Category Archives: Newsletter

Councilmember Roland Winters Newsletter

January 2021 • Newsletter

Well a big shout out to my constituents in District One, and indeed every resident in this great city in which we are lucky to live in, and a happy and safe New Year to all.

This year, of course, will be remembered by everyone for the challenging times, the pandemic, people being laid off, economic down turn, and of course the terrible loss of many lives.

In spite of all we have been through, District One has opened a library, finally got a traffic light at 163rd and Jomax Road, we have a new fire station at 163rd Avenue, and started making all the necessary improvements on Greenway Road, including a needed traffic light at Northwest Ranch Parkway and Greenway Road.

The City of Surprise as a whole managed to get Costco, an Amazon Distribution Warehouse, soon to be condominiums in City Center, and all of the road improvements have been accomplished thanks to the residents voting for our Bond three years ago.

I am excited for my friends in the northwest part of my district. As I said last month, not only is a Fry’s going in at 163rd Avenue and Pat Tillman Boulevard, but also a little shopping area. A QT gas station is also going in at 163rd Avenue and Grand Avenue.

On Saturday, December 5th, the council took part in Shop with a Cop at Kohl’s Department Store, sponsored by the Mavericks, to give needy children a chance to shop for themselves or others. This was our first time participating and it went really well. We hope to do this effort every year with the Mavericks. Much thanks for our men and woman in blue for helping the kids that day.

On Tuesday, December 8th, the Boards and Commissions Nomination Committee met to fill some openings on our various commissions. We did find some folks to fill these chairs and the meeting was over by 7 p.m.

On December 16th, one of my constituents wanted to donate some money to the police toy drive for the kids, so I met him at the Police Station and Chuck Collins gave them a check. That was very nice of him to make a joyous Christmas for so many deserving kids.

There are going to be some big changes in January in our leadership in Surprise. Mark Schott, our Assistant City Manager, is retiring and our police chief, Terry Young, is being moved to the fourth floor at City Hall to be our new Assistant City Manager. Geoffrey Leggett (our Assistant Police Chief) will be the Interim Police Chief, pending a recruitment process. On top of all of that, we had a new councilmember start on January 5th, District 2 Councilmember Aly Cline.

I am very optimistic about 2021. We will finally get a handle on this terrible pandemic now that we finally have the vaccine. We just need a plan to get it into people’s arms, and then the economy will follow. Take care my friends

Be good to yourselves and be good to each other.

Roland Winters Jr.

December 2020 • Newsletter

A big shout out to the residents of this great city we live in. Not much really new, except for a few things this month. As you know, we are still shut down at City Hall for public access. Beginning with our December 1 Work Session and Council meeting, no members of the public will be allowed in the Council Chambers, however, the meeting can be seen live on Channel 11 if you have Cox, or on your computer at www.surpriseaz.gov/surprisetv or the city’s Facebook page. This will hold true until further notice.

It looks like we may have a vaccine for this terrible virus by this month. We are all very happy to see this, I am sure. We all need to keep doing what we have been doing, and hang in there with the face masks, washing our hands often, and the social distancing, so we can all be here to get vaccinated.

As has been happening for the last nine months, I have been attending most of my meetings via Zoom and telephone, and like most of you, I am getting COVID-19 fatigue.

We had our meeting of the Board and Commission Nominations Committee, of which I am the Chair, on Monday, November 9th. We do have some vacancies on the Arts Commission, Veterans, Disability, and Human Services Commission, and the Audit Committee to name a few, so if you have some extra time and would like to help the city, you can apply to volunteer for one of the commissions by calling the City Clerk’s Office at 623.222.1200 or visiting surpriseaz.gov/boards.

We changed the date of our first Council meeting in November to the 2nd because of Election Day. In spite of these challenging times, we in the Surprise City Government, are pushing forward with many permits for development, including commercial.

I am so proud of our Economic Development Department, headed up by Jeanine Jerkovic. Jeanine and her team do a great job getting all kinds of commercial construction in Surprise.

To all my friends in the northwest part of my District (District 1) I want you to keep an eye on the corner of 163rd and Grand Avenue. I can’t say too much about it because it is still under development review. I am doing all I can to get more commercial development in your neck of the woods.

