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Mountain Vista Ranch Well Completion

Councilman Hall attended a celebration on April 21 that marked the completion of Mountain Vista Ranch Well #2 in District 5. During the event, he thanked everyone who worked on the project and had the honor of pushing a button to turn the well on remotely.

April 17, 2015 • Newsletter

Events & Meetings


Ice Cream Social
City staff was treated to an ice cream social which included an awards presentation by City Manager Bob Wingenroth. Mr. Wingenroth honored stand-out employees in several categories including Peer-to-Peer, the City Manager’s Service Award, and the City Manager’s Excellence Award.

Ms. Andrea Villagomez, Finance Department, received the Peer-to-Peer Award for being recognized by her peers for going above and beyond in her duties as an Accounting Technician and David Kohlbeck, Public Works, received the City Manager’s Service Award for his diligent work to help get an alternate bus route implemented by Valley Metro after residents expressed their needs for it.  Lastly, the City Manager’s Excellence Award was received by Police Officers Raymond Johnson, Antonio Martinez and Jason Lewis, Fire Captains Matt Clarke and Wade Rodgers, Fire Engineers Nathan Perkins and Tracy Wright, and Firefighters Ronnie Newman, Michael Naehrbass, Arthur Casillas and David Heiselman.  These Public Safety heroes responded to a call on January 2 where a tractor had overturned in a water-filled ditch and a man was trapped inside the completely submerged vehicle. They were persistent in their efforts to free him, despite difficult circumstances while placing the needs of the victim high above their own.

Andrea Villagomez
City Manager with Andrea Villagomez
David Kohlbeck
City Manager with David Kohlbeck

 

City Managers Excellence Award winning Public Safety crew
City Managers Excellence Award winning Public Safety crew

 

Spring Fling @ Kingswood Parke
Kingswood Parke HOA hosted a spring fling on Saturday, April 11. The festivities included free bouncy rides, train rides, face painting, barbeque food and a concert by ABBA FAB. The event was well attended and a good time was had by all!

Spring Fling Kingswood 2015ABBA FAB cover band

Kingswood Parke HOA event

Veteran Initiatives Meeting
Mayor Wolcott and I met with City Manager Bob Wingenroth and Department of Human Service and Community Vitality Director Michael Celaya to discuss the City’s overall approach and strategy to introduce Veteran’s initiatives.

2015 Arizona Youth of the Year Legislative Breakfast
I attended the 2015 Arizona Youth of the Year legislative breakfast with Councilman Todd Tande on Tuesday, April 14. Nine finalists for the 2105 Arizona Youth of the Year award were introduced. Finalists and guests were recognized by Governor Doug Ducey and Attorney General Mark Brnovich.  Several other State Legislators and local elected officials also attended.

Ms. Goel Ellis, 18, is an 11 year member from the Boys & Girls Club of Tucson.  She began her Club journey at the age of 7 and later became President of the Junior Leader program.  Even while dealing with two parents at home, both fighting serious illnesses, Goel remained committed to active leadership in the club’s programs.  Goel has excelled academically, completing her coursework at Southern Arizona Community Academy seven months prior to her expected graduation date.  She plans on attending the University of Arizona as she looks toward a degree in public administration.

WESTMARC Economic Development Summit
WESTMARC held their West Valley 2015 Economic Development Summit – Beyond Shovel Ready, at the Wigwam Resort on Thursday, April 16. The focus of the Summit was mainly the site selection process. The City of Surprise Economic Development Manager Mike Hoover was the moderator on the site selection process panel with Kevin Sullivan, Senior Vice President of the Arizona Commerce Authority and Chris Camacho, President & CEO of Greater Phoenix Economic Council. Mr. Hoover was also moderator for the site selection factors & project example panel with Mr. Valentin Hernandez, VP of Business Attraction at Arizona Commerce Authority and Chris Petroff, Senior VP of Business Development with Greater Phoenix Economic Council.

Kristen Stephenson, Economic Development Administrator with the City of Glendale and Mike Hoover also spoke about site selector tool called, West Valley PRO. This searchable tool would integrate census data and U.S. Department of Labor stats, broken down by occupation, which is quantitative data needed by companies looking to locate in Surprise or the West Valley in general.

WESTMARC ED Summit Panelists, including City of Surprise Economic Development Manager Mike Hoover
WESTMARC ED Summit Panelists, including City of Surprise Economic Development Manager Mike Hoover

 

Did You Know?


Surprise Police Launch “Hot Cars Can Kill” Campaign
The Surprise Police Department has launched a “Hot Cars Can Kill” campaign to help remind residents of the deadly dangers of leaving kids and pets in the car. According to the National Highway Safety Association, heatstroke is one of the leading causes of death among children. Sadly, 606 children died due to heatstroke between the years of 1998-2013.  Of the 606 deaths, 52% were forgotten in vehicles.

Your Input is Requested
Residents can now provide online input regarding potential capital improvement projects that are currently under review by the City’s Capital Improvement Funding Exploratory Committee. This Committee is charged, in part, with determining which projects should be included if the City considers a future bond initiative as a funding source. They have asked for you to get involved by sharing your thoughts on what matters most to you.

This Committee is looking at potential project lists during this process. You can review the same lists online at www.surpriseaz.gov/cife and provide comments. All comments will be shared by the Committee. Additionally, please feel free to attend the meetings or watch them live on Surprise 11 or at www.surpriseaz.gov/surprise11. Future meeting dates will be posted on the City’s online calendar.

Surprise MVD Office – Temporarily Closed
As a friendly reminder, the Surprise MVD office has been temporarily closed for interior renovation. The office is anticipated to reopen this summer with nearly three times the interior capacity, therefore tripling the customer waiting area capacity and offering customers more efficient and comfortable service at the office. A self-serve kiosk has been placed in the Surprise City Court building, which will be able to a selection of MVD services. To learn more, visit http://bit.ly/1MAYM9k.

Grand Avenue Restrictions Saturday due to Construction
Grand Avenue (US 60) will be narrowed to one lane in both directions between Loop 303 and 163rd Avenue in Surprise from 3 a.m. to noon Saturday, April 18. Please allow extra travel time and consider alternate routes.

Volunteers for Clean-Up Event
The City is recruiting volunteers to help with a park clean-up event on Saturday, May 2 from 7:30 am until 12 noon. Volunteers will help with trash pick-up and general landscaping at Lizard Run Park which is located directly adjacent to Bicentennial Park, 16705 N. Nash Street.

Registration is not required for this event. Volunteers are asked to meet at the Nash Street entrance of Bicentennial Park, under the ramadas. Gardening tools and gloves will be provided, although in limited quantities, so please feel free to bring your own and help if you can. Breakfast and lunch will be provided to the volunteers.

For more information, please contact Jason Hughes at 623.222.3239.

Mark Your Calendars


Surprise Swap Meet
The Surprise Swap Meet is this Saturday, April 18 from 8 am until 1 pm at the Surprise Aquatic Center Parking Lot!

