February 23, 2017 • Newsletter

City Council Work Session

Budget Discussion For Fiscal Year 2018

On February 21, the Council had its second in a series of work sessions on the upcoming FY2018 budget. The focus was on the sources of funds for the General Fund. The General Fund’s unassigned fund balance is $2.5 million higher than estimated due to greater revenues and lower expenditures than expected for last fiscal year. These funds can be used for one time uses such as capital projects. Revenues for the current fiscal year are also currently 4% or $1.8 million above budgeted amounts. Impacts to local sales tax collections within the Bell Road and Grand Avenue Interchange Improvement project area are smaller than anticipated. These impacts are further offset by greater collections in other areas of the City.

Also reviewed were the city’s reserves which total $35.2 million for the current fiscal year. A revision to establish separate Operating, Budget Stabilization, and Emergency reserves within the General Fund was discussed. This will help to clarify the purpose of the General Fund reserves, identify when they can be used, and establish timelines to replenish them when they are used.

The budget discussions will continue over the next few Council meetings resulting in the June adoption of the FY2018 budget that will become effective July 1.

Discussion of Adoption of Public Art Plan

Arts & Cultural Advisory Commission Chair Susan DeJong provided an overview of the proposed Public Art Plan. The purpose of the plan is to identify and refine how art is integrated into City Hall. Commission members have worked in partnership with Consultant Architekton. The Commission would like to utilize some of this fiscal year’s funding to cover some of the priority projects. The goal is to proceed with the highest impact projects for the lowest cost.


City Council Meeting

Major Amendment to the Sycamore Farms PAD

Sustainability Engineering Group, on behalf Taylor Trust Farms LLC, sought approval of an amendment to the zoning of the Sycamore Farms PAD to modify land uses and to adjust certain commercial development standards. These proposed amendments demonstrated intent to develop the site to better represent the current needs of the residential and commercial development community that has transformed since the adoption of the Sycamore Farms PAD 16 years ago. The amendment passed unanimously.

Sycamore Farms PAD Map

Approval of Annexation

Staff requested the approval of an annexation of a 3.34 acre portion of Peoria Avenue, located between Sarival Avenue and Reems Road. Based on a previous Intergovernmental Agreement, Maricopa County expanded and constructed this proposed annexation section of Right-of-Way on the south side of Peoria Avenue between Reems Road and Sarival Avenue. This annexation will transfer ownership and maintenance to the City of Surprise and provide a safe transportation option and improve connectivity. The recommendation passed unanimously.

Council repeals City-wide Temporary Sign Policy; and Bell and Grand Temporary Sign and Use Permit Policy

The city of Surprise has a history of responding to business needs. During the last economic recession, City Council adopted a citywide temporary signage policy, in 2009, to temporarily allow for a-frame signs, building banners and ease restrictions for sign walkers.

Council extended it for one year in 2012 and agreed to keep it in place during the Bell-Grand Construction Project in 2016.

Eight years later with an improving economy, Council approved removing the temporary policy, at their February 21 Regular Meeting. This move is aimed at eliminating the clutter of too many temporary signs that have popped up along city sidewalks and other locations throughout the city.

Businesses citywide have until April 22, 2017 (60 days following Council action) to comply with the original signage policy.

Under the original policy:

  • A-frames are not permitted.
  • Building banners are only allowed twice per year, for 30 days.
  • In the event of a Grand Opening, the building banner is permitted for a 60-day period.

The city also realized that closing Bell Road for seven months during the Bell-Grand intersection work would impact area businesses, so Council adopted a temporary Bell-Grand Signage Policy, for businesses surrounding the construction zone that allowed for more temporary signage during construction and waived temporary use permit fees.

Now that the work is complete, Council has voted to repeal this policy as well. Bell-Grand businesses have until April 22, 2017 to comply with the original signage policies as listed previously. In addition, Bell-Grand area businesses will once again be required to obtain a building permit for directional signage and special events may also require a Temporary Use Permit. These two items were temporarily lifted under the temporary Bell-Grand policy.

The ultimate goal is to remove clutter from our city streets and sidewalks and create an atmosphere that aims to make business signage more impactful.

The Sign Code is available online at:

https://www.municode.com/library/az/surprise/codes/code_of_ordinances?nodeId=PTIILADEOR_CH113SI

Questions? Call Community Development at 623.222.3000.

Purchase of Real Property in Original Town Site

The City Council has identified the Surprise Heritage District as an important area to the City’s heritage and as such to expand current city services in the area. The City owns the majority of property surrounding the site and thus has identified the Do Norma property as a property to acquire as an investment for City services in the future. The Council unanimously agreed to purchase the 5.84 acres.

Budget Amendment for Pickleball Courts and Shade Structures

In February 2015, City Council formed a Capital Improvement Funding Exploratory Committee to review potential use of general obligation bonds to fund specific capital improvements. Construction of eight additional lighted Pickleball Courts was included in the review of the committee and the courts were supported by the Community and Recreation Services Advisory Commission. It was later decided to remove the courts from the bond package and look for other sources to fund this $500,000 project.

