Category Archives: Newsletter

Councilmember Roland Winters Newsletter

July 2017 • Newsletter

I hope the residents in District 1 and all the folks in our beautiful city are managing to tolerate the heat and stay cool and hydrated. Thankfully, we will cool down in a few months! June was a very eventful month.

On Sunday, June 4, I spent three hours at Happy Trails learning how to perform CPR, in particular using the Automatic Electronic Defibrillator (AED). The AED is a great device that can help keep a person alive until the EMTs arrive. If you have a chance to take those classes, I would strongly encourage you to do so.

I hosted my monthly meeting at Arizona Traditions Retreat Community Center on the evening of Friday, June 9 with a good crowd and a lot of conversations about new construction in the western part of Surprise, especially along Bell Pointe and outside the gate to Arizona Traditions on parcel 14. This development is called Bell Pointe II. It will fill the empty areas of the original Bell Pointe.

Goodyear City Council hosted an inaugural ceremony on Monday, June 12. I attended the ceremony along with relatives, friends and residents of Goodyear and watched the wonderful celebration as three incumbents and one new City Council Member took their Oath of Office. Mayor Georgia Lord, Council Members Wally Campbell and Joe Pizzillo were reelected in January and new City Council Member Brannon Hampton won his first term in a May run-off election.

The Community and Recreation Services Department (CRS) completed the last step of the accreditation process through the Commission of Accreditation of Parks and Recreation Agencies (CAPRA). The department had been working towards the accreditation for the past year. Council Members and staff were invited to meet the CAPRA evaluators on Tuesday, June 13 at the Surprise Tennis and Racquet Complex.

CAPRA accreditation is a five-year cycle that includes three phases: development of the agency self-assessment report, the on-site visitation, and the Commission’s review and decision. The on-site visitation follows the agency’s development of its self-assessment report. If accreditation is granted by the Commission at its meeting following the on-site visit, the agency will develop a new self-assessment report and be revisited every five years. Within each of the four years between on-site visits, the agency will submit an annual report that addresses its continued compliance with the accreditation standards.

On Wednesday, June 14, I attended a very large meeting at City Hall about Valley Metro’s new paratransit and Ride Choice programs. Surprise residents that will be using the program for rides to the doctor, friends, and more filled the room. The folks from Valley Metro who made the presentation were 45 minutes late so that’s not a good sign for a new program. I will have more to say about the new program later in the newsletter.

The same night, I attended a Citizen Outreach meeting at Sundown Mountain School regarding a new residential development known as Bonita Ranch in District 1.

It was my pleasure to attend a ribbon cutting at Desert Oasis for KB Homes on Thursday, June 15. KB Homes will soon build four new models. The models will be located at 17198 W Setlock Trail.

I attended the AZ League of Cities Transportation Committee meeting at their Phoenix office on Friday, June 16. I am a member of this committee and the purpose of the meeting was to discuss important topics we plan to discuss at the League of Cities Conference that will be held in August.

I was a guest at the fire academy graduation on Friday, June 16. The large graduating class filled the Orangewood Church on 27th Avenue in Phoenix. This particular graduation class produced eight recruits for Surprise. Fire fighters have a very close brotherhood and that is tangible attending these events.

Surprise Fire-Medical fire academy graduates

I hope our fathers in Surprise had a great Father’s Day on June 18. You all deserve it for your hard work, making a living for your family and caring for your children. I had a relaxing day by taking the day off. My wife and two daughters treated me with dinner at one of our great restaurants right here in Surprise.

Highland Prep hosted a ground breaking event for their new Charter School in Surprise on 15600 W. Hearn Rd. The school is a tuition free public charter preparatory stem high school. Coming in fall 2017, they will open their doors in a temporary facility to a freshman class of 125 students. The school will open its new building in the fall of 2018 that will host freshman and sophomore classes. Each year, they will add another freshman class.

Highland Prep Facility Render

Those of you who utilize the Valley Metro transit system should have received your Ride Choice cards on June 27. I wish the best of luck to all our residents using the program. There are a number of things to keep in mind while you’re trying to navigate that system. First, the system takes you to MJM (the company that is administering this program) which is located in Baltimore, Maryland. Their number is in the brochure that everyone received with their Ride Choice card. However, it’s above the Valley Metro address leading you to believe you are contacting Valley Metro. Personally, I believe this is ludacris to have a company in Baltimore, Maryland overseeing transportation for the residents of Surprise, Arizona. If you called that number in Baltimore on June 28, you would’ve been told that you couldn’t put the funding on your card with a credit card. The alternative is to mail them a check which, by their own admission, takes ten days which means you wouldn’t have funding by the time the program started on July 1. I spoke to six different people between June 27 and Saturday, July 1 and received six different answers. The cab company AAA had no idea about the program until July 1 and had no machine to swipe your Ride Choice card in their cabs. This program allows no specific window of time to pick up a rider once the cab company has been notified of the time for the rider to be picked up at the destination. Be prepared to wait fifteen to forty-five minutes! I’d like to make note that Discount Cab has the card swiper, is well aware of the program and has been providing the service.

The Ride Choice part of the program was not the only part that didn’t go as planned during the transition from Dial-A-Ride. The Trans Dev portion was also deficient. They were supposed to have two vans to pick up our senior citizens and transport them to the Senior Center on Hollyhock. However, on Monday July 3, only one van showed up.

The entire effort was terrible, and the roll out should’ve been delayed at least three to four weeks. I know it’s really easy to be a Monday morning quarterback, but there should’ve been more thought and planning in this process on Valley Metro’s behalf. Let’s just hope the problems are worked out soon. Our seniors are our most vulnerable citizens of Surprise and we should be more responsive to their needs.

Former CRS Director Mark Coronado
Former CRS Director Mark Coronado

In June, we lost a valued friend and employee of Surprise. Community and Recreation Services Director Mark Coronado died at the age of 59. Although his life was cut short, his legacy will live on in Surprise for many generations to come. As the front page of our newspaper said, “He was a visionary,” and his footprints are on our Stadium, Dream Catcher Park, the Northwest Regional Library, many parks in Surprise, the tennis complex, and the list goes on. I worked with Mark on Surprise Farms park my first year on City Council. He was a tireless worker on that project as he was with all of the projects. He had many outreach meetings with the residents who lived in the surrounding area of Surprise Farms Park, and he listened to the input from everyone. We even adjusted our plans for the dog park and moved it further to the west even though the plans were already completed and we were days away from breaking ground. Yet, we chose that area of the park to be left for open play.

While I am on the topic of parks, I’d like to provide you with an update on the area with the green fence. This is an update to my friends at Surprise Farms III and the surrounding area. As you have probably noticed, we are diligently working on that 8 acres and the good news is that the project came in under budget. Needless to say, we have some extra money to utilize for sod instead of grass seeds. Tom McCullough, the Project Manager, and his team are doing a great job on the project and we are looking for completion at the end of August, weather permitting.