2015 Recycle Arts & Youth Festival
WHAM Art Association is hosting the second annual Recycle Arts and Youth Festival on Saturday, April 18 from 10 am until 7 pm.  The day’s events include a teen skateboard painting project and the Eco Chic Fashion Show, a creative display that underscores the importance and possibilities of working with reusable material.  Additionally, there will be a recycled art exhibit, food vendors and much more.  The event will be held at WHAM, 16560 N. Dysart Road.

Contact Me


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

Ask a Question

 

April 10, 2015 • Newsletter

City Council Work Session


Community Development Block Grant Update
The City of Surprise receives a yearly allotment of Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funding from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). The City has the ability to designate up to 85% of the grant award to fund-eligible administrative, housing and public improvement services with the intent of serving low to moderate income residents.

The Consolidated Plan is mandated, per the grant guidelines, by HUD.  This identifies funding for CDBG and other programs. It includes a five year strategic plan consisting of priorities and needs. We will be entering year one of the plan (Annual Action Plan 2015-16) beginning July 1st with our new fiscal year. The Annual Action Plan will contain specific projects. To qualify, 51% of the residents in the area must be in the low to moderate income brackets. The only area in Surprise that qualifies based on this requirement is the Original Town Site (OTS).

Last fall, surveys were conducted and those survey findings were shared with the Planning & Zoning Commission in December 2014. Priorities included youth/senior/veteran services, recreation programs, improved lighting, neighborhood clean-up and job training. Non-profit organization applications to receive funding were due in January 2015 and Planning & Zoning Commission hearings were held in February and March 2015. With City Council’s approval, the recommendations will be submitted to HUD by May 15, 2015.

Public Service Awardee recommendations included summer youth employment ($16,897), ABIL- Arizona Bridge to Independent Living ($15,580), Arizona Charter Academy ($12,539), St. Mary’s Food Bank ($11,480), Benevilla ($10,000), Tumble Weed ($8,200), Central AZ Shelter Services ($5,000) and Aid to Adoption of Special Kids ($3,000).

Water Funding Policy
Water Resource Management Director Terry Lowe presented the fourth strategic water policy, the Water Funding Policy, for review and comment. This policy brings together the first three policies, focusing the City’s position on how Surprise will invest in its water future. This specific policy identifies the different investments the City will make in water, including the expansion of its CAP allocations, the acquisition of physical water and water systems, and the purchasing of water credits. The policy then identifies who the benefiting parties of these investments are, such as Surprise residents as a whole or the Surprise water service area customers. Furthermore, the policy identifies possible funding options that would be the best match for the City to utilize in order to acquire these investments given the benefited areas. All four strategic water policies (Conservation, Use of Reclaimed, Acquisition, and Funding) will be brought before the Surprise City Council for approval at the City Council meeting scheduled for May 6.

Zoning Text Amendment – Donation Bins
Due to citizen concerns about the increasing number of donation bins located within the City and the lack of any regulations concerning said bins, City staff proposed a zoning text amendment to regulate bins for the entire City. The proposed amendment will allow for regulations. This amendment will require these facilities to register the bins with Temporary Use Permits (TUP) that would require a notarized signature of the property owner or designated representative and it would have to be applied for annually.  The bins are limited to commercial, business park, industrial, and public facility zoning districts. The amendment would also regulate the location, size, maintenance, and identification of the bins. These parameters are determined by the size of the property or commercial center. A Citizen Review Meeting has been held.  Council will vote on the amendment at the next Council meeting.

FY2016 Budget Discussion
The fiscal year 2016 budget process continued with an update of ongoing revenues and expenses, and discussion on budget recommendations regarding staffing, asset and vehicle replacement, pavement preservation, and fund balance reserve policy.  While the ongoing surplus estimate for FY2015 of $3.5 million remains unchanged from previous discussions, the projected ongoing surplus for FY2016 increased by $0.5 million to $1.3 million.

A plan was discussed to utilize this surplus to maintain transit and library services as well as shore up public safety and other general government services. There was also discussion about increasing funding levels to maintain the City’s infrastructure.  Vehicle replacement funding will nearly double to $1.9 million; critical maintenance and replacement needs across City facilities will be funded at $1.7 million, and pavement preservation funding will increase 50% to $3.0 million. A plan to increase the fund balance reserve by $1.2 million was also discussed. Much of this serves as a sneak preview of the Recommended Budget that will be presented by the City manager at the City Council Meeting on April 21.

City Council Meeting


Surprise Literacy Challenge Awards
On behalf of Vice Mayor John Williams and I, I was able to acknowledge the 4th and 5th grade winning classes of the Surprise Literacy Challenge at the Council Meeting. The top overall 4th grade classroom from Rancho Gabriela Elementary School, taught by Mrs. Wendy Housari, received their trophy as well as the top overall 5th grade class from Parkview Elementary School, taught by Ms. Marcia Guest. Congratulations!

4th grade winners
4th grade winners
5th grade winners
5th grade winners

 

Communiversity Update
Greg Pereira, Director at the Communiversity at Surprise and the Lifelong Learning Center at Rio Salado College, provided an update on the Communiversity. The Communiversity consists of six academic partners including the Glendale Community College, Northern Arizona University, Phoenix College, Ottawa University, The College of St. Scholastica and Rio Salado College. Over 130 courses are provided each year. Over 5,000 students have been served since 2009. The Communiversity offers certificate programs as well as Associate to Master’s Degrees.

AZ TechCelerator
The City Council approved a $500,000 renovation for the AZ TechCelerator which will help enhance the space, allow for the creation of two business programs and attract a new pipeline of start-up innovation companies. Renovation funding will come from the operating contingency within the general fund.

Since its launch in 2010, the TechCelerator has occupied the former City Hall space on Bell Road. The four campus building, owned and operated by the City, has been successful in providing innovative start-up companies with affordable space, tools and resources needed to grow their businesses. Following the upgrades, the Economic Development team will launch two new start-up business programs at this campus. The first program, Beehive, will provide home-based businesses the opportunity to operate in a professional setting for a low monthly cost. The second initiative is a soft-landing program for international businesses that would also offer affordable office space, as well as assistance navigating issues like international patents, work visas and other issues that are unique to foreign companies.

Mid-Decade Census
The City of Surprise receives approximately $36 million annually in state shared revenues. This revenue is distributed to all cities in Arizona based on population which is set based on the federal census that is completed every decade. Cities have the option to update the population with a mid-decade census that is completed by the Census Bureau and paid for by each individual city. Five cities, Buckeye, Gilbert, Goodyear, Peoria, and Queen Creek, have entered into agreements with the Census Bureau to undertake a mid-decade census on their behalf. A sixth city, Chandler, has also expressed interest in completing a mid-decade census. The City would stand to lose approximately $0.7 million per year of its portion of state shared revenues if these six cities were to complete a mid-decade census without Surprise.  If Surprise were to join these cities, its portion of state shared revenues would increase by $1.1 million per year, a net difference of $1.8 million. The results of the mid-decade census would be in effect for 5 years for a total net impact of $9.0 million. The City has received an estimate from the Census Bureau that it will cost $2.7 million to complete a mid-decade census.  That investment would be re-paid in 1.5 years and result in a total net gain of $6.3 million over a five year period. For these reasons, the City of Surprise will be going forward with a mid-decade census that is set to begin on October 1st of the calendar year.

