June 22, 2017 • Newsletter

City Council Work Session

Canadian Cross-Border Healthcare Taskforce Initiative

Surprise, Arizona could be the next top destination for Canadian medical travel. Guest speaker Marc Kealey, CEO of Kealey & Associates in Toronto, Canada co-presented with Surprise Economic Development Director Jeanine Jerkovic on the feasibility of a new Canadian medical service center in Surprise aimed at patients who desire the excellence of Canadian standards without the increasingly challenging wait times for services.

Arizona is home to more than 350 Canadian companies and more than 1.1 million Canadians visit our state annually, spending approximately $1.1 billion and staying here for an average of 20 days. Canadians tend to be highly satisfied with their healthcare quality, but they tend to have longer wait periods to receive healthcare services compared to their peers in other countries. This is most likely due to their physician shortage, and the fact their medical schools are at capacity with 1,500 studying abroad. Their healthcare system is publically funded but privately delivered. We are well positioned here. There are approximately 15,000 Canadian residents in Surprise.

Next steps for expanding healthcare services to our Canadian neighbors include the establishment of a taskforce and several roundtables that would make up the regulatory analysis and market feasibility. The finding recommendation should be presented to the City Council by the end of the year.

Ottawa University Arizona Update

Ottawa University Provost Dr. Dennis Tyner provided an update on the University. To date, 45 people have been hired to work at the University with more hires expected after July. Ottawa University was founded 152 years ago in Ottawa, Kansas. They have had a 40-year presence in the Phoenix market and have been serving Surprise community for 8 years at the Communiversity. Currently, the university is transitioning existing programs into a residential campus with a full blown athletic model. Dr. Tyner stated over 350 students have submitted letters of intent for Fall 2017; their registration target was 150 students. It is the goal of the University to have 3,000 residential students within 10 years.

Ottawa University Surprise expansion plan rendering

Degree programs will be available from the Schools of Business, Arts & Sciences and Education. Degrees from the School of Health and Applied Sciences should be available next year, and accreditation to have Engineering and Accounting degrees will go before the State this year. Ottawa University promotes a life of significance with engagement in quality work in the community and much more.


City Council Meeting

Major Zoning Amendment to Cotton Gin PAD

The applicant, NexMetro, requested an amendment to the Cotton Gin Planned Area Development (PAD) to allow multi-family residential as a permitted land use on the 10.8 acres (approx.) parcel located on the northeast corner of Waddell Road and Reems Road. Additionally, the applicant proposed to create new development standards for multi-family residential uses. This proposed PAD Amendment will allow for 127 single-story attached and detached rentals units. The PAD and site plan were approved with a 4-2 vote by the Planning & Zoning Commission. The project was unanimously approved by City Council.

Board and Commission Appointments

City Council unanimously approved appointments of William Coniam (Board of Trustees) to serve remainder of a term that expires June 30,2018; Renee Pastor to the Board of Trustees to serve a four year term with an expiration of June 30, 2021; Kathryn Chandler to serve on the Disability Advisory Commission with a four year term to expire on June 30, 2021; Edward Hanzel to the Judicial Selection Advisory Commission with a four year term expiring on June 30, 2021; and Marco Daleo to serve on the Tourism Commission to represent Hotels. He will complete the remainder of a term to expire on June 30, 2019.

Additionally, unanimously approved were the reappointments of the following members for four-year terms which will expire on June 30, 2021: David Sanders, Mark Brown and Ron Jenson for the Community & Recreation Services Commission; Robert Monahan for the Disability Advisory Commission; Kristin Peck and DeAngelo Hall for the Tourism Commission and Brooke Gaunt as the State Bar Representative for the Judicial Selection Advisory Commission.

City Clerk Sherry Aguilar administered the Oath of Office for all appointments and reappointments. Thank you to these gracious appointments for volunteering the time to serve our city.


Events & Meetings

Valley Metro Audit & Finance Committee Meeting

Valley Metro Audit & Finance Committee held their monthly meeting on Thursday, June 15. As a subcommittee, we approved the fare policy change regarding ticket partnerships and the FY17/18 audit plan for Valley Metro RPTA Board consideration. The request to authorize an amendment to the regional fare policy will allow for additional ticket partnerships with events and event venues. For example, the cost of the ticket for an event will include the transportation through Valley Metro, so only one ticket would be required for admission and transportation.

Valley Metro COO Rob Antoniak provided an update of vendor contracts to ensure uninterrupted customer services for those customers that call or text Valley Metro seeking assistance through their automated customer service system. The current vendor unexpectedly terminated its contract effective June 30.