On the evening of June 28, I attended the Maricopa Associations of Government (MAG) meeting at the Hyatt Regency Phoenix. The focus of this meeting was discussion regarding wrong way drivers on our interstates and freeways. There is a plan to prevent drivers from entering the exit ramps on the roads. Harris County has been using technology for a couple of years, and it seems to be working, but it’ll cost $4 million which isn’t cheap. However, what’s a human life worth? As Glendale’s Mayor Jerry Weirs said, “We cannot sit by, we must do something.” The project was passed with an overwhelming majority.

After the meeting, we celebrated MAG’s 50th anniversary and passing of the gavel that honored outgoing MAG Regional Chair Mayor Greg Stanton and welcomed new Chair Mayor Jackie Meck from Buckeye. Congratulations to Mayor Meck!

Desert Diamond Casino provided a West Valley update on Thursday, June 29 at the Renaissance Hotel in Glendale. They are finally getting their gambling and liquor license after a long standoff with both the city and state. I was honored to meet Chair Emanuel of Tohono O’odham Nation.

Well I guess I will close for now, and I apologize for the length of this newsletter, but a lot of things happened this month. I will not host my monthly meeting this month, but I will be available if you need me.

My next meeting will be held on Friday, August 11 at 7 pm at the Community Center at Arizona Traditions in the Retreat.

I just want to thank Neal and his team for the use of this meeting space.

So Be Good To Yourself And Be Good To Each Other,

Roland Winters Jr.

May 2017 • Newsletter

A big shout out to all the residents in District 1 and to everyone who lives in this great city we call Surprise! Please note that I will not be hosting my Friday Night meeting on May 12. My next meeting will be held on Friday, June 9 at 7 p.m. in the Community Center at the Retreat at Arizona Traditions.

April began with a relaxing few hours listening to the Surprise POPS Band at the Valley Vista Performing Arts Center on Sunday, April 2. If you’ve never been to one of their performances, it is most definitely worth your time. Admission is free with the donation of a canned food item which the band donates to the Valley View Food Bank. Not only do you get free admission, but you also pay it forward by helping to feed some of our less fortunate neighbors.

Rancho Mercado GroundbreakingDistrict 1 and the remainder of the city celebrated the groundbreaking of Rancho Mercado on Tuesday, April 4. The William Lyon Homes development is located in a six square-mile area along Happy Valley Road (in the area of 147th Avenue & Jomax). The development plans to provide a variety of affordable housing options including single-family and multi-family residential, as well as retail and commercial services and much more. Rancho Mercado’s projected population is more than 12,000 residents at build out. The roads are scheduled to be built first followed by the completion of Happy Valley Road to the east. It will take approximately 1.5 years to complete the infrastructure prior to the building of the homes.

The city continues to work on acquiring the right-of-ways from private property owners (north of Jomax) so we can start repairing the roads in the northwestern portion of District 1. I wish we could expedite the acquisitions but the process takes time.

I attended the Citizen Patrol Banquet on Friday, April 7 at the Sun City Grand Cimarron Center. The Citizen Patrol volunteers contribute many hours to our city by directing traffic to help keep us safe, performing vacation checks on our homes and helping with Spring Training. Our Surprise Police Department greatly appreciates their efforts and the many hours they volunteer assisting our first responders.

As you know, City staff has been busy working on the budget for the last few months. The FY18 budget will be very tight due to unforeseen increases to the state Public Safety Personnel Retirement System (PSPRS), but we are still able to maintain our services to our residents. I regret to report that city staff will not receive increases this year but at least we have avoided layoffs.

The Surprise Capital Improvement Funding Exploratory Committee was briefed by city staff last month on proposed capital improvement projects that may be included in three separate bond questions this fall. Discussion of the bond questions will occur at our City Council Work Session scheduled for May 16 at 4 p.m. If Council approves the bond questions for voter consideration, I anticipate the city will host several community meetings to further elaborate on the bond projects before a November election.

The City of Surprise Fire-Medical Department (SFMD) was awarded a $8,351 Arizona Governor’s Office of Highway Safety grant to “enhance DUI Alcohol Education and Awareness throughout the City of Surprise.” SFMD worked in conjunction with the Surprise Police Department, Helicopter Air-Medical and Logistics Operations, the Dysart Unified School District, and Valley Vista High School to coordinate a Drunk/Distracted Driving Mock Crash for over 2,600 students at Valley Vista High School on Wednesday, April 19. The demonstration was very emotional and truly captured what could happen when someone chooses to drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs. The devastating outcome of these accidents not only impacts the people associated in the accidents but their friends and family as well. Surprise TV taped the drill and will share it with other high schools to further the outreach.

Drunk/Distracted Driving Mock Crash

On April 21, my wife and I attended the Surprise Police Appreciation Dinner at Christ Church of the Valley (CCV). CCV was a fantastic venue, and I thank them for all they did to make this event successful for our law enforcement officials. The theme for this year’s event was “The Thin Blue Line – the line between order and chaos.” Police Department employees and family members, along with City Directors and their families and Councilman Skip Hall and I joined together to show appreciation for and to recognize employees and volunteers of the Surprise Police Department who, through their commitment to excellence, have helped make the Department what it is today. Dr. Dennis J. Tyner, Vice President and Provost of Ottawa University AZ, was the Master of Ceremonies. The 2016 award winners were as follows:

Civilian of the Year – Yolanda Zamora; Supervisor of the Year – Jennifer Guthrie; Officer of the Year – Tyler Johnson; Rookie of the Year – Michelle Cain; Detective of the Year – Kristy Coats; Citizens Patrol Volunteer of the Year – James Gearns; Volunteer of the Year – Tina Jennings; Medal of Merit – Russell Jurn; Police Shield – Adam Layton; Lifesaving Award – Joanna Massimillo – Vallet.

The Arts & Cultural Advisory Commission sponsored a free public art bus tour to the Desert Caballeros Museum in Wickenburg to see the Cowgirl Up exhibit. If you have not been to that museum yet, it is well worth the trip! A special thank you to Commission Chair Susan DeJong and Commission Vice Chair Margaret Liu for organizing this trip. The resident turn-out was good, and the museum was fantastic!

On April 26, I attended the Northwest Valley Connect Advisory Committee meeting at City Hall and toured the Valley Metro Mobility Center in Phoenix. Both events covered upcoming changes to the Dial-a-Ride program, which will become RideChoice on July 1, 2017. At the tour, we were educated on how one becomes ADA-certified to utilize the RideChoice system. If you have not yet been certified, it is very easy to do so. You just need to call 602.716.2100, and someone will help you through the process. The new system, RideChoice, will operate 24/7 and will provide numerous ride options. If you have already registered with Valley Metro for services, you will soon receive a letter from them explaining the new service. We have approximately 700 residents utilizing the system right now and, thankfully, the new system will be able to accept more riders. If you have any questions regarding the new service, please feel free to contact me. If I don’t have the answer for you, I will find the answer and call you back.

