Vice Mayor Hall attended the city’s 8th Annual Special Olympics Winter Party and Tree Decorating Ceremony on December 12, 2014 at DreamCatcher Park. Partygoers had the chance to decorate holiday trees with ornaments and garlands that were made by Dysart School District’s Special Olympic athletes and teachers. The event also included choir performances, games, face painting, train rides and more!
Councilmember Hall attended the annual tree lighting ceremony at Surprise Party on Dec. 5, along with Mayor Wolcott and other members of City Council. Surprise Party attracted thousands of attendees and featured great food, rides, live music, a hot-air balloon glow, fireworks and so much more!
City Council Meeting
Council Work Session
Mike Gent, Director of Public Works, updated the City Council on transportation projects and issues in and around Surprise. Due to savings from various capital improvement projects, Public Works will be addressing two median projects. A median on Waddell Road (from intersection on Waddell Road and Litchfield Road through east of Freddy’s Restaurant) will be installed. The design and possibly construction will occur this fiscal year. Additionally, a median located on Bell Road, just east of El Mirage Road will be redesigned. This project should begin January 5, 2015 and it should take four weeks to complete.
Traffic safety concerns were discussed. One area of concern is El Mirage Road near Kiva.
The Bell Road sidewalk project will begin in January 2015. This project will add sidewalks so they are continuous from east of Grand Avenue until the Park & Ride. This project is estimated to last for four months. We were assured that the project will not interfere with Spring Training as the traffic lane closest to the curb will open one hour prior to each game.
The traffic lanes, bike lanes and turn arrows in Kingswood Park along Parkview will be restriped this year. Public Works is in the procurement stage of the project which should begin in the next 30 to 60 days. Repaving of Parkview from Bell Road to Grand Avenue is scheduled to occur with the fiscal year 2017 budget.
Council Meeting Special Recognition
Mayor Wolcott recognized Arizona Charter Academy Principal Heather Henderson. Mrs. Henderson was recognized as the Transformational Leader of the Year by the Arizona Charter Schools Association in October. Congratulations to Mrs. Henderson on this special award and thank you for your leadership with education in our City!
During 2012, in response to service limitations for riders, the City suspended use of the 6 grant funded buses and instead joined Valley Metro’s northwest regional Dial-a-Ride program, which provided transportation through an independent taxi service. The change significantly improved the service received by Surprise residents. The buses are part of the regional pass-through grant program through Maricopa Association of Governments (MAG) and the City of Phoenix. The City of Surprise is required to comply with Federal guidelines as part of the grant award. Since the buses were no longer needed for Dial-a-Ride service the City has been working in conjunction with MAG and Phoenix to find other qualified grant sub-recipients get the buses back in service. By transferring the buses to the two qualified non-profit grant sub-recipients, the City will receive its fair share of local transit funds used in the original bus purchases, and in turn, program those funds for future transit services.
The City Council approved a FY14-15 budget amendment in the amount of $125,000 to improve traffic conditions and control through the utilization of medians on Waddell and Bell Roads. A new median will be constructed on Waddell Road and cut-through on a current median on Bell Road will occur.
The Surprise Village at West Point Towne Center plat was approved to divide the interior of the property into smaller lots. This plat is located at the northeast corner of Bell and Litchfield Roads
West Point Towne Center Parcel 12
City Council considered and approved a Minor General Plan Amendment (GPA) to change the land use designation of West Point Towne Center Parcel 12 from medium density residential to commercial. Additionally, a major PAD amendment to Parcel 12 was approved to change the zoning of the property from PAD (mixed-use) to PAD (commercial). The final plat will be heard by the City Council on December 16, 2014. The property is currently under contract. West-MEC, a public school district, intends to develop approximately 15.12 net acres of the property into a vocational training center geared towards high school students.
