March 30, 2017 • Newsletter

Events & Meetings

Surprise Police Department Promotion Ceremony

The Surprise Police Department held a promotional ceremony on March 23, 2017 to recognize the promotions of Lieutenant Norman Owens, Sergeant Michael Jalbert and Property and Evidence Supervisor Sarah Welch.

Lieutenant Norman Owens began his law enforcement career in 1996 with the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office (MCSO). Throughout his service with MCSO, Norm served as a detention officer, patrol deputy, and a narcotics detective with the MCSO Special Investigations Division. Lieutenant Owens joined the Surprise Police Department in 2001 and has served as the Off-Duty/Training Coordinator, Field Training Officer, Detective, Training Unit Officer, Sergeant, Detective Sergeant, and most recently as the Department’s Public Information Officer.

Sergeant Michael Jalbert joined the Surprise Police Department in August of 2005 and has served as a Patrol Officer, Field Training Officer and Detective. Sergeant Jalbert is currently serving as a Field Training Officer and is on the Department’s SWAT team.

Sarah Welch began employment with the Police Department in February 2007 and has been an integral part of the Property and Evidence Unit for the past 9 years. Sarah was instrumental in the implementation of the Department’s gun trade-in program and the electronic barcode evidence tracking system.

Pictured from left to right: Lt. Norman Owens, Sgt. Michael Jalbert, Sarah Welch
Pictured from left to right: Lt. Norman Owens, Sgt. Michael Jalbert, Sarah Welch

Congratulations to all of them on their promotions!

Cal Ripken Day at Surprise Stadium

Surprise Stadium hosted a parade for our city’s Cal Ripken players on Saturday, March 25 prior to the regularly scheduled spring training game. This is one of my favorite events every year as it provides Council an opportunity to welcome the players for another season. This year, there are 140 teams, 1,800 participants and 350 volunteer coaches. Thank you to Paul Frie, Community and Recreation Services Recreation Division Manager and Arizona Cal Ripken Commissioner, and his team for their work each year putting together this successful program!

National League of Cities Debrief

I met with staff on Monday, March 27 for a post-trip debrief on the National League of Cities Conference in Washington D.C. In addition to the sessions attended by staff and Councilmembers, we had a series of highly productive meetings aimed at accomplishing several objectives. Some of those objectives included the request of support from our Congressional representatives for opportunities related to funding the transportation needs of our growing city and collaborating to identify ways to meet transit and transportation needs in Surprise in a fiscally pragmatic manner.

In order to continue the conversation relative to transit and transportation needs in Surprise, Council will consider a request in the FY18 budget discussions to fund a demand study which will identify both transit demands and appropriate solutions to meet those demands. This item will be considered along with the other requests for funding in the coming fiscal year.

Surprise Regional Chamber of Commerce Monthly Breakfast Meeting

Councilmembers Jim Hayden, Ken Remley and I attended the Surprise Regional Chamber of Commerce monthly breakfast meeting on Tuesday, March 28. Scott Phillips, Vice President of Carefree Partners Investments, provided an update on City Center. The goal of Carefree Partners, in partnership with the City, is to create a downtown, walkable city center from scratch.

A project of this caliber will take patience and perseverance as we try to build the right mix of commerce, culture, recreation, entertainment, ingenuity and energy. Retail trends have changed due to the popularity of online shopping, and we are diligently working on an ever changing model. The future downtown will include major employment, Ottawa University, dense residential living, a multitude of entertainment and food options plus much more. In summary, this is a very unique public private partnership for a project of this size in the state, if not the entire country.

Surprise Literacy Challenge

The Surprise Literacy Challenge this year utilized partnerships with Surprise Friends of the Library and the local branch of the Maricopa County Library District to bring an engaging program to the 4th, 5th, and 6th grade students from Surprise. Through the use of bingo cards with 25 various challenges, students were engaged in literacy in many new and unique ways beyond just reading a book.

Ten schools participated this year with more than 2,200 students taking part of the challenge. I’m happy to report that the winners are Arizona Charter Academy’s 4th grade class led by Mrs. Wernet, Cimarron Springs’ 5th grade class led by Ms. Mohaupt and Kingswood Park Elementary’s 6th grade class led by Ms. Johnson. Congratulations!

Celebrating Expansion in Surprise

Luv 2 Play hosted a grand opening celebration on Wednesday, March 29 with a ribbon cutting ceremony, face painting, balloon artists and much more! Luv 2 Play is an indoor playground and arcade for children ages 0-12. They also have menu options for parents and kids alike! For more information, please visit http://luv2play.com/surprise/.

Christopher Todd Communities broke ground at the future Christopher Todd Communities on Greenway project. The area is located on the southwest corner of Greenway and Litchfield roads. This project will offer 136 one and two-bedroom private rental residences with a gated entry, charming detached homes with front and backyards, optional detached garages, community park with a pet washing station and a community pool. There will be 56 one-bedroom and 80 larger two-bedroom floor plans.


