Tag Archives: adot

October 2016 • Newsletter

Greetings to all of my fellow District 1 residents and to all the wonderful people living in this beautiful city of Surprise. Let’s begin this newsletter with some exciting news – Arizona Department of Transportation has announced the reopening of Bell Road is targeted for November 22!

My monthly chat was held on Friday, September 9 at Community Center at Arizona Traditions. Several residents attended, and productive conversations took place.

I attended a wonderful 9/11 memorial at Beth Emeth Congregation of the West Valley in Sun City West on Sunday, September 11. A large crowd gathered for the touching ceremony and listened to someone recall the events that took place while they were in New York City that fateful day.

The Helping Partners Program, run by local nonprofit Benevilla, moved into a space at City Hall last month. To welcome the program, a grand opening ceremony took place on Monday, September 12, followed by a tour of the office space. Councilmembers Rachel Villanueva, Skip Hall, Todd Tande and I joined city staff and Benevilla representatives, including CEO Michelle Dionisio and program participants. The Helping Partners Life Enrichment Program was designed for adults with intellectual or development challenges. The program provides volunteer and employment opportunities that enable members to contribute in their respective communities.

City Council and Benevilla City Council and Benevilla

The City and ADOT hosted a monthly Business Stakeholders Outreach meeting on Tuesday, September 13. Councilmembers Rachel Villanueva, Skip Hall, Todd Tande and I attended along with staff and business representatives. Economic Development provided an update on outreach and education initiatives and ADOT provided a project update.

ADOT’s Assistant Communication Director Brock Barnhart introduced Phase 3C (see map below) of the project where Bell Rd reopens; a specific target date of November 22, 2016 was later presented at the September 20 City Council meeting. The goal is to open all six lanes of Bell Rd in late November.

Due to continued work on tie-ins, there may be occasional curb lane restrictions and overnight work on Bell Rd after the reopening. The project team will work hard to ensure that at least two lanes in each direction remain open on Bell Rd during daytime work.

When Bell Rd reopens, Grand Ave will be inaccessible from the Bell Rd bridge and vice versa. The signal at the Bell Rd and Grand Ave intersection will be inactive until the ramps open in early 2017. A signal at the intersection of 134th Ave and Bell Rd will be up and operational.

Reconfiguration of the designated detour route to reflect the opening of Bell Road is under review. East-west through movements will resume on Bell Road, however drivers will need to use Bell-Reems/ Bell-Dysart to access Grand Ave. Signage along the designated detour route will be changed so drivers are aware they no longer need to use Greenway Road. Lane striping and signals will be modified at the Bell-Litchfield and Bell-Dysart intersections.

Work continues on eastbound Grand Ave lanes through early 2017.

Later the morning of September 13, I met with representatives from Lennar Homes. Lennar Homes is building homes in Asante. Great news was shared – the home product(s) are selling well and a new product is forthcoming!

On Wednesday, September 14, the Water Resource Management Department held its Annual New Fiscal Year (FY) Kick-off All Hands Lunch for staff. The intent of the lunch is to give staff an opportunity to reflect on FY16 accomplishments through presentations made by division managers that recognize outstanding performers and provide staff with a look at what the department will be doing in FY17. Director Terry Lowe thanked everyone for coming and reminded his staff about the keys to a successful business: People… Processes… Product. This philosophy has led to the completion of the new Gateway Training Center and the successful coordination and teamwork in the commencement and completion of nearly a dozen other major projects. The training center, which will have its ribbon cutting on October 26, is the place where staff will broaden its knowledge and understanding of their careers and assist the department in better serving the community. The department’s division managers: Lee Lambert, Water; Warren Dancer, Wastewater; Christine Nunez, Environmental Compliance; Paul Mohr, Business Process; and Fred Stevens, Resource Portfolio, each gave those in attendance a little deeper look into the work they do, their teams, and their initiatives for next year.

I was honored to attend the American Legion Post 96 meeting. The men and woman of this Post sponsor deserving youth to attend Boys State every year to learn about civic responsibility. This year, Rodney Ross, a senior at Willow Canyon High School was the recipient. I also had the honor of speaking to him about his experience, and I was quite impressed by how polite and articulate this young man is.

Councilmembers Skip Hall, Rachel Villanueva and I attended Benevilla’s Ninth Annual Professional Friends Luncheon at Rio Salado College on Friday, September 16. This event is held annually to thank everyone who supports Benevilla. Benevilla announced the appointment of Joanne Thomson as their new President and CEO. She will assume responsibilities for that role on October 29, 2016 after current President and CEO Michelle Dionisio retires after more than 25 years with the organization. I wish much luck and happiness to Michelle on her next journey and extend my congratulations to Joanne!

