City Council Meetings
City Council Workshop
Intergovernmental Relations Director Michael Celaya described the City’s proposed state legislative agenda for the 1st Regular Session of the 52nd Arizona State Legislature which will begin on January 6, 2015. Legislators will begin this session facing a deficit for fiscal year 2015. Council’s key priorities are keeping local authority and protecting shared revenue with the State, advancing an initiative to establish an economic development tool called tax increment financing and establishing a fair and equitable policy on Fire District annexation.
Finance Director Lindsey Duncan provided Council with different sources of revenue options that we may want to consider as we approach fiscal year 2016 budget discussions. Some of the sources included development impact fees, dedicated sales tax and a general obligation bond program to name a few.
City Council Meeting
Several new appointments were approved for openings on various Boards & Commissions. Mary Pate was appointed to fill a vacancy on the Arts & Cultural Advisory Commission with a term expiration of July 1, 2016. Christine Baker, Nicole Jeffords and Joseph Poschner were appointed to fill vacancies on the Disability Advisory Commission with term expirations of July 1, 2015. Matthew Keating was appointed to fill a vacancy on the Planning & Zoning Commission with a term expiration of July 1, 2015. Lastly, Ryan Spotts was appointed to fill a vacancy on the Health Benefits Trust Board with a term expiration of September 23, 2018. City Clerk Sherry Aguilar issued all the Oath of Office.
Lindsey Duncan, Finance Director, provided Council with the FY2015 monthly budget status report as of October 2014. In summary, FY2015 sales tax (excluding construction) actuals are 10.6% higher than FY2014 actuals and FY2015 actuals are 5.2% higher than FY2015 budget. With regards to construction sales tax, FY2015 actuals are 25.6% lower than FY2014 actuals. FY2015 actuals for construction sales tax are 43.5% lower than FY2015 budget. Year-to-date expenditures are lower than the FY2015 adopted budget in the categories of personnel, supplies and services.
Jackie Keller, Long Range Planner, provided us with a presentation and discussion on the development of a Heritage Overlay District for the Original Town Site. The Village 1 Plan identifies the Original Town Site (OTS) as a Heritage District and establishes four heritage goals that focus on preservation, economic revitalization, education and recreation. Due to the OTS’s cultural and historical significance within the City of Surprise, it provides the opportunity to create a distinct identity for the City through its unique qualities of history, geography and culture.
City Council voted to approve Community Outreach Program funding for six community organizations after considering the recommendations from the Grants and Community Outreach Subcommittee. The Community Outreach Program is a Council-led initiative designed to assist community organizations in providing programs and events that benefit Surprise residents. The Council set aside $50,000 in funding for the program as part of the FY2014-2015 budget. The Council approved recipients are Benevilla ($10,000 for Community Garden enhancements); Friends of the Library ($2,000 for community outreach); Northwest Valley Connect ($8,000 for transit support); St. Vincent de Paul ($10,000 for utility assistance); West Valley Arts Council ($10,000 for backyard concerts); and WHAM ($10,000 for an Arts Youth Festival). To be considered, applicants had to be a 501(c)3 organization or partnered with a 501(c)3 verified agency. The maximum award per applicant was $10,000.
Events & Meetings
Adaptive Recreation & Outreach Tree Party
Adaptive Recreation & Outreach held their tree party on Friday, December 12 at DreamCatcher Park. There were approximately 600 participants in attendance from Dysart Unified School District, Blue Mountain, Benevilla and One Step Beyond. The City’s Adaptive Recreation provides recreation programs for individuals with disabilities, in which participants are provided an opportunity to socialize, develop and enhance their skills, build confidence and maximize potential.
I attended a Christmas Outreach event at Radiant Church on Saturday, December 13. There were over 3,000 on the Radiant Church Campus! Over 700 members of the congregation served 1,000 food baskets for families and 1,900 gifts for children ages 3 through 12.
Valley Metro Meeting
David Kohlbeck, Public Works Business Manager, and I attended the Valley Metro RPTA meeting on Thursday, December 18. Valley Metro renewed its contract with RideShark. RideShark is online software through the Valley Metro website that assists commuters across the valley to identify carpooling, vanpooling and other transit options. This is a great alternative for Surprise residents looking for commuting options.
Valley Metro provided an update on the Southeast and Northwest Dial-A-Ride programs and future efforts to standardize hours of service, fares and development of more ridesharing for one-way trips in an effort to maximize services. Rail service and bus service will expand for Super Bowl week beginning January 28 through January 31, 2015. This is related to the NFL experience that will be held at the Phoenix Convention Center. Super Bowl commemorative passes with lanyards for full and/or reduced fares are available online at Valley Metro.
Lastly, bus detours and bus enhanced services can be found on Valley Metro’s website at www.valleymetro.org.
Mark Your Calendars
Cookies & Crafts with Santa
Santa will be making a stop at Countryside Recreation Center (15038 N. Parkview Place) on Saturday, December 20 from 9 am until 12 noon. Children, ages 3 – 9, will have the opportunity to make seasonal crafts, play games and enjoy holiday cookies. The cost is $10 for residents.
Did You Know?
New Economic Development Director
Jeanine Jerkovic will be joining the City as our new Economic Development Director on Monday, December 22. She returns to her hometown with a strong background in public economic development experience, 10 years of which were in management roles. Her most recent position was with the City of Peoria as their Economic Development Manager. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Arizona State West Honors College and a Masters of Science from the London School of Economics. We are honored to announce this new hire! Welcome, Jeanine!
The City will temporarily increase the number of daily Dial-A-Ride trips and expand service hours beginning January 2, 2015. The daily cap for weekday trips will increase from 135 to 140 one-way trips. Saturday service will increase from 20 to 30 one-way trips per day. This expanded service will run through June 30, 2015. Additionally, service hours will be extended for all service days. The new service hours will be Monday through Saturday from 5 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Due to the holidays, we will not issue a newsletter for the next two weeks. You will receive your next newsletter on Friday, January 9, 2015.
I wish each of you a very Merry Christmas and a happy, healthy and successful New Year. Thank you for your support during 2014. I look forward to serving you in 2015!