Construction of the additional courts adjacent to the existing courts will require the relocation of the sand volleyball courts at Community Park. Conservative estimated project completion would be August 2017.

Separately, over the years City Council approved the construction of a wide variety of Park and Recreation facilities including sports fields and courts, playgrounds, water features, dog parks, and open space. These facilities are a gathering place for all ages. During much of the year, the heat from the shade makes it difficult to fully enjoy our facilities. Equipment is hot to the touch, flooring too hot for bare feet, and without shade of any kind, there is no way to find respite other than leaving the facility and heading inside.

Shade structures may be constructed throughout the city at a cost of approximately $20,000 for a 30’x30′ and $40,000 for a 40’x40′. Staff will specifically analyze the needs citywide and recommend the best mix of structures to maximize the benefit from a $200,000 investment in shade. City Council unanimously approved the budget amendment to proceed.


Events & Meetings

Valley Metro RPTA Monthly Meeting

The Valley Metro RPTA Board unanimously voted to officially make an offer for an Internal Audit Manager.

Surprise Becomes a College Town!

Ottawa University and the City of Surprise announced on Friday, February 17 that Ottawa University Arizona (OUAZ), a new residential university campus, will be opening Fall 2017 in Surprise, expanding upon the university’s 40-year presence in our state, making Surprise a university town, and bringing intercollegiate athletic programs to the West Valley.

OUAZ Surprise, 15950 N. Civic Center Plaza, will offer a full complement of academic, athletic and student activity programs including multiple undergraduate and graduate degree programs. The university will be home to 19 varsity men’s and women’s sports teams, and will be working toward a National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) designation. Upon award of the designation, OUAZ would be one of only four NAIA programs in Arizona.

Ottawa University President Kevin C. Eichner announced the university aims to enroll 250 students for its first semester of classes at the new campus, with a target of up to 3,000 residential students over 10 years, adding to its current 8,300 alumni roll in the Arizona market.

Ottawa University is a private, non-profit, Christian university that was founded in Ottawa, Kansas in 1865. The future 35-acre campus will be embedded within the Surprise City Center, integrating with the existing 250-acre City of Surprise Civic Center and Recreation campus. The school will also launch out of existing space within the Communiversity at the Civic Center, allowing students to avail themselves to the surrounding city amenities, including the Surprise Aquatic Center, Dream Catcher Park, the Surprise Tennis & Racquet Complex, and Surprise Stadium, as well as robust shopping and dining amenities.

Ottawa University Dedication
City Council Members with Dr. Kevin Eichner and Dr. Dennis Tyne

Surprise Fine Art & Wine Festival

Despite the inclement weather, the Surprise Fine Art & Wine Festival took place this past weekend. Although there were a few cancellations, 67 artists participated. There were six wineries and a distillery as well as three musicians. There were approximately 1700 patrons on Friday and a few hundred the remainder of the days.

State of the City Address

In her message to residents, businesses, partners and volunteers on Wednesday, February 22, Mayor Sharon Wolcott demonstrated that when we work together in the spirit of community pride we enhance quality of life for all ages and establish a solid foundation for future generations. She cited examples of success in transportation, including the on-time completion of the Bell-Grand intersection improvements; public safety; job growth; and social-service support that have all improved quality of life in Surprise.

As part of the Surprise International initiative, Mayor Wolcott announced the creation of a cross-border task force to study innovations in the $100 billion health tourism industry and to explore whether Surprise can play a role in “setting a new standard in medical tourism delivery.” The task force will be comprised of Canadian and Arizonan industry partners, and will be co-chaired by Surprise Economic Development Director Jeanine Jerkovic.

She reminded the audience that Surprise remains a growing community and that will increase the demands in maintaining a safe and vibrant city and cited the continued need to support transportation improvements, educational opportunities and securing space for future public safety locations, parks and open space.

Watch the video of the speech or read the transcript at www.surpriseaz.gov/sotc.


Mark Your Calendar

Mayor’s Welcome Back Lunch

Mayor Wolcott will be hosting the 15th Annual Mayor’s Welcome Back Luncheon to celebrate the return of the Kansas City Royals and the Texas Rangers on Thursday, March 2 from 11 am – 1 pm. The event will take place at Surprise Stadium – Sanderson Ford 1st Base Concourse, located at 15930 N. Bullard Avenue.

Event admission will include a catered lunch provided by State 48 Brewery; 1 plaza level ticket to the Colorado Rockies vs. Kansas City Royals scheduled game; and a 15th anniversary commemorative gift. Guests will also have the opportunity to hear about the upcoming season from team staff. For more information, please contact the Community and Recreation Services office at 623.222.2000.

Surprise Police Explorers Host “Tip A Cop” Event

The Surprise Police Department Police Explorer Post 2236 will join forces with the staff at the local Outback Steakhouse Restaurant, located at 14225 W. Grand Avenue, in order to raise donations in support of the their growing program. The event will be held on Saturday, March 4 from 4 – 8 pm.

The explorers are inviting the public to join them at the event and help support their fund raising efforts during this “Tip-a-Cop” event. So, come meet some of the Explorers and enjoy some of your favorite food. Remember to bring your change to tip your “server” and make a donation/contribution to help the Explorers raise funds to support their growing program.