A note to the folks in Northwest Ranch. We are finally getting to improving Greenway Road, so there will be construction in the area, and yes, some dust; but when the widening of Greenway Road is finished, you will have a fully functioning traffic light at Greenway Road and North West Ranch Parkway as well as straightening of Greenway Road near the 303. So, hang in there, and I ask for your patience during the construction.

The best news this month is that a grocery store is finally coming to my friends in the northwest part of my district. It’s official, the new Fry’s Asante Site Plan has been submitted for review at the Northwest corner of 163rd Avenue and Pat Tillman Boulevard. Plans for this new shopping center show a large Fry’s store with a pharmacy, gas station and some retail stores so our hard work and prayers paid off.

I want to take a minute here and thank all the citizens of Surprise for voting for the G.O. Bond in 2017. We are reaping the benefits with all of these beautiful new roads and repairs for some.

On Thursday, November 19th, I was in attendance at my monthly Valley Metro Meeting. I have been representing Surprise on the Board for two years now. When the Maricopa Association of Governments (MAG) and Valley Metro decide to start moving toward Surprise with some transit, someone must be at the table.

On Monday, November 30th, the Council was at the Christmas Tree in front of the stadium to light our tree as part of this year’s virtual Surprise Party. Our Communications Department is making a video to be shown, starting December 4th at 7 p.m., and replayed throughout the holidays. You can view it at surpriseaz.gov/surprisetv and see all of the Surprise Party details at surpriseaz.gov/surpriseparty. Because of COVID-19, this Christmas Season will be a little bit different.

Well, I want to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and happy holidays, and remember, be good to yourself and be good to each other.

Roland F. Winters, Jr.

November 2020 • Newsletter

Hi, to all of the residents in this great city we call Surprise. City Hall is still closed to day-to-day visitors, but business is going on with emails, phone, and virtual meetings. At our council meeting, we did have a fair amount of folks there because we are now allowing about 50 people, spread throughout the council chambers, to follow CDC recommendations.

Of course, it remains very tragic times, and to add to everything else, we now must wait so long for the results of the election, so I think 2020 will be remembered for a long time.

On Monday, October 19th, we had a meeting of the Rules Committee of which I am a member, we are working on updating our rules and regulations under which the council must work and abide by.

I feel bad we did not have the Veterans Day Parade this year because of the virus, but our Communications department worked on a video that was shown on Veterans Day on Surprise TV and on the Surprise City Gov Facebook page. The council had a small part in that. I want to take this time to thank all our veterans and their families. I hope you had a happy and healthy Veterans Day.

I still have not started up my second Friday night meetings yet; I am still waiting for Arizona Traditions to open the community buildings. I will let you all know when we get started.

Have a great Thanksgiving and stay safe,

Roland F. Winters, Jr.

October 2020 • Newsletter

Well hello again to all the residents in District one and, indeed, to every citizen of this great city we are all blessed to live in.

September started off with a work session, and City Council Meeting on the 1st. Our Council books are getting very lengthy, so in spite of COVID-19 we have not slowed down much in the growth of Surprise. Speaking of the Coronavirus, I hope all of you are staying safe, keeping those masks on, and practicing social distancing (6 feet). I know it has been difficult for everyone, including me and my family; but hang in there, this too will pass. I feel badly that we have been canceling all the events our residents enjoy, but this can’t go on forever.

On Saturday, September 5th, Senator Martha McSally came to visit Surprise, and the full Council was there.

The Board and Commissions Nominations Committee, of which I am the Chair, held a meeting on September 8th to choose some folks for our many openings on our Boards and Commissions. We had a great turnout of many citizens who wish to help the Council. We did not finish until 6:30 p.m.

On our second Council meeting in September, it was our first opening up of our Council meeting to a live audience, but with some restrictions, such as, people being spread out, no more than 50 people, and masks required when entering and exiting the chambers.

Most of my meetings this month have been virtual meetings, like my Valley Metro Board Meeting. I am not a great fan of these types of meetings, but I guess it is better than going into Phoenix.

For my friends in the Northwest area of District 1, there is a new development going up between the Dollar Store and 163rd Avenue, along Jomax Road. It is Sunrise Ranch; I got a phone call from a constituent asking that question.

Sorry my newsletter is a little late this month. Be good to yourself and be good to each other.

Roland F. Winters, Jr.