On April 29, I participated in a tour of our city parks with City staff and members of the CRS Commission. We assessed the condition of the parks to identify how we may improve them in the future.

One last reminder that I will not be hosting my Friday Night meeting in May. My next meeting will be held on Friday, June 9 at 7 p.m. in the Community Center at the Retreat at Arizona Traditions.

I will close for now… so be good to yourself, and be good to each other.

Roland F. Winters Jr.

April 2017 • Newsletter

Happy April to the residents of District 1 and all of Surprise! March was a very busy month for everyone at City Hall. April began with a great start for me. I was invited to attend the Asante community picnic at Southwind Park. It was a great gathering of a lot of our homeowners there. We had a visit from our firefighters from Fire Station 304 with one of their fire trucks. The kids really enjoyed it! Thank you to our firefighters for stopping by.

On March 7, I attended a meeting with Mayor Sharon Wolcott, Councilman Skip Hall and staff from Valley Metro to discuss upcoming changes to the Dial-A-Ride system. As I mentioned in last month’s newsletter, the current Dial-a-Ride name and program will discontinue and the new service models will begin July 1, 2017 with three different transportation options depending on the user. For all my friends that utilize the current system, we know there have been some problems with Discount Cab service, but I will reserve my judgment until after a few months of operation. Some of you may have read about the new service in the last issue of our Progress Magazine. City and Valley Metro staff will present the new model (s) at our City Council Work Session on April 18.

I hosted a meeting for residents located in the northern area of District 1, near 163rd Avenue, on March 9. The residents expressed their concerns regarding the conditions of the roads in their area. We have a few obstacles to overcome. First and foremost, we need to acquire some right-of-way from private land owners and have made progress on that since our meeting. We’ve created a network to communicate information to the residents on the progress. I am optimistic we can make some improvements for these residents.

Northwest Valley Connect (NWVC) held a fundraiser, Motors on Wheels, in Sun City West on Saturday, March 11. For those of you who are not familiar with NWVC, they are a non-profit 501(c)3 organization that provides transportation services for seniors and people with disabilities to overcome existing service gaps. This marked their first fundraiser that included a car show, food trucks, a live DJ and much more. Northwest Valley Connect recently completed their second full year of operation, responding to more than 3,500 calls for service.

On Sunday, March 12, I left for Washington D.C. to attend the National League of Cities Conference and meet with our Congressional representatives to discuss our city’s needs. US Senators John McCain and Jeff Flake hosted a joint meeting for the Arizona delegation at the US Capitol. The trip was very productive, and I am optimistic after having receptive meetings with our representatives.

The City’s Economic Development team hosted an appreciation tent event at Surprise Stadium on Friday, March 17 for our businesses, prospective development opportunities and local partners. I look forward to this event each year as it provides us with an opportunity to network and build on the relationships with our economic drivers to continue to be a self-sustaining city.

On March 22, I attended one of several Citizen Review Hearings on the city’s Sign Code update. Updating the Ordinance is a difficult task as it includes changes regarding A-frame signs many of our businesses utilize. We are not anti-business, but we also want the city to look clean and beautiful for our residents.

Christopher Todd Communities broke ground at the future Christopher Todd Communities on Greenway project. The area is located on the southwest corner of Greenway and Litchfield roads. This unique project will offer 136 one and two-bedroom private rental residences with a gated entry, charming detached homes with front and backyards, optional detached garages, community park with a pet washing station and a community pool.

Councilmembers Hayden, Hall, Remley and Winters
Councilmembers Hayden, Hall, Remley and Winters at Christopher Todd Communities groundbreaking

Representative Tony Rivero invited me to attend a reception at Phoenix Country Club to meet with ten leaders from the Sonoran Legislature. District 21 Representative Rivero is building relationships in Sonora, Mexico as he realizes it is imperative to have strong relationships amongst elected officials and our trade partners. The reception was successful with several elected officials on both side of the border present.

City Council will soon discuss another general bond initiative that may be on the next ballot in November. You should expect changes to the initiative compared to last year. I believe residents will feel better about the changes. More information and discussions are expected at upcoming City Council meetings.

Please don’t forget my next monthly meeting on Friday, April 14 at the Retreat Community Center, 18250 W. Weatherby Drive. Upon arrival at the gate, please let the guard know you are there for my meeting. I’d like to talk to you, hear your concerns and comments.

Until next time, please be good to yourself and be good to each other!

Regards,

Roland F. Winters Jr.
Councilman, District 1

March 2017 • Newsletter

Wow! It is hard to believe that March is already here, and the 15th Annual Spring Training season is underway. I attended the Opening Day game between the Kansas City Royals and the Texas Rangers at the beautiful Surprise Stadium along with Councilmembers Skip Hall and Jim Hayden. The spectacular Surprise Sundancers, the official Spring Training volunteer organization, are geared up for another successful season. I’m grateful that we have this organization to help our spring training visitors at the complex.

I attended the graduation ceremony of our newest firefighters, after they successfully passed their rigorous training program at the Firefighter Academy. The ceremony took place at Orangewood Church in Phoenix on Friday, February 3. It’s always inspiring to watch these men and women become full-fledged firefighters who are willing to make sacrifices for our safety. The ceremony included the pinning of the badge for each graduate by someone they personally selected. We even had our own Fire Captain Julie Moore and her husband, Brian Moore, a Fire Captain with Phoenix Fire, pin a badge on their son Michael who will be a Surprise firefighter. Congratulations to the Moore family and to all the graduates.

Councilman Winters

The annual Tale of Two Cities Parade took place on February 4 at Estrella Mountain Community College. I was honored to be part of it. This community multi-cultural event celebrates the cities of Avondale and Goodyear. The day was beautiful and the turn-out by the residents was fantastic. That same evening, my wife and I attended a fundraiser at the Wig Wam Resort for Benevilla. Benevilla is a non-profit 501(c)3 organization that provides several services for Surprise and surrounding neighboring residents in need.

I hosted my monthly meeting on Friday, February 10 at the Retreat Community Center in Arizona Traditions. Much of the conversation concerned the new development (Bell Point II) that will be located immediately outside of the Arizona Traditions community. Bell Pointe II is comprised of two parcels, North and South. The current proposal is for 141 single family detached residential lots.

