Hi to all the residents in the great city of Surprise. Wow, what a month January 2019 was for the city, for my district, for the residents and for me personally. The city has attracted new businesses, has a new mayor, a new city manager, a new assistant city manager and our Economic Development Department, with Jeanine Jerkovic at the helm, is drawing more commercial prospect to Surprise. District 1 was so fortunate to get Fellowship Hall within our boundary, which brings an $85 million investment to Surprise. We celebrated the ribbon cutting on Thursday January 24th. Also in the district, there are a number of developments going on in the northwest part including a Dollar General Store.
I hope the residents see all the good things that are going to happen in Surprise with our new council and not that we must agree on everything; we don’t. For me personally, at the January 3rd council meeting, I was sworn in for my second term on the council. Thanks to the voters for that. At the January 15th city council meeting, I was appointed by the council to serve as your Vice Mayor, and it was a unanimous vote. I am very thankful and humble to be in this position.
Tuesday, January 8th, I was in our Board and Commission Selection Committee meeting going over the process to choose some nominees for the new commission we formed. Many good candidates were interviewed.
On Thursday, January 10th, we held a special public meeting with our full council at City Hall to discuss our Council-Manager form of government. Very useful information, not only for the residents and new council members, but also for those of us who are in our second or third term. All of our individual responsibilities and obligations in this complex city government were outlined by our city attorney.
I held my regular 2nd Friday night meeting of the month on January 11th, and we all had an interesting conversation about drones. One of my constituents (I will not give his name out of respect for his privacy) knows a lot about drones, and the discussion was timely because the council recently gave our Police Department the go-ahead to purchase a couple of drones.
Saturday, January 12th found me on a bus tour of all 13 parks in the city along with various recreation centers. This was to helpful for council to become familiar with where the parks are in our various districts. We also evaluated the need for any additional improvements to the parks. While I am on the subject of parks, as most of you know, in November I was able to convince the council there was a need to install lights at the Dick McComb city dog park. That work is now underway; measurements have been taken, engineers are evaluating how many poles need to be erected, and the type of lighting, so it should not be long now.
Tuesday, January 15th was, of course, our council meeting at which time Vice Mayor Remley nominated me to be the Vice Mayor for 2019, and I was elected unanimously by my peers. I would like to thank the entire council for having that kind of confidence in me.
On Wednesday, January 16th, my wife and I were invited to hear Governor Ducey’s State of the State Address, and it was very positive. In the Governor’s upbeat speech, he said our economy is growing rapidly; he promised more money for schools; and said he is taking positive steps to deal with our serious water shortage.
Our new mayor (Mayor Hall) has appointed me to the Valley Metro Board of Directors, and the first meeting I attended was Thursday, January 17th at Valley Metro Headquarters in Phoenix. I came away from that meeting with some good news and some bad news. The good news is the 170 bus that travels westbound on Bell Road from Phoenix, but stops running at the mall in Peoria, will continue to run west to Surprise City Hall. The bad news is it will not happen until 2022. I suggested 2021, but that did not fly too well. I will take note that the professionals that work for Valley Metro know what they are talking about when it comes to transportation.
We celebrated the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Celebration & Service on Saturday, January 19th (two days before Martin Luther King Jr. Day) with a lot of song, celebration and prayer. This was our third year doing this in the courtyard at City Hall, and it gets bigger every year. All of the council was there, as well as the father of our newest council member, David Sanders. Our Human Service and Community Vitality Director, Seth Dyson, and his team do a great job on this every year.
That same day, my family and I paid a visit to Fire Station 304 up in the northwest part of my district. It was an open house that day for this fire house; one of the two fire stations in my district. There were a lot of residents up there visiting and all are excited about the new fire house coming, including the firefighters. When finish building the new Fire Station 304, it will be the largest fire station in Surprise.
When we left the fire station, I went to check out the Dollar General store being built on Jomax near 161st. The construction is really moving right along; it is a good size piece of property with a nice parking lot. I know not everyone liked the idea of that kind of store going in there, but at least the folks up there can get milk and bread at the store, instead of having to drive down to Reems and Grand. Also, my thought was that if we get some kind of commercial in that area, some more will follow; so let’s hope that will happen.
On Sunday, January 20th, we went to Valley Vista High School Performing Arts Center to see the Surprise POPS Band. If you have not seen them perform, it is well worth your time. The cost to see is show is a can of food. Watch for their next show.
I attended a meeting at Avondale City Hall with Valley Metro staff and representatives from Surprise and other municipalities on Wednesday January 23rd to discuss the possibility of circulators and a bus service for the area.
Thursday, January 24th, found me at my Northwest Valley Connect (a 501C3) meeting at Benevilla. Northwest Valley Connect will try and find someone a ride to a doctor appointment or shopping trip if they cannot find one. This is at no charge. Right now we are doing a transit study to see where the need is.
That same day, we attended the ribbon cutting at Fellowship Square on Sarival. This is a huge community for independent living, assisted living and memory care. As mentioned earlier, an $85 million investment in Surprise.
On Saturday January 26th, I attended the meeting at the AZ TechCelerator on Bell Road for a veterans event headed up by Chris Flowers who is the CEO of Vets 4 Biz. He will help Vets find a job and brings Vets together. If you are a Veteran and need a job, call Chris Flowers at 623-308-9732.
Monday evening, January 28th, I was in my meeting with my fellow board members of the Maricopa County Human Services Commission where we try and help those less fortunate with money for rent, food and utilities. We get grants – federal and other grants – that we have the responsibility to put where it will do the best.
Finally, there was the grand opening of My Goodies bakery at 15170 W. Bell Road.
So as you can see, things are happening in Surprise. I will close for now, so be good to yourself and be good to each other.