Events & Meetings
Water Planning Subcommittee
The Water Planning Subcommittee met for their November meeting on Thursday, November 20. Staff provided a presentation on the possible membership in the Western Coalition of Arid States (WestCAS). WestCAS was formed to promote research and technology applications in the arid states of the country, including Arizona, California, Nevada and Texas. WestCAS champions with Federal, State and Regional water agencies to promote sound laws, regulations and appropriations that will benefit the public. It is a larger regional organization that has a presence in Washington, D.C. and it would benefit Surprise to have firsthand knowledge of what is being discussed about water at the federal level.
Selection Committee Interviews
Councilman Roland Winters, Councilman Jim Biundo and I participated in the Selection Committee interview process for a few openings on various Boards and Commissions (Disability Advisory Commission, Arts & Cultural Advisory Commission, Planning & Zoning Commission and the Health Benefit Trust Fund Board).
Competitive Sports Roundtable Discussion
I attended the Competitive Sports Roundtable that was held on November 25 with 15 attendees. The attendees were a mixture of coaches and parents interested in the introduction of the program. Paul Frie, Recreation Division Manager, discussed the current registration format and the consensus was that it should remain a team registration with the possible addition of an open try-out day for individuals interested in playing. Marketing will expand for upcoming registrations for competitive basketball which opens on January 5, 2015 and soccer which will open on February 2, 2015.
Boys or girls teams may register in the 10U, 12U or 14U division for a fee of $1,200. All three divisions will follow National Federation of High Schools rules and will play a 10-game regular season, followed by a single elimination league tournament. Games will begin in early March and the league tournament will conclude by April 25.
Mayor’s Quarterly Business Roundtable
The Mayor hosted her quarterly business roundtable meeting on Wednesday, December 10 at the Communiversity. The purpose of the meeting was to make local business leaders aware of current discussions City officials are having with ADOT and Maricopa Association of Governments (MAG) to create a legacy art project as part of the future Bell/Grand Avenue Corridor improvement project. Artist Meg Saligman, who is recognized worldwide for her work on murals, spoke on how she created the nation’s largest publicly funded mural in Shreveport, Louisiana and developed a painting method that has now become an industry standard for communities to collaborate on public art projects.
Boys & Girls Club Discussion
We continue to meet with local business leaders to discuss the future of a Boys & Girls Club in Surprise. Another meeting took place on Thursday, December 4, 2014.
Surprise Police Department 2014 Promotional Ceremony
The Surprise Police Department held their 2014 Promotional Ceremony on Thursday, December 4 at the Public Safety Building. Please join me in congratulating Commander Randy Rody, Lieutenant Mike Donovan, Sergeant John C. Vance and Sergeant Anna Weaver. Additionally, we welcomed new Commander Christine DeSanti.
Mark Your Calendars
13th Annual Surprise Party
Come celebrate with Surprise! The 13th Annual Surprise Party will be held at the Surprise Recreation Campus (15960 N. Bullard Avenue) on December 5 and December 6, 2014. The admission is FREE! The tree lighting ceremony, balloon glow and live entertainment will occur on Friday night. Saturday will be full of activities including an arts & crafts show, classic car show, elephant rides, petting zoo, pictures with Santa and much more.
WHAM West Gallery Grand Opening
WHAM is scheduled to have a grand opening reception on December 6, 2014 from 5 until 7 pm. The new exhibit, “all-member juried show” will open on December 1 through January 26, 2015. WHAM is located at 16560 N. Dysart in Surprise.
Holiday Safety Awareness
The Surprise Police Department will be hosting a Personal and Holiday Safety Awareness Open House presentation on Thursday, December 11 from 6 pm until 9 pm at the Public Safety Auditorium (14250 W. Statler Plaza). The Open House is intended to provide information that will help residents avoid being a victim throughout the holiday season and to raise awareness of the most recent and common crimes.
Did You Know?
The 13th Annual Surprise Spring Training Season is right around the corner. It will kick-off on Wednesday, March 4, 2015. There will be a special online presale at www.ticketmaster.com starting Monday, December 15 at 10 am. Tickets can also be purchased over the phone through Ticketmaster at 800.745.3000 or at Ticketmaster outlets such as Fry’s. The Surprise Recreational Campus Box Office will open for ticket sales on Saturday, January 3, 2015 beginning at 7 am. The box office is located at 15960 N. Bullard. For questions or additional information, please visit www.surprisespringtraining.com or you can call 623.222.2222.