Bell Pointe II North is planned for 38 single family detached residential lots with a minimum size of 45’ x 110’. A tot lot is planned to be installed within a turf area around the amenity. The remaining tract areas will be planted with low water use landscaping appropriate for the Sonoran Desert. Bell Pointe II North will also provide an emergency access easement connecting to Arizona Traditions to the east for public safety.

Bell Pointe II South is planned as 103 single family detached residential lots with a minimum size of 45’ x 110’. A tot lot and ramada are planned to be installed within a turf area around the amenity area. The remaining tract areas will be planted with low water use landscaping appropriate for the Sonoran Desert.

I was an early riser the following morning, February 11, so I could attend the ribbon cutting of the 99 Cent Store on Bell Road and Greasewood. This store has been there but they just completed a major remodel and celebrated with the ribbon cutting event. The first nine shoppers received a 36 inch tv for 99 cents.

Ottawa University made an exciting announcement on February 17. Surprise will be the home of a four-year residential university. What an excellent opportunity for our high school students to continue their education right here in Surprise! Ottawa University will be opening this fall, expanding upon the university’s 40-year presence in Arizona. At the dedication event, Ottawa University President Kevin Eichner announced the university aims to enroll 250 students for its first year of classes at the new campus, with a target of up to 3,000 residential students over 10 years, adding to its current 8,300 alumni in the Valley.

The future 35-acre OUAZ campus will be embedded within the Surprise City Center, integrating with the existing 250-acre City of Surprise Civic Center and Recreation campus. The school will also launch out of existing space within the Civic Center (the former Communiversity), allowing students to avail themselves of the surrounding city amenities, including the Surprise Aquatic Center, Dream Catcher Park, the Surprise Tennis & Racquet Complex, and Surprise Stadium, as well as robust shopping and dining amenities.

Expansion plans for the Surprise campus include development of residential housing, an indoor activity center, dining and conference space, and new athletic fields, including a stadium with artificial turf for football and soccer.

I don’t usually mention our City Council meetings in my newsletter despite the fact that is where we do the bulk of our work, but I requested an agenda item for discussion and possible action for the February 21 meeting due to the amount of frustration I heard from my constituents. The item I requested was the removal of the green fence located near Surprise Community Park in Surprise Farms. I was delighted with the resident turn-out at this meeting as well as the help of Mark Beaudry and the remainder of the Surprise Farms III Board. This issue has been very important to many District 1 residents. I will say, as I said at the meeting, I am grateful to each of my colleagues for their vote to dispose of this eyesore. The experience just enforces when we all stay engaged on what is important in Surprise, we can make things better.

Another item I was pleased unanimously passed was the shade structures for our parks around the city. It is very difficult for our youngest residents to play in the park on hot sunny days without shade.

The Mayor hosted her State of the City Address on February 22. The event was well attended. The event provided an opportunity for the public to discover what we have accomplished as a city this past year. Everyone is ecstatic about Ottawa University’s announcement as the plans to bring a university to Surprise has been a goal for almost a decade. Mayor Wolcott also encouraged residents to become more engaged with the city and reminded all that their City Council is here to help and assist as we grow Surprise.

State of the City guests

While it is difficult to mention all that was accomplished in Surprise last year, there is one thing I would like to highlight. In September 2016, classes began at the Surprise-Gateway Training Center (SGTC). The classes, and the facility in which they are housed, are the result of a partnership that was forged between the City of Surprise and GateWay Community College in 2015. The Center is located on the City’s SPA1 Water Campus which includes the City’s largest Water Reclamation Facility (WRF) and largest Water Supply Facility (WSF). GateWay Community College is one of the 10 Maricopa County Community Colleges, but is the only school with a Water Technology program. This program teaches students the many facets of water and wastewater treatment and operations.

Design of the SGTC began in mid-2015 and construction was completed in August 2016. The multi-purpose facility is approximately 13,000 square feet and provides space for students to learn and work alongside industry professionals. The SGTC is home to the Water Resource Management (WRM) Department’s mission critical laboratories, several training rooms, traditional classrooms, and education laboratories. For many years, WRM has had an internship program that hired GateWay students each semester. With the addition of the SGTC, the Water Campus has transformed into a teaching facility where the water industry’s next generation of professionals have an opportunity to learn in a real world environment. Classes began with the focus on certificate programs to prepare students for the state license exams. It is GateWay’s intent to also teach degree program classes from the SGTC in the near future. Director Terry Lowe and his team did an amazing job forming a partnership with Gateway Community College to make this possible.

The Surprise Regional Chamber of Commerce hosted their Annual Legacy Awards Banquet at the Colonnade on Friday, February 24. As a member of the Northwest Valley Connect Advisory Board, I was thrilled that they received the award for Small Non-Profit of the Year. Congratulations to Kathy Chandler and her team!

Kathy Chandler and team

For Dial-A-Ride users, starting July 1, 2017, there will be a new provider and it will operate on a shared ride system. I will be receiving more information in the near future, and I will be sure to pass it along.

The Assistant to the Council, Jodi Tas, informed me that there are more than 200 subscribers to my newsletter, so thank you for your interest. Until next time, please be good to yourself and be good to each other!

Best,

Roland F. Winters Jr.

February 2017 • Newsletter

A big shout out to all my friends in District One and the entire city of Surprise! I sincerely hope everyone is enjoying this adventure we call life.

January has proved to be a busy beginning to what is going to be a great year for Surprise. I started the month with a couple of meetings with a few residents near Saguaro Acres who were concerned about their roads and trash pick-up. I am confident we can help them; in fact, our Public Works Department is already working on an action plan based on the residents’ feedback.

I hosted my monthly meeting on Friday, January 13. If you have not attended any of my meetings, please feel free to attend for some conversation and refreshments. My meetings are held at the Retreat at Arizona Traditions, 18250 W. Weatherby on the second Friday of every month. Everyone is invited.

On Saturday morning, January 14, the city hosted its first Martin Luther King Day of Celebration in the courtyard of City Hall. What a great day for the city and the residents! Emmy award-winning journalist and anchor of ABC 15 News, Steve Irvin, emceed the event and retired USAF Colonel Richard Toliver provided the uplifting keynote address. Mr. Toliver told us about his service in Vietnam and the important work Dr. King did in his short life. After the celebration, folks divided into groups and went out into the community to serve through projects at schools, parks, nursing homes and more. Approximately 350 people attended the celebration, and an additional 300 volunteered, for a total of 600 unduplicated participants in the day’s events. I want to thank the Human Service and Community Vitality Department, led by Director Seth Dyson, for supporting this great event that should have been celebrated in our city way before this! Great job!

WESTMARC hosted a State of the State Luncheon on Tuesday, January 17. Governor Ducey provided an overview of his intentions this year. I was honored to attend the event, and I am encouraged that this year he promised to raise our teachers’ salaries. I was able to speak to him for a few minutes prior to his speech!