I have heard from many of you loud and clear about the increased cost for a ride from Surprise to Sun City and Sun City West and how it negatively impacts your budget. A new contract with Valley Metro went into effect July 2016 which included a fare increase from $1.25 to $4 per ride to these cities from Surprise. I asked staff to bring forth this issue for further discussion at a City Council meeting last month. At the meeting, I proposed a fare reduction for the aforementioned rides to $2.25 each way and the proposal was unanimously supported by my colleagues on the Council. I am very grateful! Effective October 1, the fare reduction to $2.50 will be in place but please note that rides within in the city of Surprise will remain $2 as originally presented in July. Visit www.surpriseaz.gov/dialaride for more information.

KB Homes hosted a ribbon cutting on September 22 at their new development in Sycamore Farms which is located in District 3. There are multiple home plans to choose from with convenient access to Loop 303. Welcome to Surprise, KB Homes!

Later that evening, I attended a public meeting at Desert Oasis Elementary School to observe comments of my constituents and the plans of a developer that is planning to build homes near Desert Oasis. Residents who attended the meeting that live near the proposed development appeared to approve.

Northwest Valley Connect hosted their monthly meeting on September 23. Maricopa Association of Governments (MAG) presented on rail in the Valley.

The Surprise Fire Medical Department is hosting several open houses at fire stations throughout the city in the following weeks. I hope you find time to attend. I too attended an open house held on Saturday, September 24 at Fire Station 306 in in Sun City Grand. See upcoming open houses here: http://bit.ly/2cofigc.

I attended the Surprise Regional Chamber of Commerce monthly breakfast meeting at the Colonnade on Tuesday, September 27 with Councilman Skip Hall. Five candidates running for three seats on the Arizona Corporation Commission participated in a forum. You will see these candidates’ names on the November 8 General Election ballot.

On Thursday, September 29, Councilmembers Skip Hall and Rachel Villanueva and I interviewed seven candidates for two openings on the Planning and Zoning Commission. Our recommendations will be presented to the full City Council for discussion and approval at a City Council meeting this month.

Our seasonal residents are returning, so please join me by welcoming them back to Surprise! Until next time, please be good to yourself and be good to each other!

July 2016 • Newsletter

Greetings to my fellow District 1 residents! I hope that you have managed to stay cool thus far this summer! Thankfully, the city has options to help with that like the two Surprise pools and splash pads at a few parks. As a friendly reminder, City Council is on recess in July so there are no City Council meetings or Workshops scheduled this month. With that being said though, I will still be attending other meetings, and I will have more time dedicated to my constituents.

The Surprise Farms Picnic that was scheduled for Saturday, June 4 was cancelled so I missed seeing and speaking to my friends there! I look forward to seeing you when it gets rescheduled.

I attended the Audit Committee meeting on June 14. The Audit Committee meetings are open to the public. I would like to extend an invitation for you to attend our next meeting which will be held on August 17 at 2:30 PM in the Council Overflow Room which is located on the 1st floor at City Hall. As most of you are likely aware, a former employee is accused of stealing city funds over a seven year period. Following a two-year long criminal investigation by the Surprise Police Department, a Maricopa County Grand Jury has handed down a 15 count indictment against her. The new Audit Committee was formed to ensure you that this will not happen again.

Our last council meeting was held on Tuesday, June 21. With a 3-3 vote, the motion to increase property taxes for fiscal year 2017 failed. It was my position that additional funding to hire public safety should be found within the current city resources and not funded by a property tax increase. City Manager Bob Wingenroth assured us that he would find financial sources and the public safety positions would be funded.

At the same meeting, City Council approved sending a $63 million General Obligation Bond initiative to the voters in November 2016. Following public input and weighing community needs, Council approved the following nine projects, which if voter-approved, would be included in the bond:

  • Two fire stations
  • Police evidence storage facility
  • Land purchase for a future southwest Surprise Fire Station/Police Substation/Park
  • Public Works maintenance facility (frees up existing city locations to meet Police and Fire-Medical storage needs)
  • Road improvements to portions of Greenway and Litchfield Roads
  • Aquatic Center Expansion
  • Land purchase for regional rec complex (sport fields, playgrounds, future rec center)

General Obligation Bonds are sold to investors who are repaid with interest. The repayment comes from a secondary property tax, which Surprise does not currently have. If approved, the secondary property tax could be up to $0.50 per $100 of limited property value, which on a home with an assessed value of $200,000 would be a yearly maximum increase of $100, or $8.33 per month.

If the bond is approved, the constituents of my district will receive a permanent fire station at 163rd Avenue and Happy Valley Rd. The great firefighters at Station 304 will get the long-overdue permanent home that they deserve and also the fire station the residents deserve. We are in dire need of a permanent fire station because of the increasing construction occurring in this area.

Additional educational public meetings will be scheduled ahead of the November 8 General Election. I encourage you to attend. Meeting dates and locations will be posted at www.surpriseaz.gov/surpriseforward. You may also visit the website for a complete list of projects, renderings, financial impact information and public survey results.

