Category Archives: Newsletter

Councilmember Roland Winters Newsletter

February 2018 • Newsletter

A big shout out to all my neighbors in District 1 and to all in Surprise! Happy February! This will be an exciting six to seven months with some of our projects gearing up and five council seats due for election or re-election, including District 1. Election Day will be held on August 28 so get registered and get on the list to receive a mail-in ballot.

The Council canceled our first meeting in January until January 16 since the second was right after New Year’s Day, but January 9 found me at the first MAG Economic Development Committee meeting of the new year up in Phoenix and things were busy all month. On January 10, I attended the Governor’s State of the State address that was hosted by WESTMARC. I was encouraged to hear he is going to increase education spending in his budget. Thursday, January 11 found me at a meeting at Sundown Elementary School for a citizen outreach meeting to inform residents of a new development going up in the northwest area of District 1. Friday night, the 12th, was my regular 2nd Friday Night Chat at the Community Center in the Retreat at Arizona Traditions. I want to take this opportunity to thank Neal Nassano and his team for letting me use that venue.

Councilmember Roland Williams with Governor Doug Ducey at the Governor’s State of the State

Saturday, January 13, was a great day of celebration and service as the city rallied hundreds of residents to the City Hall commons with entertainers and speakers to acknowledge Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and all he did peacefully to change our nation. As he said, “Anybody can be great because anybody can serve.” This was our second celebration and service event and it only gets better thanks to the volunteers!

Councilman Winters attending the 2018 MLK Celebration at the City Hall

Tuesday, January 16 found me at our Council Workshop at 4 pm followed by our Regular City Council meeting. We also had a Special City Council meeting on January 23 to hear from the six people who want to be appointed to the District 2 seat through the end of this calendar year. Council is scheduled to vote on the appointment at our February 6 meeting. For the remainder of the District 2 term, this seat will be up for the August 28th election.

I was in a meeting at the new memory care facility on Parkview called “Surprise Memory Care”, very nicely done building and interiors.

I had the pleasure to attend the Northwest Ranch HOA meeting on Thursday, January 18 to present the Board with a check to replace some trees that were breaking up the sidewalks in that community. The city has a grant process where any citizen can apply for a grant to improve their neighborhood. If anyone is interested in applying, please contact Jodi Tas at 623.222.1330. I also brought with me Public Works Assistant Director Karl Zook to discuss Fire Station 304 for District 1 that passed with the bond.

On the date of Sunday, January 21, we had the sad duty to say goodbye to Councilman Jim Hayden who died after a short illness on December 20, 2017. His celebration of life was held at the Kiva Ballroom at Sun City Grand. The ballroom was filled to capacity with many speakers from all different parts of Jim’s many experiences from the Air Force, Glendale Fire Department, Glendale Community College and Surprise City government. Jim was well liked and received many accolades. His wife Nancy received two flags, one from a grateful nation given by Luke Air Force Base and the other from Glendale Fire Department. My warmest regards to Nancy and the entire Hayden family.

Wednesday evening, January 24 found me at the Asante HOA meeting with Public Works Assistant Director Karl Zook for another Fire Station 304 update for the folks up there who are happy they will finally get a permanent fully-staffed fire station, thanks to the voter-approved General Obligation Bond Election last November. I also asked Water Resource Management Director Terry Lowe to educate the residents on the ballot measure and special election this May to request permission of the voters to purchase the Circle City Water Company by selling existing water assets. This initiative ensures the city’s ability to provide water services now and into the future, by growing our water supply by nearly 40%.

Thursday, January 25 found me at the Northwest Valley Connect Advisory Committee meeting. We heard a very interesting presentation about autonomous vehicles from MAG Transportation Director Eric Anderson. I guess they are on their way and, ready or not, it looks like about five years according to Mr. Anderson. The hope is that the accident rates will decline since there won’t be any human error and insurance rates will drop.

We had a great groundbreaking at the Colonnade for their new assisted living/memory support facility on Friday, January 26. The Colonnade is located at 19116 Colonnade Way. The assisted living facility will have 26 apartments (24 one-bedroom and 2 two-bedroom), while the memory support facility will have 24 studio apartments. The buildings will be connected by a common entry and a shared kitchen. The building should be complete in December 2018. After the event, everyone went to a nice lunch on the lawn area of the Colonnade. It was a very nice event!

Sunday, January 28, I took the day off and went to hear the Surprise POPS Band at Valley Vista High School, and they are always great. That day was the music of big bands, the thirties and forties, Glen Miller, Louie Armstrong, etc. If you have not been there to enjoy their music, it is absolutely worth your time and the price is just canned food donations for the food bank.

Before I close this newsletter, I just want to bring you up to date on the Vietnam Moving Wall that I’ve been working to bring to Surprise. I want to personally thank Jodi Tas for all of her help in getting this wall here. I also want to thank Donna Miller, Paul Frie, the CRS team and all the others behind the scenes. Don’t miss your chance to see it July 5 – 9 in Surprise. Look for specific location details closer to the event dates.

