Council Work Session
Department of Human Service and Community Vitality
Department of Human Service and Community Vitality Director Michael Celaya briefed the Council on the growth of the new department, the programs and services currently provided and possible expansion of the department’s services.
Surprise Transportation Plan
Martin Lucero, Transportation Planning Manager, provided a presentation on the Surprise Transportation Plan. This plan includes a speed limit map, street network map, truck route map and pedestrian map. As of now, no official citywide speed limit designation has been made. Mr. Lucero would like to create a five-tiered speed limit map for the City that would be based on roadway classification and engineering design standards. As future roadways are built, the speed limits would be automatically set through the normal development process. Changes could still be made through policy changes or Engineering and Corridor Studies.
Mr. Lucero requested City Council consider the creation of a new corridor, along Bullard Avenue, that electric vehicles can legally travel. State law currently states they can travel on any road less than 35 mph. This change would create a new electric vehicle and bicycle lane. Staff would mitigate hazards with signs, access and parking restrictions.
City Council Meeting
Boys & Girls Club of Surprise Mike Boyle, Chair of the Boys & Girls Club Steering Committee provided an overview on the Boys & Girls Club of America and introduced the new Boys & Girls Club of Surprise logo that was recently approved by the Club’s national headquarters. In 1989, the Surprise City Council began initial discussions for establishing a Club in the City. Although there has been discussion for nearly 25 years, it was not until the current Council voted, in 2014, to set aside $2 million in the FY2015 General Capital Fund to build a Club facility that something transpired. Shortly after that action, the Boys and Girls Club of Surprise Steering Committee was formed. The Committee representatives include local community and business leaders working together, utilizing their expertise and valuable time, to establish the Club.
The City Council approved authorization of the expenditure of the funds designated in the FY2015 budget for the Boys & Girls Club to the Arizona Community Foundation revenue fund, opened on behalf of the Boys & Girls Club of Surprise Steering Committee, for future operating costs associated with the Boys & Girls Club of Surprise.
The City Council did move to delay any action identifying the Roy Villanueva Community and Recreation Complex as the proposed location for the Club until the entire City Council reviews additional data provided in the past.
City Manager’s FY2016 Recommended Budget
City Council received the $294.7 million FY2016 City Manager Recommended Budget on Tuesday night which was crafted to address immediate operational needs, continue service increases and to further prepare for the future. The recommended budget includes funding for pavement preservation, maintaining mid-year Dial-A-Ride service expansion, a mid-decade census, 18 new full-time positions (including Public Safety, Utility Operations and general government operations), Surprise Regional Library operations as required by a previous agreement with the County, continuation of Express Route 571, and vehicle and asset replacement. Furthermore, it also includes policy recommendations to increase fund balance reserves. As a result, the General Fund balance reserve will increase by over 15% from the prior fiscal year to $17 million.
Regulation of Donation Bins
A zoning text amendment (FS15-013) for the regulation of donation bins within the City was unanimously approved. This amendment will require facilities to register the donation bins with a Temporary Use Permit that would require an annual application and notarized signature of the property owner. The bins are limited to Commercial, Business Park, Industrial and Public Facility Zoning Districts.
The text amendment also regulates the location, size, maintenance and identification of the bins. The quantity and grouping of these bins will also be restricted. These parameters are determined by the size of the property or commercial center. In no case will groupings of greater than 2 donations bins be allowed or located within 1,000 feet of other bins or groupings.
Major General Plan Amendment-General Plan Elements Update
In lieu of the development of Village Plans, a holistic approach to developing a “One Surprise,” while respecting the City’s unique character areas, is being developed. Staff recommended an update to elements of General Plan 2035, including Land Use, Growth, Roadway Systems, Economic Development, Housing and Implementation. After initial public input was received, comments and baseline data were presented at a joint meeting with the City Council and Planning & Zoning Commission in February 2015. Based on that input and the input from stakeholders, alternative concepts for updating the Land Use Element of the General Plan were prepared.
Two approaches were discussed; the Character Approach and the Conventional Approach. The “Character Area” approach is an integration of land use concepts and built form when determining a common vision of development and land use pattern. With fewer land use categories, this approach utilizes planning concepts that depend on form and function. This approach could have more flexibility in determining the intent of an area or development proposal.
The “Conventional Area” approach utilizes a more familiar and traditional land use map with corresponding policy, which would allow better coordination and compatibility with adjacent municipality land uses. This approach is more intuitive and requires less education to implement.
Events & Meetings
Surprise Police Appreciation Bonanza
I attended the Police Appreciation Bonanza on Friday, April 17 at the Surprise Stadium. This event honored and recognized our Police Department staff. Awards were given to Officer Robert Mulligan (Rookie of the Year), Officer Matthew Barker (Officer of the Year), Detective Juan Diaz (Detective of the Year), Sergeant Mark Filler (Supervisor of the Year), Training Coordinator Kim Davies (Civilian of the Year), Victim Advocate Barbara Jones (Volunteer of the Year), Jim Gearns (Citizens Patrol Recognition) and Sergeant Mike Ferrara (35 Years of Service). Please join me in congratulating and thanking the aforementioned employees for their exemplary hard work and dedication to our City.
WHAM Art Recycle Arts & Youth Festival
On Saturday, April 18, I attended the WHAM Recycle Arts & Youth Festival. The morning was very busy with families and local kids enjoying art activities. WHAM estimates that approximately 2,400 people attended the event.
Models from the WHAM Recycle Arts Fashion Show
Surprise Regional Chamber of Commerce Breakfast
The Surprise Regional Chamber of Commerce held their monthly breakfast on Tuesday, April 21. Nate Nathan, founder of Nathan & Associates, was the key-note speaker. Nathan & Associates focuses on brokering land acquisitions for master-planned communities, commercial, retail and multi-family deals throughout the Valley. Mr. Nathan believes the future of the West Valley is bright! The population for Maricopa County is expected to increase by 1 million within the next 10 years with much of the growth expected to head towards the West Valley.
Mountain Vista Ranch Well Celebration
Councilman Roland Winters, Councilman Todd Tande and I, along with staff from the Department of Water Resource Management, celebrated the completion of the Mountain Vista Ranch Well on Tuesday, April 21. A big thank you to Director Terry Lowe, Water Manager Lee Lambert and Senior Project Manager Michael Boule for their incredible work seeing this residential well through to successful completion.
Did You Know?
Surprise City Hall to host Job Fair
Six companies will be recruiting for open positions on Friday, May 8 at Surprise City Hall (16000 N. Civic Center Plaza). The companies participating in the job fair include Cobalt Medical Development (Surprise location will open in late 2015), Empereon Marketing, Gestamp Solar, Intrepid Tools, Rio Glass Solar and Winco. The job fair will take place from 8 am until 12 noon in the Mayor’s Atrium.
For more information, please contact Economic Development Coordinator Julie Neal at 623.222.3322.