Click here to learn more information about Surprise Police Explorer Post 2236: http://ow.ly/VqYMc


Did You Know?

15th Annual Spring Training Season Starts This Weekend!

We are thrilled to kick off the 15th Annual Spring Training Season in Surprise! If you haven’t secured your tickets for the Kansas City Royals or Texas Rangers games, it’s not too late! The first game begins on February 25, at 1:05 pm, with a hometown match-up between the Royals and Rangers to support our local youth sports programs!

This season, there is something for everyone! Here are a few of the fun promotional event dates:

February 26 – KC Royals Surprise Recreation Campus Hall of Fame Inductees
March 2 – KC Royals Mascot “Slugger” visits Surprise Stadium
March 5 – Texas Rangers Surprise Recreation Campus Hall of Fame Inductees
March 12 – Ronald McDonald visits Surprise Stadium
March 25 – Budweiser Clydesdales visit Surprise Stadium

With craft brew all the rage these days… For $30 you have access to the Four Peaks Pavilion in right field, a catered meal and a beverage! Other options include the Boulevard Craft Brew tent and our local State 48 craft brew stand! New on the food menu includes grilled corn on the cob and the Triple Play- a hot dog inside a hamburger, wrapped in bacon!

For a complete game schedule and more, visit www.surprisespringtraining.com or call 623.222.2222.


Contact Me

Office: 623.222.1325
Mobile: 623.451.3975
Email: skip.hall@surpriseaz.gov

Ask a Question

Ottawa University Announces New Residential Campus in Surprise

City of Surprise to become university town with classes beginning August 2017


Ottawa University and the City of Surprise today announced that Ottawa University Arizona (OUAZ), a new residential university campus, will be opening Fall 2017 in Surprise, Ariz., expanding upon the university’s 40-year presence in the Valley of the Sun, making Surprise a university town, and bringing intercollegiate athletic programs to the West Valley.

OUAZ Surprise, 15950 N. Civic Center Plaza, will offer a full complement of academic, athletic and student activity programs primarily for traditional-age college students, including multiple undergraduate and graduate degree programs. The university will be home to 19 varsity men’s and women’s sports teams, and will be working toward a National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) designation. Upon award of the designation, OUAZ would be one of only four NAIA programs in Arizona. The school mascot is a grey wolf and the sports teams are called the Spirit.

At a dedication event this morning, Ottawa University President Kevin C. Eichner announced the university aims to enroll 250 students for its first semester of classes at the new campus, with a target of up to 3,000 residential students over 10 years, adding to its current 8,300 alumni roll in the Arizona market.

“Ottawa University has expanded strategically during the last 151 years and we are poised for significant growth and exceptional student outcomes here in Surprise,” said Eichner. “We are grateful the City of Surprise shares our vision for delivering a new model for education with an emphasis on educating and developing the whole person, and creating work-ready graduates who are prepared to be successful on the job from day one.”

Ottawa University is a private, non-profit, Christian university that was founded in Ottawa, Kansas in 1865. The university has been operating in Arizona since 1977 with campuses in Phoenix and Queen Creek, and has been serving the Surprise community for eight years at its current location as part of the Communiversity at Surprise, a partnership of higher education institutions. Historically, the Surprise campus has primarily served adult learners, which it will continue to do; the traditional-age student is a new market for OUAZ.

The future 35-acre OUAZ campus will be embedded within the Surprise City Center, integrating with the existing 250-acre City of Surprise Civic Center and Recreation campus. The school will also launch out of existing space within the Civic Center, allowing students to avail themselves of the surrounding city amenities, including the Surprise Aquatic Center, Dream Catcher Park, the Surprise Tennis & Racquet Complex, and Surprise Stadium, as well as robust shopping and dining amenities.

“Surprise is a college town! Our graduating high school seniors now have the option to pursue a college degree in their hometown,” said Surprise Mayor Sharon Wolcott. “This partnership keeps our promise to residents; after all, university campus development is part of the City Council’s Strategic Plan and we could not ask for a better partner than Ottawa University. This is a storied educational institution with more than 150 years of success and a 40-year foothold in the Phoenix market. They know us and we know them!”

Expansion plans for the Surprise campus include development of residential housing, an indoor activity center, dining and conference space, and new athletic fields, including a stadium with artificial turf for football and soccer.

OUAZ innovates a unique approach to education. In addition to traditional academic degree and athletics programs, the University places significant emphasis on evolving all dimensions of the student: intellectual, spiritual, physical, artistic, financial, familial and vocational. A key delivery vehicle for this approach is OUAZ’s Adawe Center, which pairs a life coach with each student upon registration who will remain with the student throughout their enrollment at the university, helping them identify and pursue their degree and life paths, and preparing them to pursue their desired vocation upon graduation. Another distinctive element of OUAZ is “personal growth days.” No classes are held on Wednesdays so students may take part in chapel, attend the numerous personal and professional skills development conferences and workshops offered throughout the year, take part in volunteer or service activities, and share a meal together with faculty and staff.