Be good to yourselves and be good to each other!

January 2018 • Newsletter

Well we have gone through another year, and a whole new year lies in front of us. I want to wish the folks in District 1 and all the residents in this beautiful city of Surprise a happy and prosperous 2018.

Of course, one of the sad events last month was the death of one of our Councilmembers and friend, Jim Hayden. He had a good heart and was always willing and able to discuss the issues that faced the Council and this city. Jim’s memorial service will be held on January 21 in the Kiva Ballroom in Sun City Grand beginning at 11 a.m. My thoughts and prayers are with his wife Nancy and the entire Hayden family.

There will be a lot of things happening this year in Surprise with the passing of the bond. Streets will be improved, two new fire stations, new Public Works buildings, and the police will finally get a new evidence building. I am excited about the new fire station on 163rd Avenue, in the northwest area of my district. The new station will be moved a little further south of the intersection of 163rd Avenue and Happy Valley Road, which will be a very busy intersection someday. I am also glad that we will be improving Greenway Road at Northwest Ranch Parkway and the alignment of Sarival. The intersection will include a traffic light, so folks will have an easier time entering and leaving the Northwest Ranch community.

I am thankful we finally got around to repaving 163rd Avenue, north of Jomax, for my friends in the northwest part of District 1. In March, the final top coat will be applied.

This new year will also include an election. There will be five seats on the Council as part of the election which will include my District Council seat, as well as Districts 2, 3, 5, and 6. The primary election will take place in August. If you are on the permanent early voting list, you will receive a ballot in the mail.

On Friday, December 1, I was at the groundbreaking ceremony for the next phase of the Desert Diamond Casino in Glendale. The construction is part of the permanent casino being built on the property. When the project is completed, there will not only be a full service casino, but also a resort and hotel.

That same evening, I attended our city’s annual Surprise Party which included the tree lighting ceremony outside the Surprise Stadium on Bullard Avenue and a great holiday party that continued that whole weekend. The celebration gets larger every year, and the residents really enjoy it.

Council Members at the 2017 Surprise Tree Lighting Ceremony

On Saturday, December 2, I joined Councilmembers Skip Hall, Ken Remley and Patrick Duffy at the ribbon cutting for the Port of Subs restaurant. They are located at 14557 W. Grand Avenue. The sub sandwiches are great!

Councilmembers Skip Hall, Patrick Duffy and Roland Winters at the ribbon cutting for the Port of Subs restaurant

Later that same day, I was off to Fire Station 303 on Cotton Lane to check in on their open house which had many visitors. If you have not visited one of our fire stations, it is well worth your time. After that, I stopped back in to Surprise Party at 8-Acre Park to enjoy the sights and events, especially the car show.

Councilmember Winters at the Fire Station 303 Open House

I attended an EPCOR meeting in the ballroom of Sun City Grand. This meeting was part of a series of Community Outreach meetings EPCOR is hosting to explain their plan to apply the costs of repairing their infrastructure over all their service areas, so as to keep the cost down for the rate payers. This meeting took place on December 4, but I don’t know how many more they are going to have before they go before the ACC (Arizona Corporation Commission) for approval. That evening, I was at City Hall for a new art exhibit opening, featuring youth artists.

Tuesday, December 5, I was off to my Maricopa Association of Governments (MAG) Economic Development Committee meeting in Phoenix. The committee is made up of Mayors, Councilmembers and business owners, working to bring new commercial and businesses opportunities to Maricopa County. I got back just in time for the City Council Work Session at 4 p.m. and then the City Council meeting.

The evening of Wednesday, December 6, my wife and I were at a holiday party put on by Gammage Law firm in Phoenix. We ran into Alan Jones of Lennar Homes. He was telling me how great the staff in Surprise are and what a pleasure it is to work with them. I also had the honor to talk to Grady Gammage for a few minutes. We talked about how many opportunities are opening up in the West Valley.

On Thursday, December 7, I attended the holiday celebration at our TechCelerator on Bell Road where we give startup companies a chance to succeed with reduced rent, advice, etc. Julie Neal is doing a great job over there. One of our startup businesses was bought by Google.

I went to a ribbon cutting on Friday, December 8 for our newest restaurant in Surprise – Raising Cane’s. What a celebration they had with marching bands, choirs, free chicken and much more. It is good to finally see something going up on that property on the corner of Sun Village Parkway and Bell Road… and coming soon is In-N-Out Burger!

Raising Canes Grand Openeing

I was at my Northwest Valley Connect Advisory Committee meeting on Wednesday, December 13. We are working on building a consortium of business people, office holders and others interested in getting a reliable source of mass transit in the West Valley, which is underserved to say the least. With the leadership of Kathy Chandler and Bonnie Boyce Wilson, I can see it really happening. We were joined by Representative Kevin Payne who applauded our efforts.

