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April 19, 2018 • Newsletter

City Council Work Session

City Center Development Update

Last month, I requested that City Council receive an update from City staff and the land owner about the City Center development components and any future plans. At a Council meeting last year, City Council denied a resident development by Mattamy Homes as part of the said development and a request for a Master Plan had been initiated. City Council hosted a joint planning meeting with the Planning and Zoning Commission to discuss needs and desires for City Center in November and until this meeting, an update had not been provided to the entire City Council.

Over the last two years, City Council has approved two developments – Surprise Medical and Thompson Thrift Development (southwest corner of Bell Road and Civic Center Drive). Staff has worked towards a draft circulation plan, draft roadway cross-sections, a master drainage study, a fiscal impact analysis and the donation of 20 acres from the property owner to the City for higher education use by Ottawa University. With this being said, there is still a lot to achieve, and to do so, we need to work together to build a downtown for the future while incorporating the desires of our residents.

City Manager’s FY2019 Recommended Budget

Finance Director Lindsey Duncan presented the Fiscal Year (FY) 2019 City Manager Recommended Budget that is built on the foundation of safety for residents, city infrastructure/technology, and the city’s financial position. The most notable change in the $387.8 million budget is the inclusion of new capital projects with the passing of the General Obligation (GO) Bond election from last November. The bonds will fund $59.5 million of needed public safety, traffic congestion mitigation and pavement preservation projects beginning in FY2019. You can learn more at www.surpriseaz.gov/decidesurprise.

Increased operating expenditures are focused on public safety, security, inflation factors, mandated and contractual obligations. Public Safety was the largest recipient of increases to ensure the safety of residents. The Recommended Budget includes the expansion of the city’s ground ambulance service to include a fourth ambulance. The SAFER grant which was awarded to the Fire-Medical Department in 2017 ends in FY2019. The costs for these positions will be fully absorbed by the General Fund mid-year to maintain the enhanced service for residents. In addition, the budget addresses new safety/security needs with the funding of two additional police officers, an emergency manager, an information technology security analyst, and a court compliance coordinator.

With the new requirements of Proposition 206, additional funding is programmed for the minimum wage increase of part-time employees and for paid sick time. The budget also includes additional funding for costs which increase over time such as costs of living, medical premiums, pension contribution rate increases and service-related increases; including water user rates, software licenses, library intergovernmental agreements, and transit intergovernmental agreements.

The Recommended Budget includes funding for the Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) of $71 million. This includes utilizing $13 million in FY2019 for land, design, and/or construction of some of the GO Bond projects. The budget commits $21 million to maintain, secure, preserve, and/or replace infrastructure including roads, buildings, equipment and aged vehicles. The remaining capital is divided between utility-related projects ($15 million) and the functional areas of transportation, public safety, general government, and parks and recreation. Funding carried forward (approximately $22 million) from the prior year will continue the work on Desert Oasis water supply facility phase 2, special planning area 1 recharge expansion, and City Center public infrastructure.

Funding for additional operations and capital improvements is generated from growth in general fund revenue. General fund revenues are expected to increase by 10% or approximately $10.9 million above the current adopted budget. Recent escalations in housing activity as well as growing local sales tax account for most of the increase. A five-year forecast of city resources compared to uses helps ensure long-term financial sustainability and secures safety of the city’s financial position. The FY2019 Recommended Budget is available at www.surpriseaz.gov/budget.

City Council is scheduled to adopt a final budget in June.


City Council Meeting

Community Development Block Grant Program FY18-19

Human Service and Community Vitality Director Seth Dyson presented funding priorities and recommendations for the Community Development Block Grant Program Annual Action Plan and public service activities for FY18-19. As an entitlement city, Surprise receives a yearly allotment of CDBG funding from the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). The anticipated funding amount for our Annual Action Plan is $638,560.

CDBG public service funds can be utilized to provide a variety of public services such as child care, health services, job training, youth services and more for low to moderate income individuals and families. The funding amount for this category is $95,784. CDBG Public Service funding is limited to 15% of the annual CDBG allocation for the program year. Council approved the 2018-2019 Community Development Block Grant Public Service Funding as recommended.

Toll at Prasada Preliminary Plat

City Council approved a Preliminary Plat for Toll at Prasada, which is generally located west of Cotton Lane, between Cactus Road and Peoria Avenue. The Preliminary Plat covers approximately 772 gross acres and anticipates a maximum of 2,207 lots in eighteen (18) development parcels or “pads” to be developed over ten (10) phases. Phase 1 will include 463 of those lots in addition to roadway improvements to Cactus Road from Cotton Lane to 175th Avenue and Peoria Avenue from Cotton Lane to 175th Avenue. Phase I also includes five different lot products intended to reach a variety of customers. Amenities will include a club house, recreation center and golf course with abundant, beautifully-landscaped open space.


Events & Meetings

Surprise Regional Chamber of Commerce Breakfast Meeting

The Surprise Regional Chamber of Commerce hosted their monthly breakfast meeting on Thursday, April 12 at West-MEC Northwest Campus. Garrick Taylor with the Arizona Chamber of Commerce led interviews with both Congressional District 8 candidates, former State Legislator Debbie Lesko and Dr. Hiral Tipirneni. The Special General Election for the seat will take place Tuesday, April 24.

Tourism Advisory Commission Meeting

The Tourism Advisory Commission met on Thursday, April 12. Items of discussion included the adoption of the Commission’s Strategic Master Plan with staff recommendations.

The Tourism Advisory Commission, Arts and Cultural Advisory Commission and Community and Recreation Services Commission will be hosting a joint meeting at 6 p.m. on April 30 in the Community and Recreation Services meeting room, located at 15960 N. Bullard Avenue. The purpose of the meeting is to discuss collaboration opportunities between the commissions.

Friends of the Surprise Libraries

On Friday, April 13, I attended the Friends of the Surprise Libraries meeting at the Surprise Chamber of Commerce. Included in the discussion was the approval of audio book sets in the amount of $450 to Imagine Rosefield Charter School for 29 students.

WHAM Recycled Arts Festival

WHAM hosted their annual WHAM Recycled Arts Festival on Saturday, April 14. This year’s event gave local artists, local musicians, and dancers, a place to gather to showcase their talents. The art activities for kids were free and gave them ideas on what they can do with the repurposed material in their homes.

I was honored to be asked to introduce the Recycled Arts fashion show and witness the talent of all those involved.

WHAM Recycled Arts fashion show

State of the City

Growing a downtown, building community wealth, enhancing public transit via autonomous vehicle options and highlighting ways to maintain a connected Surprise, were all addressed in Mayor Sharon Wolcott’s 2018 State of the City speech, on Monday, April 16. Mayor Wolcott talked about how the city has performed well in previous years to build the foundation that will allow the city to grow responsibly in the future for all generations.

Furthermore, she elaborated on the attributes for what is required to create a true downtown such as walkability to comfort and access. The goal is to achieve a downtown Surprise that creates a sense of place for residents and visitors alike. You can read the speech and watch the video at https://www.surpriseaz.gov/SOTC.


Mark Your Calendar

Surprise SciTech Festival

Have fun with science and technology, while celebrating Earth Day, at the Surprise SciTech Festival on April 21! The event is free and has something for all ages! Come check out interactive SciTech booths, an incredible line-up of speakers, music and more! Plus, we’ll have delicious food options from local vendors available for purchase. The event will take place from 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. in the Surprise City Hall Outside Courtyard, 16000 N. Civic Center Plaza.

Demonstrations and displays include:

  • City of Surprise Fire-Medical, Police, Public Works, Water Resources and other departments
  • Local businesses and colleges (including ASU and Ottawa University)
  • Dysart School District Solar Go Kart and Robotics teams

We also have a variety of amazing speakers lined up for this event. Make plans to watch these exciting and informative presentations in the Surprise City Hall Council Chambers:

  • How the Brain Works (9:00 – 9:50 a.m. and 10:10 – 11:00 a.m.) – Presentation will identify the main parts of the brain and what they do, explore sensory illusions, and teach how to enhance the formation of memories by our brain.
  • When Even The Walking Dead Refuse to Conserve Energy: Sustainable Innovations from the Developing World (11:20 a.m. – 12:10 p.m.) – This talk is aimed at encouraging creative, innovative thinking about sustainability and energy innovations at all scales, in all places, and for all our communities.
  • Science the Earth (12:30 p.m. – 1:20 p.m.) – A discussion on how to bridge cultures through science and human discovery, and how logic and innovation unite our planet in a quest for knowledge.
  • U.S. Manned Space Flight (1:40 p.m. – 2:30 p.m.) – Who were the early astronauts? What ‘firsts’ were accomplished by American astronauts? What happened to the American space program after the moon landings? These and many other questions will be answered and discussed in this presentation.

For more information on the event, please visit www.surpriseaz.gov/scitech.

Surprise Senior Services Senior Prom

Get your dancing shoes ready because the City of Surprise Seniors Prom is happening on Tuesday, May 1! “Starry Night” is the theme for this year’s annual Seniors Prom, which will be held Tuesday, May 1 from 10 a.m. – 1 p.m. at the Surprise Senior Center, 15832 N. Hollyhock St.