Upcoming Road Construction Project Schedule
Vice Mayor Skip Hall
Vice Mayor Hall attended the Surprise Fire Medical Department’s Promotion Ceremony on Monday, November 17. The Ceremony was held in the Public Safety Auditorium. The Department honored seven men for their recent promotions including Captain Richard Brown, Captain Brandley Williams, Engineer Kenneth Herrguth, Engineer Nathan Perkins, Firefighter Donovan Maturan, Firefighter Robert Wieser and Firefighter Edward Swartz. Congratulations to these fine men and their families!
City Council Meeting
City Council met with Commissioners from the Planning & Zoning Commission on Saturday, November 8th in the Community Room of City Hall for our 2014 Annual Summit. After a welcome and introductions by City Manager Bob Wingenroth, City Attorney Misty Leslie provided a legal perspective of the Summit and the requirements as stipulated in the Surprise General Plan 2035.
Summit Rick Buss, Assistant City Manager, provided highlights of the General Plan monitoring report which provided updates on the current population in the City (123,682), growth projections, employment and much more. Additionally, the future of Village Planning was discussed. Department Directors provided work plan recommendations regarding future year initiatives as it relates to the General Plan.
Events & Meetings
On Thursday, November 6th, I attended a Community Conversation with Mayor Wolcott at Dysart Unified School District offices. Approximately 12 residents were in attendance and topics included the Bell/Grand Avenue corridor project, traffic light timing at a few intersections, arts and its role in the City and possibilities for a downtown area.
Canyon Ridge School – A Veteran’s Day Commemoration Canyon Ridge School hosted a Veteran’s Day Commemoration titled “A Celebration of American Heroes” on Friday, November 7th. Councilman Todd Tande, Councilman Roland Winters and I attended this special tribute to our nation’s heroes. The special guest speaker was Dr. Joseph Cuffari, Policy Advisor for Governor Jan Brewer and the guest of honor was Dennis Grau of VFW Post 10695 who was recently inducted into the Arizona Veterans Hall of Fame. Thank you to Dr. Shelley Isai, Christopher Raso and Margaret Spiglemore for including the City Council in this event.
United States Marine Corp Birthday Celebration
I was invited to speak at the Camino Del Sol USMC Birthday/Veteran’s Day celebration. This is an annual event hosted by Karen Darby-Ritz, whose family owns the Camino Del Sol Funeral Home in Sun City West. The United States Marine Corp celebrated their 239th birthday on November 10th, 2014.
Sun Village Veteran’s Day Parade
The community of Sun Village held their Annual Veteran’s Day Salute and parade on November 11th. Participants in the parade included Miss Arizona, City Manager Bob Wingenroth, Police Chief Michael Frazier, Fire-Medical Chief Tom Abbott and me. The band from Willow Canyon High School performed for over 500 people who were in attendance. Thank you to Tomas Garcia for planning and coordinating the event.
I held the POW Flag at the event.
Nick Bacon Memorial Unveiling
Visitors to Surprise City Hall can now enjoy a new memorial in honor of Medal of Honor Recipient Staff Sergeant Nick D. Bacon, who also served as our Surprise Town Manager in the late 1980’s.
Hundreds of people, including the City Council, Congressman Trent Franks, Secretary of State Ken Bennett, Representative Debbie Lesko, Representative Rick Gray and many others, gathered together at sunset on November 11th as the memorial was unveiled by Mayor Wolcott and I. A special thank you to Larry Brown, Aaron Bacon for their planning efforts with this event and to Chet Chetkauskas for his outstanding job as the emcee. I’d also like to thank Sherry Aguilar and the City Clerk’s office, the VFW Nick D. Bacon Post 285, the Marine Corps League White Tank Mountain Detachment #1246 of Surprise and the West Valley Pops Band for all of your work to make this touching tribute such a success!