Highland Prep High School

Highland Prep Principal Ken Schlinger and I met on Thursday, June 15. Highland Prep is a tuition free public charter preparatory STEM high school that will be located at 15600 W. Hearn Road. They broke ground on Wednesday, June 21 and will open in a temporary facility this fall to a freshman class of 125 students. The school will open its new building in fall 2018 that will host freshman and sophomore classes. Each year, they will add another freshman class and hope to host 500 students.

Meet & Greet with Kealey and Associates

On June 20, I met with Kealey and Associates CEO Mark Kealey. Mr. Kealey is working with our Economic Development department to determine the feasibility of a new Canadian medical service center in Surprise.

Memorial Service for Mark Coronado

Community and Recreation Services Department Director Mark Coronado
Community and Recreation Services Department Director Mark Coronado

It is with the heaviest heart that we learned about the passing of our

Community and Recreation Services Department Director Mark Coronado. Mark was only 59 years old.

Mark was hired by the City of Surprise in 2000 to lead the CRS Department, which was a three-person team at the time. Under Mark’s leadership the department grew to manage all recreational programming, city parks, aquatics, library services, community/sports tourism special events, recreational facility development, Spring Training operations and national/international tennis events.

During his tenure with the city, Mark also held the roles of Interim City Manager, Acting Economic Development Director, Acting Public Works Director and Acting Communications Director. In addition, he served as the Cactus League President for two consecutive terms from 2012-2016.

Surprise has lost one of our biggest assets who has left a lasting legacy for our city. He will be sorely missed.


Mark Your Calendar

Project Connect

Surprise has partnered with the Valley of the Sun United Way, the Salvation Army and Rio Salado Community College to bring Project Connect to Surprise on Wednesday, July 26 and we need your help to make this humanitarian event a success!

Project Connect works with organizations to provide a broad range of vital health and human services such as applying for birth certificates, getting social security cards, haircuts, bicycle repair, and meals, in a single accessible location.

Help us make Project Connect in Surprise a success by donating items listed below in one of the designated boxes at City Hall, 16000 N Civic Center Plaza; Surprise Police Department or Surprise Fire-Medical Department, 14250 W Statler Plaza; or at the Surprise Senior Center, 15832 N Hollyhock Street, by 5 p.m. on Tuesday, July 25.

Here are the requested donations:

  • New underwear & new socks
  • Shirts
  • Pants/shorts
  • Granola bars
  • Water bottles
  • Dog food
  • General hygiene products (toothpaste, toothbrush, combs, brushes, soap, deodorant)

Are you interested in volunteering at this deserving event? Volunteers will serve as Guest Guides and will be partnered with homeless individuals and families to lead them to and from each service professional. View the United Way Project Connect Volunteer Overview video to learn more about being a volunteer.

Guest Guides must be at least 18 years old. Morning, afternoon or full-day shifts are available; volunteers will be asked to report to the Salvation Army, 17420 Ave of the Arts, Surprise. Select a shift and sign up on the United Way Project Connect Surprise event page. Please contact Jason Hughes, jason.hughes@surpriseaz.gov for questions about the event.

Back to School Drive at Surprise City Hall

Please consider joining Surprise employees and show your support for our Surprise youth by donating back-to-school supplies that will benefit local kindergarten through 8th graders. All types of school supplies are needed and can be dropped off in the donation bins located in the lobby of City Hall (16000 N. Civic Center Plaza) until July 31. For more information, please contact Stephen Chang at 623.222.3136.


Did You Know?

Surprise PD Officer Receives School Resource Officer of the Year Award

Surprise PD Chief Terry Young with Officer Chris Thomas
Surprise PD Chief Terry Young with Officer Chris Thomas

Congratulations to Officer Chris Thomas for being named the “The 2017 Arizona School Resource Officer (SRO) of the Year” award; an award recognized by the Arizona Association of School Resource Officers. Officer Thomas currently serves at Valley Vista High School and is a key part of the Monsoon family.

The Arizona SRO of the Year Award is given to officers who exhibit the qualities and goals of the School Resource Officer position. Through the triad approach to school policing (teaching, counseling, policing), the SRO attempts to bridge the gap that exists between police and the youth of today, teach law-related education to deepen their understanding of civic responsibility, and to develop their respect for the justice system.

Officer Thomas was nominated by Officer Wendy Klarkowski, several students, school staff members, and administrators at the Valley Vista High School; including Karen Winterstein, the Director of Student Services, at the Dysart Unified School District.

Presentation on Urban Design and Well-being

Earlier last month, Mr. Charles Montgomery, author of the book “Happy City” provided an overview of the relationship between urban design and well-being to the Maricopa Association of Government (MAG) Regional Council. The MAG Regional Council Report indicated that he explored how these principles can be incorporated into regional mobility planning as well as deliver economic and public health benefits.