In addition to music and dancing, prom attendees will enjoy a delicious catered lunch. A prom king and queen will also be crowned. Come in formal or casual attire. Both singles and couples are welcome. Please make reservations at the Surprise Senior Center front desk by 3:30 p.m. on Friday, April 27. The cost is $7 for Senior Center members and $15 for non-members.

Seniors Prom is hosted by the City of Surprise Human Service & Community Vitality Department’s Senior Services Division. For more information, please call 623.222.1500 or visit the Senior Center Monday through Friday between 8:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m.


Did You Know?

2018 Surprise Retail Survey Results

The City of Surprise launched a retail survey in March asking the community to vote for their favorite locally-owned businesses; both their top restaurant and top retailer. In just three weeks, the survey garnered more than 3,000 responses!

Congratulations to following businesses for earning the title “Local Favorite”:

Top 10 Local Restaurants

Oregano’s Pizza Bistro
State 48 Brewery
Babbo Italian Eatery
Rio Mirage Café
Nick’s Diner II
Vogue Bistro
Saigon Kitchen
Jim’s Burgers and Eggs
Big Buddha
Irish Wolfhound

Top 5 Local Retailers

Musical Surprise
Son Glow Boutique
Kimbur Pet Wash
PinkaBella Cupcakes
Gifts to Go

The city would like to thank everyone who participated in the survey!

Surprise Public Transit Study Continues

Although the Transit Feasibility Survey is closed, there are other opportunities for you to be involved in deciding the future of public transportation in Surprise. In addition to the online public comment form, two community engagement and education opportunities are planned for later this year.

A community workshop is tentatively planned for the afternoon of June 13, 2018 and will introduce the service alternatives available to Surprise and which ones should be priorities for the next five to ten years. Various public engagement tools are planned for this phase of community engagement, including WikiMapping – an online tool that provides users the opportunity to view, at their leisure, draft transit route concepts and comment on them.

During the fall 2018 public meeting, the project team will share the recommended short-term and long-term service alternatives based on information received from the Transit Feasibility Survey and initial public meeting. Public comments shared at both meetings will be included in the final implementation plan.

For more information regarding Transit Feasibility Study and stay informed about future updates and meeting details at surpriseaz.gov/transitstudy.


Contact Me

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

Ask a Question

April 12, 2018 • Newsletter

Events & Meetings

Surprise Citizens Academy

I was invited to address the Surprise Citizens Academy on Monday, April 9 in the Public Safety Auditorium. I was able to provide participants with how I became a Councilmember, the achievements the City Council has been able to make during my time on Council, my platform and initiatives and an overall update on District 5 and the city.

Madison Heights Tour

Human Service and Community Vitality Director Seth Dyson and I took a tour of the Madison Heights apartment complex in Avondale on Tuesday, April 10. Madison Heights is an exciting Maricopa Housing Authority Project in Avondale. The Maricopa Housing Authority is interested in a similar project in the Original Town Site.

Appreciation Event for Retiring IRIS USA CEO

Economic Development Director Jeanine Jerkovic and City Councilmembers hosted an appreciation dinner honoring Chet Keizer who retired last month as the CEO of IRIS USA. We are thankful that he has chosen Surprise to call his home and Mr. Keizer looks forward to serving the community in his new capacity as resident.


Mark Your Calendar

WHAM Recycled Arts Festival

Join WHAM Art Association to see what you can create with cast-off and recycled materials. Juried Exhibit for Adults in the West Gallery and a Special Youth Art Exhibit displaying creations of at least 75% recycled material. Art, Music, Entertainment, ICE CREAM, Dancers, Demonstrations and to cap off the day –a Runway Fashion Show for Adults and Kids. -over 30 different fashions on the runway. There will be fun for the whole family. For additional festival information available, please visit http://www.wham-art.org/recycle-arts.html.

Surprise Swap Meet

The semi-annual Surprise Super Swap Meet on Saturday, April 14. More than 50 vendors will have new and used treasures on display from 8 a.m. – 1 p.m. in the parking lot of the Surprise Aquatic Center, located at 15831 N. Bullard Avenue. Parking and admission are free.

The Surprise Swap Meet is sponsored by the Human Service & Community Vitality Department and the Surprise Senior Center Site Council. For more information, please call 623.222.1500.

State of the City

Mayor Sharon Wolcott’s 2018 State of the City Address will be held on Monday, April 16, at the new West-MEC Northwest Campus! Join City Council, your neighbors and business leaders and learn more about the opportunities for transportation, job growth and water management.

A reception in the Lightbox building begins at 6 p.m. The program will begin at 6:30 p.m. West-MEC is located at 13201 W. Grand Avenue. Register through the Surprise Regional Chamber of Commerce at http://www.surpriseregionalchamber.com/state-of-the-city.html.

Registration Open for Youth Summer Leagues and Camps

The City of Surprise Community and Recreation Services Department is currently offering registration for the following summer sports programs:

  • Summer Youth Basketball League:
    Recreational leagues for boys and girls ages 5-15. The summer basketball season starts in early June and runs until the end of July. Games are played on Saturdays and/or weeknights. Practice times are up to the volunteer coach, usually one hour, once a week (5:30pm, 6:30pm or 7:30pm). Age determined on or before July 31, 2018. For league details, visit www.surpriseaz.gov/1165/Youth-Basketball
  • Summer Break Sports Camps:
    Surprise is also offering a number of Summer Youth Sports Camps in June and July, including basketball, football, baseball, softball, volleyball, soccer and cheerleading. For a list of camp dates and details, visit www.surpriseaz.gov/2017/Sports-Camps-and-Clinics

Don’t miss your shot at these great summer activities! Register online at surpriserec.surpriseaz.gov or in person at the Community and Recreation Services Office, 15960 N Bullard Avenue. The final day to register is April 28, when a special Saturday registration will be held at the Community and Recreation Services office from 8-11 a.m. For more information, please contact the Sports Division at 623-222-2000 or visit www.surpriseaz.gov/recreation.


Did You Know?

City Council Meeting

Surprise City Council will meet for Work Session at 4 pm on Tuesday, April 17 and our Regularly Scheduled meeting at 6 pm. Many of you have inquired about an update on City Center. An update will be provided during our Work Session by Carefree Partners. To see our agenda, please visit https://www.surpriseaz.gov/1592/Watch-Council-Meetings-Online.

New Surprise Progress TV Episode

Watch the latest episode of Surprise Progress TV for info on the 2019 budget building process, the first bond sale related to the GO Bond Election, the upcoming State of the City Address, info on grants for small business owners and more!

Watch episode…



Contact Me

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

Ask a Question

April 5, 2018 • Newsletter

City Council Work Session

Surprise Youth Council Update

As the end of the school year approaches each year, our Surprise Youth Council provides City Council with an update of their activities, accomplishments and future plans. Last May, new members were inducted to SYC. SYC Administrator Mike Cassidy wanted to increase the outreach to youth in Surprise by increasing the Youth Council membership.

This most definitely proved successful. In doing so, community events were also expanded. In addition to participating in the Surprise Veterans Day Parade and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr Day of Celebration and Service, SYC participated in several service projects including but not limited to the Adaptive Recreation Buddy Ball program, Surprise Fiesta Grande preparation, Taste of Surprise, Project Connect and the District 4 Block Party. The group is passionate about many concerns we all share including mental and emotional health and wellness of their peers. As such, they participated in Bloom 365 and partnered with Eve’s Place which both involved education of teen violence.

Members of SYC continue to have opportunities to thrive, serve and further develop. They’ve participated in a variety of workshops and screenings, radio appearances, panel discussions and camps. We have members who serve on the Governor’s Youth Commission, a member that has been successfully growing her own charities and has been featured on TV and magazines, a member that has been given the opportunity to attend Harvard University this summer as part of a leadership event. Many have been given scholarships and who are attending top universities in our country.

I am very proud of this group of incredible young leaders who are giving back and making a difference in our city. Please join me in congratulating them on their hard-earned successes.

Ambulatory Enterprise Fund and Sports & Tourism

This was the fifth in a series of presentations regarding the development of the FY2019 Budget. This presentation focused on the Ambulance Enterprise Fund and the new Sports and Tourism Department’s FY2018 status and the action items for the upcoming fiscal year. The Surprise Fire-Medical Department (SFMD) began ambulance service for Surprise residents in FY2016. As of December 31, 2017, there are three ambulances in service. In the fall of 2018 SFMD plans to put the fourth ambulance in service.

The new Sports & Tourism Department was formed in fall of 2017. An overview presentation was given of accomplishments over the first year of operations to include tennis tournaments, Arizona Fall League, college baseball and Major League Baseball Spring Training. For the FY2019 budget, the Finance Department will work with Sports & Tourism and Community & Recreation Services to separate the departments’ finances and assets that are currently comingled. The respective departments will also be updating their cost recovery philosophy and user fees in FY2019 and bringing them to council for consideration.


