Construction at the Bell Road/Grand Avenue interchange continues to progress. This past week, work included the following:
Traffic switch on Bell Road between 134th Drive and Dysart Road. Traffic will travel on the south side of Bell Road.
Completion of sewer main on Bell Road east of 134th Drive.
Preparation to pave and form the curb and gutters to build the east side of Grand Avenue.
Continuation of the building of bridge columns and support beams on the east and west side of Grand Avenue.
Relocation and installation of utilities at Bell Road and Grand Avenue.
Thank you again for your patience during this project.
Events & Meetings
Networking Breakfast Meeting
On Thursday, May 19, I met with a Christian networking group and spoke about leadership, challenges and values.
Valley Metro RPTA Monthly Meeting
The Valley Metro RPTA Board met on Thursday, May 19 and approved FY2017 annual budget.
Audit Committee Meeting
The Audit Committee met on Thursday, May 19 at City Hall. A decision was made that City Council Members should not be officers on the Committee. Councilman Roland Winters and I are part of the Committee. Director of IT Tammie Hollowell was elected Chair of the committee and Melissa Holdaway with Arizona Charter Academy was elected Vice Chair. The next audit committee meeting is June 15 at 2:30 pm in the Council Chamber Overflow Room and we are scheduled to discuss the Internal Audit Charter and the Audit Committee Charter. This meeting is open to the public and I encourage you to attend.
Meeting with Animal Shelter Fundraising
Animal Shelter Fundraising, a Surprise-based fundraising company, recently received the 2016 International Business Excellence Award for Best Animal Welfare Fundraising Organization from Acquisition International. The company is a two-time winner of this award which is given to a business that demonstrates excellence in fundraising within this particular industry.
Company founder and CEO Tim Crum formed the company in 2008. His company is another successful graduate of the AZ TechCelerator. Animal Shelter Fundraising has raised in excess of $200 million for more than 200 national and local animal shelters and humane societies.
Surprise Regional Chamber of Commerce Breakfast Meeting
Vice Mayor Jim Biundo and I attended the Surprise Regional Chamber of Commerce monthly breakfast meeting on Tuesday, May 24. Patrick McDermott, APS Community Affairs Manager, provided an update. APS is Arizona’s largest and longest serving utility. APS services 11 out of 15 counties and has 1.2 million customer accounts (89% residential). Mr. McDermott also briefly discussed the rate case submittal planned for June 1, 2016. This rate case will determine how rates will be structured as the utility looks at demand charges that bill customers based on the amount of power they are using at a given time.
Mark Your Calendar
Teen Nights – Club Rec Nights
Club Rec Nights, for students in 6th through 8th grades, are back for the summer featuring live DJ’s, video games, dodgeball, dancing & more! The next Club Rec Night will be held on June 17 from 7 until 10 pm at the Sierra Montana Rec Center, 14861 N. Spring Lane. Entry is $5 per person.
33rd Annual 4th of July Celebration
The City of Surprise is hosting its 33rd Annual 4th of July Celebration on Monday, July 4th. Gates open at 5 pm. The Seattle Mariners will be playing the Kansas City Royals at the Surprise Stadium at 6 pm. Please note that the rookie teams are playing. Fireworks will begin after the game at approximately 8:30 pm. Admission is free with a canned food donation. The event is limited to the first 10,000 fans.
Did You Know?
Surprise and Maricopa County Partner to Launch Program
Income eligible parents in Surprise and El Mirage will soon have access to a pilot program called Strengthening Working Families, which combines opportunities for workforce development training, childcare support and rental and utility assistance.
The program, being piloted by the City of Surprise and Maricopa County, leverages Federal and State funds to support families in need by providing access to and coordination of the following services:
Workforce Development – Arizona@Work Maricopa County:
Parents can participate in a free short-term job training program to enter a new career path or advance in their current career. Parents must meet income eligibility requirements and have children under the age of 5.
Child Care – Head Start/Early Head Start Partnerships:
Head Start services will fill the child care need for eligible parents who are engaged in the program’s employment education and training activities. The child care will be provided at no cost.
