Tonawanda News — After months of campaigning, new mayor Rick Davis is getting accustomed to his office in city hall and prioritizing his many goals for Tonawanda.
“It’s been a relief to finally be here,” Davis said. “Back in March, it seemed like this day would never come. It’s a lot more fun when you win.”
Davis, a two-term Democratic councilman, ran against Ron Pilozzi in 2009 and lost by just 150 votes. His second attempt for the position in November was more successful, and he beat the Republican incumbent — winning 55 percent of the vote.
Davis, who also works as a meteorologist for the Federal Aviation Administration, was sworn in Wednesday along with the four new council members.
“It was heartwarming to see a packed courtroom for the swearing in,” he said. “It was my first day to make sure the ship is steered in the right direction.”
One of Davis’ first priorities is to sit down with Natale and discuss the proposed contract for the controversial housing development on the vacant 16.94-acre property on Little League Drive.
Davis and the new Democratic council members have spoken out against the current deal, which specifies a $192,000 sale price for the property. Under the contract, Natale will pay for the infrastructure costs, valued at about $1.8 million, and at the developer’s request, the 53 homes will fall under the state’s condominium status. As a result, the homes will be assessed at about 65 percent of their construction value.
Put simply, homeowners whose properties cost $250,000 to buy will pay taxes as if the home was worth $162,500.
“I want to sit down with Natale and see if there is some common ground, because with the council as it sits right now, there isn’t support,” he said. “I want to see if we can sharpen the pencil a little bit.”