Mark Your Calendar

Household Hazardous Waste Collection

If you’ve been holding on to unwanted paint, electronics and other hazardous waste; mark your calendar for the City’s next Household Hazardous Waste Collection Event on Saturday, April 8.

This event is free and for Surprise residents only. Please bring a driver’s license or utility bill to show proof of a Surprise home address.

Drop-off is at the Public Works Maintenance Yard, 13433 W. Foxfire Drive (from Bell Road, turn north on Dysart and follow signs to the entrance off Foxfire), from 8 a.m. – Noon.

Acceptable items list:

  • Antifreeze, car batteries, motor oil, gasoline, diesel and fuel additives
  • Brake-transmission-power steering fluid, degreasers
  • Pool chemicals, fire extinguishers and gas cylinders
  • Compact fluorescent light bulbs
  • Stain, varnish, turpentine, cleaners, adhesives
  • Paint, paint thinners, solvents, cleaners, adhesives
  • Pesticides, herbicides, fertilizers and other lawn chemicals
  • Freezers, refrigerators (no RV refrigerators with ammonia)
  • TVs, electronics, cell phones, computers, stereos
  • Up to 5 auto tires (no rims and no truck tires )
  • Washers, dryers, water heaters, stoves, dishwashers and evaporative coolers

The following items will NOT be accepted:

  • Regular refuse and bulk trash
  • Bio–medical waste
  • Commercial waste
  • Ammunition or explosives
  • RV refrigerators that contain ammonia
  • Radioactive material

For more information, check out www.surpriseaz.gov/HHWevent or call 623.222.6000.

Taste of Surprise

The Rotary Club of Surprise will host the Taste of Surprise event at Surprise Stadium on Saturday, April 8 from 4 p.m. until 9 p.m. The event will showcase some the West Valley’s best foods and include a beer and wine garden and live entertainment. This event is designed to be fun for the entire family!

The 2017 Taste of Surprise proceeds will benefit five local non-profits including One Step Beyond, Surprise Youth Foundation, Benevilla, A New Leaf, and Rotary Club of Surprise Community Foundation. Tickets can be purchased at the event or online. To purchase tickets online, please visit http://www.tasteofsurprise.com/purchase-tickets.html.


Did You Know?

Greenway Road – Litchfield Road Intersection Improvement Work to Begin

Drivers can expect lane restrictions around the intersection of Litchfield and Greenway roads from March 30 through May 8 as crews perform utility work and correct a dip in the intersection.

A full closure of the intersection is planned for the final weekend of the project. The intersection will close Friday, May 5 at 9 p.m. and reopen Monday, May 8 at 5 a.m.

This work will complete the final phase of the Greenway Road Improvement Project. Last summer, the city completed the widening portion of the Greenway Road project between Litchfield Road and Bullard Avenue; the project also included landscaped medians, drainage improvements and sidewalks.

For more information, please call 623.222.6000.


Contact Me

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

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March 23, 2017 • Newsletter

City Council Work Session

Luke Air Force Base Activity Update

Brigadier General Brook Leonard provided an update on the activities at Luke AFB. The presentation began with the heritage of the base and how it received the name. Luke AFB is named after 2nd Lieutenant Frank Luke Jr who was a Phoenix native, a Fighter Ace and a Medal of Honor Recipient.

Thunderbolt Nation is comprised of four different locations including Luke AFB. There are over 5,600 people that make up the 56th Fighter Wing. Approximately 10,000 people are on and off Luke AFB each day. Lockheed Martin employs 400 people as part of the F-35 program. Between the 56th Fighter Wing and the 944th Fighter Wing, they make up 66% of the world’s F-35 pilots, 97% of the United States Air Force (USAF) F-16 pilots and 100% of the USAF F-15 pilots.

Other items of discussion included the Barry M. Goldwater Range, recent contributions and wins including the Luke Valley Leadership and Development Center, mission assurance programs and the significant economic impact of Luke AFB.

Fiscal Year 2018 Budget

The Council had its fourth work session related to the upcoming FY2018 budget on Tuesday afternoon. The focus was capital improvements, including the projects, their priorities, and sources available to fund them.

The sources used to fund capital improvements were discussed first. For FY2017, the sources included $4.7 million in revenue, $14.2 million in fund balance, and $34.1 million in transfers from operating funds for a total of $53.0 million. The revenues are made up largely of construction sales tax, which is a volatile source that historically has seen various increases and declines in collection dependent on the development within the City. Fund balance is predominately used to fund projects from the prior fiscal year and does not represent a viable source for new projects. The transfers from the operating funds were largely one time in nature and are dependent on future operational savings.

