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WGR550>Topics>>Erie County Executive Mark Polocarz on New Lease

Erie County Executive Mark Polocarz on New Lease

Dec 21, 2012|

w/ Schopp + Bulldog

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Automatically Generated Transcript (may not be 100% accurate)

-- -- but the bulldogs will welcome back here's the Erie county executive mr. mark more cars hello mr. Cummings negative. The premier Mike Campbell looked. Up and out to get a good thing we want to deal. -- will talk to panther. And it wouldn't sorted out and we've we've met and talked to you but I've we've never interviewed you. Is there a way we could refer to you that. That so not too casual but you know less formal sounding the mr. county executive mark we'll do -- OK can listeners market okay we'll go with mark. How big of a wait is this all the bureau shoulders to have this done. It's a pretty big one we've been working at it negotiating for months now. And so we was coming together really since October but there were lots of pieces of the puzzle that needed to be solved. We always said we were never going to say the deal was done and we. Have a deal to every portion of the deal has been agreed to. And there were some terms it's only been negotiated in the last few weeks and they weren't so I'm glad we're able to deliver this early Christmas present on bills fans up there. Mark what was the driving force. On the duration of the least like -- -- ten years with a seven year window there of the window after seven years that -- you know pretty open certainly -- less penal than. And prior to your seventh. How did you guys collectively arrive at this this duration. Well click any negotiations you don't always get everything you want to mean we -- longer term the bills or short term the -- wanted to spend more money stadium we wanted to spend less so. You get to a point where you sort of reached a a position where you can you can live with that. Ten years as a good period of time we also looked at the life. Expectancy of Ralph Wilson Stadium that the work that's being done to ruffle some statements to improve the fan experience with. The scoreboard concessions bathrooms security. Making it easier for HD usage in the future for national television. So we we we knew we couldn't extend -- and -- about another 25 years in today's day in age so we figured what with a good timing. For the stadium as part of this. The memorandum of understanding of the lease agreement. We are putting together a team to now sit down and take a look at what would be necessary to actually build a new stadium and we got some time to do that. In the last three years -- this -- the county in the state can start taking money that otherwise would have gone to Ralph Wilson Stadium and put into account where it will be spent for a new stadium. Architectural red means engineering and construction. To look forward looking agreement. You never get exactly what you want and negotiations but I'm pretty happy about where we are today. Who gets to be on that. New stadium team. The bills -- county hand at New York State representatives. The NFL would have a seat if they -- choose. I don't believe they will they usually stay out of it until the actual decisions made that are presented to the NFL but. Our county representative state representatives in the bill themselves. I'm I'm curious I don't know of anyone else's hopes on and asked the question anyways. How much. Apart of this whole thing all along the idea of a new stadium eventually won easily. Because I listening to news conference this morning mark I. I wasn't expecting. -- here every one comment and then obesity thinking about what will be like ten years from now. I don't get an agreement it we'd be glad my equipment deal with what we think of subsidizing. The bills or whatever but. I like that matters. Or reality too. We need a new stadium eventually because it seems as though that's been -- On the back burner not even on this told -- point. Well I don't really think it wasn't distilled to build another interest in doing administrative now but everyone understood that once we extend the life of this another ten years. Ruffles and -- -- fifty years old. And to make this team competitive to keep it economically viable. In the future we will meet in this stadium in Tripoli and and I believe that we should have a new stadium and Lungren. My preference would be -- -- buffalo but that's what can happen in the short term we're gonna put together the committee. To look at that and I think it's important that this agreement was forward and booking it just wasn't today thinking about OK how we get to 2013 probably get through 2014. If we wanna keep this team and in Western New York we have to be thinking what do we need to do to ensure the economic viability of this team in 2022. Not just 2012. Erie county executive mark all the cars is our guest on WG yard mark this anything's changed in these terms. When Ralph Wilson dies. No in them that certainly what Ralph to live as long as possible eventually we all leave this mortal life. -- lock in the team in the franchise not just because mr. Wilson's dealer with a franchise. It's a ten year agreement. The first