Council Conversations with District 1 Council Member Roland F. Winters, Jr. In this episode he speaks with David Kohlbeck with the City of Surprise Public Works Department for an update about the Northwest Valley Paratransit services. In the second part, the Councilmember speaks with City of Surprise Public Works Director Mike Gent about the Public Works projects occurring in District 1.
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 www.surpriseaz.gov 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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.