11:14 PM EDT

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) Thursday afternoon, the Erie County Legislature unanimously approved a Memorandum of Understanding concerning the proposed 10-year lease with the Buffalo Bills, New York State, and Erie County.

It was an important legal action that now clears the way for the County Executive's Office to complete negotiations on the Stadium Lease, Master Lease, Construction Coordinating Agreement, and other documents.

Late Thursday afternoon, the following press release was issued by County Executive Mark Poloncarz:

ERIE COUNTY, NY- Today, Erie County Executive Mark C. Poloncarz praised the actions of the County Legislature following their approval by a unanimous vote of the Memorandum of Understanding ("MOU") among the County of Erie ("County"), Erie County Stadium Corporation on behalf of New York State, and Buffalo Bills, Inc. ("Bills"). With the approval of the MOU, the parties have agreed to all the business terms of the new ten-year lease. Lawyers will now turn the MOU into legally binding documents that will allow the stadium improvements planned for Ralph Wilson Stadium to commence.

"I commend the Legislature for their quick action in supporting this MOU and, by doing so, signaling that they approve the terms of the lease proposal. The Bills are not only an integral part of our identity in Western New York, but are an economic engine as well," said Poloncarz. "The new lease guarantees that the Bills will be staying here in Erie County. It includes significant contributions from the team, strikes a fair deal for taxpayers, and establishes a process making funds available for a new stadium complex when this new ten-year deal concludes."

Poloncarz continued, "During the process, my administration appeared before the Legislature with detailed presentations of the agreement including a tour of Ralph Wilson Stadium to discuss planned improvements, and it is good to see that the Legislature approves of the hard work that went into completing this agreement."

The next step in the lease approval process takes place at the National Football League's owners' meeting in mid-March, where owners are expected to sign off on the new deal. Following that, approval of the new set of documents is needed from the New York State and Erie County Legislatures, which could happen in late March or early April.