The projects were then broken down into seven categories and prioritized within each. The categories included Public Safety, Transportation, Parks and Recreation, General Government, Water, Wastewater, and Stormwater. The projects were prioritized based on current planning documents, expected development within the City, and staff input. The Water, Wastewater, and Stormwater categories are all supported largely by the City-run utilities associated with them. The decision to fund these projects will be tied to discussions about future anticipated rates. While the Public Safety, Transportation, Parks and Recreation, and General Government categories do include some specific funding sources, they are all dependent on construction sales tax received in the General Capital Fund and operational savings within the General Fund. Discussions on these categories included utilizing the current Public Safety Master Plan and upcoming Development Impact Fee processes to refine the need, location, and timing of projects; identifying projects that could be phased to allow “biting off” smaller sections for funding; planning of projects to leverage partnership opportunities; and focusing on ways to improve and properly maintain the current facilities to maximize their value to the community.

The budget discussions will continue with the presentation of the City Manager’s Recommended Budget on April 18 and culminate in the June adoption of the FY2018 budget that will become effective July 1, 2017.

To watch this and other past budget presentations, visit www.surpriseaz.gov/budget.


City Council Meeting

Lions Club Proclamation

In honor of the 100th anniversary of the Lions Clubs International, Mayor Sharon Wolcott recognized the Sun Village and Surprise Lions Clubs with a Lions Clubs Centennial Celebration Proclamation. Lions Clubs is the world’s largest service club organization with 1.4 million members in 46,000 clubs in more than 200 countries and geographical areas. The clubs are comprised of volunteers who dedicate their time to the betterment of our communities and aiding those in need. We appreciate what the organization continues to do locally! Thank you!

Friends of the Libraries Annual Spring Contest

Friends of the Surprise Libraries has been supporting art and literacy since 2006 with their annual book mark contest! As in years past, 6th, 7th & 8th grade students from local public, charter and home schools within the Greater Surprise area participated. The students created their bookmarks and submitted them to a panel of judges. This year, Friends of the Surprise Libraries partnered with the City of Surprise Arts & Cultural Advisory Commission to judge the entries and to present the awards at the City Council meeting. The judges, including members of the Commission, local managers from Wells Fargo Bank and volunteers from Friends of the Surprise Libraries, selected six award winners from more than 250 entries. Also new this year – all of the bookmark entries will be displayed in the Northwest Regional Library in Surprise beginning today in the children’s area. The public is welcome to come in and view the entries.

From left to right the winners are Christie Zhang, Elizabeth Lysy, Erika Arevalo, Destiny Lambert, Jacqueline Lozano and Abygail Tracey.
From left to right the winners are Christie Zhang, Elizabeth Lysy, Erika Arevalo, Destiny Lambert, Jacqueline Lozano and Abygail Tracey.

Minor General Plan Amendment to the General Plan 2035 & CampCorp Rezoning

The two projects known as the Sun City West General Plan Amendment and CampCorp rezoning work together to provide a means for businesses in an isolated part of the city to expand and provide employment opportunities for the residents of Surprise.

These nearly 76 acres of land are located generally north of the northeast corner of Grand Avenue and Bell Road. When this area was annexed in 1996, many of the facilities in the area were operating as manufacturing facilities for a home building complex. Due to robust home sales and the build out of the community, most of the facilities ceased operations and other industrial uses moved in. In the case of CampCorp, the use of manufacturing building product never ceased.

The General Plan Map revision changes the Character Area for this land from Commerce and Office to Employment. This change allows existing business in this area, now considered legal nonconforming (grandfathered), to be legal conforming. This status allows these businesses to expand their business model and utilize the parcels to their full potential.

CampCorp is the first rezone, of about 25 acres, from Regional Commercial to General Industrial. This rezone will allow expansion as well as utilizing the existing railroad spur at this site to bring raw material into the facility for processing while reducing truck traffic on Bell Road. CampCorp Plans for this parcel include expanding from simply commercial and industrial structures to the residential construction market.

Both items were unanimously approved by City Council.


Mark Your Calendar

Public Meetings on Proposed Sign Code Changes

The city is in the process of updating its Sign Code and wants your input! The proposed code aims to balance business needs with aesthetics, while meeting the requirements of law.

There is one public meeting remaining where you can learn more and give your feedback on the proposed changes:

March 29
6-7 p.m. Surprise Regional Library, 16089 N. Bullard Avenue

The code changes will also be presented to the Surprise City Council at their Regular Meeting on March 7 at 6 p.m. in the Surprise City Hall – City Council Chambers.

To learn more, view the proposed sign code text or submit online comments, please visit: www.surpriseaz.gov/signcode.

Surprise Pops Band Concert

The Surprise Pops Band will present “A Touch of Class” featuring light classics at their next performance on Sunday, April 2. The concert will begin at 3 p.m. at the Valley Vista Performing Arts Center, 15550 N. Parkview Place.