On December 14, I attended the annual holiday party that the city gives to all of our loyal workers at lunchtime. It is great to see the employees relax and enjoy themselves once a year and all the directors served up the food provided by Birt’s Bistro.

I attended the holiday party of our seniors that go to the Senior Center for different programs every day. The celebration took place on December 15 at the Colonnade which is a new venue for the event. What is neat about this party every year is that neither the city nor the taxpayer pays for this. The bill is covered by the money earned through the rental of vendor booths at the city’s Surprise Super Swap Meet, held bi-annually at the Surprise Aquatic Center parking lot.

Senior Center Holiday Party at the Colonnade

On Saturday, December 16, the long-awaited new pickleball courts opened up. The date was chosen so the most people could be there, and they were there in force. Jeff Stone, the Surprise President of the Pickleball Association, joined the Council Members in cutting the ribbon. Thanks Jeff for all your hard work in getting this done. It was my pleasure to be there.

Vice Mayor Tande, Councilmembers Hall, Duffy, Remley & Winters at the new Pickleball Courts Grand Opening

On the morning of Monday, December 18, Public Works Director Mike Gent and I took a ride to survey the work done on some of the roads in District 1. As I previously mentioned, 163rd Avenue was repaved. Other roads recently given a layer of asphalt were: Sarival between Bell and Greenway roads; Bell Pointe Road; and some roads in Surprise Farms V. Plus, paved for the first time a number of months ago, was Jomax, east of 163rd Avenue. Then of course, these roads were re-striped. Thanks to Mike and his team for all their hard work.

On Wednesday, December 20, I did a taping of a new Council Conversation show with the city’s Transportation Manager, David Kohlbeck and Public Works Director Mike Gent. If you get a chance to tune into Surprise TV and see it, please let me know what you think. The show is mostly about our transportation systems, such as they are, and the roads in and around District 1.

Many of you know about the other tragedy that took place in our neighboring city of El Mirage, and that was the death of Police Officer Paul Lazinsky who sadly died December 12 in the line of duty. I went to his viewing on December 20 at the Surprise Funeral Care on Bell Road and his funeral service the next day at Radiant Church. There was a 21-gun salute, bag pipes and many other honors and accolades. Officer Lazinsky was buried at Arlington National Cemetery with honors.

Mark your calendars as the Vietnam Moving Wall is coming to Surprise from July 5 through July 9. I have been working with staff for the last year to get this accomplished. We will need many volunteers to help make this a success. If you are interested, please contact Paul Frie at 623.222.2240. More details will follow!

I would like to relate to you a story before I close my January newsletter. Over the last four or five weeks or so, someone who visited me must have noticed my tattered American flag hanging from the front of my home. Well, Christmas morning I woke up rather early and went out in front of my house and someone had left a brand new American Flag on a pole wrapped in plastic standing against the front door. There was a no note or card so I just want to thank you so very much to whoever left it. What a nice Christmas gift and what a nice gesture!

So until next month, I will say goodbye for now. Be good to yourself and be good to each other. To whoever gave me that American flag…thank you!

Roland F. Winters Jr.

December 2017 • Newsletter

A big shout out to everyone in District 1 and to all of our residents in Surprise! I hope you had a great Thanksgiving and had a chance to reflect on what you are thankful for. You are probably like me and ate too much, but that’s okay. Once in a while we can splurge!

The month of November began with a meeting with our Water Resource Management Director Terry Lowe to discuss the possible acquisition of a water service company. City Council discussed the possible acquisition at our regularly scheduled meeting on November 7 and approved sending the question to ballot election. Now, Surprise voters will decide whether or not to authorize the purchase of the company in a May 15 special election. Circle City Water Company (CCW) is a small water service company in the northern part of Surprise’s planning area and future water service area. This acquisition will provide Surprise with the company’s existing water infrastructure and grow the city’s allocation of Colorado River water by more than 38 percent. Colorado River water is currently the only renewable surface supply available to Surprise. Having a right to more surface water will help meet future demands and shortfalls. This purchase would be funded through the sale of current and future water portfolio assets; the cost to acquire CCW will not be borne by the City of Surprise water customers or taxpayers. Educational public meetings will be held prior to the special election and an information pamphlet will be mailed in April to all registered households in Surprise. Meeting dates will be posted to the city website when they are confirmed. Additionally, Director Lowe will be attending one of my monthly meetings to brief you on the acquisition and answer any questions you may have.