According to the report, Mr. Montgomery said the top four components for urban health and happiness are social connections, freedom to move, belonging to a neighborhood and the inclusion of systems and spaces for everyone. These concepts will be integral in the development of regional planning efforts moving forward, according to MAG.


Contact Me

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

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June 15, 2017 • Newsletter

Events & Meetings

Surprise Entrepreneurship Boot Camp

Sixteen local students participated in the AZ TechCelerator’s 4th Annual Surprise Entrepreneurship Boot Camp this last week. They were challenged to assess community needs and brainstorm products or services that could address those needs. The students learned from local business leaders who spoke about marketing, accounting and public speaking and then began their project research.

The students broke into four teams:

  • Surprise Transit Systems, who addressed the need for local public transportation
  • Drive Safe, who addressed the problem of distracted driving
  • A Little Surprise, who addressed the lack of healthy food available for low to moderate income families
  • Commune, who addressed the need to have one application that could keep residents informed on City Government, events and local business

Each team prepared an executive business summary to aid in creating their final pitch. The teams also created, designed and printed either their prototype or an object that was symbolic to their project on 3D printers that they had helped to build at the beginning of the week. The boot camp ended with a pitch competition at City Hall, and the presentations were quite impressive!

The big winner was the Drive Safe team. Congratulations to Nickolas Robertson and Jack Platacz from Paradise Honors High School, and to Alaina Smith and Justice Smith from Valley Vista High School on their win! They each received an HD Fire tablet and each winning school took home one of the student-built 3D printers.

Thank you to Economic Development Coordinator Julie Neal for putting together the boot camp each year and to Youth Services Administrator Mike Cassidy for assisting!

Community and Recreation Services National Accreditation

The Community and Recreation Services Department (CRS) is in the last step of the accreditation process through the Commission of Accreditation of Parks and Recreation Agencies (CAPRA). The department has been working towards the accreditation for the past year. Council Members were invited to meet the CAPRA evaluators on Tuesday, June 13 at the Surprise Tennis and Racquet Complex.

CAPRA accreditation is a five-year cycle that includes three phases: development of the agency self-assessment report, the on-site visitation, and the Commission’s review and decision. The on-site visitation follows the agency’s development of its self-assessment report. If accreditation is granted by the Commission at its meeting following the on-site visit, the agency will develop a new self-assessment report and be revisited every five years. Within each of the four years between on-site visits, the agency will submit an annual report that addresses its continued compliance with the accreditation standards.

Friends of Surprise Libraries Board Meeting

Friends of Surprise Libraries held their monthly Board meeting on Wednesday, June 14. Since the non-profit organization’s inception, they have made community contributions totaling $516,424 .Agenda items included a financial report and grant update and much more. Friends of Surprise Libraries is currently looking for new Board Members. For more information on the organization, please visit www.friendsofthesurpriselibraries.org.

Valley Metro Dial-A-Ride Transition Public Meeting

Valley Metro hosted a public meeting at Surprise City Hall on Wednesday, June 14 to review the upcoming changes to their paratransit models prior to the July 1 transition of Dial-a-Ride to RideChoice and Valley Metro Paratransit.


Mark Your Calendar

34th Annual Fourth of July Celebration

Please join us for our 34th annual Fourth of July Celebration at the Surprise Recreation Campus! Gates will open at 4:30 p.m. The Rookie League baseball summer matchup featuring the Kansas City Royals vs. Texas Rangers will begin at 5:30 pm. Concessions will be available for purchase. Fireworks will begin immediately following the game at 8:30 p.m.

Fourth of July Pool Party

Bring the family out to the Surprise Aquatic Center for a fun filled evening. The poolside celebration will feature music, games, nighttime swimming, crafts and raffle prizes! The event begins at 6 p.m. and will conclude after the city’s fireworks show, which begins at approximately 8:30 p.m.

Surprise residents may purchase tickets beginning June 20 at 8 a.m. at the Surprise Aquatic Center, located at 15831 N. Bullard Ave., or at the Surprise Community and Recreation Services office, located at 15960 N. Bullard Ave. Tickets are $6, and the event will be limited to the first 400 Surprise residents.

Regular pool hours on Tuesday, July 4 will be noon – 5 p.m.


Did You Know?

Bulk Trash Pickup Program Changes Effective July 1

Changes are coming to the Bulk Trash Pickup program offered to residents who are serviced by the city of Surprise Solid Waste Department. Bulk trash will continue to be picked up by-appointment and at no additional cost to the customer; but, the rules for placement of the trash are changing.