City Council Meeting

General Obligation Bond Purchase

City Council authorized staff to proceed with the first bond sale related to the General Obligation Bond Election approved by voters last fall. Tuesday night’s vote coincided with Standard and Poor’s (S&P) upgrade of the city’s General Obligation (GO) Bond rating from AA- to AA. The higher the rating, the lower the investment risk to the bond purchasers and the interest rate to the city on the borrowed funds.

This first sale of bonds will not exceed $40 million and will be used to fund public safety, traffic congestion mitigation and pavement preservation projects. The remaining nearly $20 million in bonds will be sold at a later time to meet with future project timelines. The expected next sale would be in summer 2020.

The principal and interest payments will be paid for through a secondary property tax. The first bond issuance will result in a secondary property tax of $0.42 per $100 of assessed limited property value, which will begin in the next fiscal year, starting July 1, 2018.


Events & Meetings

Arizona Charter Academy Annual Community Volunteer Appreciation Lunch

Arizona Charter Academy (ACA) hosted their annual Community Volunteer Appreciation lunch on Thursday, March 29. CEO Melissa Holdaway acknowledged her appreciation of the city and partners who help ACA each year.

Surprise Police Department Retirement

The Surprise Police Department held a retirement ceremony at the Public Safety Auditorium on March 29, 2017 to honor Officer Terry Vernon-Reppert. Terry joined the Surprise Police Department in February 1993 and served 25 years.

Officer Terry Vernon-Reppert retirement ceremony from Surprise Police Department

Pinnacle Vein & Vascular Center Ribbon Cutting

Pinnacle Vein and Vascular Center hosted a ribbon cutting on Thursday, March 29. They are located at 12361 W. Bola Drive, Suite 100 in Surprise. Dr. Baljeet Uppal has been provided vein and vascular services for almost 25 years. Welcome, Dr. Uppal!

Pinnacle Vein and Vascular Center Grand Opening

Read On Greater Surprise Steering Committee Meeting

I was invited to attend the Read On Great Surprise Steering Committee meeting on Friday, March 30 at Northwest Regional Library. Donna Davis provided an update from Expect More Arizona. Updates were also provided on the Raising a Reader program, summer kinder readiness through Nadaburg School District and participation in upcoming vendor events.


Mark Your Calendar

Taste of Surprise

The much anticipated Taste of Surprise is this Saturday, April 7 from 4 pm until 9 pm at Surprise Stadium, 15850 N. Bullard Avenue. More than 50 local restaurants, beer, wine and spirit vendors will be ready for the crowd! There is also an incredible line-up of entertainment scheduled for the entire event. Plan on bringing your dancing shoes because there will be a dance floor too! Last year, this event raised well over $40,000 for five local non-profit organizations.

For more information and tickets, please visit http://www.tasteofsurprise.com/. Tickets are available at the gate as well. General admission tickets include unlimited food samples and entry into the drawing for an Australian vacation for two.

Sunday in the Park Food Truck Festival

The City of Surprise, in coordination with State 48 Brewery and Food Truck Friday West, presents Sunday in the Park Food Truck Festival on April 8 with live music performed by Notes from Neptune! Please join us from 4 – 8 p.m. at Mark Coronado Park, 15960 N Bullard Avenue.

Event admission is free; food and drink will be available for purchase. Choose from a variety of delicious food trucks, as well as an assortment of craft beers and wines provided by State 48 Brewery. Don’t forget a blanket or lawn chair! Dogs must be on leashes. For more information, please contact the City of Surprise Community & Recreation Services Office at 623.222.2000 or visit www.surpriseaz.gov/specialevents.

Surprise SciTech Festival

Have fun with science and technology, while celebrating Earth Day, at the Surprise SciTech Festival on April 21! The event is free and has something for all ages! Come check out interactive SciTech booths, an incredible line-up of speakers, music and more! Plus, we’ll have delicious food options from local vendors available for purchase.

The event will take place from 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. in the Surprise City Hall Outside Courtyard, 16000 N. Civic Center Plaza.Demonstrations and displays include:

  • City of Surprise Fire-Medical, Police, Public Works, Water Resources and other departments
  • Local businesses and colleges (including ASU and Ottawa University)
  • Dysart School District Solar Go Kart and Robotics teams

We also have a variety of amazing speakers lined up for this event. Make plans to watch these exciting and informative presentations in the Surprise City Hall Council Chambers:

  • How the Brain Works (9:00 – 9:50 a.m. and 10:10 – 11:00 a.m.) – Presentation will identify the main parts of the brain and what they do, explore sensory illusions, and teach how to enhance the formation of memories by our brain.
  • When Even The Walking Dead Refuse to Conserve Energy: Sustainable Innovations from the Developing World (11:20 a.m. – 12:10 p.m.) – This talk is aimed at encouraging creative, innovative thinking about sustainability and energy innovations at all scales, in all places, and for all our communities.
  • Science the Earth (12:30 p.m. – 1:20 p.m.) – A discussion on how to bridge cultures through science and human discovery, and how logic and innovation unite our planet in a quest for knowledge.
  • U.S. Manned Space Flight (1:40 p.m. – 2:30 p.m.) – Who were the early astronauts? What ‘firsts’ were accomplished by American astronauts? What happened to the American space program after the moon landings? These and many other questions will be answered and discussed in this presentation.

For more information on the event, please visit www.surpriseaz.gov/scitech


Did You Know?

Micro-Enterprise Grants Available to Eligible Surprise Businesses

Applications are currently being accepted for the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Micro-enterprise Grant. Under the 2017-2018 CDBG program funding, Micro-enterprise Grant funds were set aside to support innovative small businesses licensed within the city of Surprise that provide services that benefit low income clients.

Eligible city of Surprise-based businesses can apply to receive one of three $20,000 awards to grow their small business. To be considered for the award, applicants must meet eligibility requirements which include:

  • Must have a valid city of Surprise business license
  • Applicants must meet AZ TechCelerator business incubator tenant requirements
  • Business owner is low or moderate income and has five or fewer employees, or business benefits low income clients in the city of Surprise
  • Business objective must focus on scalable technological advancement and innovation as evidenced in an executive plan

Application and supporting documents are due by 2 p.m. Monday, April 30, 2018. For more information about the Micro-enterprise Grant, contact Julie Neal, julie.neal@surpriseaz.gov.

Surprise TV Website Boasts New Layout

Surprise TV, the official channel of the City of Surprise, has a new website with responsive design making it easier for you to watch shows on all your devices! The new layout features a user-friendly schedule guide and recent videos are easily located on the homepage. Plus, descriptions of Surprise shows and city meetings make finding the program you’re looking for more simple.

Watch the channel LIVE from most internet browsers; viewers using Internet Explorer 11 can view archived videos but will need to use a different browser to watch the livestream.

From bi-weekly City Council Meetings to special programs – Surprise TV has what you need to stay informed with city activities. That informative city public service announcement you saw on Facebook @CityofSurprise a couple of weeks ago and can’t remember where it was? It’s on Surprise TV! Watch it again and share it with your friends. Tune in 24-7 to watch your favorite series and stay up to date on the latest city news at surpriseaz.gov/surprisetv.


Contact Me

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

Ask a Question

March 29, 2018 • Newsletter

Events & Meetings

New Taping of Council Conversations

Late last week, I taped a new Council Conversation for Surprise TV with Water Resource Management Director Terry Lowe. The focus of our conversation was centered on the future of Surprise’s water system and the upcoming special election to purchase and acquire Circle City Water Company. You can watch the conversation on Surprise TV, my website or https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=riUPuNmYLDI&feature=youtu.be.

Surprise voters will decide whether or not to authorize the purchase and acquisition of this company in a Special Election on May 15. Circle City Water Company (CCW) is a small water service company in the northern part of Surprise’s planning area and future water service area. This acquisition would provide the city with Circle City’s existing water infrastructure and grow our allocation of Colorado River water by more than 38 percent.

Council Conversations - Skip Hall - Surprise's Water Future

Shops at Elm Street Grand Opening

Thompson Thrift hosted a grand opening celebration for the Shops at Elm Street on Friday, March 23. This development is home to Raising Cane’s, Starbucks, Tokyo Joes, Pieology and Menchie’s Frozen Yogurt. Welcome to District 5, we are excited to have you here and look forward to welcoming your new neighbor to the east- In-N-Out Burger soon!

Shops at Elm Street Grand Opening with Mayor Wolcott, Vice Mayor Tande, Councilmember Remley, Councilmember Duffy, Councilmember Winters and Councilmember Hall.

Cal Ripken Parade of Teams

The 16th Annual Cal Ripken Baseball/Babe Ruth Girls Softball/Bambino Buddy Ball Day was held at the Spring Training game on Saturday, March 24. The day featured a parade of teams and coaches consisting of almost 2,000 athletes and volunteer coaches. Book Downs, a 10 year old softball participant, read the Babe Ruth Sportsmanship Pledge and Jacob Divis from our Buddy Ball program threw out the first pitch! Many thanks to our Community and Recreation Services team for their work with these successful programs each year!