On the evening of November 2, I attended WESTMARC’s Annual Best of the West Awards at the University of Phoenix Stadium. The Bell-Grand Bridge-to-Business Program was named a finalist in the West Valley Economic Engine Award category. This community-wide campaign supported the nearly 300 businesses impacted by the eight-month full closure of Bell Road during the Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) bridge construction project. The success of this multi-level campaign is attributed to the collaboration of hundreds of West Valley businesses, thousands of West Valley residents, ADOT, the Surprise Regional Chamber of Commerce, multiple contractors and city departments. Economic Development Manager Mike Hoover was awarded WESTMARC’s President’s Choice Award for his leadership and contribution to the WESTMARC Issue Committee. Congratulations Mike!

I was honored to attend the ribbon cutting for another school in Surprise, as West-MEC opened their latest campus in Surprise, Friday, November 3. The Northwest Campus is located on the southwest corner of Dysart Road and Grand Avenue in Surprise. This campus is focused on automotive, computer technology, construction, health and beauty, and medical industries. West-MEC provides a great opportunity for our young folks, that are not interested in attending a four-year college, to learn skills and obtain a good career.

The Surprise Fire-Medical Department hosted an open house at Fire Station 306 on Saturday, November 4. My family and I had a wonderful time visiting with the staff. If you get a chance to visit one of our great men or women in their houses, you should make the time and meet them for a tour!

The Surprise Police Department held a promotion ceremony in the City Council Chamber on Monday, November 6, honoring the promotions of Commander Philip Johnson, and Sergeants Joseph Kopronica and Jesus Galaz. I appreciate the opportunity to attend these events as it is a great opportunity to see our wonderful men and women get the promotions they dearly deserve.

I attended my monthly Maricopa Association of Governments (MAG) Economic Development Committee meeting in Phoenix on Tuesday, November 7. We heard some very interesting presentations about the current economy in Arizona.

Canyon Ridge Elementary School in District 1 hosted such a great Veterans Day Commemoration and Reception on Thursday, November 9. I was honored to be there. All of their staff and students were involved. The keynote speaker was Dennis Grau.

The city hosted the 3rd Annual Surprise Veterans Day Parade on Saturday, November 11. And what an excellent Veterans Day it was! I was pleased to be able to greet our residents along the parade route. I hope you made it out for this patriotic event to help show gratitude to those past veterans and present military personnel.

On Monday, November 13, I took part in a meeting with Canadian executives and our Economic Development team to discuss a plan to provide better, more innovative healthcare options for Canadians in the future. A panel discussion followed the next morning. The Surprise Economic Development Department is leading an initiative to bring Canadian medical services and medical practitioners to the market. Surprise is aiming to be a medical destination for services where rehabilitation and recovery is most desirable in a warm climate. The Cross-Border Healthcare Taskforce, formed earlier this year, includes members from Canada and the city, working hard to deliver a feasibility report on the issue in early 2018.

Recognizing that the City of Surprise rests on the shoulders of great women and men who invested a precious part of themselves to the benefit of our city; the Surprise City Council has adopted a policy to create an Ad-Hoc “Honoring an Exceptional Leader Task Force” within the City of Surprise. The task force hosted their first meeting on Tuesday, November 14, in the Community Room of City Hall. I attended the meeting to suggest what we as a city could do to honor the legacy of the late Community and Recreation Services Director Mark A. Coronado. Mr. Coronado led the department from 2000 until his death this past June. Under Mark’s leadership the department grew to manage all recreational programming, city parks, aquatics, library services, community/sports tourism special events, recreational facility development, Spring Training operations and national/international tennis events. During his tenure with the city, Mark also held the roles of Interim City Manager, Acting Economic Development Director, Acting Public Works Director and Acting Communications Director. The Task Force’s second meeting is scheduled for Thursday, December 14, 6 p.m., in the City Hall- Community Room, 16000 N. Civic Center Plaza. The public is encouraged to attend. Here is the council-approved protocol for the Honoring an Exceptional Leader Task Force’s next steps:

  1. Within 30 days of the first meeting (Nov. 14), conduct second public meeting to select at least two options to be vetted by city staff. Staff will, at a minimum; explore costs, legal environment, consistency, pros & cons, potential opportunity costs, etc.
  2. Within 30 days of the second meeting, Special Task Force will hold third public meeting to weigh all the information presented by city staff, and select the best two/three options. Again, the Special Task Force will use all avenues available, market the meeting in a way that encourages Surprise residents to attend and submit ideas and discuss pros and cons of each idea.
  3. Special Task Force will present its recommendations to the City Council at the next regularly scheduled City Council Workshop. City Council will either recommend that the action item be brought forward at the next City Council Meeting, or ask that the Special Task Force perform additional work.

The Special Task Force will be dismissed after City Council action. Councilman Ken Remley hosted his monthly District 4 Community Meeting on Wednesday, November 15, at the Roy Villanueva Gym. The focus of the agenda and conversation was an update on the improvements for the Original Town Site. The meeting was well attended. Councilman Skip Hall and I also attended.

I attended the ribbon cutting of a new business in Surprise, Fast Signs, on November 16. The business is located on 15332 W. Bell Road. Fast Signs provides a variety of different signage options, displays and promotional items.