Zoning Text Amendment pertaining to Assisted Living Facilities
Planner II Robert Kuhfuss requested Council approval on the proposed Zoning Text Amendment pertaining to Assisted living Facility (ORD 2015-07). After much review of the industry standards and the HOA Concerns expressed through the stakeholder process, he reiterated the Planning & Zoning Commission’s recommendations to delete the 120-day rule and other questions posed by City Council during a past work session. The Council unanimously voted to approve the amendment.

Events & Meetings


Surprise Citizen Corp
On April 2, I attended the newly revised Surprise Citizens Corps Council (SCCC).  CJ Anderson, who has 37 years of risk management experience, attended the meeting and spoke to the SCCC to provide guidance on how to establish goals for the coming year so the SCCC can actively offer disaster preparedness programs to benefit the community. She is currently the President of the Arizona Regional Citizens Corp and President/CEO of Empty Bowl Pet Food Pantry Disaster Service, and she has offered to help guide the SCCC as we move forward toward initiating our own City organization.

The SCCC is looking for active community volunteers who want to help work with government organizations like FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) and ready.gov which offers emergency preparedness guidance from the US Department of Homeland Security. For more information, please contact Fire Captain Renee Hamblin at 623.222.5000.

CRS Spring Eggstravaganza
The Annual Spring Eggstravaganza this year was another fantastic success thanks to the efforts of the families that attended, the volunteers that helped and our wonderful team of employees at CRS. Community and Recreation Services Director Mark Coronado estimates there were over 14,000 people in attendance. The Easter egg hunters were treated to 250 pounds of eggs and candy. The event was held on Saturday, April 4. It is always a pleasure to attend.

Eggstravaganza 2015

Service Anniversary
Linda Rodriguez, Surprise City Court Administrator, celebrated her 25 years of service with the City on Tuesday, April 7. Congratulations, Linda, for all you’ve done and all you continue to do for our City!

Linda Rodriguez with Judge Louis Dominguez
Linda Rodriguez with Judge Louis Dominguez
City Manager Bob Wingenroth with Council Members Villanueva, Winters and me
City Manager Bob Wingenroth with Council Members Villanueva, Winters and me

 

Celebrate Arizona Northwest Valley
Councilman Jim Biundo, Councilman Roland Winters and I attended the “Celebrate Arizona Northwest Valley” event on Wednesday, April 8.  Several business, civic and community leaders were there, as well as other elected officials from Glendale, Peoria, Sun City, Sun City West, Youngtown, El Mirage and Wickenburg. This event began three years ago as a way to continue dialogue to find new ways to work together to make Arizona a better place to live and work.

Did You Know?


Your Input is Requested
Residents can now provide online input regarding potential capital improvement projects that are currently under review by the City’s Capital Improvement Funding Exploratory Committee. This Committee is charged, in part, with determining which projects should be included if the City considers a future bond initiative as a funding source. They have asked for you to get involved by sharing your thoughts on what matters most to you.

This Committee is looking at potential project lists during this process. You can review the same lists online at www.surpriseaz.gov/cife and provide comments. All comments will be shared by the Committee. Additionally, please feel free to attend the meetings or watch them live on Surprise 11 or at www.surpriseaz.gov/surprise11. Future meeting dates will be posted on the City’s online calendar.

Surprise Police join Nextdoor.com
Last week, the Surprise Police Department joined Nextdoor.com. Nextdoor.com is a free, private social network specifically designed for neighborhoods to build stronger and safer communities. It also allows for police to communicate online with the neighborhoods they serve. Currently, there are 58 local neighborhoods involved with over 3,000 registered members in Surprise. If you haven’t joined yet, you may want to consider it!

Mark your Calendars


Household Hazardous Waste Collection
The next household hazardous waste collection event will take place on Saturday, April 11. This event is free and for Surprise residents only. Proof of residency is required. The drop-off location is the Public Works Maintenance Yard at 13433 W. Foxfire Drive (from Bell Road, turn north on Dysart and follow signs to the entrance off Foxfire). The hours of drop-off are 8 a.m. until 12 noon.

For more information or a list of acceptable items, please visit our calendar section of www.surpriseaz.gov or call 623.222.6000.

Movie Night
The City of Surprise presents Movie Night at the Surprise Stadium on Saturday, April 11, featuring “The Boxtrolls” (rated PG). This event is sponsored by Coulter Nissan and the admission is free. Gates open at 6 p.m. and the movie will begin at 6:30 pm. Ice chests and lawn chairs are not permitted so bring your blankets!

Movie Night April 2015

Second Sunday in the Park
Come out and join the music at the next Second Sunday in the Park this Sunday, April 12. The free event will occur at the Surprise Community Park, 15953 N. Bullard Avenue, from 2 until 4 pm.

Surprise Swap Meet
The Surprise Swap meet is next Saturday, April 18 from 8 am until 1 pm at the Surprise Aquatic Center Parking Lot!

Contact Me


Shop Surprise

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

Ask a Question

April 3, 2015 • Newsletter

Events & Meetings


HOA Summit
The City hosted the first HOA Summit of the year at the Surprise Stadium on Thursday, March 26. Seventy-one people were registered for the Summit representing 25 different HOAs. City Directors from several departments were on hand to provide updates. The departments represented were Code Enforcement, Community Development, Water Resource Management, Public Works, Economic Development, Communications and the Department of Human Service and Community Vitality. Important information was shared and several general questions were asked and answered.

CM Hall at Summit
Councilman Hall welcoming attendees at HOA Summit
Lowe at Summit
Water Resource Management Director Terry Lowe addressing the crowd

 

Surprise Literacy Challenge Recognition
The sixth grade class that won the Surprise Literacy Challenge was recognized at the Surprise Stadium on Thursday, March 26 immediately before the Spring Training game. Mrs. Schneider’s class, from Paradise Education Center, were the recipients of the trophy and recognition.  Congratulations!

Surprise Literacy Winner with CM Hall
Councilman Hall with 6th grade class, the winning class medal

 

Surprise Literacy Challenge Medal

Business Appreciation Day @ the Ballpark
I attended Business Appreciation Day at the Surprise Stadium on Friday, March 27 with staff from the City’s Economic Development Department. Several local businesses attended and were thanked for their contributions to our City.

Bike Rodeo
The Surprise Police Department, in partnership with the Surprise Fire-Medical Department and Surprise Build-A-Bike, hosted a bicycle safety rodeo at the Surprise Campus of Christ’s Church of the Valley. This important event allowed children of all ages to have their bicycle safety helmets checked for proper fit, learn about bike safety and practice new bicycle skills with police bicycle operators. Children who did not have a helmet or had an ill-fitting helmet were provided with a new, proper fitting helmet free of charge. In total 82 children participated in the event and 76 helmets were distributed. We could not have these events without the efforts of the aforementioned departments. Thank you for all you do to keep all residents in Surprise safe!