The 16th Annual Cal Ripken Baseball/Babe Ruth Girls Softball/Bambino Buddy Ball Day

Governor’s Office of Highway Safety Mock Crash

The Surprise Fire-Medical Department (SFMD) was awarded a grant from the Arizona Governor’s Office of Highway Safety to enhance DUI Alcohol Education and Awareness throughout the city. SFMD partnered with Surprise Police Department, Native Air (medical helicopter service), the Dysart Unified School District and Willow Canyon High School to coordinate a drunk/distracted driving mock crash for more than 2,000 students at Willow Canyon High School. Last year, through the same funding mechanism and partners, the event took place at Valley Vista High School.


Mark Your Calendar

Lunchtime Theater

The City of Surprise Arts and Cultural Advisory Commission and the West Valley Arts Council in partnership with Theater Works, the West Valley Symphony and the Phoenix Opera are hosting the last musical of the 2017-2018 performing arts luncheon series. Forever Plaid is one of the most popular musicals in recent memory. It is chock full of classic barbershop and pitch-perfect harmony about four men who share their love of music.

The event is scheduled for April 5 at Noon at the West Valley Arts HQ, 16126 N. Civic Center Plaza, in Surprise. Tickets are $10. For tickets, please contact 623.935.6384.

Surprise Arts & Culture Master Plan – Feedback Requested

Thank you to everyone who submitted comments on our Surprise Arts and Culture Master Plan draft! Staff utilized that feedback to create a revised version. We would also like your feedback on this version. Once this last round of feedback is incorporated, the plan will be presented to the Arts & Cultural Advisory Commission and in June, to the City Council for discussion, consideration and possible adoption.

The master plan is intended to set the standard and strategic direction for how the city will continue to implement and enjoy arts and culture in our community. You can visit it at www.surpriseaz.gov/artsmasterplan to read the revised draft and offer your comments by April 8. For more information, please contact Joshua Mike at 623.222.3134 or joshua.mike@surpriseaz.gov.

2018 Surprise Retail Survey

It’s time to take the 2018 Surprise Retail Survey and recognize your favorite local restaurants and retailers! Since 2015, the city has conducted an annual retail survey. In odd years, we ask for your wish list of restaurants and retailers; and every year we ask you to tell us what establishments top your list of local favorites.

Your TOP 10 restaurants and TOP 5 retail stores and/or service providers will get certificates and window clings that recognize them as a 2018 Local Favorite! Please take a couple of minutes to answer our brief, two-question survey before April 13 to show some love for your local businesses.

Take the survey

Fun Fact: Did you know that the community’s number one “Most-desired Restaurant” in both the 2015 and 2017 retail surveys is opening soon? In-N-Out Burger is under construction on Bell Road between Litchfield Road and Bullard Avenue. Plus, other top picks, including Texas Roadhouse and Oregano’s, have already opened up shop in Surprise!

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 14. 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 623.222.1900.


Did You Know?

AZ TechCelerator Welcomes New Global Concierge Program Clients

The AZ TechCelerator recently welcomed two new Global Concierge Program clients, MagQu, LLC and Meditar! MagQu, LLC is a Taiwanese company that has developed dozens of products, such as in-vitro diagnostic assay kits and analyzers for colorectal cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, Down’s Syndrome, and more. They plan to identify an early diagnosis blood marker for Alzheimer’s disease and mild cognitive impairment.

Meditar joins the AZTechCelerator as an Affiliate Member through our Global Concierge Program. Meditar is an advanced managed healthcare company in Latin America, headquartered in Argentina. Meditar will focus on becoming a leading provider of advanced medical care on an international level by offering high-complexity medical care to national and international patients without the wait and at a price they can afford.

Welcome to Surprise!

The Impact of Surprise Sundancers

Did you know it takes about 200 volunteers each Surprise Spring Training game to create the ultimate fan experience? The Surprise Sundancers are the official volunteer organization for the city’s Spring Training activities and other special events… and they are always looking for new team members!

Watch this short video to meet some of our amazing Sundancers and see how you can get involved!

Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1PitwfSJ9kA&feature=youtu.be

The Sundancers are an incredible organization. Thank you for all you do for Surprise!

Early Voting Open at Surprise City Hall

Beginning March 28, Surprise City Hall is open for early voting for Congressional District 8 seat and the May 15 Special City Election. Ballots have been mailed to all voters on the Permanent Early Voter (PEV) list so if you haven’t already received your ballot, you soon will.

Surprise City Hall, 16000 N. Civic Center Plaza, will be open for voting Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. and on the following Saturdays: March 31, April 7 and April 14, from 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. Polls are closed on Sundays. Friday, April 20 is the last day for early voting. On Election Day, Tuesday, April 24, polls will be open 6 a.m. – 7 p.m. Learn more at www.surpriseaz.gov/2018election.


Contact Me

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

Ask a Question

March 22, 2018 • Newsletter

City Council Work Session

Autonomous Vehicle Technology Presentation

Maricopa Association of Governments Transportation Director Eric Anderson discussed planning for autonomous vehicles in the Valley. Arizona’s promise to keep the driverless car industry free of regulations has attracted dozens of companies such as Uber and Lyft to our State. There are different levels of automation. Level 5 is fully autonomous, which is where the company Waymo is now operating. While autonomous vehicles provide a unique opportunity, there certainly are many concerns we need to consider including safety, the impact on public transportation, cyber-attacks and much more.

Fiscal Year 2019 Budget Presentation

This was the fourth in a series of presentations regarding the development of the FY2019 budget. This presentation focused on the capital improvements and asset replacement funding sources, the FY2018 fund status through December 2017, Development Impact Fee key issues, and the prioritized list of capital improvements. We reviewed eight categories that identified capital projects over the next five years to include Public Safety, Parks and Recreation and Utility Funds. Each list was prioritized by city leadership and identified its current funding status as funded, planned and unfunded. Funded is defined as currently funded for FY2018, planned projects are in pipeline contingent on solidifying funding in the next five years, while unfunded is defined as a need over the next five years but a funding source has not yet been identified.


City Council Meeting

Community Development Block Grant Funding Priorities

As an entitlement city, Surprise receives a yearly allotment of Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funding from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Every year the City of Surprise must submit an Annual Action Plan. The Annual Action Plan is a concise summary of actions, activities, and the specific federal and non-federal resources that will be used each year to address the priority needs and specific goals identified by the Consolidated Plan. The Consolidated Plan is a combined plan and application to HUD for federal funds available to counties and cities under CDBG which includes all previous five years of annual action plans. Occasionally, an amendment is necessary to the Annual Action Plan and as a direct result the Consolidated Plan must also be amended.

The CDBG presentation provided information regarding the Consolidated Plan to assist the Council in deciding if proposed projects meet grant criteria while filling community needs. Upon approval by City Council, the CDBG Administration, Neighborhood Improvement and Affordable Housing Activities will be submitted to HUD as part of the Consolidated Plan Amendment 2015-2019.

According to HUD regulations, CDBG funds may be used to provide Neighborhood Improvements (including labor, supplies, materials, project management and other costs) and Economic Development activities, provided the service will serve low to moderate income persons in the City of Surprise through area benefit or serving a particular clientele like seniors, youth and families; neighborhood improvements and affordable housing opportunities

The amount of program income to be included in the Annual Action Plan Amendment 2017-2018 is $1,130,633. CDBG administration, neighborhood improvement projects and affordable housing opportunities that will be carried out as part of this plan amendment include:

Administration $113,063
Salaries, supplies, compliance needs

Neighborhood Improvement Projects $517,570
Gaines Park ballfield and possible commercial property / building demolitions within the Surprise Heritage District

Affordable Housing Opportunities $500,000
Provide assistance for development of affordable housing units in the Heritage District.

City Council Public Hearings

On Tuesday, the City Council approved a Preliminary Plat for Marley Park Phase 4 & 5. This 235-acre project is located generally north of Sweetwater Avenue between Bullard Avenue and the 65 ldn for Luke AFB, and will include a total of 776 single-family residential lots, a 29-acre high-density residential parcel to be developed in the future, and approximately 44 acres of well-amenitized open space to be owned and managed by the Homestead at Marley Park HOA. Also associated with this project are three Maps of Dedication, which were approved by Council. These include a segment of 144th Drive/145th Avenue extending from the northern boundary of Legacy Charter School to Waddell Road, a segment of Old Oak Lane extending from 145th Avenue to Bullard Avenue, and a segment of Sweetwater Avenue extending from 144th Lane to Litchfield Road.

Marley Park Preliminary Plat

The City Council also approved a Preliminary Plat for Rancho Del Rey. This 25-acre project is located generally north of the Happy Valley Road alignment in the vicinity of Rancho Mercado, and will include a total of 117 single-family residential lots and approximately five acres of amenitized open space. The intent of this project is to integrate seamlessly with Rancho Mercado when built.

Rancho Del Rey Preliminary Plat

Ottawa University Lease Agreement

City Council unanimously approved to enter a lease agreement with Ottawa University allowing the University to lease approximately 14 acres of City-owned land for a term of 65 years at a market-rate rent. It also allows an option to lease additional City land totaling approximately 23 acres and an option to purchase any real property contained in the lease if certain conditions of the agreement are met by the University. The 14 acres is located at the northwest corner of Civic Center Drive and Tierra Buena Lane. The land lease requires the development of certain university facilities including housing, competition field, and indoor activity center, as well as undergraduate degree offerings, continuous accreditation by the Higher Learning Commission and acceptance of its athletic program into an interscholastic athletics affiliation.