On Saturday, November 18, I attended another open house at Fire Station 301 in the Original Town Site. This station is very busy. I enjoyed my time to talk to the great bunch of guys there!

The City of Surprise is currently performing pavement preservation work on 163rd Avenue between Jomax Road and Dixileta Drive. This section of roadway is not a full depth engineered roadway, but instead is a more typical rural road made up of an asphalt layer over native soil, leaving the road surface very vulnerable to deterioration. The first steps in this current pavement preservation process is to install asphalt repairs, where appropriate, combined with full pulverization and asphalt recycling of the worst sections of the roadway. The next step, which will be completed in December, is installing a new chip seal surface on top of the repaired asphalt below. Temporary striping will also be installed at this time. In early Spring 2018, the city will install a second Chip Seal layer to this entire section of roadway, followed by installing long-lasting thermoplastic striping. Our City Council prioritizes and has demonstrated a strong commitment to maintaining city roads and ensuring traffic in Surprise moves safely and efficiently.

Well, until next year, I hope you enjoy the last month of 2017. Best wishes for a Merry Christmas and a happy and prosperous new year. To my Jewish friends, Happy Hanukkah!

Roland F. Winters Jr.

November 2017 • Newsletter

Greetings to all of my friends in District 1 and to all of the residents in this beautiful city we call home. It’s hard to believe this is November and Thanksgiving and Christmas are close at hand.

Hillview Baptist Church invited me to their grand opening service on Sunday, October 1. Thank you to Dysart Unified School District for allowing them to utilize the auditorium at Cimarron Springs Elementary School located at 17032 W. Surprise Farms Loop South in Surprise. New churches are very difficult to start up and grow so I am grateful the church has this opportunity. I was honored to attend and I wish the church much success there.

I have been appointed to the Maricopa Association of Governments (MAG) Economic Development Council (EDC). They meet once a month in Phoenix. The first meeting after my appointment was October 3. Agenda items included updates from the Greater Phoenix Economic Council and the Arizona Commerce Authority. We also received reports on the integration of health service providers in the Arizona-Sonoran region and the Phoenix International Raceway project which includes major changes and renovations with investment of $178 million.

The role of the Maricopa Association of Governments (MAG) Economic Development Committee (EDC) is to develop opportunity-specific and action-oriented initiatives that fosters and advances infrastructure in the MAG region, especially transportation infrastructure that would further economic development opportunities. The committee is led by Chair and Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton. I am honored to have been selected over a number of other candidates for this position. The Mayor submitted a nice letter of recommendation for me as well.

Sante of Surprise hosted their 6 year anniversary party on Friday, October 6 with a rustic fall harvest celebration. Sante of Surprise offers short term and acute rehabilitation for a variety of conditions. They are located at 14775 W Yorkshire Drive.

Sante of Surprise 6 year anniversary party

It was a great day on Saturday, October 7 with the opening of the additional almost 10 acres of recreational open space at Dick McComb City Park on West Park Boulevard. I am so pleased that we finally disposed of the horrible green fence and I’m sure the residents in Surprise Farms are also happy. The eyesore of a fence was there for approximately 10 years. We now have a great collaboration between the city, the Surprise Farms III HOA Board and the residents in that beautiful community. Additionally, we installed the shade structures throughout the park including the dog park so needless to say, this park has come a long way. The project was finished on time and under budget so we installed sod rather than grass seed.

Later the same afternoon, I attended the Northwest Ranch block party in their newly renovated park with brand new playground equipment. The block party was graciously paid for by the community’s new neighbor, Fellowship Square, to show their gratitude during extended construction of their new facility. What a fantastic neighbor! It was so nice to talk to the residents, and see the Community Manager, Melanie Veach, Kelly Hall and the remainder of the HOA Board Members!

I kicked off the bond presentation at Arizona Traditions on Tuesday, October 10. Staff educated the attendees on all three bond questions and later provided answers to the questions of the attendees.

As a member of MAG EDC, I was honored to attend a welcoming event at the Phoenician in Phoenix along with Phoenix City Council, Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport and CEO and Founder of Canada Arizona Business Council (CABC) Glenn Williamson to welcome Air Canada’s Senior Vice President, Regional Markets and Government Relations, Kevin Howlett, in celebration of the new Phoenix-Montreal non-stop service.

Mariposa Point, an assisted living and memory care facility, hosted a grand opening on Thursday, October 12. Mariposa Point prides itself with taking a holistic approach to care and service. This facility is large with a varied menu and with several residents residing there.

I hosted my monthly meeting on Friday, October 13 at the Community Center at the Retreat in Arizona Traditions, 18250 W. Weatherby Drive. We had a good crowd and some productive conversation. I hope to see you at a future meeting. Please remember when you arrive at the gate, tell the guard you are there for my meeting. Everyone is welcome!