Service Coordination – Community Action Program (CAP) of Surprise:
CAP of Surprise will provide long-term case management and service coordination to program participants. Parents will have a single point of contact to help them navigate through services that aim to support their efforts to increase their self-sufficiency as they improve work skills and increase income.
Interested residents of Surprise and El Mirage should register for and attend the Strengthening Working Families information and enrollment meeting on May 20 from 9 a.m. to Noon at the Surprise Resource Center, located at 12425 W. Bell Road. To register for the meeting, please call 623.222.1600.
Learn more about each of the partners and the full range of services they offer:
Construction at the Bell Road/Grand Avenue interchange continues to progress. This past week, work included the following:
Installation of storm drain and sewer main on Bell Road east of 134th Drive
Installation of gas line in new alignment of 134th Avenue
Preparation to pave and form the curb/gutters to build the east side of Grand Ave
Building of the bridge columns and support beams on the east side of Grand Ave
Relocation and installation of utilities on Bell Road and Grand Ave
Utility work on 134th Drive began on Tuesday, May 17th and is expected to last through Friday, May 20th. The utility work will merit additional traffic control and possible delays. Access through 134th Drive will be maintained during the utility work with Dysart Road as an alternate route. Please allow plenty of time and observe all traffic control signs and barricades. Thank you again for your patience during this project.
City Council Work Session
Intergovernmental Agreement with Maricopa County Library District
The Maricopa Library District and the City of Surprise entered into an Intergovernmental Agreement (IGA) for the operation of the Northwest Regional Library in 2001. The term of the agreement was ten years, with an option to renew an additional five years. The first ten years, the county paid for operating the library. After that the city began to fund a percentage of the operating costs paid by the library district until the city became responsible for 100% of the cost to operate the Northwest Regional Library FY2016.
The current IGA expires June 30, 2016 but the agreement is needed to continue to provide library services to residents. Pending FY2017 budget allocation; the CRS Department plans to conduct a feasibility study which will determine future library needs as well as explore possible options for the city to take over future library operations. This renewal will allow continuation of library programming at the Hollyhock and Northwest Regional libraries. The total cost for one year is approximately $1.8 million. The city currently has full funding for the operation of both libraries. Reduction scenarios were discussed for cost savings purposes only.
Surprise Heritage District
Planning staff provided a presentation for discussion pertaining to a zoning text amendment and rezoning application to create a new Surprise Heritage District (SHD) zoning overlay for the Original Town Site (OTS). The SHD is designed to preserve, protect and enhance the types of uses that are indicative of historic residential neighborhoods and to provide and promote the local arts and culture as well as business opportunities that are compatible with the overlay.
Unique to the SHD is the introduction of the “Cottage Industry” in a residential setting. By definition, a cottage industry in an accessory use to the single-family dwelling unit and must retain the residential architecture and character.
Public hearings for the Zoning Text Amendment will be held in June.
Mayor Sharon Wolcott issued a Proclamation to Water Resource Management Director Terry Lowe and Public Works Director Mike Gent in honor of National Public Works Week. This national recognition is utilized to energize and educate the public on the importance of public works in our daily lives: planning, building, managing and operating the heart of our community to improve everyday quality of life. Thank you to all of our employees in this critical department…I greatly appreciate everything you do!
Storm Water Service Rates
Water Resource Management Director Terry Lowe discussed the action needed for the adoption of rates for stormwater services with an effective date of November 1, 2016. City Council unanimously approved Resolution #2016-60 after a public hearing. Specific fee information can be found online at: http://www.surpriseaz.gov/3405/Public-Notices#stormwater
White Tank Mountain Conservancy
The White Tank Mountain Conservancy is a 501(c)3 organization whose mission is to preserve the resources in the White Tank Mountains for posterity. Regional partners include Sonoran Institute, DMB, City of Buckeye, Maricopa County, WESTMARC, and many more. The organization intends to focus on five specific areas of impact in support of the White Tank Mountains and their resources which include: regional planning and partnerships; stewardship and volunteerism; advocacy and public policy; research, education and training; and tourism and public attraction.
The Conservancy will protect the White Tank Mountains by seeking pragmatic solutions that will enhance the economy of the West Valley while ensuring the sustainability of the natural resources the White Tanks have to offer. There is a one-time membership fee, which was included in the FY17 tentative budget, of $25,000 to include the City of Surprise as a regional partner.
