A big shout out to all of my neighbors in District one and everyone in Surprise. A happy May to all! Well, April began with my monthly meeting of the MAG Economic Development Committee in Phoenix and the announcement that Dennis Smith, CEO of MAG is retiring. Eric Anderson will be taking over that position. Congratulations, Eric! I am sure you will do a great job for us in Maricopa County.
That same afternoon and evening on Tuesday, April 3, I attended the City Council Work Session and Regular Meeting.
On Saturday, April 7, I was invited to Surprise Farms III HOA picnic at one of their pocket parks. I attended with my wife and we had a good time. There were over one hundred people there, and I had a chance to talk to many of them. Everyone seems really happy to live in that beautiful community, and it is well kept with no trash around. Mark Beaudry and the rest of the HOA Board along with the Community Manager, Santos, do a great job!
Tuesday evening, April 10, found me at Babbo’s Restaurant on Bell Road attending the retirement celebration for Chet Keizer, the former CEO of IRIS USA. We are all sorry to see Chet leave IRIS, but the good news is that he is staying in Surprise! Chet loves Surprise! It is our hope to get him on some Boards and Commissions to take advantage of his knowledge and talents. Congratulations, Chet, on your retirement. I hope it is a long and happy one.
On Wednesday, April 11, I attended an Arizona History and Culture speaker series event on the History of Country Music, and what a great program it was with a bigger crowd in Council Chambers than some City Council meetings. I want to send out a big ‘thank you’ to Susan deJong for lining up all of these educational programs about the history of the west. That was the last one of the season, but I am looking forward to next year. Ms. deJong is the Chair of the Surprise Arts & Cultural Advisory Commission.
I attended the Surprise Regional Chamber breakfast meeting at West-MEC Northwest Campus on Thursday, April 12. Both the republican and democratic candidate for Congressional District 8 were in attendance and were asked a series of questions by Garrick Taylor with the Arizona Chamber of Commerce. The Lightbox at West-MEC is a great venue for a number of events.
Human Service and Community Vitality Director Seth Dyson and I traveled to Avondale on Friday, April 13 to look at the Madison Heights apartment community. A similar complex is under consideration in the Original Town Site area of Surprise. The nice apartments are well-built and affordable.
Of course, Friday night was my meeting at Arizona Traditions Community Center which is open to anyone with concerns, complaints. We even accept compliments. We had a very special guest that evening, Water Resource Management Director Terry Lowe. Terry presented information on the Circle City Water Company acquisition that includes all of their assets including their allocation of water. I urge you to vote on Tuesday, May 15, or you may have already returned your mail-in ballot. If the voters agree to buy the water company, that would increase our Colorado River supply by over 38%, which helps to meet our future renewable water needs. The city intends to use current and future water assets to fund the purchase. It is not the City’s intent to place the costs of this acquisition on the tax payers or into the Surprise Water utility rates.
Saturday, April 14, I was at the WHAM Annual Recycled Arts Festival. WHAM is located at 16560 N. Dysart Road. WHAM Director Connie Whitlock and her team do such a great job on that show every year. There was a lot of art work on display and some great music with Councilman Skip Hall addressing the crowd!
Later that evening, I attended the Arizona Traditions Block Party in Parcel 14 with my wife. We had a great time, especially since these folks are my neighbors. We had a food truck to order dinner and music played by Harold. It was nice to relax and socialize with the folks in my HOA since I am usually tied up. I want to thank Mona Tom, Sue Rocks and Trudy Slater for pulling all that together. Everyone had fun!
Sunday, April 15th, we spent the afternoon at the Valley Vista Performing Arts Center enjoying the Surprise POPS Band. This was the last performance until next year.
Monday night, April 16, was the State of the City address in the Lightbox at West-MEC on Grand Avenue. As I have said previously, it is a great venue and there was a good crowd.
Tuesday night, April 17, was our City Council Work Session and Regular Meeting with a conversation about our City Center; however, no one can decide what to build on it as yet.
Wednesday, April 18 found me in a budget meeting with the City Manager, two other City Councilmembers and our Department directors. This was a half day get-together for the directors to inform the council about what the various departments were requesting in next fiscal year’s budget in an effort to address the demands for services as the city grows and to ensure the city provides extraordinary service to all our customers. The council will be voting on the Fiscal Year 2019 budget in June.
The same afternoon, I was in the Community Outreach, Partnership & Grants Committee meeting in which we decide who will receive our yearly neighborhood grants and Surprise Community grants. The process has just started, so if you are interested in getting a grant for either of these purposes, please contact Jodi Tas at 623.222.1330, and she will provide you with the details.
On Thursday, April 19 at 2 pm, I was in my bimonthly meeting with the City Manager Bob Wingenroth talking about what has been happening in and with the city and what may lie in the future of Surprise. Of course, this gives me a chance to speak one-on-one with Bob and let him know what my constituents are telling me and how we can improve the city for them. We are lucky to have a City Manager such as Bob Wingenroth who works very hard for the people who live in this great city.
On Thursday, April 26, I attended my JPAC (Joint Planning Advisory Council) meeting at the Wild Horse Pass in Chandler. This Council is part of MAG (Maricopa Association of Government). They help businesses export their products and services. At the meeting, a small business in Surprise and District 1, Rapha Revivifi System, received the Emerging Exporter of the Year award. They will soon export natural hair and cosmetic products. Congratulations to them!
On Friday, April 27, I was in a meeting with a guest speaker from the city of Tempe who was telling us that the city of Tempe has promised every child age 3 and 4 will go to preschool; and if the parents can’t afford it, the city will pay for it. Pretty interesting concept. It is a proven fact that children who attend preschool have an advantage when entering kindergarten. Senator Rick Gray and Councilmembers Hall and Duffy were also present.
Well, I will close for now. Don’t forget to vote in the Circle City Water Company election on May 15, and it can be done by mail.
Reminder that my meeting is on Friday, May 11 at the Retreat Center in Arizona Traditions, 18250 W. Weatherby. Everyone is welcome!
So until next month, be good to yourselves and be good to each other!
Roland F. Winters Jr.
District 1 Councilmember