Councilmember Willams at the Fire Station 305 Open House
Pictured: Captain Sean Cahill (left) and Battalion Chief Autry Cheatham (right)

Surprise Fire Medical hosted an open house Fire Station 305 on Saturday, October 14. We were able to look at all the equipment and talk to the firefighters on duty. What a great gang of men and women!I attended the West Valley Arts HQ Annual Block Party and new exhibit on Thursday, October 19. A great time was had by all. Immediately following the event, I attended the Northwest Ranch HOA meeting to introduce staff and educate residents on the bond.

Several members of our Surprise Youth Council and I met on Monday, October 30. I met with Tatumn Anderson, Daryian Matthews and Isabelle Hunsaker. They provided an update on the things that SYC is working on. After speaking to these young folks, the future looks brighter!

Well that concludes my schedule for October and November has proven to be even busier. I would like to take this moment to wish everyone a happy Thanksgiving. Let us all be thankful for our health, for our families and the freedom to worship how we like. I will close for now so be good to yourself and be good to each other!

Take Care,

Roland F. Winters Jr.

September 2017 • Newsletter

A big shout out to all the residents in District 1 and to all the residents in Surprise! I hope you are staying cool during the remaining month of summer. Thankfully, fall is right around the corner and so are cooler temperatures!

The month of August began immediately with a City Council Work Session and City Council Meeting since we host these meetings the first and third Tuesday of the month. We returned from a recess in July and started business!

Monday, August 7 found me in a meeting with staff to try and work through this disaster called paratransit offered by Valley Metro and delivered by TransDev which is headquartered in Mesa. I continue to receive emails and phone calls from residents – some not even in my District, but that’s ok. I will continue to help anyone who contacts me. I have talked to residents who can’t get a ride to a doctor’s appointment, physical therapy or medical procedures because they are told by TransDev that there aren’t any rides left, and that is ridiculous! When someone calls for a ride on August 28 requesting transportation to a doctor’s appointment in September, and is told by the people at TransDev “all of September is booked”, there is something wrong with the system (that’s no surprise). Upon further investigation, we found many riders on TransDev are starting their ride and ending their ride in Surprise, so if that is the case, they should be using Ride Choice with Discount Cab or Yellow Cab. TransDev Paratransit rides are for regional trips (outside of the Surprise area) only for medical and work trips. We are directing TransDev to tell riders who travel within Surprise to use Ride Choice which they should have been doing all along. Paratransit rides were set-up at 34 rides a day for Surprise residents, so the city has added 21 more rides a day for the next two weeks to try to help the overflow for a total of 46 rides a day for the next two weeks. I am asking all of my Surprise residents to use Ride Choice for your rides within Surprise, making these changes should get TransDev back on an acceptable schedule, maybe. The new contract started on July 1, and we were promised it would be a better system and on time, so much for that prophecy. This system is costing the taxpayer $800,000 each Fiscal Year. I want to thank David Kohlbeck and Mike Gent for all of their help trying to resolve this issue.

I had my monthly meeting on Friday, August 11 at 7 pm and I had a good crowd. A few residents expressed their disgust on the paratransit system.

I attended the summer employee appreciation event in the City Council Chamber on Thursday, August 17. This event was started years ago by city management as an opportunity to show appreciation to our employees. Some are recognized for going above and beyond while they have lunch with their fellow peers and friends. It also provides me with an opportunity to get to know our staff. The taxpayers should be proud of the people who work for the city – from the people working in the ditches, to those on the roads, to the folks in City Hall, from the Directors to all the office workers and more.

Of course one of the big surprises in August was the resignation of District 3 Councilman John Williams who served this city tirelessly for almost ten years. I had a meeting with John on Monday, August 14, and he submitted his resignation letter the following morning. He never said a word about it. John will be missed.

On the afternoon of August 17, the Committee on Community Outreach, Partnerships and Grants met. As a member of this Committee, we make the funding recommendations to the full City Council from the presentations of the grant seekers. This particular meeting concerned the Surprise Community Outreach Grant Program which is offered to local 501(c)3 non-profits that serve Surprise residents. There were 32 applicants requesting total funding of more than $261,000. The Committee listened to 32 presentations – one for each non-profit organization – to arrive at our decision as to which non-profits to fund and at what dollar amount. My hat (cowboy) is off to Jodi Tas for all of her hard work preparing the applications and books required for this meeting. We met for over four hours then made the difficult decisions regarding funding.

On Friday, August 18, I took part in the Boards and Commissions Selection Committee which is another committee I sit on. It is the Committee’s duty to appoint residents to various boards and commissions that help the City Council. On this particular day, we had to choose two folks from six to serve on the Arts & Cultural Advisory Commission. It was a difficult decision because everyone was so qualified.