Effective July 1, 2017, customers need to place their trash in the street, up against the curb (gutter) in front of their property. Where there is no curb, material must be placed at the edge of the street, not the sidewalk. Do not place your pile within ten feet (10’) of any fixed object or in any manner which would interfere with pedestrians, bicyclists, motorists, or fire hydrants.

Bulk trash can no longer be placed on private property, unless the home is located on a major roadway – streets like Bell Road and Litchfield Road or streets that feed into neighborhoods, also known as collector streets. If trash must be placed on private property, due to location, the city will provide a liability release form that needs to signed.

To find out how to schedule a pickup appointment, which items are acceptable, what the pickup limit is, and when to place your trash at the curb, please visit www.surpriseaz.gov/bulktrash or call 623.222.1900.

Surprise Seeking Applications for Voluntary Commission

Applications for the Arts & Cultural Advisory Commission are available for pick-up immediately and can be picked up from the City Clerk’s Office from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday – Friday – 16000 N. Civic Center Plaza. Applications are also available online at www.surpriseaz.gov/boards. If you are interested, 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.


Contact Me

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

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June 8, 2017 • Newsletter

City Council Work Session

Community Development User Fee Discussion

The current FY18 budget is supported in part by direct charges for services provided by the city. These charges for services fall into three broad groups including utility rates, development impact fees, and user fees. With that being said, the revision of utility rates and development impact fees is highly regulated by state law. Though less regulated, user fees do have state mandated posting requirements and Comprehensive Financial Management Policies call for a periodic examination of user fees to determine an acceptable rate of cost recovery. In order to ensure compliance with state mandates and to facilitate a more consistent user fee policy process, a consolidated user fee schedule was adopted by City Council in FY16. User Fees make up $9.8 million of the estimated User Fee Revenue for FY18. Community Development fees are $2.4 million of that amount. The Community Development Department has not conducted a formal overhaul of the Community Development User Fees since 2010, under Resolution 2010-23, which had an effective date of April 1, 2010. There have been subsequent minor modifications in 2012 and 2016 but not a thorough review of the fees. The Department’s goal is to recover all or part of program costs associated with development; some of which include various other departments.

Community Outreach consists of a written notice of the proposed fee schedule on our city website, distribution of information via the city’s social media outlets with a notice of intent and the potential City Council adoption on August 15, 2017.


Special City Council Meeting

Public Hearing on Budget, Truth in Taxation and Property Tax Levies

The city is required to hold a public hearing on proposed expenditures and tax levy in which any taxpayer may appear and be heard in favor of or against any proposed expenditure or tax levy. Pursuant to Arizona Revised Statute 42-17107, any increase in the primary property tax levy, exclusive of new growth, must go through a Truth in Taxation hearing. Statute requires that a public hearing is held prior to the levy of property taxes for street light improvement districts (SLIDS). A public hearing was conducted with no comments from the public.

The resolution adopting the FY18 final budget and the notices of intent to levy primary and street light improvement districts property tax levies were adopted as part of this meeting. The resolution was passed unanimously.

The FY18 Budget, approved at $275.8 million, maintains city services and the primary property tax rate of $0.7591 per $100 of assessed property valuation. Due to new construction and higher property valuations, as assessed by Maricopa County that would generate approximately $380,100 in new money.

The property tax levy adoption is scheduled for discussion and action for the City Council meeting on June 20.


City Council Meeting

Mattamy Preliminary Plat Discussion

Community Development Director Eric Fitzer provided an overview of the preliminary plat for City Center, a 56.38 acre property located along Statler Boulevard west of Litchfield Road, which included a multi-phased, attached and detached, single-family lot subdivision. The applicant proposed a total of 369 residential lots on 50.7 acres for a density of 7.28 dwelling units per acre. The lots would consist of a combination of 50 foot by 60 foot detached, 46 foot by 80 foot detached, and 50 foot by 60 foot duplex parcels. The plat also included 9.9 acres of land that would provide 17.6 open space for the development.

City Council voted to deny the approval of the Mattamy preliminary plat by a 4-3 vote.

City Council Approves Bond for November Ballot

City Council unanimously approved sending three General Obligation Bond questions in the areas of Public Safety, Traffic Congestion Mitigation and Pavement Preservation to the ballot in a Special Election on November 7, 2017. All registered voters in Surprise will receive a ballot by mail. Residents are invited to learn more about the projects, costs and voter information at a specialized website Decide Surprise www.surpriseaz.gov/decidesurprise.

The projects included in the following questions were based on community needs, comments received from residents during the 2016 bond election outreach process, and input received during and after the Surprise Capital Improvement Funding Exploratory Committee’s meeting that was held on April 19.

