A big shout out to all my fellow Surprise residents, as we started off June we went right into our first Council meeting on June 2. We are also still dealing with these trying times with COVID-19 still creating havoc in our beautiful city (more about the coronavirus a little later). I sure hope everyone is staying safe, and staying home whenever possible.
I do have some good news for many of my constituents and other residents in Surprise. We have worked out an agreement with a vendor in Phoenix to take our recyclables and actually recycle them. Starting on Tuesday, July 7 residents can bring acceptable materials to our Public Works yard at 17274 N. Litchfield Road. They will be open Tuesday, Wednesday, and Saturday from 8 a.m.-11 a.m. and 1 p.m.-3 p.m., you can check our website for details. I want to thank Mike Gent for all his hard work finding this vendor.
On Monday, June 8th the sub-committee that I serve on with Councilmember Remley and Councilmember Hayden met for almost five hours, choosing volunteers to serve on our various boards and commissions that we have vacancies on.
We had our second Council Meeting of the month on Tuesday, June 16th (the last meeting before our summer break) and to find out the Council was not immune from COVID-19 was pretty scary, especially when it hits so close to home. We have been spread out on the dais for the last 5 months, but that night we could really spread out.
The next day, on the 17th, the Mayor announced we had an emergency in Surprise and since the Governor left it up to the Mayors and Councils to decide what to do about the rising cases of COVID-19, we as a Council needed to do something, because what we had been doing was not working and our graph was still spiking. I am writing this newsletter on the night of July 1st and the report that I got today says we have 877 cases and that is 50% over last week and that is just Surprise, so the Council started our conversation on the morning of the 18th and talked again on what we could do Friday morning and in the a.m. of June 19th we mandated the wearing of masks and a few other things. That afternoon the County came out with a very similar resolution.
It was a very difficult decision for me to make, maybe the most difficult since I have been on the Council, but it was a unanimous vote yes. There was of course some folks in Surprise that did not like wearing a mask (I didn’t either) and they sent me emails and phone calls, and I really feel badly that they disagreed with the Council, but we are just trying to save lives, we need to get this monster under control. The Governor had to close some places just the other day again. I really feel a lot of empathy for the folks out of work and their uncertainty as to how this is going to come out.
The doctors and scientists say wear the mask and the cases of the virus will come down, let’s hope they are correct.
Of Course, the other disappointment was the cancelling of the fireworks but that was an operational decision due to the COVID-19, and due to the fact it is very dry out there. Well I am sorry about the masks, and sorry there are no fireworks this year. I will miss them also, but there is always next year. So, as always be good to yourself and be good to each other.
Roland F. Winters Jr.