Events & Meetings
Valley Metro Budget & Finance Subcommittee Meeting
The Valley Metro Budget & Finance Subcommittee met on Thursday, May 12.
Surprise Police Department Retirement Celebration
The Surprise Police Department honored Detective James Parr and Officer Morgan Bastien at a retirement ceremony on May 12, 2016.
Detective James Parr was employed by the Surprise Police Department from January 2000 – January 2016. Throughout his career with the Department, Jim served in the Field Operations Division, Criminal Investigations Division, and as a School Resource Officer. Jim was employed with the Arizona Department of Corrections prior to joining the Police Department.
Officer Morgan Bastien joined the Surprise Police Department in August 2000 and served in the Field Operations Division and as a Motor Officer with the Support Services Unit. Morgan retired on April 30, 2016. Prior to joining Surprise Police, Morgan was employed as an officer in Page, Arizona.
Thank you for your service to the city of Surprise and best wishes for a safe, happy and healthy retirement!
WeMAR West Valley Economic Development Forum
On Monday, May 16, I attended WeMAR’s West Valley Economic Development Forum along with several other elected officials from the West Valley. Over 250 attendees were present for the panel discussions led by Moderator Liz Recchia. Surprise Community Development Director Eric Fitzer and Economic Development Director Jeanine Jerkovic were panelists and provided insight on the future of West Valley economic development; city and state economic development plans, including the 303 corridor; as well as commercial development.
Public Outreach Meeting for Bond Program
City Manager Bob Wingenroth and staff hosted one of seven public outreach meetings for a proposed bond program at the Northwest Regional Library on Monday, May 16. Councilman Todd Tande and I both attended along with five residents. You can read more about the proposed projects and costs at www.surpriseaz.gov/surpriseforward, as City Council plans to discuss whether to send a bond package to the voters on the November 2016 ballot at our June 21 meeting.
Surprise Networking Group Presentation
I provided a city update on economic development to the Surprise Networking Group on Tuesday, May 17. I greatly appreciate the invite and was happy to attend to report the recent successes of the city.
Mark Your Calendar
An Art Encounter with Eric Mengel
The Surprise Arts and Cultural Advisory Commission will host “An Art Encounter with Eric Mengel” on Saturday, May 21, from 11 am until 1 pm. The event will be held at Barnes & Noble, 13719 W. Bell Road. Mr. Mengel is a writer, artist and publisher of OCHO Comics.
Did You Know?
Surprise Water Resource Management Department Receives Safety Awards
Our very own Water Resource Management (WRM) Department was presented with four safety awards at the 2016 AZ Water Association Annual Water Conference for amassing more than 1,400 concurrent days without losing a man-day due to injury.
The Department was recognized during the May 11 awards ceremony for their safety record on specific systems in both water and wastewater utilities. For water, the city received two awards for the Mountain Vista Water System Treatment and Distribution. Wastewater was presented with two awards for the SPA1 and SP2 Water Reclamation Facilities (WRFs). The WRM team credits its success to reinforcing a safety culture in all of their facilities.
Many thanks to Water Resource Management Director Terry Lowe for his leadership with this fairly new department and congratulations to the staff for their success with safety!
2016 Retail Survey
The city is working hard to bring you the shopping and dining amenities that you want here. Since the last survey, we have had several of your top picks either open or announce they are coming to Surprise including Oregano’s and Texas Roadhouse. We’d like to recognize the top picks as a local favorite so please take some time to answer the survey prior to May 22. You can do so by clicking this link: www.surpriseaz.gov/retailsurvey.
The city and ADOT hosted the monthly Bell-Grand Business Stakeholder Outreach Meeting on Tuesday, May 10. Three business representatives were in attendance.
Economic Development provided an update on the Bell/Grand ShopSurprise text campaign initiative. To date, approximately 1,000 people have opted-in and the Surprise Chamber has distributed 150,000 fliers promoting the campaign.
More than 250 job seekers attended the job fair on April 19 at the Communiversity. A second job fair will be held on Tuesday, June 21. In addition, the next Business Education Series begins on May 19; the first seminar will be ‘The ABC’s of Starting a Business’. Details will be available at www.surpriseaz.gov.
