By MARK TODD - firstname.lastname@example.org
Councilman-at-large Neil LaRusch will not seek election this fall to the seat he received by appointment in 2010, according to a statement.
“Due to my newfound professional commitments, I have decided not to seek election to the seat of council-at-large in 2014,” he said in the statement.
LaRusch was appointed to the position in December 2010, succeeding Robert Naylor who had resigned one month earlier. LaRusch was a candidate for the seat in 2009, finishing fourth in a crowded field.
LaRusch this year became involved with Mary’s Kitchen, a Geneva-on-the-Lake restaurant.
In his remarks, LaRusch cited some of his accomplishments, including his fight to eliminate Conneaut’s “housing blight.” LaRusch spearheaded legislation that created a vacant house/building notification program, as well as an occupancy permit program that includes mandatory municipal inspections of houses and apartments before they are sold or rented.
“As a personal passion of mine, I feel the current City Council met all the demands of the public in this regard,” he said in the statement. “I look forward to continuing that fight on a larger scale, and hope to continue moving Conneaut and Ashtabula County forward as we try to deal with this growing problem.”
LaRusch also said he was pleased to help ensure the city would not be “saddled” with law enforcement responsibilities when Lake Erie Correctional Institution became the private property of Corrections Corporation of America. Without identifying the business, LaRusch also noted his role in keeping a Dollar General store from building in the area of West Main and Parrish roads. That store is now taking shape a short distance to the east.
LaRusch said he is confident council will continue to work on the city’s behalf.
“There are still things to accomplish, but I wholeheartedly believe we have the right people in place to continue Conneaut forward,” he wrote in the statement. “There has never to my knowledge been a group of individuals so dedicated to advancing a positive set of ideals in Conneaut’s recent history.”
All seven council seats in Conneaut will be up for grabs this fall. Nicholas Church last week filed petitions to run for council president, the only person so far to make his council intentions official. Incumbent Thomas Udell has said he will not seek re-election.