On Tuesday, August 22, most of the City Council arrived in Oro Valley for the Annual League of Arizona Cities and Towns Conference. This conference provides break-out sessions and networking opportunities with our fellow elected colleagues. I also joined a bus tour to see the public art in Oro Valley to determine how they manage that program. Our public arts program is in its infancy but our Arts & Cultural Advisory Commission is doing a great job placing public art around City Hall. I encourage you to visit and view some of the pieces on our campus if you get a chance.

I attended Ottawa University’s (OUAZ) convocation for their first class on Wednesday, August 30 at Christ Church of the Valley (CCV) in Surprise. The ceremony, led by President of Ottawa Dr. Kevin Eichner and Vice President and Provost Dr. Dennis Tyner, was very inspirational with some powerful speeches. Mayor Sharon Wolcott made a good speech and welcomed the students to Surprise. Approximately 450 students attended, and they were all very polite and respectful. Every Wednesday, their curriculum at OUAZ will consist of a personal character building day. It looks like Ottawa has the cream of the crop for their first class. When I left, I felt that the city, State and the nation is in good hands after all for the future of mankind.

On Thursday, August 31, I attended the groundbreaking of Ottawa University Surprise competition fields. The fields will be utilized for football and soccer. There was a good crowd and, of course, more speeches. Just think of that, Surprise will now have college football and soccer teams to cheer on. How cool is that!

City Council and Ottawa Staff breaking ground at school's new Practice Fields

I have been honored with an appointment to the Maricopa Association of Governments (MAG) Economic Development Council. This seat was formerly occupied by Mayor Wolcott and after she resigned, she wrote the Council a letter of recommendation for me. I was chosen from a number of applicants. Surprise needs to have a seat at the table when decisions are made, not only for Surprise, but for the entire West Valley as well.

Just a few things before I close for this month, and maybe most of you are already aware we are getting the #1 requested restaurant from our Economic Development Survey, In-N-Out Burger, on the corner of Bell Road and Civic Center Drive in addition to a Raising Cane and Starbucks. Surprise is also getting a Hilton hotel with a full service restaurant near Surprise Stadium.

image of former Surprise City Manager Dick McCombMark your calendars! Following City Council’s direction to honor the city’s longest-tenured City Manager Dick McComb (1990 – 2000), the city will officially rename Surprise Farms Community Park, to Dick McComb City Park, at a public ceremony, Saturday, September 30, at 9 a.m. The event takes place at the southeast corner of 175th Avenue and Surprise Farms Loop South. Mr. McComb began his city government career in 1976 and became City Manager for the City of Surprise in 1990. During McComb’s tenure, the city’s population grew from 7,122 people to nearly 31,000. This was a period of commercial growth for Surprise with Surprise Towne Center then under development and the Target opened at Surprise Marketplace. In addition, Mr. McComb served in the United States Marine Corps during the Korean War. Following his retirement, McComb remained an engaged Surprise resident and then became the community manager for Sun Village. He passed away in 2016 at the age of 81.

City Council also approved an additional 10 acres of open space park area at the aforementioned park, which is now turfed. Once the green fence is removed, after the turf has been established, we will be having another celebratory event. We anticipate this event will occur in early October. For more information on these events, please call Community and Recreation Services at 623.222.2000.

In other recreation news, 8 Acre Park fencing is under construction. Construction began last month and should conclude by the end of this month. This project includes 2300 feet of 8 foot tall decorative fencing with pillars to match the aesthetics of our Surprise Stadium fencing.

Eight new pickle ball courts with LED lighting are also under construction. Construction began on August 23, and the anticipated completion, pending weather delays, is the end of November. This project also includes the relocation of our volleyball courts.

Well, be good to yourself and be good to each other!

Roland F. Winters Jr.

August 2017 • Newsletter

A big shout out to all the residents in District 1 and the entire beautiful city we call Surprise. July was a very busy month for me despite the fact that there were no city council meetings and many staff members travelled to cooler places for vacation. Some of us are die-hard Arizonians, and we tough it out and stay here!

Valley Metro paratransit changes went into effect on July 1. For many of our residents, they encountered significant problems with the roll out of the new RideChoice program and the paratransit portion delivered by Transdev. Valley Metro RideChoice provides taxi service at a deeply discounted rate to qualified seniors and people with disabilities in participating communities, including Surprise. I discussed the changes in my newsletter last month. There were many problems with both programs, and some of the problems remain a month later, although there has been some progress.

