By Mike Pidanick
After a productive year in 2016, North Tonawanda residents should expect even more from the city this year, according to Mayor Arthur J. Pappas.
Pappas read a 12-page state of the city address on Tuesday night during the Common Council meeting at City Hall. He discussed other improvements to look forward to in the coming year.
"This administration continues into a new year with great enthusiasm to begin work on what looks to be a very demanding 2017," he said. "In my time in office, this administration - and all of those in support of it - continues to look for ways to gradually improve our city."
Pappas reported a record 13.5 miles of new roads was laid down during construction season at a cost of nearly $1.1 million in 2016. Another $1.2 will be invested this year for road repairs.
"Roads in North Tonawanda is always a topic of conversation," Pappas said. "We are not done. Roads will continue to be a priority of mine."
Pappas also mentioned new businesses that opened on Webster Street, Niagara Falls Boulevard, and Oliver Street last year. That growth is expected to continue.
"As we continue to strive for economic growth and encourage entities to invest in our community, we must remember that North Tonawanda must invest in itself," Pappas said. "No part of the city will be neglected."
The Common Council also added two new members on Tuesday. Jeffrey Glatz and Mark Berube were unanimously approved to fill vacant seats on the board.
"This is nothing but positive," Pappas said, referring to both new council members as a "top person" during the swearing-in ceremony. "Welcome aboard," he said.
Berube steps in as First Ward Alderman, replacing Philip "Russ" Rizzo, who resigned from the board after battling illness for most of 2016. The board also approved Berube's resignation from the board of assessment review and cable commission to take on his new role.
"I just want to thank you for putting you're trust in me to continue moving the city forward," Berube said during his closing marks. "And I will do everything in my power to help out to continue that growth."
Glatz will replace Cathy Schwandt on the board and will serve as an Alderman-at-Large. An 18-year member of the council, Schwandt resigned last month to take a position with the New York Power Authority. Glatz is a former Niagara County manager.
"Thank you for the opportunity of allowing me to sit on the council and hopefully to contribute and give back to the City of North Tonawanda," Glatz said. "I look forward to it."
In other news, the board unanimously approved the appointment of Nicholas B. Robinson as assistant city attorney. He fills a vacancy that was created when Luke Brown was promoted to city attorney to replace Katherine Alexander earlier this year.
"I've known Nick for a few years now," Brown said. "He's got a keen legal mind and a strong enthusiasm for this city."