“Dump the Pump” event promotes use of public transportation

Councilmembers Skip Hall and Roland F. Winters spoke at Northwest Valley Connect’s “Dump the Pump” events on June 16.

In an effort to promote the use of public transportation, which saves 4.2 billion gallons of gas annually in the U.S., Northwest Valley Connect set up morning events at the Surprise Park N Ride and the Bus Shelter at 105th Ave and Santa Fe.

The councilmembers met with morning riders and spoke about the benefits of a strong public transportation system.

June 2015 • Newsletter

A BIG shout out to all of my fellow District 1 residents and a happy June to all of you!

I began last month participating in a half-day brainstorming session at the Dysart Unified School District office as part of Dysart’s 3E Summit. Many people interested in a solid educational process for our young folks participated in this meeting and many ideas transpired. We really need to recognize the direct correlation between education and economic development. I’d like to thank Dr. Gail Pletnick, Superintendent of Dysart Unified School District for putting together this event.

On May 1, I visited the local Sam’s Club where a number of our local veterans held a fundraiser. Their goal is to raise enough money to build or purchase a hall where veterans can meet, socialize, and have activities. Contributions to the fundraiser are much appreciated as this can help our fellow veterans in our community.

I was invited to attend the Canyon Ridge Appreciation Breakfast at Canyon Ridge Elementary School on May 7 to celebrate and give thanks to all of the school’s volunteers. The staff at Canyon Ridge truly showed their appreciation to the teachers and those folks who spend countless hours helping the students. I want to add my personal thanks to all of those volunteers at that school that make Canyon Ridge such an amazing learning environment for our youngsters.

Dr. Shelley Isai, Principal with Councilman Hall and me
Dr. Shelley Isai, Principal with Councilman Hall and me
Dr. Stephen Poling, Councilman Hall, my wife and me
Dr. Stephen Poling, Councilman Hall, my wife and me
My wife and I with former PHX Suns player Steven Hunter
My wife and I with former PHX Suns player Steven Hunter

The City hosted the Surprise Public Art Stakeholders meeting at City Hall on May 18. This informative meeting, led by artist Meg Saligman, discussed the proposed art for the new bridge that will be located at the Bell Road and Grand Ave interchange. Mrs. Saligman has done a superb job with the project! This interchange will be a unique addition to our city of Surprise. To learn more about the interchange improvement project and view the concept, please visit www.surpriseaz.gov/bellandgrand. You can view the concept online and offer your comments.

Bell and Grand preferred art concept
Bell and Grand preferred art concept

On May 19, the City recognized our Public Works Department staff prior to the special Council Meeting that took place where a Proclamation was given in honor of National Public Works Week. Public Works staff does so much for our City such as keeping our streets clean and in good condition, picking up our trash and recycling and so much more. They impact our daily lives and produce a wonderful quality of life for our residents. Thank you!

City Manager Bob Wingenroth and Jeremy Lawrence
City Manager Bob Wingenroth and Jeremy Lawrence
Michael Boule and I
Michael Boule and I

I was very busy on Thursday, May 21. I attended the IRIS USA ground breaking along with members of Council, IRIS USA, Inc. and its parent company, IRIS Ohyama, Inc. This new facility will house 420,000 square feet of manufacturing, distribution and office space and initially employ approximately 100 people, the bulk of whom will be recruited from the local area. The facility is scheduled to open in the first quarter of 2016. IRIS makes plastic containers and manufactures LED lights.

The evening of May 21, I attended the Northwest Ranch HOA meeting with one of our engineers, Karl Zook, to discuss how the City can help make Northwest Ranch Parkway a little safer for the residents living there.

On the morning of Memorial Day, May 25, I went to Sunland Cemetery for a large Northwest Valley Veterans Association Memorial Day Ceremony. Representative Rick Gray was the key note speaker as was Sheriff Joe Arpaio. Everyone received a free flag and we had some great patriotic music from a large band. Additionally, 11 freedom riders drove in on their motorcycles. We also had a great fly over of 8 B1 planes with smoke trails. It was a wonderful tribute to our brave veterans!

Northwest Valley Veterans Association Memorial Day Ceremony
Northwest Valley Veterans Association Memorial Day Ceremony

That afternoon, I also attended a Memorial Day Ceremony at Radiant Church. Chet Chetkauskas was the emcee and Councilman Biundo read a proclamation honoring our veterans. The key note speaker was Luke Koerner, a Marine Corp Vietnam combat veteran. I’d like to extend my gratitude to the Surprise Veterans who worked so diligently to prepare this event for our community. Thank you!

I am honored to have been asked to serve on the Northwest Valley Connect Advisory Committee. As a member of the Committee, I will serve for three years. This Committee will discuss processes, procedures, and act as Ambassadors for Northwest Valley Connect. The focus is transportation.

On the side note, I would like to talk to all my District 1 friends about the trash I see thrown on our streets indiscriminately. One day, as I was traveling west on Bell Road, a man driving eastbound in a white Cadillac threw trash from his car while passing me. It looked like the remnants of his lunch. Now who does that in our beautiful city? Please don’t trash our city, and don’t trash Arizona. Think twice before you throw that piece of paper or cigarette butt on the ground. It costs the tax payers $3 million dollars in Arizona for our road crews to pick up the road litter. Besides, what businesses would look at a city where the streets are full of trash?

Just a reminder, I will not be having a meeting in July, August, or September, so I hope to see you all on June 19th at my Friday Night Chat in the Community Center at the Retreat in Arizona Traditions before my summer break. My next Friday Night Chat after June will be Friday October 15th at 18250 W. Weatherby. At the gate, call the guard and he will let you in. I will still continue my newsletter, although it may be sparse. Try and stay cool for the summer and as always, you can call or email me with any concerns.

I will close for now. Please remember to be good to yourself and be good to each other!

My Best,

Roland F. Winters Jr.
Councilman for District 1

Council adopts FY16 final budget

The Surprise City Council adopted a $304.7 million Fiscal Year (FY) 2016 Budget, Tuesday night, that addresses immediate operational needs, continues service increases and maintains the property tax rate.

The budget also raises the city’s reserves by 14% to $17 million.

Other highlights include:

  • Pavement Preservation
  • Maintains Dial-A-Ride service expansion; continues Express Route 571
  • 18 new full time positions (Police, Fire-Medical, utilities, general government operations)
  • Surprise Regional Library operations (required by previous county agreement)
  • Vehicle and Asset Replacement

Council also agreed to maintain the FY15 property tax rate at $.07591 per $100 of assessed valuation.

While Council’s action maintains the property tax levy for FY16, home valuations have increased. Home valuations are set by the Maricopa County Assessor. While the tax rate has not changed, higher home valuations will result in a 2.6%, or $171,600, increase year-over-year. The annual increase on a $100,000 home would be $1.93.

Council will formally adopt the property tax levy on June 16.

The complete FY16 Budget will be posted online at www.surpriseaz.gov.