Tonawanda News

Local News

November 2, 2013

North Tonawanda candidate bios

Tonawanda News — North Tonawanda 

Mayor 

Rob Ortt 

Party lines: Republican, Conservative, Working Families, Independence, Green. 

Background: Mayor of North Tonawanda since 2010, one term as city clerk-treasurer, Army National Guard veteran, background as a financial analyst. 

Platform: Ortt cited three budgets without tax increases, a 17 percent reduction in the city workforce, bringing concerts back to the city and development projects such as the Gratwick-Riverside marina, the Remington Lofts and Webster Street as among his first-term achievements. He said with 32 miles of paved roads during the last three years his focus would now turn to infrastructure, including the most troublesome areas of the city’s aging sewer lines. He plans to flush out future development potential on Tonawanda Island and along sections of Oliver Street. 

Janet Zehr

Party line: Democrat

Background: Retired North Tonawanda science teacher, secretary of the Buffalo Astronomical Society. 

Platform: Zehr would like to use a portion of North Tonawanda’s current fund balance of $3 million to consider property tax breaks and to add more police officers to the department’s ranks. She would also look into reducing the mayor’s seat to a part-time position. Zehr said she she would bring transparency to a City Hall controlled by Republicans over the last four years. She also questioned the GOP’s dominance over minor party lines, including those traditionally aligned with Democrats, and said she would seek to introduce regular town hall meetings with the general public. 

First Ward

Russ Rizzo

Party lines: Republican, Conservative, Independence. 

Background:  City Council 2000-2008 and 2011-present , Niagara County Legislator 2009-2011, retired North Tonawanda business owner. 

Platform: Rizzo sites progress on the first phase of a project to address Witmer Road flooding, the return of concerts at Gratwick-Riverside Park and the addition of the Lumberjack Patio Grill and a partially refurbished marina as among his signature accomplishments. He said he utilizes a hands-on approach with residents in his ward and would like to plant trees at Gratwick-Riverside Park and continue adding events to the increasingly popular area along the Niagara River. 

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