Surprise PD Bike Rodeo

Surprise PD Bike Rodeo

Surprise Community Center Open House
The City’s newly established Human Service & Community Vitality Department hosted its first Open House at the Surprise Community Center this past Saturday to showcase current programs and celebrate small facility improvements. Several Council Members and I were present along with more than 110 people.  Approximately 50% were first time visitors! Visitors toured the facility’s exercise room, outdoor seating areas, cafeteria, computer room, reading room, puzzle room and other multi-purpose areas.

The Community Development Department provided information on the Heritage District Overlay and the City Clerk’s Office was available to discuss voter engagement and voter registration.

Survey poster boards were on display to capture community input on programs, services and project ideas for the new Department. In addition, a barbeque with music, games and multi-generational interactions were enjoyed by all!

Boy Scout Pinewood Derby 2015
The City Manager’s office and the Community Recreation Services Department jointly hosted 200 people for the Boy Scouts Pinewood Derby Tournament in the Villanueva Gym on Saturday, March 28.

Pinewood Derby Winners
Pinewood Derby Winners

 

ASU Sustainability Meeting
On March 30, Mayor Wolcott, Councilman Tande and I met with City staff and officials from ASU Global Institute of Sustainability to discuss possible future partnerships.

AZ TechCelerator
City staff and I met on Monday, March 30 to discuss the TechCelerator. The TechCelerator opened in January 2010 and consists of 4 buildings totaling 58,800 square feet. Ten clients, 12 active mentors and 3 on-site service providers are currently supporting the space. In the last few years, there have been several business success stories including MD24 and Athena Wireless.

Boys & Girls Club Steering Committee
Members of the Boys & Girls Club Steering Committee met on Wednesday, April 1.  Teri Halliday, Regional Director of the Boys & Girls Club of America, was present to provide a presentation on the history of the Club. Updates were also provided by the Subcommittees.

Arizona Town Hall
Councilman Jim Biundo, Councilman Todd Tande and I attended the Arizona Town Hall – Arizona’s Economy, A Community Outreach Program on Wednesday, April 1. Several municipalities and economic development leaders were present. An overview on Arizona’s current economic status was discussed as well as the link between the economy and education. Perspectives from the legislative front, recommendations and priorities were summarized as well.

Did You Know?


Shop Surprise
The City has launched a new “Shop Surprise, Shape Surprise” campaign to show how shopping locally helps shape the community.

Local sales tax makes up nearly 40% of the City’s General Fund revenues. This means by keeping sales tax dollars at home, residents are helping to pay for city services that they count on such as police, fire, park operations and street repairs.  For more information, please visit www.surpriseaz.gov/shopsurprise.

Shop Surprise
What you spend, stays here!

 

Mark Your Calendars


Spring Eggstravaganza Eager egg hunters, from toddlers to 8 year olds, are invited to join the search for more than 50,000 candy and toy-filled plastic eggs as part of the Surprise Spring Eggstravaganza on Saturday, April 4. The celebration will be held on the Kansas City Royals practice fields at the Surprise Recreation Campus, located at 15850 N. Bullard.

Gates will open at 9:30 am. The first hunt will begin at 10 am with the 2 year olds and under group. New hunts will follow approximately every 20 minutes. Children should bring their baskets or bags to hold their treats.

The event will also include a visit from the Easter bunny, clowns, face painters, magicians and an interactive kid zone with slides and obstacle courses. There will be a minimal charge from some activities.

Household Hazardous Waste Collection
The next household hazardous waste collection event will take place on Saturday, April 11. This event is free and for Surprise residents only. Proof of residency is required. The drop-off location is the Public Works Maintenance Yard at 13433 W. Foxfire Drive (from Bell Road, turn north on Dysart and follow signs to the entrance off Foxfire). The hours of drop-off are 8 a.m. until 12 noon.

For more information or a list of acceptable items, please visit our calendar section of www.surpriseaz.gov or call 623.222.6000.

Contact Me


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

Ask a Question

March 27, 2015 • Newsletter

Events & Meetings


Kingswood Parke HOA Meeting City Manager Bob Wingenroth, Public Works Director Mike Gent and I attended the Kingswood Parke HOA meeting on Thursday, March 19. Several residents were present. Public Works Director Mike Gent provided a presentation on sidewalks for the HOA. Due to the pedestrian traffic concerns of the residents, a sidewalk on the east side of Parkview, from Bell north to Lea Lane has been requested.

Economic Development at the Ballpark Last week, Economic Development Director Jeanine Jerkovic hosted several organizations and companies in the Economic Development suite at Surprise Stadium.  Some of those groups included GPEC (Greater Phoenix Economic Council) site selectors and California Tech Council. I am always honored to be part of these events to help convey what a fantastic city we live in!

WHAM Recycled Art Project I participated in WHAM’s Recycled Art Project on Saturday, March 21. This project is part of WHAM’s 3rd Annual Community Leader Art Activity fundraiser which helps the organization continue art programs in the West Valley. If you would like to personally view the art pieces or to bid on them, the Recycled Art Silent Auction Fundraiser will be held on March 29 from 4 to 7 pm at WHAM West Gallery (16560 N. Dysart Road).

City Manager - WHAM Recycled Art Project

Councilman Hall - WHAM Recycled Art Project

Cal Ripken Day at the Ballpark The Cal Ripken League kicked off their season with a parade at Surprise Stadium prior to the spring training game on Saturday, March 21. Approximately 1,200 people were in attendance at the event. The entire City Council was also present to welcome our players to the Stadium and wish them luck as they embark on their season. This year, there are 156 teams in the league which consists of 1,900 players and over 400 volunteer coaches. A special thank you to our extraordinary CRS department for putting together not only this program but the many others they offer and to the hundreds of volunteers that help make this possible! Best of luck to all of our players!

Cal Ripken Day at the Ballpark

Veramonte Block Party I attended the Veramonte HOA block party and Community Easter Egg Hunt on Sunday, March 22. There were approximately 100 residents at the event.

Celebrity Reading Day at Canyon Ridge On Tuesday, March 24, I was invited to participate in the Celebrity Reading Day event at Canyon Ridge Elementary School. I was honored to read to two 3rd grade classrooms who anxiously inquired about being a Council Member and local government.

Celebrity Reading Day at Canyon Ridge

GPEC Community Partnership Meeting Mayor Wolcott, Councilman Tande and I attended a meeting on Tuesday, March 24 with GPEC (Greater Phoenix Economic Council) to listen to their strategy for attracting companies throughout the Valley.

Surprise Literacy Challenge I attended a pizza party at Rancho Gabriela Elementary School for the 4th grade class taught by Mrs. Housari that won the Surprise Literacy Challenge, co-sponsored by Vice Mayor John Williams and me.