FY18 Financial Status Report

Revenue is trending higher than expected through December in the General Fund. Local sales tax is trending upwards due to increased activity in many categories but a portion of this revenue does go back out as an expenditure to reimburse development obligations. Growth is continuing to trend upwards thus increasing the amount of revenue collected for development related growth (permitting, planning, inspections). There has also been a change in timing for intergovernmental revenue that has increased what we have received from the DOR when compared to budget. Expenditures currently trending are below budget by 4 percent.


Events & Meetings

Spring Training Event

Councilmembers joined Economic Development Director Jeanine Jerkovic to welcome representatives from Jones Lang LaSalle (JLL). JLL offers commercial real estate services for Phoenix area corporations and investors. We were able to review market trends and discuss demands with the representatives to gage how Surprise can attract more businesses.

Grand Opening of Ono Hawaiian BBQ

Ono Hawaiian BBQ hosted their grand opening and ribbon cutting celebration on Friday, March 16. They are located at 13864 W. Bell Road. Ono Hawaiian BBQ is a fast-casual dining restaurant with 70 store locations throughout California and Arizona. Welcome to Surprise!

Councilmembers Nancy Hayden, Todd Tande, Roland Winters and Skip Hall with Christine Jan of Ono Hawaiian

Trimaco Groundbreaking Event

City Council came together for the groundbreaking of Trimaco on Friday, March 16. With the growing success of their business nationwide, they have outgrown their current west valley location and will be building a new 275,000 SF facility and employing over 110 people in Surprise!

Trimaco manufactures paint accessories and professional floor protection products for paint retail, auto body and construction industries worldwide.

This project represents more than just the current ground-up development, as the President of Trimaco is a long-term investor in Surprise. Mr. Vito Ancona developed Ancona Professional Plaza off Grand Avenue and now we are more than happy to welcome him into our industrial park as well!

Groundbreaking of Trimaco on Friday, March 16

Surprise VIP Tent Event

Surprise hosted businesses throughout our city at a spring training game on Friday, March 16. Each year, our Economic Development department plans the event so we can show our appreciation to them for doing business in Surprise!

Mark Coronado Hall of Fame Induction

The City of Surprise honored the legacy of Mark Coronado on Saturday, March 17 with a Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony prior to the spring training game at Surprise Stadium. You will now see a Mark Coronado legacy seat in the Stadium, in addition to renaming 8-Acre Park to “Mark Coronado Park” with a memorial plaque at the park’s entry gate. Honorary street signs along Bullard Avenue now read “Mark Coronado Way”. Mark successfully led our Community and Recreation Services Department from 2000 until his death last summer.

His impact on baseball, youth, recreation programs, parks, our city and our staff will never be forgotten. He worked tirelessly to build a better Surprise. Mark’s legacy will now continue to be a permanent part of the city.


Mark Your Calendar

Surprise Spring Egg-stravaganza

Eager egg hunters are invited to join the search for more than 50,000 candy and toy-filled plastic eggs at the City of Surprise Spring Egg-stravaganza Celebration on March 31. The event, for toddlers to 10-year-olds, will take place at Surprise Recreation Campus in the Kansas City Practice Fields, located at 15850 N Bullard Ave. Admission is free, and the event will feature face painters, balloon artists, inflatables and Mr. & Mrs. Bunny! Food and drink will be available for purchase; minimal fee for some activities.

Gates open at 7:30 a.m. and the first hunt begins at 8:20 a.m. New hunts will follow approximately every 20 minutes by age group with an open hunt at the end for those who have missed their age group.

Egg Hunt Schedule:

8:20 a.m. – 2 years and under
8:50 a.m. – 3 & 4 year olds
9:20 a.m. – 5 & 6 year olds
9:40 a.m. – 7 & 8 year olds
10:00 a.m. – 9 & 10 year olds
10:20 a.m. – all age groups

Children participating in the hunt should bring baskets or bags to hold treats and eggs. The event will conclude at 11:00 a.m. For more information, please visit www.surpriseaz.gov/specialevents or call 623.222.2000.


Did You Know?

Surprise Transit Study

Please remember the city is conducting a Transit Feasibility Study and is seeking public input to determine what forms of public transportation will be most successful in Surprise. This study will look at demographics, socioeconomic characteristics of the city, and how people travel in the Surprise area. The goal is to understand how transit can best serve Surprise residents and visitors, including what type of services will be needed and where transit will be most successful.

Public participation is needed to determine current traveling habits and top travel destinations such as schools, medical facilities, shopping and other activity areas that could be served with public transportation.

Residents are encouraged to visit www.surpriseaz.gov/transitstudy to complete the survey and to learn more about the Transit Feasibility Study, upcoming public meeting dates and more. The online survey will be available until 5 p.m. on Saturday, March 31, 2018.

The study is anticipated to conclude later this year and provide recommendations and options that can be used to develop transit strategies that support short and long-term transportation needs.


Contact Me

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

Ask a Question

March 15, 2018 • Newsletter

Events & Meetings

Tourism Advisory Commission Meeting

The Tourism Advisory Commission met on Thursday, March 8. Commission Member Mario Rano was selected as the Vice Chair of the Commission. Staff provided suggestions on the Strategic Plan with a focus on four key areas, which included events and entertainment, marketing, partnership and facility development and funding. In addition, staff discussed the goals for each key area. Commission members and attendees were provided an overview of the most recent sales tax report for FY18. Staff from the Arizona Office of Tourism were also in attendance and provided a presentation.

Hall of Fame Induction for Jim Mallon

Jim Mallon Prior to the spring training game on the evening of Monday, March 12, Jim Mallon was inducted into the Surprise Recreation Campus Hall of Fame. Mr. Mallon served as the Surprise Stadium Operations Division Manager from July 2001 until his retirement in 2014. He is currently the only Operations Manager to have opened and managed two different Cactus League facilities. His enthusiastic personality and dedication to success helped shape Surprise Stadium into the world class facility it is today. Thank you, Jim!

Surprise Friends of the Library Meeting

I attended the Surprise Friends of the Library meeting on Friday, March 9. Amongst many agenda item discussions was the approval of a more than $2,300 donation to Marley Park Elementary School for books and special education curriculum and $247 to Desert Oasis Elementary School for books for a classroom teacher.

Spring Training Event

Several Councilmembers and I joined Economic Development staff to welcome members of the Greater Phoenix Economic Council (GPEC) to a spring training game suite on Friday, March 9. The game provided us an opportunity to learn about economic development prospects for Surprise and the Valley.

Benevilla Annual Donor Appreciation Brunch

Benevilla held their 2018 Annual Donor Appreciation Brunch on Tuesday, March 13 at Briarwood Country Club. West Valley Lutheran Thrift Shop received a Business Leadership Award for their generosity to many non-profits, including Benevilla. Mr. Larry Vering, a Surprise resident, received the Bill Wolfrey Community Service Award for his dedication and service to Benevilla and several other non-profits. Congratulations, Larry!

Mr. Larry Vering and Benevilla staff

Mark Your Calendar

Free Educational Series Teaches How to Raise a Reader

Surprise has partnered with Southwest Human Development and First Things First to host a free eight-week Raising a Reader program that utilizes proven skills to educate parents about the importance of early literacy and provides tools to help their children learn to read.

Using an evidence-based model that focuses on developmental milestones and brain development, literacy specialists will model how to engage children with the use of books. Families will also learn the significance of singing, dancing and playing as a way to build their child’s vocabulary and prepare them for school.

All members of the family are invited to participate! Plus, at the end of each week participating families will take home a bag filled with award-winning children’s books and a certificate of completion.

Courses will be taught from 10 a.m.-12 p.m. on consecutive Tuesdays beginning March 27 through May 15, at the Surprise Resource Center, 12425 W. Bell Rd, Bldg. A, Suite #124.

To enroll in the eight week Raising a Reader series, contact Muriel Gutierrez at 623.222.1672.

Taste of Surprise

Mark your calendars for a fantastic event! Showcasing some of the West Valley’s best restaurants and eateries, the Taste of Surprise is a fundraising event organized by the Rotary Club of Surprise Community Foundation to support projects and charitable services in the local community. The Taste of Surprise features dozens of food, beer, wine and spirit vendors, including local culinary talents from award-winning restaurants and local emerging chefs.

The event will be held on Saturday, April 7 from 4 p.m. until 9 p.m. at Surprise Stadium, 15930 N. Bullard Avenue. Tickets are available at www.tasteofsurprise.com or at the door. I hope to see you there!


Did You Know?

National Citizens Survey Is Online Through Monday, March 19

If you did not receive a National Citizens Survey (NCS) by mail, you can take the survey online! You can visit http://bit.ly/surprise2018 and share your thoughts on Surprise as a place to live and work. We want your feedback on transportation, public safety, youth services and so much more! The NCS is conducted by the National Research Center of Boulder, Colorado. Survey results are anonymous. The city only receives the aggregate results.