September 2020 • Newsletter

Hello again to all the great folks in district one and indeed in the City of Surprise, and I hope everyone is doing ok considering these special trying times. I do want to start off on a positive note in that Costco will be having their grand opening on Thursday, September 24th at 8 am. Something we have all been waiting for. Be at 13614 N. Sarival and welcome Costco to Surprise, AZ.

I know this virus is getting old, and it certainly has worn out its welcome a long time ago, but let’s hang in there and keep doing what you have been doing to get through this pandemic together.

I am still waiting for Arizona Traditions to open up their buildings, so I can start my meetings again, but I don’t know when that will be. Keep checking the surpriseaz.gov website.

I am also looking forward to the opening of our doors at the Council Chambers so anyone who wishes to be at our council meetings can be there. I miss all of those happy faces, and engaged residents of Surprise as we used to do.

Beginning September 15, meetings of the Surprise City Council will reopen to limited in-person public participation; while maintaining a call-in option for those wishing to participate remotely. In-person participants will be limited to 50 and will be required to wear a facial covering when entering or exiting the chambers. If they so choose, they may remove them while seated. Seating will be marked to ensure physical distancing of at least six feet of separation from those in attendance. You can get all the details and information on when other public meetings are reopening at surpriseaz.gov.

Let’s all say a prayer that our scientists find a vaccine.

To my friends in North-West Ranch, this is the month you’ve been waiting for. Construction starts on Greenway, widening from 303 eastbound to Reems Rd. Also, on the corner of Greenway and North-West Ranch Parkway will be a fully functioning traffic signal. Which means left and right hand turns coming out of North-West Ranch Parkway will be made easier for you.

Thanks to you, the residents, for voting for the G.O. Bond and making this improvement possible.

I recently attend a retirement celebration for Dave Kohlbeck, who has worked for the City of Surprise since 2001! Dave has raised the profile of the City of Surprise around the region and state, through his involvement with Maricopa Association of Governments and Valley Metro, as well as being actively involved in multiple professional organizations including the Government Finance Officers Association of Arizona, Arizona Society of Certified Public Accountants, and the American Public Works Association. He also served his fellow colleagues for many years on the 457 Deferred Compensation Advisory Group providing strategic investment oversight, as well as chairing the employee project team that helped the city evaluate and move to a self-funded health care program. He has earned multiple recognitions during this time including the City Manager’s Service Award for his outstanding customer service in leading the City’s transit program, communicating and resolving rider issues, and improving the transit services offered in our community. I wish him congratulations on his retirement!

Vice Mayor Judd, David Kohlbeck, Councilmember Winters and Mayor Hall.

August 2020 • Newsletter

Hi and a big shout out to all my friends and neighbors in this great city we have the good fortune to live in.

Let’s start off this month with some great news. I just got the word a couple of days ago that Amazon is coming to Surprise. Their facility will be located at the Rail Plex, have a 145,000 square foot building and hundreds of jobs to be filled. I must give our Economic Development Department kudos for a great job. Director Jeanine Jerkovic, Manager Mike Hoover, Kris Cassens, and many more worked many hours to bring this project to fruition. Good Job Everyone. News like this is especially uplifting in these times of campaign rhetoric saying that Surprise doesn’t get the big companies for the head of household jobs.

Councilmember Winters holding a Kansas City Royals golden shovel.I would like to continue with some more good news. On Thursday, July 9th we did a groundbreaking for the Kansas City Royals living quarters right across the street from the Texas Rangers building. Of course, because of COVID-19, we had to do things a little differently, with only a few folks digging dirt, but we did take individual photos of the council with a golden shovel in their mask. This moment was in the works for nearly 10 years.

Just a note to my constituents in the North-West part of my district, I hope you are pleased with the improvement in the area; like widening 163rd, sidewalks and curbs, your new firehouse, and the traffic light at Jomax and 163rd. This area is being transformed.

I hope you all are wearing your masks and/or staying home when possible. As always take care of yourself and take care of each other.

Stay Safe,

Roland F. Winters Jr

July 2020 • Newsletter

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.

June 2020 • Newsletter

A big shout out to my constituents in District One, and indeed to all the citizens of this great city we call Surprise. Well it has been another challenging month in May, not only dealing with COVID-19, but also now we are having riots across our great nation. We are so blessed to live here in Surprise where our residents are law abiding, and our great police force is interested in de-escalating an incident.