Samantha Warne, 4th grade student at Rancho Gabriela
Samantha Warne, 4th grade student at Rancho Gabriela who read an impressive 3,000 minutes
Mrs. Guest, teacher of the winning 5th grade class at Parkview
Mrs. Guest, teacher of the winning 5th grade class at Parkview Elementary School
5th grade class at Parkview Elementary School
5th grade class at Parkview Elementary School

League of Women Voters Event Councilman Jim Biundo, Councilwoman Rachel Villanueva and I attended the League of Women Voters event at the Dysart School District office on Thursday, March 26. Guest speakers included Maricopa County Recorder Helen Purcell, Yavapai County Recorder Leslie Hoffman and our very own City Clerk Sherry Aguilar.  Interesting facts were shared by all speakers.  In the last election, 81% of the voters in Maricopa County voted early. Voter turnout for the 2014 election in Maricopa County was 48%. Voter turnout in Surprise for the last election was only 36%. In Maricopa County, for the 2010 election, 54% of registered voters voted; in 2012, which was a Presidential election, 76% of registered voters voted. Attendees partook in brainstorming ideas that may help facilitate increased voter participation. There were also opportunities for residents to register to vote and/or to sign-up to be on the Permanent Early Voter List. If you are not on the Permanent Early Voter List, you may want to consider it so ballots continue to be sent to you.

League of Women Voters

Mark Your Calendars


Surprise Community Center Open House Residents are invited to attend an Open House hosted by the City’s newly created Human Services and Community Vitality Department on Saturday, March 28 from 10 am until 2 pm at the Surprise Community Center located at 15832 N. Hollyhock Street. Department Director Michael Celaya welcomes you to meet the staff, take a tour of the facility and enjoy the food and beverages offered that day.

In addition to the Open House, City staff will be on hand to assist with voter registration and permanent early voter list sign-up. Furthermore, the four Heritage District Overlay concepts that were recently developed via input from the public will be available for viewing and feedback.

The Human Services and Community Vitality Department was formed in late January to help better engage residents and improve overall quality of life. The Department houses the City’s Neighborhood Services Division, Senior Services Division and Grants Administration.

Bike Rodeo Please join me on Saturday! The Surprise Police are hosting a bicycle skills event at the Christ’s Church of the Valley (CCV) on March 28, 2015. The event will take place from 8 am until 12 noon in the main church parking lot at 14787 W. Cholla Street. The “Bike Rodeo” is designed to teach skills needed to ride safely while helping bicyclists enjoy the sport of biking and reducing their chances of injury. The funding of this event was provided by a grant from the Arizona Governor’s Office of Highway Safety.

Did You Know?


Grand Avenue Restricted Please note that NW Grand Avenue will be restricted to one lane at Loop 303 on April 4 and April 5.

Grand Avenue

Board/Commission Openings The City of Surprise is currently accepting applications for the following Commissions.

  • Disability Advisory Commission (2 vacancies)
  • Building & Construction Review Board (1vacancy)
  • Health Benefits Trust Fund Board (3 vacancies)
  • Judicial Selection Advisory Commission (1 resident vacancy)
  • Tourism Commission (1 restaurant rep. vacancy)

All Board and/or Commission positions are voluntary. Applications are available at the City Clerk’s office from 8 am until 5 pm, Monday through Friday (16000 N. Civic Center Plaza). You can also download an application at www.surpriseaz.gov.

Students Aiding Community Dysart School District is keeping unwanted fruit produce out of the trash and putting it into the hands of the hungry in Surprise! Dysart students are offered at least one fruit or vegetable at lunch due to the Federal nutritional guidelines. A new program initiated by Dysart Registered Dietician Sarah Cox allows students to donate their unwanted fruit options. Great idea!

Contact Me


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

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Surprise Literacy Challenge Winners Recognized

Councilman Hall visited the classrooms of the 4th and 5th grade students who won the 2015 Surprise Literacy Challenge during their celebratory pizza parties on March 25!

The Challenge, created by Vice Mayor Williams and Councilman Hall, asked students in 4th -6th grade to track the number of hours they read outside the classroom for a period of four months.

The winning 4th grade class was Ms. Housari’s class at Rancho Gabriela.

Surprise Literacy Challenge Winners Rancho 4th
Councilman Hall with winning 4th grade class.

The winning 5th grade class was Ms. Guest’s class at Parkview.

Surprise Literacy Challenge Winners Parkview
Councilman Hall with winning 5th grade class.

In addition to the pizza party, each of the students received a medal for their reading efforts. They will also receive a trophy for their classroom at the City Council Meeting on April 7.

Councilman Hall also attended the recognition of the winning 6th grade class from Paradise Education Center, which happened on the field at the March 26 Spring Training game at Surprise Stadium.

Winning 6th Grade
Councilman Hall and Youth Services Administrator Paul Bernardo with winning 6th grade class

March 20, 2015 • Newsletter

City Council Work Session


City Transportation Update
A City transportation update was provided by Karl Zook, Assistant Director of Public Works. The majority of construction for the WinCo right-of-way improvements is complete. The Public Works street group will be restriping the curbside lanes of Mountain View Boulevard and Reems to have through lanes without shared arrows for the southbound far right lane north of Mountain View (as approaching the intersection). In the future, only exclusive left and right turn lanes will have signs and pavement arrows. The survey and preliminary design has been completed for the Waddell median improvements at Litchfield Road.

Bell &Grand(US 60) Update
Requests for proposals (RFPs) are expected to be finalized by ADOT next month.  A short list for design build teams will be determined by ADOT in May. The City will submit their aesthetic concept to ADOT in June. Construction is scheduled to begin in January 2016.

Operating Expenditures
The development of the fiscal year (FY) 2016 budget for the City of Surprise is currently underway. This annual process will culminate in the adoption of the FY2016 budget that begins July 1, 2015. As a part of this process, City Council has been discussing with staff the General Fund revenue and expenditure estimates for both the current FY2015 and projected FY2016 budgets.

The General Fund is the main operating fund for the City of Surprise supporting police, fire, and recreation services among others. For FY2015, revenue estimates are currently exceeding the budget by approximately $0.3 million. Expenditure estimates are expected to be $1.8 million below the budget. The net result is an overall increase to the General Fund of $2.1 million for FY2015. The projection for FY2016 currently sets revenues at $95.5 million, a $2.5 million increase over the FY2015 budget. Revenue growth has been slowed somewhat by the state’s legislative actions regarding corporate income tax rate reductions and sales tax collections.

The projected expenditures for FY2016 are currently at $94.7 million, a $3.1 million increase over the FY2015 budget. The combination of those projections results in an operating surplus of nearly one million dollars ($0.8M) for FY2016. Additional needs of the City currently surpass this operating surplus, specifically in the areas of pavement preservation, vehicle and asset replacement, and other cost increases needed to maintain current levels of service. City Council will continue to discuss financial solutions to balancing the budget while meeting the needs of the residents of Surprise.

City Council Regular Meeting


American Water Enterprises
Sharon Cameron, President of American Water Enterprises, attended the meeting along with her colleague, David Choate, Vice President of Contract Services. The City has been receiving numerous complaints regarding the new billing system since American Water changed systems in December 2014. After the new system launch, there have been many issues including delayed bills, formatting of bills, auto-pay/web enrollment problems, and long wait times when calling the customer service phone line. To help expedite the solution to these many concerns, Mr. Choate has brought in additional staff for the call center in addition to outsourcing an outside call center for back-up purposes. Billing issues are being addressed as well. American Water is hoping to resolve all issues no later than May.