I was privileged to attend our neighboring city’s grand opening of their new city hall. El Mirage hosted the event on Thursday, January 19. Mayor Lana Mook, the El Mirage City Council Members and City Manager Spencer Isom were overjoyed. In addition to the new city hall, the Tohono O’odham Nation donated funds to build a beautiful veterans memorial in front of the new building.

Valley Partnership hosted their Friday morning breakfast meeting on January 20 at Phoenix Country Club. The meeting focused on Arizona’s real estate development and our infrastructure, specifically transportation. Discussion was led by Former US Secretary of Transportation Mary Peters.

On Sunday, January 22, the Surprise Pops Band performed the first concert of their season at the Performing Arts Center at Valley Vista High School. If you have never seen our great Pops Band, it is well worth a couple of hours of your time, and it is free with the donation of a canned food item. They are truly a talented group of people.

I attended a black tie fundraiser, Campaign ASU 2020, for Arizona State University at Chase Field on January 26. It was a very impressive sight with the tables on the field. Dr. Crow was the key note speaker with many donors and educators in the audience. ASU does a great job ensuring our youth are prepared for a good job.

I went for the Tohono O’odham Nation’s 79th Annual O’odham Wapkail Ha-Tas Rodeo and Parade on Saturday, January 28. I was met with a great reception despite the cold weather. The community and people are quite proud and very generous, and I was honored to attend.

Now a special note to my friends in Surprise Farms, as some of you know, I have been talking to residents about the chain link green fence, and we all agree it needs to come down. It has been there long enough! I am doing my best to get that issue on the agenda for the February 21 Council meeting. I can’t make any promises, but I will let you know if I am successful. We will see what happens, and it will take the majority of Council to agree.

One more thing, I am working on getting the Vietnam Moving Wall to our city with the tremendous help of Jodi Tas, and much support from our City Manager Bob Wingenroth that it may happen. I will let you know when we have a date confirmed.

Lastly, another friendly reminder that I host my meetings on the second Friday of the month at 7 p.m. in the Retreat Club House in Arizona Traditions, 18250 W. Weatherby. I’d be remiss if I did not thank AZ Traditions for allowing me to host my meetings. Thank you!

Until next month, remember to be good to yourself and be good to each other.

Roland F. Winters Jr.
Councilman, District 1

January 2017 • Newsletter

A big shout-out to all my neighbors and friends in District 1 and throughout this beautiful city that we are blessed to call home. Happy New Year to you! If you are like me, I can’t believe that 2016 was here and gone in the blink of an eye and now we begin 2017.

While December was slightly slower than most months, I was able to attend a few events and meetings as well as meet with some of my constituents. I began the month at the Northwest Valley Connect Advisory Commission meeting on December 2 followed by the Christmas tree lighting at the Annual Surprise Party. City Council Members and their families were joined on stage to welcome residents and light the tree. Despite the cold, there was a great crowd of residents that attended the two-day event.

Mayor and Council at Surprise Party 2016

Councilman Skip Hall and I, as Committee Members, attended the Audit Committee meeting on Wednesday, December 7. In addition, this Committee is comprised of residents, employees, and the City’s auditor. Meetings are open to the public and posted on our website. The next meeting is scheduled for March 22 at 3:30 pm in the Council Overflow Room at City Hall.

I attended the “Tech the Halls” Holiday Open House at the AZ TechCelerator on December 8. This event was an opportunity to look at the latest advancements from Surprise’s technology start-ups, including electric vehicle conversions, water desalination and electric skateboards. Since 2009, the TechCelerator has fostered local start-ups resulting in 16 businesses, over 200 jobs graduated and a local Google corporate office. This year, the TechCelerator reached worldwide with its Global Concierge Services program which helps international businesses establish local operations in Surprise and has thus far generated more than 300 additional community jobs.

Councilmember Winters at Tech the Halls event

On December 9, most of City Council and members of the Planning and Zoning Commission visited the new Mattamy Homes Rhythm development in Tempe to look at their new models. The purpose of the trip was to learn more about the project to see if it would be a possible future “good-fit” development in Surprise.

The Human Service and Community Vitality Department hosted their Annual Holiday Party for senior services at the Arizona Traditions Ballroom, December 14. Councilmembers Jim Hayden, Skip Hall and Todd Tande also attended with staff.

The Arizona State Transportation Board, which is responsible for establishing a complete system of state highway routes in Arizona, hosted their December meeting at City Hall on Friday, December 16. I attended the meeting which included discussion on future transportation projects and a summarization of projects that were recently completed including the Bell Road bridge project which was mentioned several times. While Bell Road opened for commuters in November, the entire project, including the ramps connecting Bell to Grande Avenue, is scheduled for completion in February.

On December 28, I attended an outreach meeting at Desert Oasis where we discussed future development north of Jomax Road. Additionally, this year, there will be some new home building along Bell Pointe and immediately outside the AZ Traditions gate along the dam.

New businesses and restaurants have recently opened or will soon open in Surprise including a new car wash near Winco, a new Wendy’s restaurant, Panda Express, Red Line Grill, a new self-storage facility located near the Sam’s Club shopping center, a new Verizon Wireless store, Denny’s restaurant and a new Popeye’s. At a Council meeting late last month, it was announced that Raising Cane’s has plans to build a restaurant near the corner of Bell Road and Civic Center Plaza.

Until next time, please be good to yourselves and be good to each other.

Best,

Roland F. Winters Jr.
Councilman, District 1

December 2016 • Newsletter

Greetings to all of my District 1 neighbors and all the residents of Surprise! I hope everyone enjoyed the Thanksgiving holiday and paused to give thanks for all of our blessings. It doesn’t seem possible that we are in the last month of 2016.

My first meeting of November brought exciting news! Popeye’s will soon be built near Sam’s Club on Bell Road in District 1. I am very appreciative of the investment many restaurants are making by coming to Surprise!

On Thursday, November 3, I was invited to speak at the Asante HOA Annual Meeting. Since the community is not built-out yet, the community only meets once a year. I’d like to thank Brad Shaeffer and his team for the invitation and the conversation.

I visited Gateway Park in El Mirage on November 4 to see the Vietnam traveling memorial wall and it was a moving experience for me. Approximately two years ago, the wall was in Goodyear. I am hoping to work with the city to bring the wall to Surprise!

My family and I attended the Fire Station 302 Open House. This marked the last open house of the year. For a few months, each station hosted an open house for the public. I hope you took advantage of the opportunity to visit the station and our fire personnel. It was a great opportunity for me, as well, to let our fire staff know how much I appreciate all they do for our residents!

Canyon Ridge Elementary School held their Annual Veterans Day Celebration on November 10. It was a fantastic event and a wonderful opportunity to see all of the students participating. These students are so fortunate to have the dedicated teachers, personnel and volunteers that they do, and the leadership of their principal, Dr. Shelly Isai. I wasn’t allowed to leave empty handed, as a student in Ms. Taylor’s class gave me a painting that now hangs in my office.