I am still operating out of my home office via emails and phone calls since the City is still pretty much shut down. We are trying to gradually return to normal (whatever that is). I have had emails and phone calls asking to open the dog parks ASAP and with the support of our City Manager we got those opened mid-May.

We did have a few events in May. On Wednesday, May 6th the entire Council went to the Senior Center on Hollyhock Street to give out lunches to the seniors as they drove into the parking lot and out again, we gave out 130 hot lunches in about 20 minutes.

Thursday, May 14th found the full Council at 8 p.m. in the stadium with a large display on the score board congratulating all of the graduating seniors in Surprise, with the Council in the foreground. I have so much empathy for those youngsters who worked hard to get their diplomas and not being able to walk across the stage. I remember getting my diploma, it wasn’t that long ago (or maybe it was). No matter how you celebrated, you will never forget it.

Surprise City Council stand in Surprise Stadium with the billboard illuminated in the background displaying a congratulatory message.

Then, of course, our Council meeting was on the 19th, still with no one in the Council Chambers except for Council, maybe sometime in August we may open up after the council takes their annual break in July.

Saturday, May 30th was a great day for the City of Surprise and Chance Shelter, who will be working together to have our first animal shelter in Surprise, not only an animal shelter, but a no kill shelter. At 8 a.m. on the 30th, we gathered together to celebrate the Land Dedication for the Chance Shelter. Courtland Homes (who are building Copper Canyon North) gave Chance Shelter 7 acres on which to build. The location of the shelter will be near the intersection on 183rd Avenue and Deer Valley Road. Our Animal Control Officers will no longer need to drive to Phoenix when they pick up any strays, but drive to our own shelter right here in Surprise. Audra and Greg Colson worked very hard to make this happen. I want to thank Hans from Courtland Homes for all his hard work to get this done and of course for the property. Chance Shelter has so many great volunteers like Helen, Bob, Mary, Gabe Rivas and many others.

So I hope you folks are staying home as much as possible, but wear those masks when you go out.

I will close for now, so as always, be good to yourself and be good to each other. I will be resuming my meetings, my constituents, as soon as AZ Traditions opens their community center. I will let everyone know when that happens.

Roland F. Winters Jr.

May 2020 • Newsletter

Well hello to the good folks of Surprise. We are still living in challenging times, but we will get through this. We all still must use our masks in public, wash our hands frequently, and stay away from crowds. I have a lot of empathy for our citizens that are not getting a pay check, and I know you want to get back to work, but I would not want to rush it (maybe after this month).

I am still working from my home office except for the council meetings with no one in the chambers. I have meetings thru the computer and conference calls.

I really can’t go anywhere because I need to stay home which I hope you are also doing, even though I am going stir crazy. Of course, I will not have my monthly community meetings until further notice.

Please stay healthy and be good to yourself and be good to each other.

Roland F. Winters Jr.

April 2020 • Newsletter

Hi to all of my fellow residents, March was certainly not what we expected it to be. Some of the other councilmembers and I got the opportunity to read to some students in our local elementary schools on the 3rd and 4th of March, then COVID-19 started to spread in our state and changed our daily lives. On the 5th of March, I started my stay at home routine, working from my home office, sending and receiving emails, and talking to many people on the phone. My Valley Metro meeting was done via conference call on the 19th. We did have a budget meeting on the 27th of March, it was an all-day retreat in the council chambers. I had concerns about going into the meeting, but I think we did what we could to keep everyone safe with everyone keeping six feet apart. This is going to be a balance for me to try and do my job and staying at home. The COVID-19 pandemic will have impacts to our economy.

Right now, we must work together to get through this terrible contagious virus by following these simple procedures: wash your hands often, avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands, stay at home as much as possible; if you must go out in public, stay away from crowds and keep 6 feet of distance between yourself and others. I am sure you have heard all of this before, but you will do well to remember.

Please note that until further notice, I will not be having my monthly meetings. I look forward to meeting again once the CDC guidelines allow for gatherings. Please visit the City of Surprise website at www.surpriseaz.gov to view any updates to my meeting calendar.

We can all say a prayer for the folks on the front line, the doctors, nurses, and other health care workers who put their lives on the line every day, along with our police and fire people. As always, be good to yourself and be good to each other.

God Bless,
Roland F. Winters Jr.