New Chamber Representative on Tourism Board
Stephen Wright was unanimously approved to fill the Chamber Representative vacancy on the Tourism Commission with a term expiration of July 1, 2015. Mr. Wright is the Assistant Vice President and Branch Manager of BMO Harris Bank in Surprise. He also serves as the Treasurer for the Surprise Regional Chamber of Commerce.

WHAM Art Association Contract
The City Council unanimously voted to authorize the City Manager to negotiate and execute a lease that will allow WHAM Art Association to remain in their current building on Dysart Road. The local non-profit organization has been operating from their City-owned property at 16560 N. Dysart Road under the lease of the previous tenant, Tidwell Family Medical Center. That lease expired earlier this month.  Since moving in, WHAM has opened a new art gallery. They’ve been actively involved in numerous projects, including public art murals, art festivals, art walks and community art classes. Under the proposed lease agreement, WHAM will be responsible for their utilities and insurance but they will not be charged a use or rental fee. This agreement bears no direct financial impact to the City.

W Ranch
The owners of a 10.7 acre vacant parcel located between Dales Town and Country and Royal Ranch along Waddell Road have just re-zoned and preliminary platted this land to allow for 24 homes in a gated community. It is anticipated that this infill project will further enhance the surrounding properties with better security and less debris. The next step for this small community requires approval of the final plat and application for a home product review to ensure high quality homes to be consistent with nearby neighborhoods.

Events & Meetings


Surprise Citizens Corps Council (SCCC) Meeting
The SCCC met on Thursday, March 12. Fire Captain Renee Hamblin, Sgt. Tim Klarkowski and I serve as advisors of this Council. The council discussed revisions to the by-laws, opportunities to educate the community on preparedness for emergencies and upcoming events in which the Council is invited to participate. At the conclusion of the meeting, a tour of the Emergency Operations Center was taken.

Live Jazz @ The City Café
More than 80 people attended a live jazz event at the City Café on Thursday, March 12. The event featured a saxophone and keyboard duet along with a special menu offered by the City Café. If you are interested in future events, please contact the City Café at 623.222.8900.

Surprise Chamber Breakfast
Councilman Jim Biundo and I attended the monthly Surprise Regional Chamber breakfast at the Surprise Stadium on Tuesday, March 17. Former MLB player Willie Wilson was the featured speaker. Mr. Wilson played nineteen seasons in the MLB for the Kansas City Royals, Oakland A’s and Chicago Cubs.

Mountain Vista Ranch HOA Annual Meeting
I attended the Mountain Vista Ranch HOA Annual Meeting on Wednesday, March 18. There were approximately 20 people in attendance. In addition to the review of the yearly financials, discussion included the request for a stronger police presence for speeders in the area, a few code enforcement issues and a question concerning water with the new well site.

Heritage District Overlay Interactive Community Workshop
Approximately 30 citizens attended the interactive community workshop on Wednesday, March 18. Several staff members from the Community Development and the Human Service and Community Vitality Departments were in attendance to help facilitate small group discussions and the development of four conceptual maps identifying each group’s thoughts, ideas, and desires for the future Heritage District Overlay. The ‘hands-on’ mapping exercise focused on the types of land uses required that would address the community’s needs and desires identified from input received from two community meetings and surveys.

Citizens may continue providing input on the Heritage District Overlay via the webpage at www.surpriseaz.gov/heritageoverlay.

The four concepts developed at the meeting will be available at the Surprise Community Center Open House scheduled for March 28 (from 10 am until 2 pm), where citizens will have the opportunity to give their input and develop other ideas on aerial maps. The City still welcomes your input. If you’d like to contribute but cannot attend the Open House, please feel free to contact Jackie Keller at 623.222.3153 or Jackie.keller@surpriseaz.gov.

Mark Your Calendars


Election Protection
The City of Surprise is home to nearly 124,000 residents with slightly more than half of them registered to vote, yet only 36% of those registered voters participated in the last election. You can help us change those statistics by attending a forum that is specifically designed to stimulate ideas to increase accessibility and ease the voting process.

The League of Women Voters of Northwest Maricopa County is hosting an “Election Protection: Creative Solutions for Increasing and Sustaining Voter Participation” forum. This event will be held on Thursday, March 26 from 9:30 am – 11 am at the Dysart Education Center Main Board Room, 15802 N. Parkview Place.  For more information, you can contact Carol Mattoon, Program Coordinator, at 623.815.1019 or you can email at suncityarizona@yahoo.com.

Surprise Community Center Open House
The City’s newly created Human Service and Community Vitality Department will be hosting an Open House on Saturday, March 28 from 10 am until 2 pm at the Surprise Community Center located at 15832 N. Hollyhock Street. Department Director Michael Celaya welcomes you to meet the staff, take a tour of the facility and enjoy the food and beverages offered that day.

Bike Rodeo
Surprise Police are hosting a bicycle skills event at the Christ’s Church of the Valley (CCV) on March 28, 2015. The event will take place from 8 am until 12 noon in the main church parking lot at 14787 W. Cholla Street. The “Bike Rodeo” is designed to teach skills needed to ride safely while helping bicyclist enjoy the sport of biking and reducing their chances of injury. The funding of this event was provided by a grant from the Arizona Governor’s Office of Highway Safety.

Did You Know?


Pavement Preservation
The Public Works Department will begin its annual Pavement Preservation Program on March 23, 2015. This annual program identifies city streets that require applications to lengthen the life of the street pavement. If you reside in the areas targeted for treatment, you will receive a 48 hour notice prior to the start of the project via a door hanger. Residents can expect street restrictions during the work but there will not be any complete street closures.

The approved FY2015 budget amount is $2million. This work is scheduled to be performed on 263 lane miles of city streets through May 30, 2015. For the Pavement Preservation work schedule and/or maps, please visit www.surpriseaz.gov/ppp. You can also contact Fermin Camacho, Project Manager at 623.222.6232 or the Public Works Department at 623.222.6000.

Board/Commission Openings
The City of Surprise is currently accepting applications for the following Commissions:

  • Disability Advisory Commission (2 vacancies)
  • Building & Construction Review Board (1vacancy)
  • Health Benefits Trust Fund Board (3 vacancies)
  • Judicial Selection Advisory Commission (1 resident vacancy)
  • Tourism Commission (1 restaurant rep. vacancy)

All Board and/or Commission positions are voluntary. Applications are available at the City Clerk’s office from 8 am until 5 pm, Monday through Friday (16000 N. Civic Center Plaza). You can also download an application at http://surpriseaz.gov/index.aspx?NID=3100.

2nd Annual Surprise Literacy Challenge
Sixty classrooms from across the City accepted a 4 month reading challenge last fall as part of the Surprise Literacy Challenge. The Challenge was created by Vice Mayor John Williams and me and proved to be a successful competition amongst our local schools. Students in grades 4 – 6 tracked the number of hours they read outside the classroom and submitted their totals to their teachers. Youth Services Administrator Paul Bernardo kept tally, and the winners were announced last week.