Attendees are asked to bring a non-perishable food item donation to benefit the Valley View Community Food Bank.

Match Your Skills for Meaningful Volunteer Opportunities

If you’re looking for meaningful ways to use your talents to make a difference, please considering attending an upcoming free Experience Matters information session on April 12.

Experience Matters is an organization that connects talented, experienced people with nonprofits. Experience Matters Talent Engagement Manager Cathy Gaudio will provide information on the organization and help you match your passion and skills with compelling new volunteer or stipend paid opportunities designed specifically for experienced adults.

The session will be held Wednesday, April 12, 10-11:30 a.m. at Surprise City Hall – Conference Room 150, 16000 N. Civic Center Plaza. 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.


Did You Know?

Free Block Party Trailer Rentals Available

Surprise offers free rentals of its Block Party Trailer, and we’ll even deliver it to you! The block party trailer includes chairs, tables, coolers, canopy tents, sports equipment, name tags, garbage bags, a PA-stereo system, lighting and a generator.

You can add some extra excitement by requesting a Block Party Kit! The kit includes flyers and posters to help spread the word about your party and a $75 reimbursement to a local grocery store to assist with refreshment costs. Plus, the city will cover up to $125 towards the cost of renting a bouncy house! For more information, please call Neighborhood Services at (623)222-3241 to request an application.


Contact Me

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

Ask a Question

March 16, 2017 • Newsletter

Events & Meetings

Valley Metro Audit & Finance Subcommittee Meeting

At the Valley Metro Audit & Finance Subcommittee Meeting on March 9, the Chief Financial Officer (CFO) presented on staffing for the upcoming fiscal year – explaining the need for additional staff and the potential financial impact. The committee provided feedback for the CFO to consider.

West Valley Arts Council Celebrates 35 Year Anniversary

West Valley Arts Council celebrated their 35 year anniversary at Arts HQ on March 9. The event featured live music, food and art. I attended, along with Vice Mayor Tande and Council Members Winters and Remley. Following the reception, guests were invited to enjoy the “Neu Art Exhibit” at Surprise City Hall. The exhibit is on display through April 20. Stop by the first floor of City Hall to check it out!

“The Future of Desalination” Speaker Panel

The Kyle Center for Water Policy hosted a panel of speakers on March 10 who addressed the future of desalination by sharing their experience with and knowledge of the process, as well as the associated costs. Desalination is the process of removing salt from saltwater. Desalinated water is produced by either using seawater or brackish water (water that has more salinity than fresh water, but not as much as seawater). Shawn Bradford with Epcor talked about how the desalination plants in Goodyear deal with brackish water; Chuck Collum with Central Arizona Project spoke about next steps for dealing with brackish water throughout Arizona and gave insight into how North San Diego County is using desalination plants to supply 8 percent of that county’s water; Bob Lotts with APS spoke about his work on the Governor’s appointed Water Augmentation Council, which includes desalination; and Sharon Magdel, Ph.D., Director of University of Arizona’s Water Resources Research Center, shared what Israel is doing with desalination, as they possess leading technology in this field.

Veteran Success Project Advisory Board Meeting

I am a member of the Veteran Success Project Advisory Board. The Veterans Success Project is a program spearheaded by the Maricopa Community College District that is designed to provide support to military personnel, veterans and their families as they move from active duty to civilian life. I attended a meeting on March 15 where the board discussed the kickoff of a pilot program at Luke Air Force Base that will help those transitioning out of the air force find employment. We also discussed an outreach program for both active duty military and veterans. The program would involve a self-assessment that would help to identify the person’s current needs and their goals so the program can support their next steps. Lastly, we talked about the opening date for the new Veterans Resource Center – which will occupy the former Visitor’s Center at Luke Air Force Base. The center would provide various social services for veterans, with employment assistance being a major component. The center will open in the near future, but the exact date has not yet been determined.


Mark Your Calendar

Public Meetings on Proposed Sign Code Changes, Mar. 22 & 29

The city is in the process of updating its Sign Code and wants your input! The proposed code aims to balance business needs with aesthetics, while meeting the requirements of law.

There are two public meetings remaining where you can learn more and give your feedback on the proposed changes:

March 22
6-7 p.m. Surprise City Hall – Community Room, 16000 N. Civic Center Plaza

March 29
6-7 p.m. Surprise Regional Library, 16089 N. Bullard Avenue

The code changes will also be presented to the Surprise City Council at their Regular Meeting on March 7 at 6 p.m. in the Surprise City Hall – City Council Chambers.

To learn more, view the proposed sign code text or submit online comments, please visit: www.surpriseaz.gov/signcode.