Your feedback helps the city to identify services in which we are performing well and lets us know the areas in which we have the opportunity to improve. It also helps to identify priority projects for Surprise and indicates where limited city funding should go in order to provide the services you most desire.

For those households that did receive a paper survey by mail, please complete the paper version and mail back using the postage-paid envelope.

Vote on Surprise’s Water Future

Surprise voters will decide whether or not to authorize the purchase of a water service company in a Special Election on May 15. To help voters learn more about the ballot measure, we have added new tools and information to the water election website and invite residents to one of our upcoming public meetings.

The city is seeking authorization to purchase Circle City Water Company (CCW), a small water service company in the northern part of Surprise’s planning area and future water service area. This acquisition would provide Surprise with the company’s existing water infrastructure and grow the city’s allocation of Colorado River water by more than 38 percent, helping to plan for future growth. The purchase of CCW would be offset through the sale of current and future water portfolio assets.

The water election website, www.surpriseaz.gov/waterelection, now includes a short informational video, downloadable fact sheet, frequently asked questions, important election dates, voter information and public meeting dates and locations.

We are holding public meetings on the following dates:

April 4, 6 p.m.
Desert Oasis Elementary Cafeteria/Multipurpose Room, 17161 W Bajada Road

April 12, 5 p.m.
Surprise City Hall – City Council Chambers, 16000 N. Civic Center Plaza

April 18, 4 p.m.
Sun City Grand, Sonoran Plaza – Palms Room, 19789 N Remington Drive

April 19, 6 p.m.
Sierra Montana Recreation Center, 14861 N Spring Lane

The voter registration deadline for this election is April 16. To register, please visit http://maricopa.vote/. The Surprise City Clerk’s Office also offers in-person registration.

All registered households in Surprise will receive a mail ballot. Ballots will be mailed April 25. Election Day is May 15. For more information, please contact the Surprise Water Resource Management Department at wrm@surpriseaz.gov or 623.222.7100.


Contact Me

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

Ask a Question

March 8, 2018 • Newsletter

City Council Work Session

Recycling Trends

City staff and representatives from Waste Management provided an update on the recycling industry. The industry is facing challenges due to new import restrictions from China and an increase in recycling. China is the largest importer of recyclables in the world and the single largest consumer of recyclable materials generated in North America. The quality of our recycling (making sure we are not contaminating our bins with non-recyclable items) will impact pricing and movement, so quality is important. Suggestions to improve quality included recycling all empty bottles, cans and paper; and eliminating food and liquids as well as plastic bags from recycling containers.

Fiscal Year 2019 Budget

Finance staff completed the third in a series of presentations regarding the development of the FY19 budget. The focus of this session was on the City’s reserve polices and General Fund revenue sources. In FY2018, the City had a total of $38.6 million in reserves across all funds. Per City policy, each individual fund must maintain either a minimum dollar amount or percentage of expenses in reserve. For example, the General Fund has a two-month reserve policy (16.67%) that is broken into three components; 10% for operations, 5% for budget stabilization, and 1.67% for emergencies.

The FY2018 budget includes $124.9 million in General Fund sources which is comprised of intergovernmental revenue, charges for services, local sales tax, primary property tax, and franchise fees. Based on discussion held during this work session, the Finance Department will move forward with the preparation of the City Manager’s Recommended Budget under the assumption that the City will maintain the property tax rate of $0.7591 in FY2019.


City Council Meeting

Text Amendment Regarding Signs

Earlier last month, City Council conducted a public hearing to consider action pertaining to the approval of a text amendment to Chapter 113 of the Surprise Municipal Code regarding signs. At that time, Council directed staff to bring the matter back for further discussion and consideration on March 6, allowing staff time to revise the draft code to address Council’s concerns. On Tuesday, Council discussed the text amendment which included the amendments to A-frame signs and the future installation of billboards along Grand Avenue and Loop 303 to enhance marketing for businesses. City Council voted 5-2 to approve the text amendment with the removal of billboards. The amendments will go into effect on April 5, 2018.

To read the full updated sign code, please visit: www.surpriseaz.gov/signcode.

Heritage Farms Preliminary Plat

City Council voted 6-1 to approve the Preliminary Plat entitled Heritage Farm located at the southeast corner of 175th Avenue and Waddell Road. The proposed plat will provide 137 lots on approximately 33 acres.

Approval of Agreement Regarding White Tank Mountain Regional Park

City Council unanimously approved an agreement related to the White Tank Mountain Regional Park, which included annexation of the Park and the inclusion of the Park in the planning areas of Buckeye and Surprise and our respective general plans, subject to the approval of Maricopa County. In the future, the parties may consider joint development of trails or similar amenities, whether inside or outside the Park.

White Tank Mountain Regional Park rendering


Events & Meetings

Canyon Ridge Elementary School Tour

Young members from Canyon Ridge National Elementary Honor Society visited me to tour City Hall on Wednesday, February 28. We toured the City Council Department and the City Council Chambers where students learned updates about that City and were provided with an opportunity to ask questions about local government.

Canyon Ridge STEAM Night

Canyon Ridge School hosted their STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math) on Thursday, March 1. The community was welcome to attend the event where all grade levels showcased the STEAM curriculum including coding, astronomy, physics and rocketry. Following a tour by Principal Jill Hoppe, I attended several displays and talked to students about their respective studies, including conversations with the sixth grade class and their “Invention Convention.” The caliber of inventions from some of our youngest entrepreneurs was impressive!

Read Across America

Countryside Elementary School hosted a Read Across America event in honor of Dr. Seuss’s birthday on Friday, March 2. I was invited to read to the first grade students in Mrs. Fallon’s class. I am grateful for the opportunities to engage with our youngest residents and encourage literacy!

Councilmember Skip Hall reading to first grade students at Countryside Elementary School

Surprise Police Department Annual Appreciation Event

The Surprise Police Department held their Annual Appreciation Celebration on Friday, March 2 at Christ Church of the Valley (CCV) in Surprise. Police employees, volunteers, Councilmembers and family members enjoyed dinner and the awards ceremony. The following employees and volunteers were recognized for their selfless service and commitment to our residents and community.

Rookie of the Year Officer Christopher Smith
Supervisor of the Year Lieutenant Norman Owens
Civilian of the Year Kenneth Augusto
Detective of the Year Kristy Coats
Officer of the Year Richard (Rick) Malone
Volunteer of the Year George Busch
Citizens Patrol Member of the Year Kathryn Jonas
Distinguished Service Award Tina Jennings
Lifesaving Award Officer Christopher Smith
Lifesaving Award Officer Russell Jurn

Surprise Spring Training 5k

The city hosted its inaugural Spring Training 5K on Friday, March 2 at Surprise Stadium. A total of 284 participants ran the course. More than 100 of the participants lived outside of Surprise; 38 were from outside of Arizona; and four were from outside of the US. The race started and ended in the Stadium and highlighted our fantastic recreation campus including the Community Park, tennis complex and Ottawa University Arizona sports field. Other highlights included a fun atmosphere with music, snacks and beverages. Staff plans to make this race an annual event and grow the number of participants.


Mark Your Calendar

Surprise Clean Up Event

Calling all Surprise residents! The city will be hosting our next free residential waste drop-off for you on Saturday, March 10. This event allows residents to drop off up to 2,000 pounds of residential waste, free of charge, at the Northwest Regional Landfill, 19401 W. Deer Valley Road. The event will be held from 7 am until 1 pm. Acceptable items include lawn waste and other typical household refuse.

Please note that proof of Surprise residency is required. Additionally, hazardous waste items will not be accepted during this time. Items such as paint, batteries, tires and pool chemicals will be collected at the city’s Household Hazardous Waste event on April 14 from 8 am until 12 noon at the Public Works Maintenance Yard, 13433 W. Firefox Drive. For more information, please call our customer service line at 623.222.1900.

Sunday in the Park Food Truck Festival

The City of Surprise, in coordination with State 48 Brewery and Food Truck Friday West, presents Sunday in the Park Food Truck Festival on March 11 with live music performed by The Spirited Lads. The event will be held from 4 – 8 p.m. at Mark Coronado Park (formerly 8-Acre Park), 15960 N. Bullard Avenue.

Event admission is free; food and drink will be available for purchase. Choose from a variety of delicious food trucks, as well as an assortment of craft beers and wines provided by State 48 Brewery.

This is a great opportunity to enjoy live entertainment and unique food trucks that the whole family will love! Don’t forget a blanket or a lawn chair. Dogs must be on leashes. For more information, please contact the City of Surprise Community & Recreation Services Office at 623.222.2000 or visit www.surpriseaz.gov/specialevents.


Did You Know?

National Citizens Survey Is Online Now

If you did not receive a National Citizens Survey (NCS) by mail, you can take the survey online! You can visit http://bit.ly/surprise2018 and share your thoughts on Surprise as a place to live and work. We want your feedback on transportation, public safety, youth services and so much more! The NCS is conducted by the National Research Center of Boulder, Colorado. Survey results are anonymous. The city only receives the aggregate results.