Question #1: Voters in Surprise are asked to consider a $34 million public safety bond proposal to: build a Public Safety Evidence & Readiness Center; renovate an existing city facility into a Police Training Facility; acquire Land for Future Fire Station/Police Substation & Park; build a new Fire Station at Cactus and Litchfield roads; build a new Fire Station along 163rd Avenue, south of Happy Valley Road, to replace the current temporary station; and build a Public Works Operations Facility to centralize operations. The annual cost for a homeowner would be approximately $26 per $100,000 in Limited Property Value (LPV).

Question #2: Voters in Surprise are asked to consider a $15.5 million street bond proposal to provide funds to plan, design, construct and improve Waddell, Greenway and Litchfield roads. The annual cost for a homeowner would be approximately $12 per $100,000 in Limited Property Value (LPV).

Question #3: Voters in Surprise are asked to consider a $10 million street pavement preservation bond proposal to plan, design, construct, replace and improve deteriorated street pavement citywide. The annual cost for a homeowner would be approximately $8 per $100,000 in Limited Property Value (LPV).

General Obligation Bonds are sold to investors who are repaid with interest. The repayment comes from a secondary property tax, which Surprise does not currently have. If all three questions are approved, the annual secondary property tax could be up to $46 per $100,000 in Limited Property Value, or approximately $4 per month. ($92 per $200,000 in Limited Property Value, or approximately $8 per month). You can determine the exact cost to your property by following the steps listed at www.surpriseaz.gov/decidesurprise.

Educational public meetings will be scheduled ahead of the November 7 Special Election. Meeting dates and locations will be posted at www.surpriseaz.gov/decidesurprise.

Voter registration for this election closes on October 9. You can register online by visiting: https://recorder.maricopa.gov/elections/registrationform.aspx, or stop by the Surprise City Clerk’s Office in person Monday thru Friday 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

City Clerk Employment Contract

At the request of the Performance Evaluation Leaders Committee consisting of Councilman John Williams and myself, an employment contract for City Clerk Sherry Aguilar was drafted. Her former contract was set to expire on June 30, 2017. Her employment contract is now in harmony with the other Council appointed positions and it was approved unanimously.


Events & Meetings

Arts & Cultural Advisory Commission Meeting

The Arts & Cultural Advisory Commission met on Monday, June 5. Several items were discussed including the Arts & Culture Master Plan that will set the standard and strategic direction for how the city will continue to implement and enjoy arts and culture. Planner Joshua Mike and Designing Local consultant Josh Lapp provided an overview of their current community outreach plans that consists of several roundtable discussions with arts and cultural stakeholders. The discussions were held this week.


Mark Your Calendar

Valley Metro to Host Dial-a-Ride Transition Public Meeting

The city of Surprise, in partnership with Valley Metro, will host a public outreach meeting on Wednesday, June 14 to provide current Northwest Valley Dial-a-Ride passengers an opportunity to learn about the new transportation service models prior to the July 1 transition of Dial-a-Ride to RideChoice and Valley Metro Paratransit.

The outreach meeting will be held in the Surprise City Hall Community Room, 16000 N. Civic Center Plaza, on June 14 from 4:00-5:30 p.m. A brief presentation will begin at 4 p.m. Customers unable to attend the meeting can stay informed about the Dial-a-Ride service changes by visiting www.surpriseaz.gov/transportation.


Did You Know?

Surprise Named National Finalist for 2017 Best Intergenerational Community Award

The City of Surprise has been selected as a National Finalist for the 2017 MetLife Foundation/Generations United America’s Best Intergenerational Communities Awards. Since 2012, the awards program has recognized 24 innovative communities across America that are leading the way by incorporating intergenerational solutions that engage the wisdom and vitality of all generations. Surprise was recognized for its intergenerational workforce development partnerships that promote a greater sense of community while establishing and tapping into our current and future talent pool.

Those programs include:

Surprise City Court Explorers Program – an interactive worksite-based career education program affiliated with the Boys Scouts of America that introduces high school students to career opportunities in the judicial and legal lines of work

Helping Partners Program – a vocational training program for adults with cognitive and developmental disabilities that is offered by nonprofits Benevilla and One Step Beyond in partnership with the city

Summer Youth Employment Program – a summer jobs program for teens where they to receive professional development training through city internships; from shadowing a building inspector to working with seniors

Other programs and services included the Surprise Citizen Patrol, Surprise Community Pride Day, Crisis Response Team and the Block Party Trailer Program.

The award entry also cited how volunteerism in the city engages all generations to share their time and talent to maintain and grow community vitality. Our volunteers assist our police and fire-medical departments, beautify the community through clean up events, help raise money for college scholarships and more.