ADOT reviewed the next phase of the project, Phase 3C. In mid-to-late June, Grand Ave traffic will shift to the westbound lanes and non-signalized business access driveways along Grand Ave (Taco Bell/Office Max, Bank of America, Olive Garden, Del Taco) will be temporarily closed until the end of the year.
The representative from CBRE informed the group that they are currently engineering an internal circulator route to alleviate some of the traffic in the Surprise Marketplace shopping center. The plan temporarily removes a portion of Target’s landscaped median (near the drive by Chick-fil-A) and the adjoining parking spaces thereby allowing traffic an additional outlet through the parking lot to exit onto West Point Parkway. Their goal is to have the circulator in place mid-June.
The city and ADOT will continue to work with businesses regarding business access signage requests including reviewing right-of-ways to determine if more signage can be placed along Grand Ave.
Special City Council Meeting
Surprise City Center
In a Special Meeting held on Thursday, May 5, the Surprise City Council unanimously approved a settlement to end litigation between the city and Surprise Center Development Company, which owns most of the land around the Civic Center campus at Litchfield and Bell roads.
Both parties are pleased to have come to terms on a settlement which achieves a full and final release of claims. We all believe this solidifies a partnership that will result in the development of a vibrant and engaging city center in Surprise.
Events & Meetings
Racing for Hope
I was honored to attend the Homeless Youth Connection’s Racing for Hope event at the Wigwam Resort, Saturday, May 7. Homeless Youth Connection (HYC) raises awareness and helps to meet the needs of homeless youth so they can remain in school and graduate. HYC’s vision and goals are to provide homeless teens with housing, basic needs and services so they can make positive, life-affirming choices towards becoming responsible and productive adults.
In the West Valley, there are approximately 1,800 homeless youth. There are more than 150 homeless youth within our Dysart Unified School District. The Racing for Hope event is the organization’s largest annual fundraiser.
Public Outreach for Possible Bond Program
As the City of Surprise explores options for funding capital improvements, the public has been invited to attend a presentation and discussion on a proposed $60 million 2016 General Obligation (GO) Bond. I attended the first presentation on Monday, May 9 with approximately 12 residents. After the presentation, staff from Public Works, Community and Recreation Services and Public Safety were available to discuss the needs of their respective departments.
As a reminder, the money would fund capital improvement projects around our city over the next five years – from new fire stations to serve a growing city; to recreational amenities that promote community wellness; to road improvements that will create a more connected Surprise. If approved by City Council prior to the July “Call for Election” deadline, the bond package would be added to the November 2016 ballot. If approved by the voters, it would result in a secondary property tax. Currently, Surprise does not have a secondary property tax.
The cost to Surprise homeowners, administered via the property tax bill, is NOT determined by the home’s market value, but rather its assessed value. The tax is estimated to be $0.50 per $100 of limited property value, which would be a maximum of $100 a year on a $200,000 home. You can find the assessed limited property value of your home at www.mcassessor.maricopa.gov.
Your input is critical so please plan to attend one of the public meetings. Next week, the meetings are scheduled as follows:
Monday, May 16 10 am
Sun City Grand, Sonoran Plaza, 19753 N. Remington
Monday, May 16 5 pm
Northwest Regional Library, 16089 N. Bullard Avenue
Wednesday, May 18 1 pm
Arizona Traditions Ballroom, 17221 N. Citrus Road
Thursday, May 19 6 pm
Countryside Recreation Center, 15038 N. Parkview Place
Meeting with Shopping Center Property Manager
I met with Tori Nienaber, Senior Real Estate Manager with CBRE and Manager of the shopping centers located at Bell Road and Grand Avenue, regarding the impact the closure has had on the businesses located within the centers after the first month of construction. In addition, we discussed the detour route and signage.
Philanthropy Educational Organization Meeting
ADOT Assistant Communications Director Brock Barnhart, Civic Engineer Armando Lopez and I attended the Philanthropy Educational Organization (P.E.O.) meeting on Wednesday, May 11 to provide an update on the Bell Road/Grand Avenue interchange project. Approximately 30 people attended the meeting.
