Keith Knaggs, the former Leader of Ryedale District Council, has been made an Honorary Alderman.
He received the honour at a ceremony at Ryedale House, Malton, on Thursday.
The proposal was moved by Cllr Caroline Goodrick and seconded by Cllr John Clark in recognition of the eminent service rendered by Mr Knaggs who served as a councillor for 22 years.
He was presented with a scroll and a plaque at the ceremony by Cllr Janet Frank, the council chairman.
Mr Knaggs was first elected in 1991 and then re-elected with large majorities until he stood down earlier this year.
He became leader of the Conservative group in 1995 at a time when the Tories only had four councillors.
But through his leadership, Conservative representation on the council peaked at 20 members following the 2011 election - earning the group a majority for the first time.
Mr Knaggs also served as Leader of the Council from May 2007 to December 2012, during which time he oversaw the construction of Malton’s community sports centre, the new Brambling Fields junction, the council’s contribution to Pickering Flood Defences, improvements to recycling, a freeze in council tax for three years with huge savings achieved and minimal service cuts and the Injured Jockeys Centre where work recently started.
Mr Knaggs said that what he tried to stand for were three key aims: That Ryedale was a district with a council rather than a council with a district; to focus on important initiatives which made a real difference rather than little bits here and there; and to try and be 18 months ahead of the game with a clear strategic view.
“My aim was to ensure that Ryedale District Council did things rather than have things done to it or forced on it and a council where members could have ideas and be able to do more rather than just react to the proposals of others or reports put before us,” he said.
“There are so many people who have helped me along my path as a councillor - the typists without whom I would have had stood down in 1999, those who have written or e-mailed me on many topics, especially about planning, the press who generally gave me a fair crack of the whip, and officers and staff past and present who have worked with me.
“I acknowledge I have been a demanding councillor, which is how it should be, but one who conveyed a clear direction of travel and a clear understanding of the roles of councillors and officers.
“I would also like to thank all the councillors who have shared with me in our endeavours for the common good over those 22 years.”