The top 4th and 5th grade classrooms will be treated to a pizza party as well as a trophy for their classrooms and individual medals. The winning 6th grade class will accept their accolades on the field of the spring training game scheduled for March 26, 2015. Congratulations to all of the winners!

Contact Me


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

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March 13, 2015 • Newsletter

Meetings & Events


Communiversity Meeting
Councilman Jim Biundo and I met with Greg Pereira.  Mr. Pereira recently assumed the title of Director at the Communiversity at Surprise and The Lifelong Learning Center at Rio Salado College.  The focus of our discussion was building a stronger partnership between the City and Rio Salado.  We believe it would benefit the City Council, City staff and the residents if frequent reports were provided at City Council meetings that would elaborate on new courses and programs.  Overall, we agreed that both parties need to do a better job of assessing the City’s needs and desires with regards to higher education.

Council Conversations
I had the opportunity to interview Community Development Director Eric Fitzer on Tuesday, March 10.  Eric began his career with us last year with years of impressive public and private sector experience.  Code Enforcement, Planning, Development Services and Transportation Planning fall under Mr. Fitzer’s purview and many of the questions in my interview with him had an emphasis on these areas. You can watch the program on Surprise 11 or via http://bit.ly/CCHall-NewCDDirector.

CM Hall Council Conversation with new ED Director Eric Fitzer

Public Input Meetings for Bell/Grand Avenue Overpass Artwork Project
The City hosted three public input meetings for the Bell/Grand Avenue public art project this past week.  Meg Saligman, an award-winning artist known for her large-scale, site-specific work, was present for all meetings and provided examples of her previous work.

Bell-Grande art project meeting

Surprise Police Department Retirement
On Tuesday, I joined staff from the Surprise Police Department to honor Lieutenant Penny Riherd.  Lieutenant Penny Riherd has been with the Surprise Police Department for the past 20 years.  She joined the Department in 1995 as an officer, and was promoted to Sergeant in 2000 and to Lieutenant in 2006.   Thank you, Lt. Riherd for your years of service and best of luck to you in your retirement!

Lieutenant Penny Riherd retirement

Visit with International Start-Up Tech Cos
This week Mayor Wolcott and I joined the Surprise Economic Development team in welcoming a delegation representing three start-up technology companies from Canada and Romania to Surprise. The introduction to the companies originated as a result of regular sales missions to Canada, which has connected Surprise to more than 50 business relationships in the Toronto market. Because Toronto, Canada is one of the most international regions in the world, Surprise has benefitted by connecting with several global entrepreneurs exploring the North American market. The Canadian-Romanian delegation, which extended their mission to Surprise after visiting Toronto represent energy and medical technologies. Prior to our meeting with them, the group participated in one-on-one meetings and toured Surprise city assets such as the AZ TechCelerator, the Southwest Railplex and the Surprise City Center and Spring Training Complex. Additional business missions are planned in the coming months with several other companies with the goal of establishing Surprise as a gateway to the US market.

Boys & Girls Club Steering Committee Meeting
The Boys & Girls Club Steering Committee met on Wednesday, March 11.  The Steering Committee, led by Mike Boyle, continues to move forward.  Most subcommittees were able to provide a summary.  The next meeting will occur next month.

Development Committee
I attended the Development Committee meeting on Wednesday, March 11 with Mayor Wolcott and Councilman Tande.  The committee discussed multiple projects which are in different phases of development that included:  the Rancho Mercado Planned Area Development Preliminary Plat, the Sun West Credit Union Site Plan, the Series2K Office Site Plan, the OTS custom home reviews and requirements, the future Public Works yard; and the pending Verdugo Planned Area Development Zoning Amendment.

Taste of Surprise
On Wednesday, March 11, I attended the Taste of Surprise at Riverboat Bingo Hall.  Many of our restaurants were showcased.  Over 600 people were in attendance.  A special thank you to Frank Dias and the Surprise Rotary Club for their hard work putting it together!

Mark Your Calendars


Veramonte Park Groundbreaking
The Veramonte Neighborhood Park Improvements groundbreaking ceremony will be held on Saturday, March 14, at 10 a.m.  The park is located at 12741 N. 140th Avenue.  I encourage you to come out! The park will feature restrooms, a splash pad, a parking lot and other park amenities.

Residential Waste Clean-up Event – March 14
The spring clean-up event is Saturday, March 14, from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m., at the Northwest Regional Landfill, 19401 W. Deer Valley Rd. As a service to residents, the city provides the opportunity to dispose of a single load of residential waste (no hazardous waste) that weighs up to 2,000 pounds at no cost. One load per household is allowed. The event is open to Surprise residents only with proof of residency. Please bring a driver’s license and a utility bill to show proof of a Surprise home address. Questions? Call 623.222.6000

Voter Participation
The League of Women Voters of Northwest Maricopa County is hosting an “Election Protection:  Creative Solutions for Increasing and Sustaining Voter Participation” forum.  This event will be held on Thursday, March 26, from 9:30 am – 11 am at the Dysart Education Center Main Board Room, 15802 N. Parkview Place.  For more information, you can contact Carol Mattoon, Program Coordinator, at 623.815.1019 or email  suncityarizona@yahoo.com.

Bike Rodeo
Surprise Police are hosting a bicycle skills event at the Christ’s Church of the Valley (CCV) on March 28.  The event will take place from 8 a.m. – Noon in the main church parking lot, 14787 W. Cholla Street.  The “Bike Rodeo” is designed to teach skills needed to ride safely while helping people enjoy the sport of biking and reducing their chances of injury.  The funding of this event was provided by a grant from the Arizona Governor’s Office of Highway Safety.

Did Your Know?


Surprise Swap Meet
There is another Surprise Swap Meet scheduled for Saturday, April 18.  This very popular community-wide garage sale, sponsored by the Surprise Senior Center Site Council, will be held in the Surprise Aquatic Center parking lot at 15831 N. Bullard Avenue from 8 a.m. until 1 p.m.

Contact Me


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

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March 6, 2015 • Newsletter

Council Work Session Meeting


Bond Discussion for Surprise Stadium Renovations
During the City Council Work Session this week, the Finance Department presented its plans to pair the issuance of a $15M bond for clubhouse renovations with the refinancing of the MPC2003 bond at a lower interest rate to save administrative and issuance costs. The new bond issuance would be contingent on the Texas Rangers and Kansas City Royals extending their agreement with the City until 2030. Council will be discussing this item over the next few months.

Regular City Council Meeting


FY16 Budget Presentation
During the Regular City Council Meeting on Tuesday, Surprise Budget & Research Manager Jared Askelson gave the first in a series of presentations regarding the development of the FY2016 Budget. He reviewed the General Fund operating revenues performance for the current FY2015 and projections for FY2016. The chart below shows the makeup of the City’s General Fund budget, with amounts estimated for FY2015 and projected for FY2016.

2016 General Fund Resources

View the full PowerPoint, by clicking here and selecting the “Presentation” link.