The winning community is Two Harbors, Minnesota. The other National Finalists are: Jenks Public Schools in Jenks, Oklahoma, and the Town of Yarmouth, Massachusetts. A blue-ribbon panel of judges selected the winning entries from among a host of applicants from across the country. Presentation of this year’s awards will occur at the 2017 Global Intergenerational Conference on June 14 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

The Best Intergenerational Communities awards program is made possible with a grant from MetLife Foundation.

Surprise Community Outreach Grant Program Application Opens

A City Council-led initiative to assist community organizations in providing programs and events that benefit City of Surprise residents is now accepting applications. Council set aside $65,000 for FY2017-2018 for the Surprise Community Outreach Program in an effort to support and grow qualified local programs and events to improve the health and welfare of Surprise residents.

To be considered, applicants must be a 501(c)3 organization or partner with a 501(c)3 verified agency. The maximum award per applicant is $10,000. According to program guidelines, funds are distributed by reimbursement through an invoice process. The application, complete program details and eligibility requirements are available online at: www.surpriseaz.gov/communityoutreachprogram.

Applications will be accepted until Friday, August 11 and should be post-marked to:

Human Service & Community Vitality Department
City of Surprise
Attention: Jodi Tas
16000 N. Civic Center Plaza
Surprise, AZ 85374

A pre-application meeting that will include information about the program and the application process will be held on Wednesday, July 12, at 11 a.m. at Surprise City Hall- Overflow Room, 16000 N. Civic Center Plaza. For more information, please contact Jodi Tas at 623.222.1330 or jodi.tas@surpriseaz.gov.

Contact Me

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

Ask a Question

It’s time to Decide Surprise as Council sends 3 bond questions for Nov ballot

At their June 6th Regular Meeting, City Council approved sending three General Obligation Bond questions in the areas of Public Safety, Traffic Congestion Mitigation and Pavement Preservation to the ballot in a Special Election on November 7, 2017. All registered voters in Surprise will receive a ballot by mail.

Residents are invited to learn more about the projects, costs and voter information at a specialized website Decide Surprise www.surpriseaz.gov/decidesurprise.

The projects included in the following questions were based on community needs, comments received from residents during the 2016 bond election outreach process, and input received during and after the Surprise Capital Improvement Funding Exploratory Committee’s April 19 meeting.

Question #1: Voters in Surprise are asked to consider a $34 million public safety bond proposal to: build a Public Safety Evidence & Readiness Center; renovate an existing city facility into a Police Training Facility; acquire Land for Future Fire Station/Police Substation & Park; build a new Fire Station at Cactus and Litchfield roads; build  a new Fire Station along 163rd Avenue, south of Happy Valley Road, to replace the current temporary station; and build a Public Works Operations Facility to centralize  operations. The annual cost for a homeowner would be approximately $26 per $100,000 in Limited Property Value (LPV).

Question #2: Voters in Surprise are asked to consider a $15.5 million street bond proposal to provide funds to plan, design, construct and improve Waddell, Greenway and Litchfield roads. The annual cost for a homeowner would be approximately $12 per $100,000 in Limited Property Value (LPV).

Question #3: Voters in Surprise are asked to consider a $10 million street pavement preservation bond proposal to plan, design, construct, replace and improve deteriorated street pavement citywide. The annual cost for a homeowner would be approximately $8 per $100,000 in Limited Property Value (LPV).

General Obligation Bonds are sold to investors who are repaid with interest. The repayment comes from a secondary property tax, which Surprise does not currently have.   If all three questions are approved, the annual secondary property tax could be up to $46 per $100,000 in Limited Property Value, or approximately $4 per month.  ($92 per $200,000 in Limited Property Value, or approximately $8 per month).  You can determine the exact cost to your property by following the steps listed at www.surpriseaz.gov/decidesurprise.

Educational public meetings will be scheduled ahead of the November 7 Special Election. Meeting dates and locations will be posted at www.surpriseaz.gov/decidesurprise.

Voter registration for this election closes on October 9. You can register online by visiting:  https://recorder.maricopa.gov/elections/registrationform.aspx, or stop by the Surprise City Clerk’s Office in person Monday thru Friday 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Council oks FY18 budget that maintains services & property tax rate

The Surprise City Council approved a $275.8 million Fiscal Year 2018 Budget, at a Special Meeting Tuesday night.

The budget maintains existing city services and identifies creative options to maximize some resources.

That includes securing outside revenue sources and reallocating the operating budget to provide new positions that address public safety, water and inspection demands.  Two public safety grants (SAFER Grant and COPS Hiring Program) will partially fund a five-member Fire-Medical Peak Time Response Unit and two police officers, focused on community policing, through 2019.