Mark Your Calendar
Ballots for the Special Election on May 17 can be dropped off at Surprise City Hall effective immediately, through May 17. The City Clerk’s office will accept the ballots from 8 am through 5 pm during the week. On May 17 only, ballots may be dropped off from 6 am until 7 pm.
6th Annual VA2K Walk + Roll
The Surprise Police invite the public to join them and our community partner, the Department of Veterans Affairs, at the 6th Annual VA2K 2016 Walk and Roll on Wednesday, May 18 from 6:30 am – 10 am. The 1.2 mile event will be held at the VA’s Northwest Clinic located at 13985 W. Grand Avenue in Surprise.
This community event encourages everyone to get active and urges the public to support our homeless veterans. Donations, such as new socks and undergarments, will be accepted.
Did You Know?
2016 Retail Survey
The city is working hard to bring you the shopping and dining amenities that you want here. Since the last survey, we have had several of your top picks either open or announce they are coming to Surprise, including Oregano’s and Texas Roadhouse. This year, we’d like to recognize your favorite local restaurants and retailers, so please take some time to complete our 2016 Retail Survey prior to May 22. You can do so by clicking this link: http://www.surpriseaz.gov/files/ed/retail-survey/.
View the weekly construction photos and additional information on the project website.
Work continues Monday through Saturday to:
Prepare to pave and form the curb and gutters to build the east side of Grand Avenue.
Install Grand Avenue lighting electrical conduit and foundations.
Build the bridge columns on the east and west side of Grand Avenue.
Relocate and install utilities on Bell Road and Grand Avenue.
Install storm drain and sewer main on Bell Road east of 134th Drive.
**City, County, and State law enforcement will be patrolling the area. Please obey all traffic signage and posted speed limits.**
The Grand Avenue/Bell Road Interchange Project is using the design-build contracting method, which provides flexibility while the contractor’s designers work side-by-side with the construction team to deliver an improved connection between the two roadways. The project is scheduled to be completed over the next 14 months (in spring 2017).
In order to reduce the project’s length and lessen the overall impacts of construction, ADOT has worked with the city of Surprise and local businesses to schedule a full closure of Bell Road near Grand Avenue. The full closure will allow Bell Road to be reconstructed as an overpass traveling over Grand Avenue and the parallel railroad tracks, providing a significant improvement for traffic flow.
Seven new Surprise Youth Council (SYC) Members took the oath of office at the beginning of the meeting on Tuesday evening. These teens were selected from a group of 80 interested students by a panel consisting of Council Member Todd Tande and me, along with Youth Services Administrator Paul Bernardo and graduating seniors who are currently on the youth council. Congratulations to each of you!
Surprise Youth Initiatives
The City of Surprise FY15 budget, adopted by the Surprise City Council on June 3, 2014, included a special allocation of funds for a Boys & Girls Club in the amount of $2 Million. The Council directed the expenditure of the $2 million to the Arizona Community Foundation on behalf of the Steering Committee. A provision of the Council’s action requires that the Boys & Girls Club of Surprise be chartered by the National Club by June 1, 2017. An amendment which would extend the charter deadline from June 1, 2017 to June 1, 2020 was considered and tabled until May 2, 2017 with a 4-3 vote.
For a number of years, the City has researched locating a Boys and Girls Club to serve youth in Surprise. Over the past two years, discussions through the Boys & Girls Club of Surprise Steering Committee have been held with possible partners and stakeholders to determine the feasibility of moving forward. There have been discussions of serving the children of Surprise by building a facility at the Villanueva Center in the Original Town Site. There have been discussions of serving the children of Surprise at school locations across the City. Both of these approaches require additional funding for operations as well as a capital investment. In addition, given the temporary moratorium for establishing new charters by the Boys & Girls Club of America, both approaches will take a year or two to implement.
Community and Recreation Services Director Mark Coronado discussed approaches to provide enhanced youth programs by the Community and Recreation Services Department at current Recreation Centers at Countryside and Sierra Montana with no cost increase to the budget. The CRS Department plans to utilize volunteers and partnerships to provide the enhanced programing.