OUAZ’s unique FlexTerm academic calendar offers a 21st century approach to enable students to learn how and when they want to learn. Courses are offered in formats that run for four weeks, eight weeks, or in more traditional semester-length time frames. With this format, students will typically take just two courses at a time, allowing them the benefit of concentration vs. fragmentation (when trying to balance four or five courses in a traditional semester system). The OUAZ FlexTerm calendar encourages students to tailor their educational experience and investment to go deeper into their studies while also interspersing their classroom learning with internships, service learning, international and cross-cultural study programs. It also allows students to accelerate toward graduation in less than four years and even to combine master’s degree studies within their educational plan, enabling OUAZ graduates to enter the job market with a combination of degrees.

OUAZ will be introducing the Ottawa Alliance for Quality Christian Education, a network of not-for-profit mission-based organizations that are interested in supporting a Christ-inspired community of grace throughout their educational institutions and the world. The Alliance aims to reduce the cost of Christian education, increase enrollment at Christ-focused schools and encourage enrollment at Ottawa University. Scholarships for students; faculty, staff and board members; and, faculty spouses and student parents will be available.

Of particular interest for strong academic and service-minded students will be the prestigious Founders and Pioneer Scholarships targeted for well-qualified and motivated students who will serve with OUAZ to shape student culture at the new campus. A limited number of these scholars can begin serving the institution this spring by working with prospective students and their families.

“We are a steadfastly Christian, positively open and inclusive university empowering students from around the world and every background to become ‘whole’ people, to develop their passions and abilities, and be ready to face the world when they graduate from OUAZ,” said Eichner. “We are proud to be bringing a full-fledged residential university experience to Surprise and to our future students.”

The OUAZ leadership team includes: Dr. Dennis J. Tyner, Provost; Keith Johnson, Chief Operating Officer; Dr. Amy Hogan, Dean of Instruction; Brandon Fowler, Dean of Student Experience; Dr. David Barnes, Executive Director of University Advancement, Arizona; and Kevin Steele, Director of Athletics.

Additional faculty hires are underway, with a number of key athletic coaching positions already filled. Student recruitment for August enrollment has begun.

For enrollment information and to learn more about OUAZ Surprise, visit www.ottawa.edu/Surprise.


About Ottawa University

Founded in 1865, Ottawa University prepares professional and liberal arts graduates for lifetimes of personal significance, vocational fulfillment and service to God and humanity as a Christ-inspired community of grace and opening inquiry. Ottawa University is a comprehensive, not-for-profit educational institution serving more than 4,000 students through its residential campuses in Ottawa, Kan., and Surprise, Ariz. (opening Fall 2017), and adult campuses in Overland Park, Kan.; Phoenix, Queen Creek and Surprise, Ariz.; Brookfield, Wis.; Jeffersonville, Ind.; and online. For more information, visit www.ottawa.edu.

February 16, 2017 • Newsletter

Bell Road/Grand Avenue Update

The newly constructed Grand Ave ramps from the Bell Rd Bridge are now open; here’s what you need to know about navigating the completed intersection!

  1. The traffic control signal on the top of the Bell Rd Bridge that connects traffic movements from the new on-off ramps to Grand Ave is now active! Be prepared to stop at the intersection to allow Grand Ave traffic to make turning movements onto Bell Rd, and Bell Rd movements onto Grand Ave.
  2. Planning to shop at Surprise Marketplace (SW corner of Bell & Grand)? Those driving on Bell Rd should STAY on Bell Rd to access this shopping center, just west of the bridge, at the Chick-Fil-A driveway or West Point Pkwy. If you are on Grand Ave, then enter using the Bell Grande Dr entrance, just south of the bridge.
  3. If you are on Grand Ave (in either direction) and take the Grand Ave ramps to access Bell Rd, you can only turn right or left onto Bell. There are no through movements back onto Grand Ave for drivers on the ramps.
  4. Dual left turns on Bell-to-Dysart & Litchfield-to-Bell are GONE! Traffic control has returned to the pre-Bell Rd closure configuration at these intersections. The dual left turn lanes, and other detour-favoring changes, have been removed. Please be mindful of the traffic control changes.
  5. The city is actively monitoring the intersection for traffic synchronization!

Or view the ADOT Bell-Grand interchange animation to better understand traffic movements at the project intersections.

Project tasks, such as landscaping, permanent striping and construction of the interchange drainage system, will continue until the project is complete in early March 2017.

For more information or if you have questions: ADOT’s project hotline (855) 712-8530, press option #1 or email: bellandgrandinfo@azdot.gov


Events & Meetings

Valley Metro Audit & Finance Committee Meeting

The Valley Metro Audit & Finance Committee met on Thursday, February 9 to interview for the position of Manager, Internal Auditor. A candidate was unanimously chosen and will be forwarded to the full Board for discussion and approval on February 16.

Women in Government Leadership Launch

City Manager Bob Wingenroth kicked-off the launch of our city’s Surprise Women Leading Government Program on Thursday, February 9. Women Leading Government is an initiative that welcomes all people, men and women, dedicated to public service and the development of women leaders. The city has formed a team dedicated to developing and implementing this program within our organization that will continue growing talent and encouraging women to excel.