This budget maintains the city’s current property tax rate of $0.7591 per $100 of assessed property valuation. Due to new construction and higher property valuations, as assessed by Maricopa County that would generate approximately $380,100 in new money. The primary property tax levy is set to support the uses of the General Fund and provides a more diversified revenue system that protects city services.

The budget also dedicates $49.8 million to support the city’s Capital Improvement Plan (CIP), which is used to maintain, preserve, and/or replace city infrastructure. This includes funding for pavement preservation of city streets, vehicle replacement and aging communications, information technology, recreation and utility infrastructure.

There are also a number of financial policy revisions regarding the level at which Council adopts the budget, who can amend the budget, minimum fund balances for the new Stormwater and Workers’ Compensation funds, and clearer definition of the reserves and their potential uses in the General Fund to strengthen the city’s financial position.

Council will vote to set the property tax levy and revise the financial policies at their June 20 Council Meeting.

The FY18 Budget will be available at www.surpriseaz.gov/budget.

June 1, 2017 • Newsletter

City Updates

Truth in Taxation Notice

Many of you have been inquiring about the recent press release pertaining the Truth in Taxation Hearing Notice that was distributed on Friday, May 26 (See Press Release). The city is required by state law to post annually a Truth in Taxation Notice. The verbiage is very specific and may lead to confusion. To clarify, the city is not raising property taxes. The City Council can only set the property tax rate, which we have agreed will remain at $0.7591 per $100 of assessed limited property value for the upcoming year.

The Truth in Taxation statement is showing the results of applying the same rate to the latest assessed limited property values for the city. The average assessed limited property value, as determined by the Maricopa County Assessor, increased by 3.7%. Applying this same rate to the new assessed limited property values results in the 3.7% increase in the amount referred to the aforementioned statement. While the rate is not increasing, the assessed property values are.

You are invited to attend and speak at the June 6 Regular City Council Meeting, 6 p.m. at Surprise City Hall, should you have any comments on this topic. At that meeting, Council will vote on our intention to levy primary property taxes in the amount of $0.7591 per $100 of assessed valuation and set the property tax levy adoption for the June 20 Council Meeting.

City Development

I have also been receiving inquiries about the construction occurring at Bell Road and Civic Center Drive. The property is known as Thompson Thrift which consists of a 9-acre small retail center that will include Raising Canes and In & Out Burger.

Civic Center Drive Expansion

Road construction to extend Civic Center Drive to one lane in each direction between Paradise Lane and Bell Road is scheduled to begin next month. When complete in September 2017, the much anticipated roadway will provide direct connection to Surprise City Hall from Bell Road. As development occurs adjacent to the roadway, there are plans to fully build Civic Center Drive to two lanes in each direction with a center median and sidewalks.


Events & Meetings

Memorial Day Activities

Last weekend, I was honored to participate in multiple Memorial Day events including the following:

  • Wreath laying ceremony at the WWII Memorial outside the Northwest Regional Library coordinated by the City of Surprise Community and Recreation Services Department in partnership with American Legion Post 96 and the Marine Corps League White Tank Mountain Detachment #1246
  • Wreath laying ceremony at the Nick Bacon Memorial located at City Hall that was hosted by VFW Post 285 led by Commander Glen Stark
  • The Sun Village Memorial Day Remembrance led by resident Tomas Garcia and a host of volunteers
  • 6th Annual Memorial Day Ceremony at Radiant Church organized and coordinated by the Veterans Memorial Hall Committee led by Larry Brown and George Van de Langeryt. This particular ceremony included a tribute to Bill Lipscomb who was instrumental in the planning of ceremonies in years past.

Review of Appointed Officials’ Goals

Councilman John Williams and I met to review and discuss the FY18 goals of the City Manager, City Clerk and City Attorney. The final edition of said goals will be forwarded to the rest of City Council for review and discussion in Executive Session at the City Council meeting scheduled for Tuesday, June 6.

Surprise Police Department Celebration of Gail Kuhn

image of Officer Gail Kuhn
Community Services Officer (CSO) Gail Kuhn

The Surprise Police Department hosted a retirement celebration honoring Community Services Officer (CSO) Gail Kuhn on Wednesday, May 31. CSO Kuhn began employment with the Surprise Fire Department in January 2005 and joined the Surprise Police Department in June 2009. CSO Kuhn received many commendations throughout her employment and also received the Police Department “Civilian of the Year” award in 2012.