Surprise Arts Commission hosts Public Art Bus Tour, March 22

Spend a morning discovering various art exhibits and experiences in the city of Surprise! On March 22, the Surprise Arts and Cultural Advisory Commission and Benevilla are joining together to offer a free public art bus tour.

Tour participants will visit art locations such as WHAM Art Gallery, Arts HQ and City Hall; they will also view public art pieces, including the Joe Tyler Learning Tree!

The tour will begin at 9 a.m. at Benevilla, located at 16752 N. Greasewood St. in Surprise, and will end at the same location at noon. Space is limited, so please reserve your spot by Wednesday, March 15, 2017. Reservations can be made by calling Benevilla at 623.584.4999.

At the conclusion of the bus tour, there will be an option to enjoy lunch at Birt’s Bistro on Benevilla’s campus. The lunch package is $15 per person, which includes a meal, soft drink, tip and tax. Please note if you would like the optional lunch when you reserve your spot for the bus tour. Payment is due at the time of reservation.

Community Pride Day, April 8

Looking for an opportunity to better your community? The city invites all residents to participate in our Community Pride Day Cleanup Event. This event will have volunteers helping with landscaping projects and trash removal.

Volunteers are asked to meet at the city park located on 183rd Avenue, south of Enoch Drive (24303 N. 183rd Avenue) at 8 a.m. on Saturday, April 8 to receive cleanup assignments. Volunteers will meet back at the park for lunch at 11:30 a.m. and the event will conclude at noon.

If you are interested in volunteering, please contact Jason Hughes at 623.222.3239.


Did You Know?

Seeking Applications for Voluntary Commissions

The City of Surprise is currently accepting applications for the following commissions:

Arts & Cultural Advisory Commission – 1 vacancy
Municipal Property Corporation Board – 1 vacancy

All board/commission positions are voluntary.

Applications for the above mentioned commissions are immediately available for pick-up from the City Clerk’s Office from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday – Friday at 16000 N. Civic Center Plaza.

Applications are also available online at www.surpriseaz.gov.

Please submit applications to the City Clerk’s Office in person or by e-mail to clerk@surpriseaz.gov.

Applications are always available for all boards and commissions and will be kept on file for future vacancies.

For more information, please contact the City Clerk’s Office at 623.222.1200.

Surprise Youth Council Accepting Applications; Deadline is March 20

The city of Surprise is recruiting new members for the Surprise Youth Council (SYC) – a group of groundbreaking teens who are making a difference in their community!

SYC members serve the community by collaborating with local leaders, including the Mayor and City Council, to give youth a voice in city issues and to help solve youth issues through awareness campaigns, service projects, and community-building events.

Students who are currently in grades 6-11 may apply, as long as they are attending a middle school or high school within the Surprise city limits, attending a Dysart Unified School District high school, or reside within Surprise city limits.

Applications are being accepted now – Mar. 20. The application consists of a video submission, no longer than 1 minute and 15 seconds, and should include the following information:

  • Your name, grade and school you attend
  • Why you want to be on the SYC
  • If you could bring one thing to this city or change one thing, what would it be? What can you and a group like SYC do about it?
  • Of these three words: fearless, creative, hardworking – which one best describes you and why? Briefly tell us about a time you were fearless, creative or hardworking.

The videos should be sent to Youth Services Administrator Mike Cassidy by uploading your application video from your Google Drive and sharing it with cityofsurpriseyouth@gmail.com.

Applicants must also have a parent or guardian complete and return a Parent Acknowledgement Form.

For questions or more information, please contact Mike Cassidy at 623.222.1033 or mike.cassidy@surpriseaz.gov or visit www.surpriseaz.gov/syc.

2017 Surprise Retail Survey is open! Help bring in new shopping & dining; vote for local favorites

Do you have a favorite restaurant that you would like to see open in Surprise? What about a unique shopping experience that you want added to your hometown? Tell us in our 2017 Surprise Retail Survey!

We want to know how we can make our city a one-stop shopping and dining destination, and we’ll be giving away $20 Visa gift cards to five randomly-selected survey-takers just for offering their thoughts!

The survey will help the city to identify retail strengths within the community, as well as opportunities to bring additional amenities closer to home. Every response helps the Surprise Economic Development Department better reach the retailers you want the most.

In the 2015 Surprise Retail Survey, we asked what restaurants and retailers you wanted us to target, and two of your top ten picks have already opened in Surprise – Oregano’s Pizza Bistro and Texas Roadhouse! We are still actively engaging with others on the list, and hope to see more of your favorites open up shop in Surprise.

It’s important to us that we attract businesses you want, because the money you spend here, stays here. In fact, local sales tax makes up nearly 40 percent of our city’s General Fund revenues which support public safety, clean parks and street maintenance.

The survey runs through April 9 and is available online at www.surpriseaz.gov/retailsurvey.


