North Tonawanda Common Council President Phillip "Russ" Rizzo issued the following statement Thursday:
"For the past 15 years, I have had the privilege of representing the wonderful people of North Tonawanda as both a Niagara County legislator and as a member of the Common Council. I have established so many friendships during my time in office, and I am incredibly proud of the accomplishments achieved during my time as both a legislator and as a council member.
"Today, as we enter the 2015 election cycle, I am announcing that I will not be seeking another term on the North Tonawanda Common Council and am retiring from public office, effective at the conclusion of my current term.
"In 2014, my colleagues bestowed upon me the honor of electing me president of the Common Council. For me, it was the culmination of my time in elected office and a reflection of my commitment to the people who have placed their faith in me as their elected representative over the past 15 years.
"During my time in office, North Tonawanda has certainly had its share of challenges. However, working collaboratively and cooperatively, we have faced those challenges head-on, and I am optimistic of the path our city is on, knowing that even better days are ahead. I am very proud of our team at City Hall, and the strides we have made.
"Working with representatives at both the county and state levels, we have not only stabilized city taxes, we have lowered them. We've streamlined the budget process and increased transparency by making the process more inclusive for the public. By analyzing and implementing more efficient procedures, we are delivering city services in the most fiscally manner possible for the residents of North Tonawanda.
"It has been my honor to work with outstanding representatives at all levels, including former State Sen. George Maziarz, and former North Tonawanda mayor and current State Sen. Rob Ortt. As native North Tonawandans, they have always had the best interests of our community at heart and have represented North Tonawanda with great pride and vitality.
"I am also very pleased with our efforts to put an end to flooding that residents of Witmer Road had to endure for years. The flooding in this part of the city was severely impacting the quality of life for residents, and I made it a priority to address this issue.
"We've also made great strides on the economic development front, including the transformation of the long-dormant city marina into a thriving summer destination, which includes a new riverside dining establishment at the marina with new docking facilities. The downtown district is also thriving with several new restaurants, along with loft apartments and commercial redevelopment.
"Lastly, I would like to thank the great people of North Tonawanda for the faith they have shown in me over the past 15 years. It truly has been my honor to represent them, and I have done so with passion and enthusiasm every day. Under the leadership of Mayor Art Pappas and a dedicated team of council members, I am confident that North Tonawanda will remain a wonderful community to live, work and raise a family."