There are some things to remember if you are utilizing either program. First and foremost, these are two separate distinct programs. The RideChoice program, for local rides, and the paratransit part is for regional rides outside of Surprise; however, these rides are restricted for work or medical trips. The phone number to book your ride for paratransit service is (602)716-2200. For the RideChoice program, you can call one of the participating providers directly to schedule your transportation needs. For more information on the program or for the providers, please visit

I have not heard that many complaints regarding the paratransit program in the last week or so compared to the first three weeks in July. I have had only one firsthand experience with Transdev and have had no complaints. The RideChoice part is a different story, as there have been complaints about AAA and Discount Cab arriving late, or not even showing up at all. Now, you folks have received your RideChoice card from MJM (the company in Baltimore, Maryland that is servicing the Ride Choice Program), you also received a brochure with a list of cab companies that are willing to be a part of the program; however, you may want to disregard most of them because I called each company myself and every one of them except AAA (which is also known as Yellow Cab) and Discount Cab said they are not involved in the project any longer, will not travel to Surprise, or it will take them too long to get to Surprise. I do not know where MJM gets the names of these cab companies, but it is obvious that they were not in touch with those providers.

Now, just two final thoughts before I move on, if you need to have your receipts as a record of your medical trips and you choose Discount Cab, you should make a copy of the receipt after you receive it from the driver because the ink will fade and after a couple of days it will be gone. One thing to remember is if you choose AAA or Discount Cab for your ride and the fare exceeds $21, you will be required to pay the difference as costs greater than $21 are paid by the participant. Watch the meter! For example, when you pay your initial $3 for your ride within the City of Surprise, it could end up costing a total of $10 to $12 because there are a number of rides that can be a total of $28 to $29 dollars according to the meter. So your original fare of $3+$7 or $8= $10 or $11, so if you find that for your ride that continuously is over $21, I suggest you call the Paratransit phone number if your trip is for medical or work, because that ride will cost you $4 no matter where you go. Both programs I mentioned are still being looked at for improvements, especially RideChoice. I apologize in advance for any confusion. Remember to call for a ride and confirm the day before your scheduled pick-up.

On July 1, I attended a ribbon cutting for our newest restaurant called “Casa De Papa” (13761 W. Bell Rd.). Angel Rivera and his father Pedro own it. If you like authentic Mexican food, this is the place to go.

Portrait of Community & Recreation Services Director Donna Miller
Community & Recreation Services Director Donna Miller

I hope everyone got to the stadium on the Fourth of July for baseball and the great firework display. Thanks to Community and Recreation Services (CRS) department for a great job. For those who have not heard, Donna Miller has been promoted to Director of CRS. Congratulations, Donna! I am sure you will do a great job for the city, and more importantly the residents of Surprise.

I spent the evening of July 12 at a Citizen Outreach meeting at the Comfort Inn. The project is Rio Ranch Estates, which is located in District 1 in our northwest area of the city along Happy Valley Road, approximately ½ mile west of Grand Avenue. The applicant is requesting approval of a rezone of approximately 188 acres of land.

On Monday July 24, I scheduled a meeting with representatives from Transdev to discuss resolution for some of the problems with their new paratransit transportation system. Attendees included Kate Riley and Katrina Heineking from Transdev, Rob Antoniak with Valley Metro, and David Kohlbeck and Jodi Tas from the city. On the first day of service (July 1), Transdev was not prepared for the transition from Dial-a-Ride to the new program. It was clear they were overwhelmed with the demand. Transdev relayed their apologies and I can appreciate that, but they need to make real progression being on time for their pickups, or we cannot rely on them. My firsthand experience has been a mixed bag; they were on time for a meeting I had in Phoenix both days, but Saturday July 29, I waited an hour and 15 minutes for my return trip to Surprise. I do not believe that is a good way to operate a business.

I attended Northwest Valley Connect Transportation Stakeholders meeting on Thursday, July 27. Kate Riley from Transdev was present to explain what steps need to be taken to improve Transdev and reliability, so let us hope things get better.

I attended the Project Connect event at Salvation Army in Surprise on Wednesday, July 26. They city’s Human Service and Community Vitality Department partnered with the Salvation Army and United Way to provide services for the homeless. Senator Debbie Lesko was there to thank all of the volunteers for their many hours of service. Volunteers were assigned a homeless person or family upon their arrival to guide them through the process to receive housing, food, clothing, or anything else they may need. There were a number of Surprise employees who also volunteered, including some of our summer youth interns. There were more than 350 volunteers and 216 guests. It was a very sobering event to see how fortunate most of us are.

City staff unloading trailer of supplies

After a month off, my monthly meetings will begin again. Please don’t forget the meeting this month will be held on Friday, August 11 at 7pm in the Retreat Community Center at Arizona Traditions (18250 W. Weatherby Dr.). Upon arrival, you will see a gate and you will need to enter “0000” on the key pad and tell the guard you are here for my meeting. I would like to thank Neil and his team for the use of his space. I hope to see you there and hear your input, concerns, complaints, or to talk about your vacation. We also accept compliments. City Planner Joshua Mike will also be at the meeting to talk about the Arts & Cultural Master Plan the city is currently working on.

Enjoy the rest of your summer in our beautiful city. Please remember be good to yourself and be good to each other.


Roland F. Winters Jr.

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!


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!


Roland F. Winters Jr.