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Talks described as "very productive" were conducted Friday in the ongoing Ralph Wilson Stadium lease negotiations.

But representatives of the state and the Erie County executive's office would not say anything about the details.

A statement issued by Lt. Gov. Robert Duffy and Deputy County Executive Richard Tobe noted that representatives from the state and county "had a very productive meeting on their joint efforts to keep the Bills in Buffalo."

The two-sentence statement went on to say that both entities "are lockstep in their commitment to keeping the Bills in Buffalo. However, officials vowed that they would "continue to refrain from negotiating through the press."

Friday's talks were held in New York City.

The last time the state, county and Bills officials met together was June 23.

Since then, County Executive Mark C. Poloncarz has acknowledged that it is unlikely that the Bills would be able to strike a lease deal with the state and county by the end of the year, as Poloncarz had hoped.

Three subsequently scheduled meetings were either canceled or postponed.

The Bills are seeking improvements to Ralph Wilson Stadium estimated to cost somewhere between $200 million and $220 million. The team would like the state and local governments to cover a big portion of that expense.

It is expected the National Football League, through its G-4 loan program, would pick up $30 million to $40 million of the cost

The NFL will hold a league meeting Oct. 16 and 17 in Chicago at which G-4 funding for Buffalo could have received approval.

However, to get on the agenda for that meeting, the Bills would have been required to present a plan to various league committees - including the NFL Stadium Committee - when those panels met last week in New York City.





email: hmcneil@buffnews.com