That same evening, I attended WESTMARC’s Best of the West Awards at the University of Phoenix Stadium. The Best of the West Awards has been a signature event for over 20 years that is designed to celebrate the best of the best in the West Valley. This annual event recognizes outstanding contributions to the quality of life, economic development and innovation in the West Valley. The Surprise Resource Center, a center focused on social services, took first place in the Quality of Life Award category and the AZ TechCelerator, the city’s business incubator, was runner-up in the West Valley Economic Engine Award category.

City of Surprise award winners

The Surprise Resource Center opened in December 2015 as a means to strengthen the community by supporting and serving its people. The center began with one program- the Community Action Program (CAP). Through a partnership with Maricopa County and El Mirage, CAP assists with utility and mortgage/rent payments. To date, CAP has served more than 600 families, totaling $370,455 in assistance. Today, the center houses 13 partnerships that offer a range of services from employment assistance to food resources. The center also offers veteran services. About 12% of the city’s population is comprised of veterans; now, employment assistance from Veterans Affairs, Department of Economic Security and the city’s new Veteran Job Club can be accessed from one location.

The AZ TechCelerator continues to offer affordable rent and a collaborative environment that helps young companies build up their business plans, creating new products, services and jobs in Surprise. The TechCelerator has 16 client start-ups, two onsite service providers, a track record of over 200 jobs graduated, and the only Google corporate office presence in the State of Arizona, following Google’s purchase of AZ TechCelerator-grown Athena Wireless. The program has also been able to offer temporary corporate office space for new international company locations to Surprise, such as IRIS USA, Cobalt Medical, RioGlass Solar and Gestamp Solar Steel, which combined have generated more than 300 additional community jobs.

Congratulations to all of our staff involved with both outlets. The recognitions could not have happened without your hard work and dedication to the programs. This was a team effort led by the continued leadership of City Manager Bob Wingenroth. Thank you!

Surprise hosted the 2nd Annual Veterans Day Parade on Friday, November 11. The number of entries increased significantly over last year, requiring our parade route to also increase. We had 102 entries this year. Thank you to Mark Coronado, Director of Community and Recreation Services, and his team for putting this event together and to the residents who came to the parade to honor our veterans.

2nd Annual Veterans Day Parade

On the evening of November 11, I hosted my monthly meeting at the Community Center in the Retreat of Arizona Traditions. I continue to host my meetings the second Friday of each month at 7 pm at the Community Center located at 18250 W. Weatherby.

I attended a Public Hearing on the Draft Annual Report on the Status of the Implementation of Proposition 400 at MAG (Maricopa Association of Governments) and that same evening, I attended the Art of Craft Beer & Cuisine event at State 48 Brewery hosted by the Arts & Cultural Advisory Commission. The event included a tour of the brewery and an explanation of the brewing process from their Brew Master. The head chef also discussed some of his dishes and how the restaurant believes in using fresh local ingredients. Thank you to owner, Mario Rana, for his hospitality and the delicious pizza!

My family and I visited the Surprise Swap Meet at the Surprise Aquatic Center on November 19. It was a beautiful morning to visit with residents and see the items for sale.

On Sunday, November 20, Councilman Jim Hayden and I were invited to Arizona Traditions 20th Anniversary celebration at their ballroom. We had the pleasure of visiting with residents of the community, listening to the stories of those that have lived there from the beginning of Arizona Traditions and enjoying the wonderful food and entertainment.

Councilman Jim Hayden and Roland F. Winters at Arizona Traditions 20th Anniversary celebration

The city hosted a fantastic pre-celebration of the re-opening of Bell Road on Monday, November 21 to thank our residents, businesses, partners, etc. for their patience during the closure. I know all of our residents and businesses were excited for the actual opening of Bell Road the following day. The intersection certainly looks different now. The entire project, including the ramps connecting Grand Avenue to Bell Road, is scheduled for completion prior to Spring Training 2017 at the Surprise Recreation Campus. In the meantime, your Bell to Grand Avenue access remains on Dysart Road, east of the intersection and Bell to Reems to Grand, west of the intersection.

reopening of Bell Road

November 28 was an exceptionally sad day as I found myself at the National Memorial Cemetery in Phoenix to attend the memorial service for a Surprise resident and active community veteran, Bill Lipscomb. Mr. Lipscomb served in the US Air Force and served in Vietnam. He will be sorely missed!

As this year quickly comes to a close, please remember to be good to yourself and be good to each other. I wish you a blessed Christmas and a healthy New Year!

Best Regards,

Roland F. Winters Jr.

November 2016 • Newsletter

Greetings to all of my District 1 friends, neighbors and to all of the residents who have the privilege of living in this beautiful city we call Surprise. On November 8, you will have the opportunity to participate in the democratic process of voting for your favorite candidates. You’ll also have the chance to vote on a $63 million General Obligation Bond measure for our city that, if approved by voters, will fund nine capital improvement projects.

I began the month of October with the ribbon cutting of Caliber Collision, an auto body repair company located on Bell Road just east of Grand Avenue. The facility is state-of-the-art, clean and exceptionally organized. We were provided with a tour that included their new paint process that eliminates fumes. Welcome to Surprise, Caliber!

The city hosted a Surprise Forward outreach meeting at Arizona Traditions on October 12. The meeting was led by City Manager Bob Wingenroth and included a thorough presentation on the bond initiative on the General Election ballot.

The Committee on Community Outreach, Partnerships and Grants met on Thursday, October 13 to review grant applications for the Neighborhood Grant Program. The program provides eligible neighborhoods with small grants to fund neighborhood events, functions and even community improvements that would encourage community engagement and further build strong relationships within the communities in Surprise. The Committee is compromised of Councilwoman and Chair Rachel Villanueva, Councilman John Williams and myself. The two applicants were awarded $3,000 each for their respective projects. With that being said, the program application deadline was extended to November 30, 2016. For more information, please visit Neighborhood Grant Program or contact Jodi Tas at 623.222.1330.

I hosted my regular monthly meeting at the Retreat Community Center in Arizona Traditions on Friday, October 14. I provided a city update to the attendees.

