Events & Meetings
Capitol Scholar Program
Councilman Jim Biundo and I met with representatives from Arizona Charter Academy on Thursday, February 19, to discuss their proposed Capitol Scholar Program for 2015. The 2015 season begins on April 1. The Capitol Scholar Program began as the brainchild of Representative Rick Gray who wanted a program that would engage students at the legislative level. Imagine Prep and Arizona Charter Academy agreed and the program began in 2013. The goal of the program is to teach the students the legislative process and what it takes to create a bill, from inception to passage.
This year, the program will focus on local government in Surprise. The students will be interviewing with city directors to find out their needs and how important those needs are to the entire city. From there, the students will choose one need and create a city initiative for City Council to consider at a regularly scheduled City Council meeting in September 2015.
AZ Charter Academy Tour
On Friday, February 20, approximately 72 third grade students toured the Council Chambers, the Police Department and Fire Station 305. The students were very interested in our local government and how the City Council works. I was impressed by their questions. I’d like to thank Officer Chris Tovar, Officer Grayling Jordan, Fire Captain Renee Hamblin and Youth Services Administrator Paul Bernardo for their time and efforts in coordinating this event for these Surprise students!
Water Resource Planning Subcommittee
The Water Resource Planning Subcommittee held their monthly meeting on Tuesday, February 24. Staff provided an update on the status of the second phase of the Integrated Water Master Plan project. The scope of Phase II will focus on integrating the data developed as part of the project’s first phase and adding the plans of action that are being solidified through the development of the strategic water policies. Staff also presented the fourth strategic water policy, the Water Funding Policy, for review and comment. This policy brings together the first three policies, focusing the City’s position on how Surprise will invest in its water future. Additionally, this policy identifies the different investments the City will make in water, including expanding its CAP allocations, the acquisition of physical water and water systems, and the purchasing of water credits. The policy then identifies who are the benefiting parties for these investments, such as Surprise residents as a whole or the Surprise water service area customers. Finally, the policy identifies possible funding options that would be the best match for the city to use in order to acquire these investments given the benefited areas. This fourth policy will be brought before City Council during the April 7 Council Work Session for review and comment. All four strategic water policies will be brought before Surprise City Council for approval in late May or early June.
Cactus League Lunch
The 2015 Cactus League Luncheon was held at the Peoria Sports Complex on Wednesday, February 25. Many elected officials from throughout the Valley were present to welcome the Cactus League’s return to Arizona.
WESTMARC Water & Energy Committee Meeting
I attended the WESTMARC Water & Energy Committee Meeting on Wednesday, February 25. Richard Hubbard was introduced as the new President and CEO of WESTMARC. Following the standard call to order and introductions, Charlie Ester from the Salt River Project gave a presentation on drought conditions that included historical meteorological trends and how that relates to planning for droughts. In his presentation, Mr. Ester also discussed the relationship between temperatures in the ocean and rainfall in Arizona, which may mean more wet weather over the next few years.
Bridget Schwartz-Manock from the Central Arizona Project (CAP) provided a presentation focused on the Central Arizona Water Conservation District 4-cent tax extension campaign. The current legislation has this tax expiring in 2017. If the tax does not resume, it will mean significant increases in water rates throughout the Valley, as well as potential reduced water storage in the state.
Chamber Legacy Awards for Business Excellence
The Surprise Regional Chamber of Commerce held their annual Legacy Awards for Business Excellence at the Colonnade in Surprise on Thursday, February 26. Mike Boyle was awarded the Surprise Citizen of the Year. Mike moved his family to Surprise over 3 years ago from Washington. Since that time, he has been very active in the community. He owns Farmers Insurance in the City; he served as a Diplomat Chair for the Surprise Chamber; and he is leading the Boys & Girls Club Steering Committee. In addition, Mike volunteers numerous hours in local classrooms.
Impressions by Arky Muscato won a small business award. Benevilla won the non-profit award. Sharon Ward won the Chamber Member of the Year award and Frank Dias won the prestigious APS Wayne Farnsworth award. Congratulations to all of you!
Did You Know?
Bell & Grand Avenue Traffic Interchange Art Project
The City is holding meetings on March 9 and March 10 to discuss the aesthetic improvements to the upcoming Bell Road/Grand Avenue interchange project. The artist who is partnering with the City for this project, Meg Saligman, will be in attendance to discuss the artistic concepts. Your input is important to design a project that reflects the entire community. The meetings will be held as follows:
- March 9, 2015 Sun City Grand, Sonoran Plaza-Kiva Room, 19752 N. Remington
- March 10, 2015 Communiversity at Surprise, 15950 N. Civic Center Plaza
The general public meetings will begin at 6 pm each evening; however, there is a meeting from 3 pm until 5 pm at the Communiversity on March 10 that is aimed at artists and the business community, but it is open to the public.
AZ Charter Academy News
Thanks to the diligent work and dedication of a high school math and science teacher from Arizona Charter Academy (ACA) and a group of enthusiastic high school students, they are raising money for a diesel bus powered by biodiesel fuel that the students created. The students are currently hard at work producing an 80-gallon batch of biodiesel fuel made from recycled cooking oil that they are collecting from local businesses.
Mark Your Calendars
Surprise Farms Park Groundbreaking
The public is invited to attend the Surprise Farms Park groundbreaking ceremony this Saturday, February 28 at 10 am. The ceremony will be held at the southeast corner of 175th Avenue and Surprise Farms Loop South. The new park will feature a playground, splash pad, basketball court, skate park, restrooms and other park amenities.