Mark Your Calendar

5th Annual Surprise Fine Art & Wine Festival This Weekend

Thunderbird Artists are heading to Surprise again with an array of beautiful art pieces and great wine and rum samplings! Admission is only $3 and for $10, patrons will receive an engraved souvenir wine glass and six tasting tickets, giving you an opportunity to sample an extensive collection of domestic and imported wines as well as flavored rums.

The festival will also include live musical entertainment and great food. Crab Fiesta offers delicious crab cakes. Larry’s Smokehouse serves fresh salmon dishes, and there will be much more!

The event will be held on February 17, 18 and 19 from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. at the Surprise Recreation Campus.

USTA Pro Circuit Tournament in Surprise

The Surprise Tennis Classic Women’s Tennis Championships, a USTA Pro Circuit Event, is in town through Sunday. This $25,000 tournament features up and coming young professionals from the Women’s Professional Circuit.

The tournament is being held at the national award-winning Surprise Tennis and Racquet Complex. This is 10th consecutive year the complex has hosted a USTA Pro Circuit event.

The tournament includes great tennis action as well as a series of special events for the public. There are a couple of events still to come this week:

Thursday, February 16: Tennis Buddies Day
An adaptive tennis clinic for individuals with special needs provided by staff from the Surprise Tennis and Racquet Complex, along with the tournament’s touring professionals, and the City of Surprise’s Adaptive Recreation Staff. Clinic runs 6-7 p.m. with a pizza party and prizes for all participants at the conclusion of the clinic.

Thursday, February 16: High School Tennis Day and Players Clinic
Teens that play on their high school Varsity or Junior Varsity tennis teams are invited to a 90-minute clinic with some of the tournament’s touring professionals. Participants will compete in drills and point situations with world class players from the tournament followed by a pizza party, prizes and a meet-and-greet with the players. Clinic runs from 6-7:30 p.m.

Saturday, February 18: Kids Tennis Carnival
Kids participate in games with players from the Pro Circuit. All kids admitted free to Carnival and the day’s matches while parents pay half-price admission. Kids Carnival starts at 11 a.m. with pizza and prizes for all participants prior to the start of the semifinal matches. For information, contact the Surprise Tennis and Racquet Complex at 623.222.2400.

Tickets for the event can be purchased onsite at the Surprise Tennis and Racquet Complex, located at 14469 W. Paradise Lane. Tickets are $6 per person. For additional ticket or tournament information, please call 623.222.2400 or visit our website at www.surpriseaz.com/tennis.

Mayor’s Welcome Back Lunch

Mayor Wolcott will be hosting the 15th Annual Mayor’s Welcome Back Luncheon to celebrate the return of the Kansas City Royals and the Texas Rangers on Thursday, March 2 from 11 am – 1 pm. The event will take place at Surprise Stadium – Sanderson Ford 1st Base Concourse, located at 15930 N. Bullard Avenue.

Event admission will include a catered lunch provided by State 48 Brewery; 1 plaza level ticket to the Colorado Rockies vs. Kansas City Royals scheduled game; and a 15th anniversary commemorative gift. Guests will also have the opportunity to hear about the upcoming season from team staff. For more information, please contact the Community and Recreation Services office at 623.222.2000.


Did You Know?

City Offices Closed for Presidents Day

City of Surprise administrative offices will be closed Monday, February 20 in observance of Presidents Day.

City of Surprise trash and recycling customers ONLY are reminded that collection will be postponed by one day the week of February 20-24. Monday collection will occur on Tuesday; Tuesday collection will occur on Wednesday; Wednesday collection will occur on Thursday; Thursday collection will occur on Friday.

Please note that not all City of Surprise residents are City of Surprise trash and recycling customers and, therefore, may not experience a change in pickup service. Please check with your service provider.

Please contact City of Surprise Customer Service at 623.222.6000 if you have any questions.

Where Does Your Money Go?


local sales tax breakdown

Contact Me

Office: 623.222.1325
Mobile: 623.451.3975
Email: skip.hall@surpriseaz.gov

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February 9, 2017 • Newsletter

Bell Road/Grand Avenue Update

The Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) continues to issue project updates for the Bell Road/Grand Avenue bridge project. I encourage you to familiarize yourself with the upcoming Bell-Grand interchange traffic configurations. View the ADOT Bell-Grand interchange animation to better understand traffic movements at the project intersections.

The Bell-Grand project is almost complete! While we’re experiencing lane closures on both Bell and Grand over the next few weeks, let’s continue to be good neighbors and avoid creating personal detours through neighborhoods to avoid additional traffic.

Upcoming Activities

  • Bell Road narrowed to one lane in each direction nightly from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. Friday, Feb. 10, Saturday, Feb. 11, and Sunday, Feb. 12.
  • Grand Avenue will be restricted to one lane in both directions at times over the next couple of weeks during daytime hours. Two lanes of traffic will be back in place at the end of each day.
  • The traffic signal at Bell Road and Grand Avenue will be activated Monday, Feb. 13.
  • The Grand Avenue ramps to and from Bell Road will be opened Thursday, Feb. 16.

City, County, and State law enforcement will be patrolling the area. Please obey all traffic signage and posted speed limits.