Surprise Honda hosted their official grand opening and ribbon cutting on Monday, October 17. Councilman Skip Hall and I attended the event and toured the large operation and beautiful facility that includes virtual golf for those waiting for service. Surprise Honda has been a welcome addition to the Prasada Auto Mall since their soft opening in mid-August.

ribbon cutting

I was invited to attend the Northwest Ranch HOA meeting on Thursday, October 20 to discuss the bond as well as other issues the residents of the fine community requested. Several city staff members accompanied me. I wanted to personally thank Community Manager Melanie Veach, Kelly Hall and the remainder of the Northwest Ranch HOA Board for the invitation as well as the city staff which included Deputy City Manager Nicole Lance, Assistant City Manager Mike Frazier, Police Chief Terry Young, Public Works Director Mike Gent, Assistant Fire Chief Brenden Espie, Police Sergeant Tim Klarkowski, Police Officer Jennifer Booth, Assistant Director of CRS Donna Miller, and Assistant Finance Director Jared Askelson.

My family and I attended the open house at Fire Station #304 the morning of October 22. I enjoyed speaking to many of my constituents from District 1 including residents from Asante, Desert Oasis and many more. Thank you to the firefighters for hosting such a great community event!

Later that day, I attended the Surprise Farms V block party with HOA Board President Les Phillips and residents of this fairly new community. We were greeted with warm hospitality and good food!

Additionally, we attended the Tip-A-Cop event held at Red Robin on October 20. This event is a great opportunity to raise money for Special Olympics. Representatives from Surprise Police Department waited on customers and collected tips for the fundraiser.

CM Winters with Surprise PD members

I closed the evening of October 20 with a block party at Arizona Traditions at the Retreat where I continued to mingle with residents and share productive conversations with my neighbors.

Desert Oasis HOA hosted their annual meeting on October 24. We were asked to provide an overview of the bond initiative. I’d like to thank the staff that accompanied me that evening – Deputy City Manager Nicole Lance, Fire Chief Tom Abbott, Police Chief Terry Young, Finance Director Lindsey Duncan, Public Works Director Mike Gent and CRS Manager Paul Frie.

City leaders and GateWay Community College administrators gathered at the Surprise-GateWay Training Center on October 26 to officially cut the ribbon on the new 13,100 square foot facility. The observation-centric training facility provides individuals interested in pursuing careers in the water and wastewater professions new opportunities for hands-on learning in the West Valley. In addition to training space, the center provides mission critical labs and assembly facilities for city water professionals. The center is located on the grounds of the South Plant (SPA1) Water Reclamation Facility; a facility that currently processes over 8 million gallons of water per day making it a logical location for practical learning.

As a reminder, please don’t forget that Bell Road will be opening on Tuesday, November 22. The city is currently planning an appreciation event tentatively scheduled for Monday, November 21 to thank the businesses, residents and partners for their patience during the closure. I hope to see you there! More information will soon follow.

Until next month, please be good to yourself and be good to others.

Best,

Councilman Roland F. Winters Jr.

October 2016 • Newsletter

Greetings to all of my fellow District 1 residents and to all the wonderful people living in this beautiful city of Surprise. Let’s begin this newsletter with some exciting news – Arizona Department of Transportation has announced the reopening of Bell Road is targeted for November 22!

My monthly chat was held on Friday, September 9 at Community Center at Arizona Traditions. Several residents attended, and productive conversations took place.

I attended a wonderful 9/11 memorial at Beth Emeth Congregation of the West Valley in Sun City West on Sunday, September 11. A large crowd gathered for the touching ceremony and listened to someone recall the events that took place while they were in New York City that fateful day.

The Helping Partners Program, run by local nonprofit Benevilla, moved into a space at City Hall last month. To welcome the program, a grand opening ceremony took place on Monday, September 12, followed by a tour of the office space. Councilmembers Rachel Villanueva, Skip Hall, Todd Tande and I joined city staff and Benevilla representatives, including CEO Michelle Dionisio and program participants. The Helping Partners Life Enrichment Program was designed for adults with intellectual or development challenges. The program provides volunteer and employment opportunities that enable members to contribute in their respective communities.

City Council and Benevilla City Council and Benevilla

The City and ADOT hosted a monthly Business Stakeholders Outreach meeting on Tuesday, September 13. Councilmembers Rachel Villanueva, Skip Hall, Todd Tande and I attended along with staff and business representatives. Economic Development provided an update on outreach and education initiatives and ADOT provided a project update.

ADOT’s Assistant Communication Director Brock Barnhart introduced Phase 3C (see map below) of the project where Bell Rd reopens; a specific target date of November 22, 2016 was later presented at the September 20 City Council meeting. The goal is to open all six lanes of Bell Rd in late November.

Due to continued work on tie-ins, there may be occasional curb lane restrictions and overnight work on Bell Rd after the reopening. The project team will work hard to ensure that at least two lanes in each direction remain open on Bell Rd during daytime work.

When Bell Rd reopens, Grand Ave will be inaccessible from the Bell Rd bridge and vice versa. The signal at the Bell Rd and Grand Ave intersection will be inactive until the ramps open in early 2017. A signal at the intersection of 134th Ave and Bell Rd will be up and operational.

Reconfiguration of the designated detour route to reflect the opening of Bell Road is under review. East-west through movements will resume on Bell Road, however drivers will need to use Bell-Reems/ Bell-Dysart to access Grand Ave. Signage along the designated detour route will be changed so drivers are aware they no longer need to use Greenway Road. Lane striping and signals will be modified at the Bell-Litchfield and Bell-Dysart intersections.

Work continues on eastbound Grand Ave lanes through early 2017.

Later the morning of September 13, I met with representatives from Lennar Homes. Lennar Homes is building homes in Asante. Great news was shared – the home product(s) are selling well and a new product is forthcoming!

On Wednesday, September 14, the Water Resource Management Department held its Annual New Fiscal Year (FY) Kick-off All Hands Lunch for staff. The intent of the lunch is to give staff an opportunity to reflect on FY16 accomplishments through presentations made by division managers that recognize outstanding performers and provide staff with a look at what the department will be doing in FY17. Director Terry Lowe thanked everyone for coming and reminded his staff about the keys to a successful business: People… Processes… Product. This philosophy has led to the completion of the new Gateway Training Center and the successful coordination and teamwork in the commencement and completion of nearly a dozen other major projects. The training center, which will have its ribbon cutting on October 26, is the place where staff will broaden its knowledge and understanding of their careers and assist the department in better serving the community. The department’s division managers: Lee Lambert, Water; Warren Dancer, Wastewater; Christine Nunez, Environmental Compliance; Paul Mohr, Business Process; and Fred Stevens, Resource Portfolio, each gave those in attendance a little deeper look into the work they do, their teams, and their initiatives for next year.

I was honored to attend the American Legion Post 96 meeting. The men and woman of this Post sponsor deserving youth to attend Boys State every year to learn about civic responsibility. This year, Rodney Ross, a senior at Willow Canyon High School was the recipient. I also had the honor of speaking to him about his experience, and I was quite impressed by how polite and articulate this young man is.