FY2017 Budget Discussions Continue
The Surprise City Council has opted for a new funding mechanism that would allow the city to add 22 full-time public safety personnel in Fiscal Year 2017, without creating a food tax.
At the City Council Meeting, City Manager Bob Wingenroth presented a $298.6 million Fiscal Year 2017 Recommended Budget, and on May 4, Council approved a $306.8 million FY2017 Tentative Budget that support City Council’s Strategic Goal of maintaining a safe community by adding more than 20 public safety personnel.
The positions would have been financed through a combination of a reduction in the city’s sales tax base from 2.20% to 2.12%, and the addition of a 2.12% food tax to generate an estimated $2.4 million.
Following public input, Council asked for additional funding options that excluded a food tax. Tuesday night, on a 4-3 vote, Council approved a funding formula that eliminates the $1 million Council Contingency; utilizes $500,000 in annual budgeted salary savings; opts to not add an Emergency Operations Manager position in FY17; and includes an 8.7% property tax increase to pay for the following positions:
The property tax increase on a $200,000 home would result in an annual increase of $13, or $1.08 per month.
This budget also dedicates $55.2 million for capital improvements to preserve and/or replace aging infrastructure, such as increasing funding for the Pavement Preservation Program to $4.5 million. Investments in communications, facility, information technology, recreation and utility infrastructure amount to $6.8 million. And $10.5 million will support replacing aging vehicles to enhance service and lower maintenance costs.
Beginning in November, the city will assume responsibility for billing the water, waste water and sanitation utilities. By removing these operations from a third-party vendor, the city will be able to provide more efficient operations and provide an improved customer experience. This service will result in an additional 11 positions. The ongoing utility billing budget of $1.7 million that had been paid to the third-party vendor will remain the same once the city transitions to the billing responsibilities.
Council is scheduled to formally adopt the FY2017 budget at their June 7 meeting and the property tax rate on June 21. Both meetings begin at 6 p.m., are open to the public at City Hall and available online at www.surpriseaz.gov/surprise11.
I would like to personally thank all of my constituents who contacted me regarding your opinion on the funding options. I greatly appreciate it. I heard you loud and clear!
Events & Meetings
West Point Towne Center HOA Meeting
West Point Towne Center HOA held their monthly HOA meeting on Wednesday, April 27. Councilwoman Rachel Villanueva and I both represent the Districts that the HOA is located within, and we were both present to answer questions the residents had concerning the Bell Road closure and cut-through traffic issues.
Arizona Charter Academy Community Appreciation Luncheon
Arizona Charter Academy (ACA) hosted their annual Community Appreciation Luncheon on Thursday, April 28. Vice Mayor Jim Biundo, Council Members Rachel Villanueva, Roland Winters, Todd Tande and I all attended, as well as Mayor Lana Mook from El Mirage. Economic Development Coordinator Julie Neal received the Community Partner of the Year award for her program, the Surprise Youth Entrepreneurship Boot Camp. This camp is offered annually through partnerships and donations with several businesses in the community. Congratulations, Julie!
Surprise Networking Group Recruitment Breakfast Meeting
I was honored to be the keynote speaker at a Surprise networking group recruitment breakfast on Friday, April 29. Economic development was the focus of conversation.
Valley Metro Audit & Finance Committee Meeting
I participated in the Valley Metro Audit & Finance Committee meeting on Monday, May 2 to discuss the results of the City of Phoenix audit of Valley Metro.
Surprise Arts & Cultural Advisory Commission Meeting
The Surprise Arts & Cultural Advisory Commission met on Monday, May 2. Mr. Travis Copley from Old Hickory Bat Company was recognized with a plaque for his generous donations of bats for the Commission’s art project this spring. In addition, a few upcoming events were discussed including the “Poetry Slam at WHAM” which will be held on Friday, May 6. It will feature open mic night for poetry, free verse and storytelling. This free event will be held at WHAM Art Association located at 16560 N. Dysart Road from 5 until 7 pm.
The Commission is also sponsoring “An Art Encounter with Eric Mengel” for kids. There will be an art contest and prizes to win. Admission is free. The event will be held at Barnes & Noble, 13719 W. Bell Road on Saturday, May 21 from 11 am until 1 pm.
