Longtime New Hyde Park Mayor Daniel Petruccio has announced he will not run for re-election in March.
Petruccio, 53, was first elected mayor in 2001, a member of The Village Party that came to power after a 1997 tax hike triggered immense village opposition among residents.
Petruccio, a religion teacher and director of guidance at Chaminade High School, was contested in his first election; he ran unopposed in the next two races.
"I have never been a person that aspired to political office, ever," Petruccio said Thursday, but he explained that he and other residents became vocal at village board meetings once the village raised taxes by about 37 percent in 1997. Some residents signed petitions seeking to dissolve the village, he said.
He disagreed. "I realized that was incorrect," he said. The solution, he said, involved "just changing some of the people . . . making the decisions."
Petruccio said he hopes to be remembered for being fiscally responsible. During the past 12 years, the village has embarked on an ambitious road-improvement project, which resulted in more than 18 miles of new roadway. Key, he said, was approaching the project piecemeal: The village sets aside $500,000 each year for road work and paying for debt services.
He said he is proud of the board's efforts to revitalize the downtown corridor. An initiative, called Operation Downtown, has resulted in new kiosks lampposts, and more elegant signage.
Once elected, Petruccio joined another Village Party member Robert Lofaro, a trustee and current deputy mayor.
"He was one of the team," Lofaro said. "He was a good arbiter of issues, and a good listener."
Lofaro, a member of The Village Party, said the party has decided on a slate of trustee candidates, and will announce it on Monday.
"Dan's mission," he said, was "to regain the confidence of the community; village government can be effective."