Contact Me

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

Ask a Question

March 9, 2017 • Newsletter

City Council Work Session

Continued FY18 Budget Discussion

City Council heard the third presentation in a series of discussions on the upcoming FY2018 budget. The focus of this particular discussion was the enterprise utility funds and the Highway User Revenue Fund (HURF). The enterprise utilities include the Solid Waste, Stormwater, Wastewater, and Water services. Rates are set for each of those funds to recover the costs of the services provided.

The Solid Waste utility revenues are currently 3 percent or $0.1M ahead of the FY2017 budget. In the upcoming fiscal year, there will be a focus on vehicle and equipment replacement, renegotiation of the landfill services contract, and reviewing the efficiency of bulk trash scheduling.

The Stormwater utility is new in the current fiscal year with estimated year end revenues of $1.3M. Establishing its reserve and starting the construction of stormwater related infrastructure are the priorities for this utility.

The Wastewater utility revenues are currently 5 percent or $0.4M above FY2017 budgeted amounts. FY2018 will see an evaluation of current debt to identify potential refinancing opportunities; a review of current capacity, most specifically the recharging of treated water; and an update of the development impact fees.

The Water utility revenues are currently 15 percent or $0.9M above the budget through six months. Like the Wastewater utility, an update of the development impact fees is on the horizon, along with capital projects enhancing system interconnectivity and expanding arsenic treatment capacity. Management of the water portfolio, specifically the expansion of water rights, is also an important priority for the upcoming year. For FY2018, the Water utility is scheduled for an 8.25 percent rate increase adopted by Council in June of 2014.

HURF receives the majority of its revenue from gasoline tax collected by the state and distributed to the cities. The revenues are currently 3 percent or $0.1M above its budgeted amount. Key issues for HURF in the upcoming budget year include replacement of equipment and vehicles, as well as the continued maintenance of our streets through the pavement preservation program.

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, 2017.

If you missed the live presentation, visit www.surpriseaz.gov/budget to watch it. All of the budget presentations are posted to the website following the City Council Work Session or Regular Meeting at which they are presented.

Surprise Public Art Policies and Procedures Guide

Members of the Arts & Cultural Commission elaborated on the Public Art Policies and Procedures Guide that was originally introduced at a City Council Work Session last month. The purpose of the guide is to establish a process for the selection, acquisition, placement and maintenance of works of public art, including policies for public art management, acceptance of donations and deaccession procedures.


City Council Meeting

Boards & Commissions Appointments

City Council unanimously approved three appointments that included Dustin Gardy (Arts & Cultural Advisory Commission), Robert Monahan (Disability Advisory Commission) and Ken Wright (Municipal Property Corporation Board). Congratulations!

Budget Amendment for Fencing at 8-Acre Park

The 8-Acre Park is the multi-purpose field located North of Surprise Stadium on Bullard Avenue. This field is used extensively throughout the year for youth sports such as soccer, flag football, tee-ball, baseball and softball practices. In addition, the area is utilized for City special events such as the annual Surprise Party.

Community and Recreation Services requested a FY17 budget amendment by reallocating appropriations and an actual transfer of $300,000 within the General Fund to the General Capital Projects Fund to facilitate the construction of fencing around the park for several pertinent reasons. The fence would provide a safety barrier for users of the field from Bullard Ave and Paradise Lane; allow for a greater span of control during special events; and would create a venue for ticketed events throughout the year. The fence would also allow maintenance staff to close the area during times of maintenance or over-seeding. 8-Acre Park would remain open to the public when the field is not being used for programming or closed for maintenance.

8 Acres Park fence project

The fence installation will consist of wrought iron fencing, brick pillars with lights and rolling gates to match existing stadium fencing. The fencing would be 2,300 linear feet of 8′ high ornamental fencing with six 20′ x 8′ rolling gates, one 40′ x 8′ iron double roll gate and one 8′ x 8′ double drive gate for accessibility. The resolution for the budget amendment utilizing savings was unanimously approved.

Discussion of Proposed Text Amendment of Surprise Municipal Code on Signs

The city’s Community Development Department is currently working to re-write our sign code. The goal is to balance business needs with community aesthetics, while complying with recent court decisions regarding free speech. Some of the highlights of the draft code include:

  • A content-neutral approach to sign regulation
  • A provision that serves to replace all previous sign codes while leaving intact any currently approved through the Comprehensive Sign Program
  • Robust definitions with illustrations and graphics
  • Clear articulation of permitted and prohibited signs
  • More opportunities for permanent business signage through increased wall and monument sign area
  • A provision for vertical (blade) signage in certain circumstances
  • Increased community aesthetics through a reduction in certain types of temporary signage
  • Limited use of Electronic Messaging Centers
  • A provision that will allow unique and creative designs through a Council-approved Comprehensive Sign Program

The draft code has been released to the public for review and comment, and outreach meetings have been scheduled as follows:

March 15
6-7 p.m. Surprise City Hall – Community Room, 16000 N. Civic Center Plaza

March 22
6-7 p.m. Surprise City Hall – Community Room, 16000 N. Civic Center Plaza

March 29
6-7 p.m. Surprise Regional Library, 16089 N. Bullard Avenue

More information is available on our website at www.surpriseaz.gov/signcode. You are encouraged to attend any of these meetings and to contact staff for more information or to submit comments.


