Updated: Nov. 17, 2021, 2:41 p.m. | Published: Nov. 17, 2021, 1:54 p.m.

By Paul Liotta | pliotta@siadvance.com

STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. — A Staten Islander again took the reins of the Republican opposition in the Democrat-dominated New York City Council on Wednesday.

City Councilman Joseph Borelli (R-South Shore) succeeded outgoing Councilman Steven Matteo (R-Mid-Island) as the minority leader, and in January will have the most Republicans in the Council in over a decade.

“When I began my career in public service nearly two decades ago, I could not imagine I would at some point have the honor and privilege of holding this office,” he said.

“I’m excited to get to work with my new colleagues in the Republican Delegation, our next speaker, and the Adams administration to tackle these issues and to provide an alternative perspective on how to move our great city forward.”

Borelli, the only Republican incumbent in the Council next year, won the support of Matteo and outgoing Councilman Eric Ulrich (R-Queens) on Wednesday to become the minority leader.

Next year, he’ll be joined by Councilmembers-elect David Carr (R-Mid-Island), who will succeed Matteo, Joanne Ariola (R-Queens), who will succeed Ulrich, Inna Vernikov (R-Brooklyn), and Vicki Palladino (R-Queens).

The five Republican members will be the council’s most since 2009.

“Councilman Borelli has some big shoes to fill, following the outstanding tenures of Minority Leader Matteo and his predecessors,” Carr, who served as Matteo’s chief of staff, said.

“I am confident he will be a great minority leader in his own right and lead this re-energized delegation to new heights and continue to be a strong Republican voice for this city.”

Borelli won his seat in 2015 in a special election, and cruised to re-election in 2017 and again earlier this month. With the city redistricting process set to take place, this City Council term will be a shortened two years, and Borelli, along with his cohorts, will again be up for re-election in 2023.

The new minority leader previously served the South Shore in the New York Assembly.

“I am humbled to follow in the footsteps of some of the great Republican leaders in this city, and I promise to uphold the minority leader office by providing robust but respectful opposition to my Democrat colleagues when necessary, and also working with all my colleagues for the betterment of our city’s residents,” Borelli said.

“This next Council will be facing some real challenges, including an economy still reeling from questionable pandemic policies; a law enforcement community beleaguered by rising crime, low morale and a lack of institutional support; and a challenging budget that already faces a multi-billion dollar deficit.”