Greetings to my fellow District One residents and the citizens of Surprise!
July marks the beginning of our new fiscal year. Earlier last month, the City Council adopted a $304.7 million Fiscal Year (FY) 2016 budget that immediately addresses operational needs and continues service increases while maintaining the current property tax rate.
I am pleased that it also includes expanded coverage of our Dial-a-Ride system. However, there remains confusion about what the expanded service includes, even amongst the staff at Dial-a-Ride. I am going to try and clear this confusion. The number of weekday rides, Monday through Friday (5 am to 8 pm), has increased to 140 rides weekly. The number of weekend rides has increased to 30 rides; there is no service on Sunday. Providing that holidays fall on a day of operation, service is still provided. These additions have been provided without a fare increase. Senior citizens (65 years of age and older) or people with disabilities can call up to 14 days in advance of when the ride is needed, and all others can call the day of service to get a ride, if available. Another policy change is that all seniors, non-ADA, must now complete a form called “Application for Non-ADA Dial-a-Rid Service.” To obtain this form, please call Valley Metro at 602-253-5000 x602. If you are a disabled user of Dial-a-Ride and have not yet participated in the Valley Metro ADA program, I urge you to call and make an appointment. A discount cab will transport you to Phoenix for the program and bring you home, all at no cost.
On June 8, I attended a dinner meeting with Councilman Hall, Councilman Tande, Economic Development staff and prospective business owners to discuss their interest in coming to Surprise. I can only hope that someday we may see them in our city!
I held my last neighborhood meeting before Council recess on Friday June 19th and had a good turnout. Thanks to each of you who braved the summer heat and attended. My next meeting will be the third Friday of October (October 16). I hope to see you there! Everyone is always welcome to attend.
I attended the Maricopa Association of Governments (MAG) Regional Council annual meeting at the Marriott in Phoenix on June 24. Scottsdale Mayor Jim Lane was elected as the Regional Council Chair, Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton as Vice Chair and Buckeye Mayor Jackie Meck as Treasurer. During the Passing of the Gavel ceremony, outgoing Chair, Youngtown Mayor Mike LeVault, was recognized. Thanks, Mike, for doing a great job!
WINCO is open! I would have to say that Thursday, June 25 was the highlight of my month as WinCo finally opened their doors. Councilman Biundo, Councilmember Villanueva, and I got a tour of the store by Vice President Craig Goins of WinCo. Councilman Hall also took a tour later in the day. The parking lot has been full every day since. This store is a great addition to District 1, Surprise and the West Valley.
Surprise Farms II Block Party took place on Friday, June 26. I was in attendance, along with our finest firefighters from the Fire Station 303. They are always there to support their community, and I know those folks at Surprise Farms really appreciate them.
The Surprise Police Department hosted a Crime Prevention Fair on Saturday, June 27. Councilman Hall and I attended as the grand opening and ribbon cutting ceremony for the new MedReturn Drug Collection Unit also took place during the fair. The collection unit was installed in the lobby area of the Surprise Police Department. It will provide the residents with a safe and simple way to dispose of unwanted drugs or expired medications including prescriptions and over the counter drugs.
I close for now and remember be good to yourself and be good to each other!
Roland F. Winters Jr.
Councilman for District 1