For more information or if you have questions: ADOT’s project hotline (855) 712-8530, press option #1 or email: bellandgrandinfo@azdot.gov


City Council Workshop

City Budget Kick-Off for Fiscal Year 2018

The first budget presentation regarding the development of the FY2018 budget began on Tuesday afternoon. This particular presentation provided a general overview of the city’s budget and a review of the calendar for the upcoming process. Emphasis was placed on the areas of policy making and the impact it can have on the FY2018 budget. The presentation also discussed outside issues that will influence the outcome of the budget process, such as public safety retirement, cost increases and workload increases.

Future Council Work Sessions and Regular Meetings will include additional presentations related to budget development, including topics on Capital Improvement Projects and continued operating budget discussions. This process will result in the adoption of a balanced FY2018 budget in June. FY2018 begins July 1, 2017.


City Council Meeting

City Manager Recognitions

Three special youth were recognized by City Manager Bob Wingenroth at the beginning of the City Council meeting on Tuesday.

Sisters, Shelby and Tabitha Caetano, were acknowledged by Surprise Fire-Medical Chief Tom Abbott for their heroic actions while providing life saving measures during a medical emergency for a family member.

Ladder Company 305 with Shelby and Tabitha Caetano
Ladder Company 305 with Shelby and Tabitha Caetano

Makenna Breading-Goodrich, an eighth grade student at Canyon Ridge Elementary School, was recognized as a Distinguished Finalist as part of the Prudential Spirit of Community Award program. There were over 31,000 young volunteers who were considered. This is the first time a student from Surprise has won the award. She is an exceptional individual with a genuine heart for community service. I commend her for her work and for inspiring her peers to contribute to the community!

City Council with Makenna Breading-Goodrich
City Council with Makenna Breading-Goodrich

Events & Meetings

“Drive Wise, Surprise” Campaign

The Surprise Police Department launched a new traffic safety campaign aimed at encouraging safe driving habits. The slogan: “Drive Wise, Surprise.”

“In recent years, traffic accidents in our city have increased by 8-to-10 percent amid a growing population,” says Police Chief Terry Young. “This campaign is designed to create a culture of safe driving in Surprise, whether you are a resident or a visitor driving through the city.”

The campaign uses play on words and bright, creative imagery to deploy safety reminders via new street signage. While the campaign may sound playful, the intention behind it is more serious.

“When you are practicing good driving habits, you are helping to make the road safer for everyone,” says Chief Young. “Getting to your destination faster is not worth a serious injury; driving distracted or under the influence is not worth a life.”

This message is especially relevant as accident statistics increase and bad driving behaviors continue, not only in Surprise, but across Arizona and the country:

  • Surprise saw an 8 percent increase in accidents from 2014 to 2015 and a 10 percent increase in accidents from 2015 to 2016.
  • Arizona Department of Transportation reported a statewide increase of more than 6 percent from 2014 to 2015.
  • About 87 percent of drivers engage in unsafe behaviors behind the wheel, according to national research by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety.
  • Nearly 80 percent of drivers expressed significant anger, aggression or road rage behind the wheel at least once in a one year period, according to a national study by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety.

In addition to street signs, the campaign includes community and media engagement, social media messaging, ads, a public service announcement and various other marketing tools.

Watch the public service announcement and see images of the street signage at www.surpriseaz.gov/drivewise.


Mark Your Calendar

County Seeking Input on Multi-Year Health Improvement Plan

Maricopa County Department of Public Health (MCDPH) is seeking the public’s input on defining its health priorities for a three-year plan that will be implemented starting in 2018. Various public meetings are being held throughout the county where the public will be presented with the top 10 health priorities that have come out of this year’s assessment and asked to whittle them down to the top 3-5.

All sessions will provide snacks & refreshments, free childcare service and are ADA-accessible.

Interested West Valley community members should attend the public forum listed below:

Tuesday, February 28
5:00 – 7:30 p.m.
No Spanish translation
Surprise City Hall, Community Room, 16000 N Civic Center Plaza

For more information, contact Sonia Charry at 602-679-3098.

HOA Connection Classes

The city is hosting a series of HOA Connection Classes, which are designed to strengthen the city’s HOA communities. Residents and HOA board members are invited to attend the following upcoming classes:

February 28 – Proposed Legislation and Information on Fraud in HOAs

Community association attorney Beth Mulcahy will provide a general overview of Arizona community association law and the new bills that have been introduced in the Arizona Legislature in 2017. There will also be a brief discussion on how to prevent theft and fraud of association funds.

The class will be held from 1- 2:30 p.m. in the Surprise Public Safety Building Auditorium, 14250 W. Statler Plaza, Surprise, AZ 85374.

March 8 – HOA Open Meeting Laws

The Arizona Legislature has passed laws requiring planned communities and condominiums to conduct all of their meetings in a manner that is open to the community. This well-intentioned law is sometimes viewed as an unreasonable burden upon board members, which can result in violations. This class will cover:

  • Importance of Arizona’s open meeting laws
  • Overview of the open meeting laws and how they operate
  • Burdens on volunteer board members created by the law
  • Typical violations of the law and how they are best addressed

The class will be taught by Steve Cheifetz. Mr. Cheifetz has practiced law in Phoenix for 30 years, with the last 15 years of his practice having focused on homeowners association issues and disputes.