Events & Meetings

Read Across America Day

I was invited to participate in Read Across America Day at Countryside Elementary School on March 2. Read Across America Day celebrates Dr. Seuss’ birthday and the joys of reading. I was honored to read a Dr. Seuss book to the second grade students of Ms. Igoe’s class.

Councilman Skip Hall reading to students

Arts & Cultural Advisory Commission Meeting

The Arts & Cultural Advisory Commission met on Monday, March 6 to discuss the Public Art Master Plan timeline which is scheduled for completion in July 2018. In addition, the winner of the baseball bat contest was chosen.

Youth Services Update

Youth Services Administrator Mike Cassidy and I met earlier this week to discuss the status of youth services. It is the goal of the City Manager’s department to ensure that we are: reaching a diverse group of youth within our community; engaging the disengaged; making 20 Surprise Youth Council Members feel like the outreach is significantly more; facilitating academic, technical and interpersonal skill-building so we are positioning Surprise for the future.


Mark Your Calendar

Second Sundays in the Park – March 12

The city continues its Second Sundays in the Park concert series this Sunday, March 12 with Celtic music performed by “Kilted Spirit” from 4 until 6 p.m. in the center of Surprise Community Park. The event is free. Surprise Community Park is located at 15953 N. Bullard Avenue.

Community Pride Day

Looking for an opportunity to better your community? The city invites all residents to participate in our Community Pride Day Cleanup Event. This event will have volunteers helping with landscaping projects and trash removal.

Volunteers are asked to meet at the city park located on 183rd Avenue, south of Enoch Drive (24303 N. 183rd Avenue) at 8 a.m. on Saturday, April 8 to receive cleanup assignments. Volunteers will meet back at the park for lunch at 11:30 a.m. and the event will conclude at noon. If you are interested in volunteering, please contact Jason Hughes at 623.222.3239.


Did You Know?

Southwest Gas Rate Case Update

Southwest Gas has recently filed a base rate adjustment request with the Arizona Corporation Commission (ACC). The Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) issued his recommended opinion and order approving the proposed settlement agreement which was signed by, among others: Arizona Corporation Commission staff, the Residential Utility Consumer Office, the Arizona Community Action Association, Property Owners and Residents Association of Sun City West. The ACC is expected to vote on the order during either their March or April open meeting. The recommended order can be modified by the Commissioners.

The recommended order adopts a $16 million revenue increase –the average residential customer will experience a 1.09% (or $0.40/month) increase. The recommended order adopts the Company’s proposed expansion of its Customer Owned Yard Line (COYL) program and Vintage Steel Pipe (VSP) Replacement Program. The COYL expansion will allow the Company to include a more proactive, systematic approach to replacing COYLS, whether or not they are leaking. The VSP program will facilitate the accelerated replacement of VSP (specifically, pre-1970s VSP). The agreed-upon VSP replacement program will enhance public safety by facilitating a proactive approach to the replacement of aging infrastructure, but will also offer rate impact protections to customers by including a reasonable cap on the annual rate adjustment that they will experience.

The recommended order adopts a modification to the Company’s decoupling mechanism to remove the monthly weather adjustment provision. Additionally, the mechanism will be renamed the Delivery Charge Adjustment Provision. For low income customers, the Low Income Ratepayer Assistance (LIRA) program eligibility is increasing to 200% of Federal Poverty Income Guidelines.

If you are not in favor of the recommended order, now is your time to notify the Commissioners. You can find their information at www.azcc.gov.


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

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March 2, 2017 • Newsletter

Bell Road/Grand Avenue Project

Last week, the Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) released a final weekly update. The opening of the new Grand Avenue ramps connecting to the Bell Road overpass on February 16 was the last major milestone for the project. While there is still some work to complete, ADOT and its partners are pleased to have opened all the new connections at the interchange, allowing much-improved traffic flow for the region.

The project team will complete permanent lane striping on sections of new pavement along Grand Avenue on March 5 and March 6. Crews also will finish minor work on signage, landscaping and signals as the project comes to an end.

While the construction took place in Districts 4 and 5, it affected people throughout the city. I wanted to personally thank each of you for your patience during the project. The major project went off with relative ease thanks to ADOT and members of our internal project team who effectively communicated weekly status reports to our residents and provided City Council, staff and residents with monthly updates at City Council meetings as well as attended dozens of HOA meetings to ensure our residents’ questions were answered. Thank you to each and every one of you.