seven years that there are locked in if the team attempted to move does the community in the county could demand from court specific performance. And if by chance the courts and know they could move and they have to pay 400 million dollar -- a penalty. It's it's not as if the -- could just say we're gonna pay for a million dollars luckily we have lots of options to prevent that in court if by chance to courts said no they can't. You can't prevent them from leaving them we can -- going -- totally the last three years. Are locked in unless the build exercise an option clause for yourself -- in which they pay approximately 29 million. Know everyone sitting here today and say well let alone number I would remind everyone. That the bills -- -- left last year and gone anywhere including Los Angeles for two million dollars go to left the year before for three million dollars. They made a long term commitment starting with mr. Wilson to this community. So if anybody thinks that 49 million dollars small well they should understand that for the last couple years -- the -- walked away for peanuts. And probably what they make -- at -- podium. Saturday afternoon or Sunday afternoon. So we're we're pretty much blocking this team and for what I believe is ten years. They do have an option to walk in in which basically your rate but it's no different than what they've had for the last six or seven years and contribute much more expensive for them to do it than they -- been the last two years. Yeah I think. Well. Right think about that seven year what -- eight would be to me that feels like the eventuality. It is there will be a new -- At some point year and that that new owner would be interested in getting a new stadium and if it seems like. They're not going to be able to get a new stadium than it might be. Reasonable for that owners say are all paid twenty million get out of yours that is. An actor -- Summarize. I'm not so certain it's stopped to say what's gonna happen in the future we're talking about the lifespan of an individual -- Forty years ago people are expecting Fidel Castro ruffles in the definitely have urged all around bulk of that. Well note is that this agreement does setup. The B parameters for looking for a new stadium and anybody whose interest in NFL team is gonna want to have that new stadium as a potential option. So this agreement not only notes that we're putting together a team to analyze what will be necessary to construct a new stadium but it gives the state in the county the opportunity to start moving money that otherwise be spent -- ruffles and stadium. Into a new stadium and that is that they care for any individual who's looking to maybe purchases -- because they understand. That the governmental entities that are involved state county. Really already have a commitment for a new stadium which would be complete hopefully by the end of the ten year period. We couldn't do wouldn't stadium and have it up and running for next year it did make sense. In this organization was net interest -- it. But it's fair to say that any new owner may come in and they're gonna look at that as a positive. Not who can pick up this team and walk away because remember they also have to pay a significant relocation fee. That the NFL which -- my understanding is like your quarter of a billion dollars alone. It would -- to. Not necessarily just think Michael and you rate the walk away for twenty million guns are also have to pay hundreds of millions -- felt that wanna relocate why would they stay here with this fan base that loves the team. In pretty much guarantee that you're gonna get a new stadium and all included ten years. Were chatting with the Erie county executive mark on cars here on WGR. The 95 million dollar number public money for this I'm curious you may have heard Bulldog and I talk about this today or other days. And you may then nor feelings about it which is that we tend to think. Giving money from -- taking money from taxpayers to super wealthy sports owners is wrong. Does that does doing this agree with your sensibilities or is this more of a situation that you kind of have to do it to keep them. Well it's a little bit of both and I've been out there advocating for what I consider to be poor use of taxpayer dollars on economic development deals. I don't agree that this is one of them. Number one we on the stadium. You're colonial stadium so it's not like mr. Wilson of the stating we will that we do have an obligation to maintain it. The 95 million dollars which will be split between the county in the state to state picking up 57% of that the county 43%. In addition to the 35 million dollars that the bill will be putting and for the stadium. For the renovation which they did not do in the past previously was only New York State that paid for the renovation. Now that the -- are coming up with approximately 27% of the total renovation costs. He and the bills will be starting off paying rent and at the first year for 800000 dollars per year than -- gross. So the bills are also investing back into the and into the stadium as well as -- investing back in this state to the paying the rent. Which truthfully didn't pay any -- the last fifteen years the way it was drafted. I