Mark Your Calendar

Valley Metro to Host Dial-a-Ride Transition Public Meeting

The city of Surprise, in partnership with Valley Metro, will host a public outreach meeting on Wednesday, June 14 to provide current Northwest Valley Dial-a-Ride passengers an opportunity to learn about the new transportation service models prior to the July 1 transition of Dial-a-Ride to RideChoice and Valley Metro Paratransit.

Information about the shared route Senior Bus will also be presented at the meeting. Following the presentation, city and Valley Metro representatives will be available to answer questions about the transportation services.

Individuals needing reasonable accommodations should contact the ADA coordinator at 623.222.3531 (Voice); or 623.222.3503 (TTY) at least three (3) business days prior to the meeting so arrangements can be made.

The outreach meeting will be held in the Surprise City Hall Community Room, 16000 N. Civic Center Plaza, on June 14 from 4:00-5:30 p.m. A brief presentation will begin at 4 p.m. Customers unable to attend the meeting can stay informed about the Dial-a-Ride service changes by visiting www.surpriseaz.gov/transportation.

Share Your Thoughts on Arts & Culture Master Plan

The city in the process of developing an Arts and Culture Master Plan that will set the standard and strategic direction for how we continue to implement and enjoy arts and culture. We are asking for your help in shaping that plan, and there are several opportunities to do that!

Please take our online survey, available at www.surpriseartsplan.com/survey, and join us for one of the following roundtable discussions:

Tuesday, June 6
1:30-3:30 p.m.
Marley Park Heritage Club, 15210 W Sweetwater Avenue

Tuesday, June 6
5:30-7:30 p.m.
Surprise City Hall – Community Room, 16000 N Civic Center Plaza

Wednesday, June 7
1:30-3:30 p.m.
Sonoran Plaza at Sun City Grand – Palms Room, 19753 N Remington Drive

Thursday, June 8
2:30-4:30 p.m.
Surprise City Hall – Community Room, 16000 N Civic Center Plaza

The survey results and public input meetings will help us create a draft Arts and Culture Master Plan that will be presented to the community, the Surprise Arts and Cultural Advisory Commission and the Surprise City Council for review and feedback.

For more information on the plan, process and timeline, please visit our Arts and Culture Master Plan webpage at www.surpriseaz.gov/artsplan. For questions, please contact Joshua Mike at joshua.mike@surpriseaz.gov or 623.222.3134.


Did You Know?

Surprise Joins Heat Relief Network

The city of Surprise is a Heat Relief Network partner, providing hydration and refuge stations for those in need of a place to cool off during the hot summer months. The Maricopa Association of Governments (MAG) coordinates mapping of the Heat Relief Network – a network of service providers, faith-based groups, municipalities, businesses, and caring citizens mobilizing to provide hydration and heat refuge for people in need. The ultimate goal of the Heat Relief Network is to help prevent heat-related deaths. The Heat Relief Network will run from May through September.

Designated hydration stations in Surprise include the Surprise Resource Center, 12425 W Bell Road Building A Suite 124, and Surprise Fire-Medical Station #301 (FS 301), 16750 N Village Drive East. FS 301 is also a place of refuge to cool off during the day. You can help those in need of relief by donating water bottles, sun screen, sun glasses and hats at either of the heat relief locations.

City Seeking Donations for Homeless

Surprise has partnered with the Valley of the Sun United Way, the Salvation Army and Rio Salado Community College to bring Project Connect to Surprise on Wednesday, July 26 and we need your help to make this humanitarian event a success! Project Connect works with organizations to provide a broad range of vital health and human services such as applying for birth certificates, getting social security cards, haircuts, bicycle repair, and meals, in a single accessible location.

You can help by donating items listed below in one of the designated boxes at City Hall, 16000 N Civic Center Plaza; Surprise Police Department or Surprise Fire-Medical Department, 14250 W Statler Plaza; or at the Surprise Senior Center, 15832 N Hollyhock Street, by 5 p.m. on Tuesday, July 25.

Here are the requested donations:

  • New underwear & new socks
  • Shirts
  • Pants/shorts
  • Granola bars
  • Water bottles
  • Dog food
  • General hygiene products (toothpaste, toothbrush, combs, brushes, soap, deodorant)

Are you interested in volunteering at this deserving event? Volunteers will serve as Guest Guides and will be partnered with homeless individuals and families to lead them to and from each service professional. View the United Way Project Connect Volunteer Overview video to learn more about being a volunteer.

Guest Guides must be at least 18 years old. Morning, afternoon or full-day shifts are available; volunteers will be asked to report to the Salvation Army, 17420 Ave of the Arts, Surprise. Select a shift and sign up on the United Way Project Connect Surprise event page. Please contact Jason Hughes, jason.hughes@surpriseaz.gov if you have questions about the event.


Contact Me

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

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