Your feedback helps the city to identify services in which we are performing well and lets us know the areas in which we have the opportunity to improve. It also helps to identify priority projects for Surprise and indicates where limited city funding should go in order to provide the services you most desire.

For those households that did receive a paper survey by mail, please complete the paper version and mail back using the postage-paid envelope.

Our last NCS was conducted in 2015 and 90% of residents indicated they would recommend Surprise as a place to live, a rating that is “much above” surveyed cities of our size. Residents told us Safety, Mobility and the Economy were most important to them. Respondents said we need to work on improving transportation/transit options, local job choices, education and resident volunteer opportunities.

Since the 2015 survey 3,000 new jobs have been created in Surprise. In addition the Bell-Grand Intersection Improvements were completed in partnership with ADOT; Greenway Road was widened; residents passed a General Obligation Bond to fund projects in Public Safety, Transportation and Pavement Preservation; and our Human Service and Community Vitality Department continues to grow volunteer opportunities, most recently hosting nearly 400 volunteers during the city’s 2nd Annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Celebration of Service.

On the education front, Ottawa University opened a campus at City Center; West-MEC’s new northwest valley campus opened last summer and Highland Prep began classes last fall.

The last day to take the survey is March 19!

Surprise Baseball Bat Contest Winners

The Surprise Arts & Cultural Advisory Commission sponsored their annual baseball bat decorating contest for students in fifth through eighth grade earlier this year. The theme for this year’s context was science and exploration. Commission Chair Susan de Jong acknowledged the winners at the City Council meeting held on March 6. The winners included grand prize winner Christian Do, 1st prize winner Sydney Do, 2nd prize winner Tiffany Seich and 3rd prize winner Ryan Henderson.

Congratulations to our winners on their creative artwork!


March 1, 2018 • Newsletter

Events & Meetings

Mayor’s Welcome Back Lunch

The Mayor’s Welcome Back Lunch was held on Wednesday, February 21 at Surprise Stadium. Mayor Wolcott hosts this annual event to welcome the Kansas City Royals and Texas Rangers to Surprise prior to their spring training season. Approximately 160 people attended. Speakers included Texas Rangers Assistant General Manager and Manager Jayce Tingler and Jeff Banister, respectively, as well as Kansas City Royals Manager Ned Yost and Kansas City Royals Hall of Famer George Brett.

Read On Greater Surprise

The Read On Greater Surprise Steering Committee met at City Hall on Friday, February 23. Agenda items included a review of their mission statement, an update on partnering events, and the Summer Pre-Kinder Readiness program. The next Raising a Reader program will begin March 27 and run through May 15 at the Surprise Resource Center at the AZ TechCelerator (12425 W. Bell Road, Building A, Suite 124). The 8-week class will meet from 10 a.m. until 12 noon.

This program is sponsored by Friends of the Surprise Libraries. For more information, please contact Aly Cline at 623.826.4939.

Mountain Vista Ranch HOA Block Party

Mountain Vista Ranch HOA held their annual block party on Saturday, February 24. Hundreds of residents attended the events and engaged with their neighbors, rode the zip-line and participated in the festivities.

Level 4

Our Surprise Youth Council hosted their second Level 4 event in the City Hall parking garage on Saturday, February 24. This free event was open to high school students. Party-goers enjoyed music, food, art and games, which included foosball, giant air hockey, corn hole, giant Jenga, Pac-Man and much more. Approximately 250 students attended. I had the pleasure of chaperoning this event and meeting several of our high school students from Surprise.

Many thanks to the Surprise Youth Foundation for their partnership and sponsorship to assist with this event.

Surprise Regional Chamber of Commerce Monthly Meeting

The Surprise Regional Chamber of Commerce hosted their monthly meeting on Tuesday, February 27. This particular meeting focused on marketing. The Chamber continues to provide educational and networking programs such as the ribbon cuttings, groundbreaking support, business builder breakfast events, free classes, educational summits, Women in Business events and much more. For more information, please visit www.surpriseregionalchamber.com.

Surprise Literacy Challenge Celebration

As part of celebrating the winners of the Surprise Literacy Challenge, an ice cream party was given to the top performing 4th grade class – Mrs. Wernet’s class at Arizona Charter Academy – on Tuesday, February 27. In addition to ice cream bars, students received medals, and I was given the opportunity to get to know them better. This class was recognized for earning a total of 42 book bucks with 5 blackouts across the Bingo-like challenge, where squares represented reading and literacy challenges.


Mark Your Calendar

City To Host Meeting on Homelessness Services

On Monday, March 5, the city will host an informational meeting to discuss homelessness in Surprise and share information about current support programs.

Surprise has partnered with multiple agencies throughout the Phoenix metropolitan area to provide services for individuals, and families, who need assistance. The following agencies will be at the meeting to share information about their programs:

  • United Methodist Outreach Ministries (UMOM) – Primary focus on families and youth
  • Human Services Campus and Lodestar Day Resource Center – Primary focus on single adults
  • Lutheran Social Services – I-HELP program (Interfaith Homeless Emergency Lodging Program)
  • Valley of the Sun United Way – Project Connect
  • Maricopa County Community Services

The response to this meeting was so strong that the session is currently at capacity. I will let you know when additional meetings or information becomes available.

Sunday in the Park Food Truck Festival

The City of Surprise, in coordination with State 48 Brewery and Food Truck Friday West, presents Sunday in the Park Food Truck Festival on March 11 with live music performed by The Spirited Lads. The event will be held from 4 – 8 p.m. at Mark Coronado Park (formerly 8-Acre Park), 15960 N. Bullard Avenue.

Event admission is free; food and drink will be available for purchase. Choose from a variety of delicious food trucks, as well as an assortment of craft beers and wines provided by State 48 Brewery.

This is a great opportunity to enjoy live entertainment and unique food trucks that the whole family will love! Don’t forget a blanket or a lawn chair. Dogs must be on leashes. For more information, please contact the City of Surprise Community & Recreation Services Office at 623.222.2000 or visit www.surpriseaz.gov/specialevents.


Did You Know?

Surprise Stadium Ranked #1 Spring Training Stadium by USA Today

Surprise Stadium, spring training home of the Texas Rangers and Kansas City royals, has been ranked the No. 1 Spring Training stadium in Arizona by USA TODAY! The newspaper conducted a study of online fan reviews to create scores for all 23 spring training stadiums in four areas: facility; family friendliness; food; and fan experience. Not only did Surprise Stadium score first overall in the Cactus League, but the park also topped all 23 Arizona and Florida spring training facilities in the categories of facility and fan-experience!

The 16th annual Surprise Spring Training season is here! Tickets start at just $8, and parking is free! Catch a unique fan experience on our Budweiser Legends Deck; tickets are only $30 and include food from local restaurants, a drink voucher and access to a private bar.

No matter where you choose to sit, you can expect a great view of the game and some fun additions to the fan experience, including an interactive photo opportunity that lets you place yourself in a scene with the Royals and Rangers mascots. For ticket information, the game schedule and more, visit www.surprisespringtraining.com or contact the Surprise Recreation Campus Box Office at 623.222.2222.

Read the USA TODAY article: Ranking Arizona spring training parks: Surprise at the top


Contact Me

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

Ask a Question

February 22, 2018 • Newsletter

City Council Work Session

HURF and Utility Fund Overview Summary

This presentation marked the second in a series of presentations regarding the development of the FY2019 Budget. This presentation focused on the operations of the Water, Wastewater, Stormwater, and Solid Waste Enterprise Utilities as well as the Highway User Revenue Fund (HURF). It reviewed the purpose of each fund, FY2018 Budget vs Actuals through December 2017 and discussed key issues for each fund as well as an upcoming rate study planned during FY2019.

City of Surprise Transit Feasibility Study & Implementation Plan

Late last year, City staff requested the approval of City Council to proceed with a request for proposal for a Transit Feasibility Study and Implementation Plan to help ensure that the City sustains its high quality of life as we continue to grow. The City has since hired HDR to develop the study and plan which will supplement and, in other cases, supersede studies which have been conducted as part of the broader Northwest Valley and Maricopa Association of Governments (MAG) regional studies.

As part of the Transit Feasibility Study, the City is seeking public input to determine what forms of public transportation will be most successful in Surprise. The Transit Feasibility Study will look at demographics, socioeconomic characteristics of the city, and how people travel in the Surprise area. The goal is to understand how transit can best serve Surprise residents and visitors, including what type of service will be needed and where transit will be most successful.

Public participation is needed to determine current traveling habits and top travel destinations such as schools, medical facilities, shopping and other activity areas that could be served with public transportation. Residents are encouraged to visit surpriseaz.gov/transitstudy to complete the online survey when it is published in March and to learn more about the Transit Feasibility Study, upcoming public meeting dates and more.

The study is anticipated to conclude later this year and provide recommendations and options that can be used to develop transit strategies that support short and long-term transportation needs.

Arts & Culture Master Plan Draft

In February 2017, the Arts and Cultural Advisory Commission and the Community Development Department hired a consultant to begin developing an Arts and Culture Master Plan. This team has conducted stakeholder meetings, participated in public outreach events, and conducted multiple surveys that evaluated the current conditions and identified the needs of the City. This development team has drafted strategies intended to bolster the community’s sense of place by expanding public art and promoting more cultural experiences.