like this agreement because it it. Meet the needs of the community by ensuring that the stadium is that he is and it is. This stadium that will make the team economically viable we -- -- so we do have a responsibility to maintain it but the bills are also contributing a significant amount. And going forward where they did not the past and that's why I think that this agreement shows the commitment that does not only the community to the built -- the built to this community. Granted the bills have a stake and I failed to mention that but can you tell us can you tell your constituents here that. You believe in by signing this deal. Public money going to sports teams is that what this reflects. Well I have to fold if they left then all the money that generated as a result the bills in Western New York ordered the disappear. And we're not just talking about sales tax and the money of the businesses that benefit from selling pizza and beer during build games. But also the income taxes that are generated -- huge payroll. Just for their players put their coaches and their staff and everyone that works for the bills organization that they moved to Los Angeles -- near state loses all the income tax. As a community we lose sales taxes the other benefits that are generated as a result the -- being here and and of course there's that the final thing. Which is these psychological blow that would. Would result of this community if we lost one of the things that truly represents. In the rest of the world -- who we are so I think it's a good economic investment for the community. Who we are for better or worse the correct. All right. Toronto. What what part of -- what what what's the future with Toronto in this and what did you do in this effort. If indeed you object to the idea of games being sent up there too -- seat -- with that we don't have that problem. Well they do have the option to continue to hold for host one regular season game in Toronto. It will not be doing more than one which there was some discussions on early with which one internal. Looking at the revenue numbers related to the games in Toronto in the games at Orchard Park I do have to -- can agree. That the bill basically get twice as much revenue from the game in Toronto than they do in buffalo. Now what I prefer to have every game played in buffalo Bertram park for the time being yes of course that would. But I also wanna ensure that the team is economically viable and if it's just one game this season not two or more like some people were surprising it might be. I think that's good value to ensure that this team continues to -- we're not New York City or not Chicago or not Boston. We don't have people paying millions of dollars for luxury boxes in addition to -- license -- I mean there's no seat licenses fees in this agreement that'll a lot of other stadiums across the country that are being built which. There's PF sells personal seat licenses of thousands of dollars that are required from the fans that's not in there and and we fought to ensure that there would be if there's so. There's a lot of things that protect the fans going forward. And if it also insures that the bills play one game in Toronto. I can deal with that I'm up for record prefer to play all the games Orchard Park but. If he keeps the team in this community for for years to come I'm -- with the. Mark recognizing that this is this is you know weighed and weighed on the road mom. But you did earlier say that you know new owner could be practically guaranteed that there would be a new stadium in ten years and like that I think fans would love to hear that. If if if that were to come to fruition. We were just talking about this earlier and if somebody brought up the idea of why what I wanna build the new stadium if we're still monopoly dollar games there and I thought. I don't know I think if you build the new stadium I think you would have a reasonable expectation that the -- thing would be at its -- is that wrong. I guess it would depend on well together something else this will have to do over the upcoming years within the stadium community. Is what what should this new stadium we're gonna build on tenure push mower which ready tenure -- look like what what what are the features that it needs to have -- you don't stay. Which then it gives it more options abuse during the winner for other types of events like they have an Indianapolis where they're not using it just for. Football games with using it for conventions and NCAA championships. So those -- the kind of things that the -- that the conversation. Going forward so we are building a stadium -- but they don't tell buffalo. What what are the uses other than truthfully a football stadium attendees of the year. What you you'll I agree I hope that the phrase economically viable I mean isn't especially relative term here. With the reported profits at the bill's maker and an annual basis know that you may have. Heard us make this point before that yes they can make double the revenue yes there's the obvious. And granted economic benefit of those games but my goodness. I mean what do you need to be economically viable if they're making forty million a year as is reported mean is it necessary to make 