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!
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.
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.
Roland F. Winters Jr.
Councilman, District 1