Dysart Unified School District Athlete of the Month
Athletes from Dysart Unified School District were recognized as part of the Athlete of the Month program. Councilman John Williams and I attended the ceremony to congratulate this month’s winners which included Mariah Fleming and Charles Proby III, both from Dysart High School; Hayley Bejarano and Brendan Kuffel, both from Shadow Ridge; Makayla Nguon and David Minasian, both from Valley Vista; and Morgan Zimmerman and Fernando Lugo, both from Willow Canyon. Congrats to all of you!
IRIS USA Ribbon Cutting
IRIS USA is officially here and City Council and staff welcomed them with open arms! Last year, IRIS USA broke ground on their 400,000square foot western regional headquarters. The consumer products manufacturer, based in Sendai, Japan is located near the southwest corner of Dysart and Cactus roads. The company is in the process of creating over 100 jobs for local area residents and significantly adding to our overall economic base.
STEM CoP Meeting
Fifty-seven schools were recently accepted into the first ever AZ STEM School Community of Practice (STEM CoP). The STEM CoP is an initiative that empowers teams with multiple perspectives to learn from one another in a social structure based on learning goals. It is a community made up of school based teams who share a passion for STEM education. The community interacts throughout the school year to learn from each other, to develop a sustainable peer network of local practitioners, to improve participants’ skills and promote collaborative planning. I was flattered to be asked to participate in this initiative, and I look forward to making a contribution!
Mark Your Calendar
Surprise Safety Day
Surprise Safety Day, presented by Banner Del E. Webb Medical Center, is coming to Surprise on Saturday, May 7 from 8 am until 11 am. This fun-filled event, hosted by the aquatic center in partnership with Surprise Police and Fire-Medical, will feature emergency vehicles and equipment; interactive exhibits and live demonstrations of Surprise’s public safety services; and water safety and CPR demonstrations.
The Surprise Aquatic Center is offering free swim lesson assessments and will be conducting swim team tryouts for those who are interested. Participants are encouraged to bring bathing suits and a towel; the pool is heated.
The Surprise Aquatic Center is located at 15831 N Bullard Avenue. For more information regarding Safety Day, swim lesson assessments, or swim team tryouts, please contact the Community and Recreation Services office at 623.222.2000.
Did You Know?
Surprise Forward Meetings Begin New Week
As the City of Surprise explores options for funding capital improvements, the public is invited to attend a presentation and discussion on a proposed $60 million 2016 General Obligation (GO) Bond.
The money would fund capital improvement projects around our City over the next five years – from new fire stations to serve a growing city; to recreational amenities that promote community wellness; to road improvements that will create a more connected Surprise!
If approved by City Council prior to the July “Call for Election” deadline, the bond package would be added to the November 2016 ballot. If approved by the voters, it would result in a secondary property tax. Currently, Surprise does not have a secondary property tax.
The cost to Surprise homeowners, administered via the property tax bill, is NOT determined by the home’s market value, but rather its assessed value. The tax is estimated to be $0.50 per $100 of assessed value, which would be $100 a year on a $200,000 home. You can find the assessed value of your home at www.mcassessor.maricopa.gov.
We want your input in this process, so please plan to attend one of the public meetings. Next week, the meetings are scheduled as follows:
Monday, May 9
Surprise City Council Chambers, 16000 N Civic Center Plaza
6 – 8 p.m.
Thursday, May 12
Sierra Montana Community Center, 14861 N Spring Lane
6 – 8 p.m.
Please remember the new “ShopSurprise” incentive program is in full gear during the Bell/Grand interchange project. This program offers you special coupons and shopping promotions as well as prizes and drawings. You just need to text “ShopSurprise” – one word – to 40518. If you don’t have a smart phone, you are welcome to see all the daily deals at www.shopsurpriseaz.com. Thank you for your assistance to help support our businesses impacted by this construction project!
The Surprise City Council helped IRIS USA mark the opening of their new 400,000+ sq ft facility on May 3, 2016. The Council participated in the official ribbon cutting, along with IRIS Ohyama Inc. President Kentaro Ohayama, IRIS USA Chairman Akihiro Ohyama and IRIS USA President Chet Keizer.