We are proud to announce that a new emergency room recently opened in our city! The Dignity Health facility, located at 14267 W. Bell Road, hosted their ribbon cutting ceremony on Thursday, June 23. This free standing emergency room is fully staffed with necessary technology.

Members of Dignity Health and Surprise City Council at new ER facility for ribbon cutting

On Friday June 24, I attended the Northwest Valley Connect Advisory Board Meeting, of which I am a member. I saw a fantastic presentation by Jeffrey Tourdot, from Maricopa County Senior and Adult Services, demonstrating how they help the seniors and the disabled by providing meals, health care and transportation.

Police Commander John Poorte
Police Commander John Poorte

The Surprise Police Department hosted a retirement ceremony for Police Commander John Poorte on Thursday, June 30. Commander Poorte is retiring after almost 24 years of service to our city. Best wishes for a happy and healthy retirement, John!

ADOT reports that work to install girders for the Bell Road overpass at Grand Avenue resumed Tuesday, July 5.

The installation had been on hold since June 9, when a large, steel-reinforced concrete girder fell moments after it had been lifted into place by cranes. An employee of a contractor working on the project was seriously injured but is recovering.

While the Arizona Department of Transportation and the project contractor have investigated, a precise reason for the accident has not been determined.

The 29 girders in place as of June 9, as well as the remaining girders to be installed, have been found to be structurally sound. A replacement girder was manufactured. ADOT has found no evidence that materials used to manufacture the girder that fell contributed to the accident.

In all, the overpass will have 89 steel-reinforced concrete girders ranging from 67 to 158 feet in length and weighing up to 90,000 pounds each.

The project team plans to complete this stage of girder installation by Sunday, July 10. Grand Avenue will be narrowed to one lane in each direction between Dysart and Litchfield roads from 8 p.m. Thursday, July 7, to 5 a.m. Friday, July 8, and again from 8 p.m. Friday, July 8, to noon Sunday, July 10, when girder placement is taking place on the bridge span closest to the roadway.

The Bell Road overpass, traveling over both Grand Avenue and the nearby BNSF Railway tracks, is scheduled to open to traffic by November. For project information, visit www.azdot.gov/BellAndGrand.

Bell & Grand Construction progress images

Lastly, the night of my monthly meeting has been changed to the second Friday night of the month. My meetings will be held from 7 pm until 8:30 pm at the Retreat at Arizona Traditions, 18250 W. Weatherby Drive. At the gate, dial 0000 to speak with the guard. Please come and voice your concerns or ask questions about what is going on in our city.

Until next time, be good to yourself and be good to each other.

Regards,

Roland F. Winters Jr.

February 2015 • Newsletter

Hello to all of my fellow District 1 residents!

It’s hard to believe that we are in the second month of 2015 already!
As usual, a lot of things happened in January and there’s more to come this month in Surprise.  The folks at City Hall celebrated our City Clerk’s 25th Anniversary with the City of Surprise on January 5.  What a great accomplishment for Sherry Aguilar!  We had a good number of staff and Council Member s gather in the Mayor’s atrium for refreshments to say congratulations to Sherry and thank her for so many years of service to the City.

Mayor congratulating Sherry Aguilar

I attended the Surprise Youth Council induction ceremony on the evening of January 15 in Council Chambers celebrating with many other Surprise residents, including many proud parents, as 25 high school students were welcomed into our newly formed Youth Council.  What a great bunch of youngsters!  Youth Services Administrator Paul Bernardo has done such a good job in this new position.

Mayor nd Council

Surprise Youth Council

I had my Friday Night Chat on the evening of January 11.  As always, everyone is welcome.

On January 21, I attended a meeting at the Surprise Senior Center in the Original Town Site about the improvements planned for the O.T.S. The City planners prepared a fantastic and thorough presentation.  We have such terrific people working for our great City!

I attended an ADOT meeting about the interchange of the 303 and Grand Avenue at Sun City Grand on January 27.  As most of you know, the project is already underway and will take approximately 18 months to complete with the widening of the 303 and new off ramps.  Immediately following that meeting, I travelled to Marley Park for the groundbreaking of a new charter school, Legacy Traditional School.  Several other elected officials were also present.  This will be an elementary school located in District 6.  Our Mayor and Councilman Tande, District 6, participated in the groundbreaking.

CM's Winters and Hall

On the evening of January 28th, I attended a Public Arts meeting with Councilman Hall at the West Valley Arts Council’s Arts HQ in Surprise.  The discussion included how the City can improve the presence of art in Surprise.   Our City Planners led the meeting.

I was invited to attend a tour of APS that included an energy update for elected officials at their office in Deer Valley on January 30.  We even toured the Energy Control Center, which was very interesting and educational.

As always be good to yourself and be good to each other,

Council Member, Roland Winters, Jr.