Councilmembers Skip Hall, Rachel Villanueva and I attended Benevilla’s Ninth Annual Professional Friends Luncheon at Rio Salado College on Friday, September 16. This event is held annually to thank everyone who supports Benevilla. Benevilla announced the appointment of Joanne Thomson as their new President and CEO. She will assume responsibilities for that role on October 29, 2016 after current President and CEO Michelle Dionisio retires after more than 25 years with the organization. I wish much luck and happiness to Michelle on her next journey and extend my congratulations to Joanne!

I have heard from many of you loud and clear about the increased cost for a ride from Surprise to Sun City and Sun City West and how it negatively impacts your budget. A new contract with Valley Metro went into effect July 2016 which included a fare increase from $1.25 to $4 per ride to these cities from Surprise. I asked staff to bring forth this issue for further discussion at a City Council meeting last month. At the meeting, I proposed a fare reduction for the aforementioned rides to $2.25 each way and the proposal was unanimously supported by my colleagues on the Council. I am very grateful! Effective October 1, the fare reduction to $2.50 will be in place but please note that rides within in the city of Surprise will remain $2 as originally presented in July. Visit www.surpriseaz.gov/dialaride for more information.

KB Homes hosted a ribbon cutting on September 22 at their new development in Sycamore Farms which is located in District 3. There are multiple home plans to choose from with convenient access to Loop 303. Welcome to Surprise, KB Homes!

Later that evening, I attended a public meeting at Desert Oasis Elementary School to observe comments of my constituents and the plans of a developer that is planning to build homes near Desert Oasis. Residents who attended the meeting that live near the proposed development appeared to approve.

Northwest Valley Connect hosted their monthly meeting on September 23. Maricopa Association of Governments (MAG) presented on rail in the Valley.

The Surprise Fire Medical Department is hosting several open houses at fire stations throughout the city in the following weeks. I hope you find time to attend. I too attended an open house held on Saturday, September 24 at Fire Station 306 in in Sun City Grand. See upcoming open houses here: http://bit.ly/2cofigc.

I attended the Surprise Regional Chamber of Commerce monthly breakfast meeting at the Colonnade on Tuesday, September 27 with Councilman Skip Hall. Five candidates running for three seats on the Arizona Corporation Commission participated in a forum. You will see these candidates’ names on the November 8 General Election ballot.

On Thursday, September 29, Councilmembers Skip Hall and Rachel Villanueva and I interviewed seven candidates for two openings on the Planning and Zoning Commission. Our recommendations will be presented to the full City Council for discussion and approval at a City Council meeting this month.

Our seasonal residents are returning, so please join me by welcoming them back to Surprise! Until next time, please be good to yourself and be good to each other!

September 2016 • Newsletter

Greetings to all of my fellow District 1 residents and to all the residents that live in the beautiful city of Surprise. So much has happened since my last newsletter – the local elections took place; new businesses have opened or will soon be opening; and my new Council Conversation taping was completed.

August was a full month following the City Council recess in July. I started the month with the grand opening and ribbon cutting of Sun West Credit Union at 14865 W. Bell Road, which is located in Councilman Skip Hall’s District 5. He and I were joined by Councilman Todd Tande as we welcomed this new business to Surprise!

Councilmembers Hall, Tande and Winters at grand opening of Sun West Credit Union

I recorded a new Council Conversations show on August 9 that features an interview with Friends of the Surprise Library. Alyson and Gary Cline have done a fantastic job supporting literacy and programs in Surprise at the Northwest Regional and Hollyhock Branch libraries. Friends of the Library is a local non-profit organization that accepts gently-used books and magazines, so if you have any that you would like to donate, please do so. You can bring them to the Northwest Regional Library at 16089 N. Bullard Avenue. For more information on this wonderful organization, you can visit www.friendsofthesurpriselibraries.org.

Roland Winters Council Conversations Show

The Maricopa Association of Governments hosted an “On the Move Early Phase Open House” on August 11. The Early Phase Input Opportunity was an opportunity to speak to regional planners about projects that are important to us. I wanted to ensure they knew Surprise is still here and that we NEED reliable and established transit!

I hosted my regularly scheduled monthly meeting on Friday, August 12. A few items were brought to my attention, including trees on the north side of Bell Road near Happy Trails. Public Works Director Mike Gent, Assistant Director of Community Development Chris Boyd and I worked together to get the issue expeditiously resolved. A big thank you also needs to go to the staff that did the dirty work of cutting and grinding the trees. This is just a little example of teamwork and the high caliber of folks working for our residents!

The Audit Committee met on August 17 at City Hall. Councilman Skip Hall and I sit on the Committee. I want to remind everyone that the Audit Committee meetings are open to the public, and you are welcome to attend! The next meeting is scheduled for November 16 at 2:30 p.m. in the City Council Chamber Overflow Room at City Hall.

The Committee on Community Outreach, Partnerships and Grants met on August 18 to review grant applications for this year’s Surprise Community Outreach Program(SCOP). Councilwoman and Chair Rachel Villanueva, Councilman John Williams and I have seats on the Committee. Staff received 22 applications this year with grant requests slightly exceeding $188,000. Applicants were asked to present their requests to us. The background to their requests were heartwarming and, in some cases, heartbreaking. After listening to the requests, the Committee discussed the funding recommendations which were brought forth to the full City Council. The decision was difficult as the budget for SCOP was $65,000, but we managed to make funding recommendations for almost every applicant. Several factors were considered in our decision process, including how many residents would be impacted by the funds if the grant was approved for each organization. The city is so fortunate to have so many non-profit organizations that help our citizens who are in need, and I consider myself fortunate to be part of this Committee. This is the part of my job I really enjoy, the ability to help so many people and truly make a difference!

The Annual Arizona League of Cities and Towns Conference was held from August 23 – August 26 in Scottsdale. The Conference is a great opportunity to network with fellow elected officials at the local and State level. I attended several break-out sessions and meetings held during my time there. Overall, this was a very successful conference.

On August 29, I attended the Boards & Commissions Selection Committee meeting. The Committee interviewed impressive candidates for several openings on our Boards & Commissions. We really have some enthusiastic residents who want to serve their time and talent to Surprise! As Chair of the Committee, I want to thank Council Members Skip Hall and Rachel Villanueva for all their time and assistance during the interview process.

I joined Councilman Skip Hall at the grand opening and ribbon cutting celebration of Desert Premier Home Realty on Tuesday, August 30. Desert Home Premier is a real estate agency that focuses on homes for sale in the West and Northwest Valley.

Please remember that I will continue to host my monthly meetings on the second Friday of each month at 7 p.m. at the Retreat Community Center in Arizona Traditions, 18250 W. Weatherby Drive. This is your opportunity to voice your concerns, compliments or just to chat. I hope to see you then.

Until next time, please be good to yourself and be good to each other.

Best Regards,

Roland F. Winters Jr.
Councilman, District 1