Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz, in Albany today for the Regional Economic Development Council awards, said the negotiations to keep the Buffalo Bills in Orchard Park are going well.

Poloncarz, a Democrat, said the Cuomo administration has been working the phones — as recently as last night — to keep the NFL franchise in western New York.

“We’re still working on that,” Poloncarz said in an interview. “The commitment from the governor’s office has been phenomenal with the lieutenant governor and Howard Glaser leading the negotiations. I like the position we’re in.”

Losing the Bills to another city such as Toronto across the lake would be not just an economic blow to Buffalo, but a pyschological one. For sports fans, the Bills are part and parcel with western New York’s cultural DNA, even if they aren’t having an outstanding season.

Cuomo, who did not carry western New York counties when running for governor aganist Buffalo’s Carl Paladino in 2010, has pushed the billion dollars for Buffalo effort in order to jumpstart the area’s economy.

Western New York’s regional council won $52.8 million in fuding for nearly 60 economic development projects, though it was not among the “top performers” that received more than $90 million aid. It was part of the broader pep rally for the economic development councils in which $738 million in economic aid was doled out with CNBC host Maria Bartiromo acting as MC, as she did for a similar event last year.

Still, Poloncarz says Cuomo is changing the tone, even if job growth in New York overall is sluggish.

“We wanted to change the tone about this being a high-tax climate state. It’s not compared to other states. We’re not where we need to be, but it certainly isn’t where people think it is. He’s definitely changed the tone and sometimes that’s the hardest thing to do is change the view of yourself and that’s what the governor’s done,” he said.