The draft reflects ideas and opinions captured through public meetings, surveys and written comments. While the draft is plain text, the final copy will include graphics, samples, and visual aids. Both the master plan draft and an online comment form are available at www.surpriseaz.gov/artsmasterplan.

We are also hosting several public meetings where the draft will be presented and there will be an opportunity for discussion and Q&A:

  • Monday, Feb. 26 – 1 p.m. at Sierra Montana Rec Center, 14861 N Spring Ln
  • Tuesday, Feb. 27 – 6 p.m. at the Northwest Regional Library, 16089 N Bullard Ave
  • Wednesday, Feb. 28 – 1 p.m. at Marley Park Heritage Club, 15210 W Sweetwater Ave

Following these meetings, comments and suggestions will be compiled and presented to the Arts and Cultural Advisory Commission at a special meeting, which is also open to the public. That meeting will be held:

  • Thursday, Mar. 1 – 4:30 p.m. at Surprise City Hall – Community Room 16000 N. Civic Center Plaza

To learn more about the Surprise Arts & Culture Master Plan, please visit www.surpriseartsplan.com. For questions or more information, please contact Joshua Mike at 623.222.3134 or joshua.mike@surpriseaz.gov.


City Council Meeting

General Obligation Bond Project Update and Budget Amendment

The presentation discussed the timeline and bond process of the projects approved by voters in the November 7, 2017 Special Election, which includes six public safety projects, three traffic congestion mitigation projects, and pavement preservation. The Council took action to approve amending the budget by reallocating $5,058,800 from contingency in the grant fund to seven of the Special Bond Election projects in order to begin design in FY2018.

Honoring the Late CRS Director Mark Coronado

City Council unanimously agreed to recognize the late Community and Recreation Services (CRS) Director Mark A. Coronado’s service to Surprise in the following ways:

  • Rename 8-Acres Park “Mark Coronado Park” and include a memorial plaque at the park’s entry gate. (approximate cost $1,100)
  • Place honorary street signs along Bullard Avenue (Bell to Greenway Roads) to read “Mark Coronado Way.” The road will remain Bullard Avenue for all other purposes. (8 signs at an approximate cost of $300 total)
  • Brand the Mark Coronado Legacy Seat at Surprise Stadium *Change the color of the seat that Coronado purchased every Spring Training Season and add a logo identifying it as such (approximate cost is $1,000)

The recommendations were presented by the Honoring An Exceptional Leader Task Force. The group was created by the Surprise City Council, on an ad-hoc basis, to identify ways to recognize great women and men who invested a precious part of themselves to the benefit of the city. The Task Force was comprised of Planning and Zoning Commission Chair Ken Chapman; Community and Recreation Advisory Commission Chair Wayne Turner; Arts and Cultural Advisory Commission Chair Susan DeJong; Assistant City Manager Michael Frazier; City Attorney Robert Wingo and Public Works Director Mike Gent. The group is dismissed with this City Council action.

Mr. Coronado, who passed away in June 2017, led CRS beginning in 2000. 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.

Mark will be inducted into the Surprise Stadium Hall of Fame at a March 17 Spring Training game, and the other naming recognitions will be announced at that time.

FY2018 Financial Status Report Through November 2017

Staff reported that revenue is higher than expected through November 2017 in the General Fund. Local sales tax is trending upwards due to increased activity in many categories. Growth is trending upwards thus increasing the amount of revenue collected for development related growth (permitting, planning, inspections). There has also been a change in timing for intergovernmental revenue that has increased what we have received from the Arizona Department of Revenue when compared to budget. Uses through November for the General Fund are less than expected by $900,000.

Bullard Avenue Construction Update

City Council approved construction funding to restore Bullard Avenue to two vehicle lanes in each direction (Greenway-Peoria), with additional features for bicycle and pedestrian safety. The project funding was presented to City Council by staff on Tuesday evening.

In additional to the travel lanes, traffic signals will be installed at the Acoma and Sweetwater intersections, to complement existing crosswalks. Bike lanes and cycle tracks (separated bike lanes), along with a raised median (Greenway-Waddell), and landscaping are included in the project. Bullard Avenue will maintain the 35 mile-per-hour speed limit.

Based on the final design, the construction cost estimate is approximately $3.3 million; the city’s contribution is approximately $343,000 with the remaining funds being provided by federal awards. The project will be sent to bid with an anticipated start date of summer 2018. You can learn more about the Bullard Avenue Improvement project at surpriseaz.gov/bullard.


Events & Meetings

Ottawa University – O’Dell Center for Athletes Groundbreaking

Ottawa University Arizona broke ground on the O’Dell Center for Athletics on Friday, February 16 at the University’s newest residential campus, made possible by a $6 million donation from alumni Jim and Jeanne O’Dell. The 35,000-square-foot, three-story O’Dell Center for Athletics will be designed to house locker rooms, training facilities, coaches’ offices and student support services. The center will be immediately adjacent to the new Spirit multi-sport athletic field, near the Surprise Civic Center and Recreation Campus, and will include a new press box and entertainment area. Officials expect construction on the O’Dell Center for Athletics to be finished in the fall 2018.

The Ottawa University Arizona ground breaking on the O’Dell Center for Athletics

OUAZ is fielding 21 varsity men’s and women’s athletic teams. Since opening the campus in fall 2017, women’s soccer, men’s and women’s golf and also track and field have all qualified for the National Christian College Athletic Association (NCCAA) Nationals. OUAZ has had 11 NCCAA Player of the Week honors and three All-Americans. OUAZ has also been accepted into the Sooner Athletic Conference for Football, which will begin in the fall of 2018.

Poetry Slam @ WHAM Art Association

WHAM Art Association and the Surprise Arts & Cultural Advisory Commission partnered for another Poetry Slam on Friday, February 16. This event features open mic night for poetry, free verse, and storytelling. All are welcome to participate as performers and/or listeners. Any established or original pieces may be read. This event is free and open to the public.

Councilmember Skip Hall speaking to attendents at the Poetry Slam @ WHAM Art Association

There are two more Poetry Slams planned for this spring – March 16 and May 18 – from 6 pm until 8 pm at WHAM, 16560 N. Dysart.

Surprise Literacy Challenge

The 2017 – 2018 Surprise Literacy Challenge ran from October 1, 2017 – December 15 and included 14 participating schools from Dysart Unified School District as well as local charter schools. Over 3,200 students in 4th, 5th and 6th grades participated. The students earned a total of 1,119 Book Buck vouchers from Friends of the Surprise Libraries (FOTSL) for completing 5-in-a-row Bingos. They then redeemed these vouchers for previously loved books at the FOTSL area inside the local library.

There were 142 students across the challenge that completed the entire card which gave them entry into a drawing to receive new books, Kindles or sets of Spring Training tickets. Through the challenge, many students got their first-ever library card and also met with and talked to librarians. Among the favorite challenges, students reported that they enjoyed sharing recommendations with friends and also creating their own superheroes based on the protagonists from books they read during the challenge.

Councilmember Skip Hall congratulating Mrs. Mohaupt’s 5th grade class from Cimarron Springs Elementary School.

Congratulations to Mrs. Mohaupt’s 5th grade class from Cimarron Springs Elementary School.


Mark Your Calendar

Free Cleanup Event

Now is the perfect time to prune your landscape, clean out your garage and take advantage of the Spring Cleanup Event on Saturday, March 10. The event allows Surprise residents to drop off up to 2,000 pounds of residential waste free-of-charge at the Northwest Regional Landfill, 19401 W. Deer Valley Road, from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Items that will be accepted include lawn waste and other typical household refuse. Participants will be required to show proof of Surprise residency, via a driver’s license and electric bill showing the same home address.

NOTE: Hazardous waste items will not be accepted during this event. Items such as paint, batteries, tires and pool chemicals will be collected at the city’s Household Hazardous Waste event, April 14 from 8 a.m. to noon, at the Public Works Maintenance Yard, 13433 W. Firefox Drive.

For more information about either event, please call the City of Surprise Customer Service Line at 623.222.1900, or visit www.surpriseaz.gov/sanitation.

Did You Know?

Spring Training Games Begin Saturday

Surprise Stadium opens for the official start of spring training with the season opener this Saturday, February 24, when the Kansas City Royals take on the 2017 NLC Champions – the Los Angeles Dodgers! Games are scheduled through March 25.

Grab a lawn seat for as low as $8 or purchase a ticket package! Packages include Full Season, Home Team Half Season, Home Team 7-packs and Flex 7-packs. All packages include priority seating and VIP Parking. Full Season and Half Season packages also include a VIP Season Ticket Holder Reception.

Ready To Order? Here’s how:

Online: surprisespringtraining.com or
tickets.com. Service charges may apply

By Phone: 888.755.2583. Serviced by
Tickets.com. Service charges may apply

Box Office: Surprise Recreation Campus Box Office, 15960 N. Bullard Avenue

For the latest information on Spring Training tickets and scheduling, please visit surprisespringtraining.com or call 623.222.2222.


Contact Me

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

Ask a Question