The budget process will continue through June 16 via the Regular City Council Meetings, which start at 6 p.m. in the Council Chambers at Surprise City Hall. Here is a look at what’s ahead:

March 17: Review of Expenses: FY2015 Estimates, FY2016 Projections;  FY2016 Change Requests
April 7: Review of Expenses (continuation)
April 21: Recommended Budget Review
May 5: Tentative Budget Adoption
June 2: Final Budget Adoption
June 16: Property Tax Levy Adoption

Surprise to join AzWARN
City Council voted Tuesday to authorize the Mayor to execute an Intergovernmental Agreement between the City and The Arizona Water and Wastewater Agency Response Network (AzWARN). AzWARN is a free network available to all public water and wastewater utilities in Arizona with a mission to support and promote statewide emergency preparedness, disaster response and mutual aid assistance for water and wastewater utilities during natural and human caused emergencies. As a member of AzWARN, the City has the option, but not the obligation, to lend assistance to other members during emergencies and, in turn, other members can provide assistance to us. The Intergovermental Agreement establishes the format for seeking reimbursement for assistance amongst members and is recognized by FEMA, should federal reimbursement be warranted. In Arizona, there are currently 20 public and private utility members of AzWARN.

Events & Meetings


Mountain Vista Ranch HOA Party
On Saturday, I attended Mountain Vista Ranch’s annual HOA Party. Hundreds of people were in attendance for this free event, which featured a petting zoo, rock climbing wall, bounce houses, a horse-drawn carriage and our own Surprise firefighters who brought one of their fire trucks! Residents also enjoyed a tasty barbeque and cotton candy. I would like to thank HOA President Wayne Tuttle and HOA Community Manager Misty Laxson for putting together such a great community event!

Surprise Farms Park Groundbreaking
On Saturday, I attended the groundbreaking for Surprise Farms Park improvements. When improvements are complete, by the end of 2015, residents can enjoy a new skate park, dog park, splash pad, basketball courts and more!

Surprise Farms Park Groundbreaking
From Left to Right: CRS Advisory Board Members Mike Planeta and David Sanders, Councilman Skip Hall, Mayor Wolcott, Councilman Winters, Councilman Tande, CRS Advisory Board Chair Wayne Turner and Ron Jensen


Read Across America Day

As part of the Read Across America Day on Wednesday, I visited Countryside Elementary School to read to the first grade students in Mrs. Roger’s class. It was a joy to read the Dr. Seuss classics, “Yertle the Turtle” and “Gertrude McFuzz” to the kids! Read Across America Day is part of the National Education Association’s campaign to build a nation of readers! You can learn more about Read Across America at www.nea.org/readacrossamerica.  A special thank you to Ms. Laurie Blackwell who is responsible for this wonderful event each year!

Surprise Citizen Corp Council Meeting
I attended the Surprise Citizen Corp Council meeting on Wednesday, March 4.  Adjustments were made to the by-laws and new members were introduced.  Nancy Collins provided a recap of the first CERT class that was held on February 28.  The next meeting will take place on Monday, March 9 at 4 pm.

Maricopa County Dept. of Transportation (MCDOT) Open House
On Wednesday, I attended MCDOT’s Transportation System Plan Open House which displayed boards outlining the anticipated project schedule, the Maricopa County study area and detailed maps of specific areas within the County. Several boards were available for the public to provide comments on numerous items such as traffic, connectivity, a multimodal industrial center and maintenance.  Some of the comments included the building of the Deer Valley/Williams Road river crossing to provide additional relief of Bell Road and additional east/west connectivity.  Computer stations were set-up to allow the public to provide comments on MCDOT’s website and pinpoint the location of their concerns or comment on an interactive map.  For more information, please go to http://gis.fcd.maricopa.gov/apps/tsp2/.

American Water Meeting
City staff and I met with representatives from American Water, including the President, Director of ITS Operations and the Director of Business Creation to discuss concerns and issues that have occurred due to the installation of their new billing system. The primary issues of discussion included American Water’s website, automatic payments, customer service, utility bills and notices, and payment postings. The City has been assured that American Water will set-up task forces to provide resolutions for all of these issues in a timely manner.

Did You Know?


Fitch Upgrades Surprise MPC Bond Rating
Fitch Ratings, one of the “Big Three” nationally-recognized credit rating agencies, announced last week that it had upgraded Surprise Municipal Property Corporation (MPC) Sewer Development Fee Revenue Bonds- Series 2007, to ‘A‘ from ‘A-’. Fitch credited the city’s improved debt structure for driving the upgrade and also reissued a rating outlook of Stable.

A city’s credit rating is important due to its impact on interest rates in the bond market. A better rating means the city can sell bonds to finance capital projects and pay a lower interest rate to the buyer. In 2014, both Standard & Poor’s and Fitch raised the city’s General Obligation bond rating, citing prudent fiscal responsibility.

Intrepid Tool Expanding into Second building
In 2012, Chicago-based Intrepid Tool Industries acquired a 28,000 square foot building in Skyway Business Park located northwest of Peoria Avenue and Dysart Road. The company manufactures solid carbide rotary cutting tools for the aerospace industry. Since 2012, Intrepid has purchased two additional buildings in the Skyway development with plans to open a second Surprise operation this year. The slated expansion will push Intrepid’s local employment to nearly one hundred. Intrepid’s business neighbors include Canyon Pipe, Horizon Aviation and Machining, Janus International, Gestamp, Rioglass, Southwest Products and the recently announced IRIS USA.

Surprise Spring training kicked off on Wednesday with a game between the Texas
Rangers and Kansas City Royals. The season runs through April 1. For game schedule and ticket information, please visit www.surprisespringtraining.com or call 623.222.2222. Don’t forget that every Monday during Spring Training is Senior Discount Day

Mark Your Calendars


Bell & Grand Avenue Traffic Interchange Art Project
The City is holding meetings on March 9 and March 10 to discuss the aesthetic improvements to the upcoming Bell Road/Grand Avenue interchange project.  The artist who is partnering with the City for this project, Meg Saligman, will be in attendance to discuss the artistic concepts. Your input is important to design a project that reflects the entire community.  The meetings will be held as follows:

March 9, 2015Sun City Grand, Sonoran Plaza-Kiva Room, 19752 N. Remington

March 10, 2015Communiversity at Surprise, 15950 N. Civic Center Plaza

The general public meetings will begin at 6 pm each evening; however, there is a meeting from 3 pm until 5 pm at the Communiversity on March 10 that is aimed at artists and business community but it is open to the public.

Second Sundays in the Park – March 8
Enjoy the Irish sounds of Kilted Spirit this weekend at Second Sundays in the Park. This free event runs from 4-6 p.m. at the Surprise Community Park, 15953 N. Bullard Ave.

Residential Waste Clean-up Event – March 14
The spring clean-up event is scheduled for Saturday, March 14 from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Northwest Regional Landfill, located at 19401 W. Deer Valley Rd. As a service to residents, the City provides the opportunity to dispose of a single load of residential waste (no hazardous waste) that weighs up to 2,000 lbs at no cost. One load per household is allowed. The event is open to Surprise residents only with proof of residency. Please bring a driver’s license and a utility bill to show proof of a Surprise home address. Questions? Call 623.222.6000

Contact Me


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