The class will be held from 6-7:30 p.m. in the Surprise Public Safety Building Auditorium, 14250 W. Statler Plaza, Surprise, AZ 85374.

For more information on either of the classes or to register, please contact Ruby Sitea at 623.222.3242 or ruby.sitea@surpriseaz.gov.

Disclaimer: Information in seminars and classes sponsored by the City are a public service and should not be construed as advice or representation of any specific business, company, individual business owners, brokers or affiliations. The City does not endorse any particular business, product or speaker. Any information presented does not reflect the opinion or position of the City.


Did You Know?

Property Tax Distribution

The city collects approximately 9.5% of the primary property tax rate. The rest goes to schools, the county and other entities.

Property Tax Distribution


Contact Me

Office: 623.222.1325
Mobile: 623.451.3975
Email: skip.hall@surpriseaz.gov

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February 2, 2017 • Newsletter

Bell Road/Grand Avenue Update

The Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) continues to issue project updates for the Bell Road/Grand Avenue bridge project. Please note that the project has entered the third and final stage through this month.

I encourage you to familiarize yourself with the upcoming Bell-Grand interchange traffic configurations. View the ADOT Bell-Grand interchange animation to better understand traffic movements at the project intersections.

Work continues on the following:

  • Paving is anticipated for completion on Grand Avenue by the end of this week.
  • Grand Avenue ramps to and from Bell Road are anticipated to open, weather permitting, by February 16.
  • Painting, landscaping and sidewalk work is ongoing.

City, County, and State law enforcement will be patrolling the area. Please obey all traffic signage and posted speed limits.

For more information or if you have questions: ADOT’s project hotline (855) 712-8530, press option #1 or email: bellandgrandinfo@azdot.gov

Bell Road/Grand Avenue Traffic Pattern Update

The Bell-Grand Traffic Pattern Map focuses on the intersections at Grand and Bell Grande Drive; Grand and Bell Road; and Grand and Towne Center Drive. Here are the biggest changes you will encounter:

  • An active traffic signal on the top of the Bell Road Bridge will direct traffic movements from the new on-off ramps to and from Grand Avenue;
  • Traffic descending northwest on Grand Avenue ramps will merge into Grand Avenue traffic prior to approaching the Towne Center Drive intersection. Shoppers will note dual lefts at the intersection to get into the commercial area;
  • There will be NO access to Bell Grande Drive (by Carl’s Jr.) for traffic coming off of the eastbound Grand Avenue ramp from Bell. If you want to shop at Surprise Marketplace, stay on Bell and enter the parking lot by the Chick-fil-A driveway at the bottom of the bridge;
  • And motorists traveling on Grand Avenue in either direction that want to access Bell Road should be in the left lane to access the ramps. At the top of the ramps there will be dual left lanes and one right lane to connect you to Bell.

Bell-Grand Traffic Pattern Map

The map complements the Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) interchange video that provides an animated portrayal of how motorists will access Bell Road from westbound Grand Avenue when the ramps open next month. Additionally, the city has identified the ‘Top 5 Driving Pattern Changes to Know’ to assist residents with navigating the area.

The Bell-Grand project is scheduled to be completed prior to the first Spring Training game at Surprise Stadium on February 25. For more information about the Bell-Grand project, visit www.surpriseaz.gov/bellandgrand.


Events & Meetings

Citizen Outreach Meeting

Staff hosted a Citizen Outreach meeting on January 26 regarding a proposed amendment to the Cotton Gin Planned Area Development which would allow MexMetro to develop a residential community on approximately 10.8 acres at the northeast corner of Reems and Waddell roads. There were residents in attendance who voiced their concerns and discontent over the proposed change.

Citizen Outreach Meeting

Bullard Avenue Task Force Meeting

With a state engineer on board, design work is underway on the transformation of Bullard Avenue, between Greenway Road and Peoria Avenue, city staff informed the Bullard Avenue Task Force, on Thursday, January 26.

Per task force recommendation, this stretch of Bullard Avenue will be restored to two travel lanes in each direction, while maintaining the 35 mile-per-hour speed limit. Traffic signals will also be added at the Acoma and Sweetwater intersections, to complement existing crosswalks.

With five schools located in the area and more than 600 students crossing Bullard during the school year, the city secured $1.7 million in federal grant money, including a $500,000 city match, for a total of $2.2 million to fund safety improvements. As a federally-funded project, it must be administered through the Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT). Bike lanes and cycle tracks (safety buffers), along with landscaping are included in the project.

Design and drainage plan drafts and an environmental assessment are expected to be completed this summer. Final reports are scheduled for completion this fall. The project bid is expected to be advertised in early 2018, with construction planned for May 2018 – October 2018. The previously announced tentative construction start date of late 2017 was pushed back to allow for the selection of a project engineer and for securing additional grant money to cover the costs of installing a landscaped median.

For questions please contact Mike Gent at mike.gent@surpriseaz.gov or 623.222.6223. For background information please visit www.surpriseaz.gov/bullard.