Events & Meetings

Arizona Federal Credit Union Ribbon Cutting

Arizona Federal Credit Union celebrated the opening of their Surprise branch on Thursday, February 22 with a ribbon cutting and grand opening event. This is their first branch in the Northwest Valley. They are a member-owned financial service organization with 14 branches throughout the valley.

Arizona Federal Credit Union Ribbon Cutting

Mountain Vista Ranch Annual Party

I attended the Mountain Vista Ranch HOA Annual Party on Saturday, February 25. The event was well-attended and provided me an opportunity to talk to many constituents.

Opening Day @ Surprise Stadium

Councilmembers and our Spring Training volunteer organization, Surprise Sundancers, celebrated opening day at Surprise Stadium on Saturday, February 25 along with a full stadium of attendees. Welcome back, Rangers & Royals!

Surprise Youth Council Event

On the night of Saturday February 25, you may have seen an array of multi-colored lights in the sky and heard the sound of laughter and dance music cascading down from the 4th floor of the Civic Center parking garage. This was Level 4; the first annual social event planned and executed by the Surprise Youth Council, featuring music, dancing, a host of games like air hockey and old school arcade favorites, live art, food, and much more. From 6 to 9 p.m., more than 220 teenagers from high schools all around Surprise came to dance, eat, and socialize with friends in a positive and unique environment unlike any other in the City. Part dance club, part rooftop party, Level 4 provided teens with the experience of an exciting big city event here in their hometown. The City of Surprise’s Youth Services Division is committed to developing Level 4 into one the City’s signature youth events, growing our youth’s sense of connection to their community and the City’s reputation as an innovative and forward thinking organization that is truly invested in the quality of life of our youth. Stay tuned for more exciting events, programs, and initiatives coming out of Surprise’s Youth Services Division.

Economic Development Event @ Surprise Stadium

I attended an event hosting the retail industry during a spring training game on Wednesday, March 1. The event provided elected officials and city staff the opportunity to network with several retailers in advance of the International Council of Shopping Centers Conference later this spring.


Mark Your Calendar

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 p.m.

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

Citywide Text Amendment to Chapter 113

The City is currently in the process of updating its Sign Code and seeks your input.  A series of outreach meetings are being scheduled during the month of March.  The first of those meetings will be held at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, March 8 at the Surprise Regional Library, 16089 N. Bullard Avenue.  View meeting details…


Did You Know?

Valley Vista High School Girls Basketball Wins State Title

Valley Vista High School Girls basketball won the 6A Conference state championship at Grand Canyon University Arena on February 28. They beat Goodyear Millennium High School 44-36 in the championship game! Congratulations to all of you on this exciting win!

West Valley Agencies Join Together To Enhance Police Services

In April 2016, the Surprise Police Department and many other police departments located throughout the West Valley came together to form a coalition to enhance their efforts in serving citizens experiencing a mental health crisis.

The importance of enhancing these police services and providing additional training was recently highlighted in the 2015 release of the Final Report of the “President’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing”. The report outlined six pillars; including Pillar Five: Training & Education. This pillar discusses training of police officers in many different areas of discipline, but particularly outlined the importance of providing proper training to police officers in regard to their response to crisis intervention and other mental health issues.

As a result, the West Valley Crisis Intervention Team Coalition (WVCIT) was formed. The coalition is currently comprised of the following police agencies: the Surprise Police Department, the Glendale Police Department, the Goodyear Police Department, the Peoria Police Department, the Avondale Police Department, the Tolleson Police Department, the El Mirage Police Department, and the Buckeye Police Department.

City Ambulance Service Grows

The Surprise Fire-Medical Department now has a second city-run ambulance in operation, advancing its goal of becoming the primary provider of emergency transport in the city. Surprise Fire-Medical launched its ambulance service in November 2015 with one ambulance running out of Fire Station 305 at Greenway Road and Parkview Place. In just one year of operation, that ambulance responded to nearly 2,500 calls for service.

Funding for two new ambulances was approved by City Council through the 2017 budget. One of those ambulances now operates out of Fire Station 302 near Reems Road and Mountain View Boulevard. The other new ambulance has replaced the one at Fire Station 305. The used ambulance from station 305 now serves as a backup when one of the new ambulances needs to be serviced. Private ambulance companies continue to supplement the coverage needed throughout the city.

“Our community is growing and our needs are changing,” said Surprise Fire-Medical Chief Tom Abbott. “We are constantly analyzing those needs and taking action to ensure we can continue to deliver the best possible response times and premier patient care.”

Learn more about Surprise-Fire Medical at www.surpriseaz.gov/fire.


Contact Me

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

Ask a Question