45. Well I've always been an opinion Michaels would provide tax assistance to local businesses to ensure that they continue in the community not to guarantee the greatest rate of return to fielder. The bills are a lucky scenario and that they really don't have much -- many other. NFL owners in the franchises have tremendous debt load basically from the acquisition costs associated with buying the team's. The bill don't have it. Much of it double because -- a bookkeeper 25000 dollars and 1959 I believe whomever the next owner comes in is going to have a tremendous debt load that they're going to have to deal with. And so I think it's important that we talk about economic fight the viability of not just talking about as it is today -- looking forward tenure -- I think what we did this agreement. One of the things we all we're sitting in the room we're saying is we've got to ensure. That this is an agreement that not only works to -- that helps set up the future. Because if we set an agreement and sign a document that work today but only causes many problems down the line -- with a built -- no longer buffalo. That we've also failed in our role of insuring this team's state here so that's one of the things that was the overriding. View was I want to get an agreement that's. Fairer for the people of this community it is financially responsible he keeps the team and for years to come. And it does from promote economic viability of the franchise and buffalo and I think -- to win all around. If you think too that the the naming rights at the stadium I read remain in the in the bills control here not to make a point about. How much of the -- have. How -- the Toronto. Bump could be mitigated by selling the naming rights but -- was that much of the conversation was that a curiosity do you. -- naming rights were on the table. And then we we sort of let the bills know that. When it comes to the value of the naming rights if they're not willing to spend that that that's strictly money that. Could arguably be there is that we're not going to have we're not gonna pick up for that. They have the option of of of changing the naming rights and they've elected not to sell. Footer for the county in the state to then have to pick up an additional -- because the bills elected not to do anything -- was not fair. So I think that's all that's all part of the agreement mean it's very complicated deal the memorandum of understanding is not hundred pages thick. But the the lease agreement in the sublease in the construction agreement as well but not relocation agreement are very complex -- documents. In what we have. Is there -- many documents that in the end will guarantee this team for years to come. And every point had to be negotiated. To where we get where we are today and that's -- -- we took as long as it did but I federally. And made actually my first day in office over the first executive -- like it was to move the community along so we can be in the police negotiations with the bills. Yeah I wanted it done by training camp attended company training camp. But we -- get it done in this first year. And I'm proud of it and the effort that it took to get here including the hard work but my team's starting with deputy county executive coach Toby and -- county attorney Mike seraguso. And others involved. There -- over fifteen meetings between in person info conference meetings. There were literally. Thousands of emails I think which counted oversee 16100 emails -- from him I'd get over a thousand emails. We had countless of hours that were put in on this transaction. It took a long time to get here but I'm so pleased where we are because. He it has a lot for the community that everyone is responding saying you know maybe we can do exactly everything we wanted but with the most important thing we got which as we know this team is gonna be here. And we all know that Los Angeles -- out there lurking in everyone's going under the assumption Los Angeles -- gonna have a team in the next five years let teams not going to be waffles. All that communication. Did you ever have a conversation with Ralph Wilson. No. I spoke. Because his he wanted to negotiations with mister Brandon and mister -- ninth I dealt primarily with those two sorted -- mark. I'm going to actually I had already scheduled a party at my house for some friends and family and -- annual celebration tonight for that to happen to be scheduled tonight. We've got a little factories and to maybe pop a cork on the champagne tonight. But no matter what no -- in my house drinking and driving so people as always be careful over the holidays no drinking and driving. And we'll get back to do on the rest of the people's business they are counting on next week. The Erie county executive mark on cars any questions for us. Well I just -- I said earlier wanted to don't know the panther like this agreement or not but I hope so because when one of the mall buy them. You know yeah. My my my feeling he's one note about it and just one note about that's always been all the way but thanks for your time happy holidays you don't take care thank you. The Denmark -- cars Erie county executive. Matthew callers got sports right here Jerry Sullivan at five your calls next.