AdvancED Community Leader Meeting

The AdvancED team asked to meet with me and seven key community representatives to receive input regarding Dysart’s continuous improvement efforts and provide insight about the quality of Dysart’s educational program. AdvancED is the non-profit, non-partisan organization that conducts rigorous, on-site reviews of schools and school systems to ensure that all learners realize their full potential. The AdvancED team presented their findings and recommendation for accreditation at a special Governing Board meeting on February 1.

AdvancED Focus Group Meeting

Following the Community Leader meeting, we met at the Canyon Ridge Elementary School campus to further speak to the AdvancED certification team about the great happenings with STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math). An eclectic group of professionals were part of the focus group as well as representatives from Northern Arizona University who named Canyon Ridge one of the top STEM schools in Arizona.


Mark Your Calendar

City Begins FY18 Budget Discussions

The City of Surprise Fiscal Year 2018 budget-building process begins at the City Council’s Work Session, 4 p.m., Tuesday, February 7. This is the first in a series of presentations regarding the overall development of the budget. This presentation will give a general overview of the city’s budget and review the calendar for the upcoming process. Emphasis will be placed on the areas of policy making that the City Council has available to impact the FY2018 budget. The presentation will also discuss outside issues that will influence the outcomes of the budget process.

Future Council Work Sessions and Regular Meetings will include additional presentations related to budget development, including topics on Capital Improvement Projects and continued operating budget discussions. This process will result in the adoption of a balanced FY2018 budget in June. FY2018 begins July 1, 2017.

Council agendas are posted online at http://agenda.surpriseaz.gov/ at least two business days before the meeting. City Council meets the first and third Tuesdays of each month. Work Sessions are at 4 p.m. and Regular Meetings begin at 6 p.m. All meetings are carried live on Surprise TV for cable customers and streamed online at www.surpriseaz.gov/surpriseTV.

Lunchtime Theatre Series

The City of Surprise and the West Valley Arts Council, in partnership with Theatre Works, the West Valley Symphony and the Phoenix Opera are excited to offer another performance, “Jam Session with Maestro Kellogg and Friends”. The performance will be held on February 9, 2017. The first performance will be held at 11:30 a.m. and the second at 1:30 p.m. Tickets are $10 and can be purchased by calling the West Valley Arts Council at 623.935.6384.

Veteran Resource Navigator Training

The City has partnered with the Arizona Coalition for Military Families (ACMF) to bring their Veteran Resource Navigator training to Surprise on February 9. The desired outcome will be greater awareness of veteran resources so we can connect service members, veterans and their families with the right resource at the right time. Choose from either a morning or afternoon session. The sessions are 9 a.m. – noon or 1:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. The training is free and open to the public. If you or anyone you know would like to attend, please have them send a RSVP e-mail to Deb Perry at Deborah.Perry@surpriseaz.gov.

Free Career Success Workshop for Women

The city is hosting a career success workshop for women who are looking for tips on finding a job or advancing their career.

The workshop, taught by expert Lisa Blue, will cover the following topics:

  • Interview do’s and don’ts
  • How to improve your resume
  • How to identify and overcome challenges
  • How to align yourself with your passion

The workshop will be held Thursday, February 23 from 5:30-7 p.m. at the Surprise Resource Center, 12425 W. Bell Road, Building A, Suite 124.

For more information or to register, contact Ruby Sitea at 623.222.3242 or ruby.sitea@surpriseaz.gov. Please register early since space is limited.

Disclaimer: Information in seminars and classes sponsored by the City are a public service and should not be construed as advice or representation of any specific business, company, individual business owners, brokers or affiliations. The City does not endorse any particular business, product or speaker. Any information presented does not reflect the opinion or position of the City.


Did You Know?

Fitch Upgrades Surprise MPC Bonds to A+

Fitch Ratings, one of the “Big Three” nationally recognized credit rating agencies, has upgraded the city’s Municipal Property Corporation (MPC) bonds to ‘A+’ from ‘A’. These bonds, which total $35.7 million, were issued for the South Wastewater Treatment Plant expansion, which doubled citywide treatment capacity to nearly 18 million gallons per day (mgd). Fitch believes this is ample capacity to meet future growth needs. In 2016, the plant treated an average of 8.4 mgd.

In determining the upgrade, Fitch credits affordable system user fees, which “register just 0.4% of median household income (MHI).” Fitch maintains a 1% MHI affordability threshold.

Wastewater system user fees were last increased in Fiscal Year 2010 and management does not foresee any wastewater rate adjustments for the next five years. Net revenues are expected to continue to support debt service on the series 2007 bonds.

Fitch also championed prudent financial management in which the city pays an annual prepayment principle in lieu of waiting for the large bullet payments that are due in fiscal years 2022 and 2032. A city’s credit rating is important due to its impact on interest rates in the bond market. A better rating means the city can sell bonds to finance capital projects and pay a lower interest rate to the buyer.

The agency also issued a rating outlook of Stable.


Contact Me

Office: 623.222.1325
Mobile: 623.451.3975
Email: skip.hall@surpriseaz.gov

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