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Giambra Questions County Borrowing for Bass Pro

By Eileen Buckley

Buffalo, NY – Erie County's budget crisis could mean some troubles for the Bass Pro project.

County Executive Joel Giambra says he won't be able to sign the memo of understanding for the Bass Pro deal until he's able to sort out the county's budget mess. The county and city of Buffalo are to provide $14 million in funding through the sale of county bonds. But at a news conference Wednesday, Giambra told reporters there's uncertainty surrounding the county's ability to borrow.

"I don't know. That is the only answer I can give you," Giambra said. "I don't know what will happen to our bond rating. Our standing in the the credit markets right now is not very good. I don't know what the implications are yet."

Wednesday, Mayor Masiello signed the memo that gives Bass Pro 270 days to establish a final plan. The deal requires construction to start in 15 months, with a grand opening in Spring 2007.