Boys & Girls Club Discussions
During the week, I attended several meetings to discuss a Boys & Girls Club in Surprise. On Wednesday, November 12th, Councilman Jim Biundo, Community and Recreation Services Director Mark Coronado, Youth Services Administrator Paul Bernardo and I met with residents and former Boys & Girls Club affiliates Mike Boyle and Jim Conner. There are two directions the City can take to start a Boys & Girls Club. We can either fall under the umbrella of an existing Boys & Girls Club organization or establish a charter club on our own. Our group is discussing these options as the City continues to consider a Club in the area.
Community Initiatives Meeting
Mayor Wolcott, Councilman Todd Tande, City Manager Bob Wingenroth, Intergovernmental Relations Director Michael Celaya and I discussed the For Our City Initiative and discussed a plan to move forward. This particular initiative will fall under the Human Services Department and there are plans to get the IT Department and our Webmaster involved. Veteran’s Services will also fall under this Department. Staff will be able to assist Veterans by establishing a referral network. We also discussed a City of Surprise Veteran’s Day Parade. The Mayor and I plan to present the idea to the Council.
Mark Your Calendars
Surprise Super Swap Meet
The fall Surprise Super Swap Meet will be held on Saturday, November 15th. This popular community-wide garage sale, sponsored by the Surprise Community and Recreation Services Department and the Surprise Senior Center Council, will be held in the Surprise Aquatic Center parking lot at 15831 N. Bullard Avenue from 8 am until 1 pm. Parking and admission is free.
Surprise Health and Wellness Fair
The Surprise Health and Wellness Fair will be held on Saturday, November 15th from 9 am until 12 noon. The Fair will be held at the Banner Health Center at 13995 W. Statler. There will be several health screenings, demos, clinics and displays. This event is free to the public. We hope to see you there!
Did You Know?
Surprise Citizens Patrol – National Recognition
The Surprise Police Department Citizens Patrol was recently awarded Honorable Mention by the International Association of Chiefs of Police for its outstanding work assisting the Surprise Police Department in ensuring the safety of our citizens and visitors. This all-volunteer organization has provided more than 255,158 hours of service since its inception in 1997. In 2013 alone, the members of this organization provided more than 29,709 hours of service and support to our Police Department therefore allowing the sworn personnel more freedom to answer calls for service.
Thank you to all of our Surprise Citizens Patrol on this national recognition. If you are interested in joining or learning more about this organization, please visit their website at www.surpriseaz.gov/citizenspatrol. You can also call 623.222.4277.
Mayor and City Council met with Planning and Zoning Commission members and city staff, Nov. 8, 2014, to talk about how to grow Surprise through the General Plan, so that the city prioritizes projects to attract new employers, maintain a safe community, and ensure a great quality of life for residents through efficient transportation options, the arts and recreation.
City Council Meeting
City Council Work Session
Mark Coronado, Director of Community and Recreation Services, provided an update on the Surprise Farms and Veramonte Park projects. After several public meetings, the design process will be 90% complete by the end of this month. The projected groundbreaking is scheduled for late February/early March.
Representatives from the Site Design Group also presented the skate park concept design for Surprise Farms Park.
City Attorney Misty Leslie discussed the powers and duties associated with the Council’s Boards & Commissions in relationship to community engagement. Council discussed the relationship between economic development and tourism and how it relates to the Tourism Advisory Commission. Sales tax revenue to the City from restaurants and bars over the last four years has seen a 42% increase and a 29% increase from hotels. The Tourism Advisory Commission has played a role in the increase. Further discussion regarding the Tourism Advisory Commission has been deferred to a later time. Conversation took place regarding the Disability Advisory Commission and Council recognizes the importance of the Commission and agreed to retain it.
City Council Meeting
In honor of November being Diabetes Awareness month, Mayor Wolcott issued a Proclamation to two City employees who have family members inflicted by the disease. Diabetes is a chronic, life-threatening illness that touches Americans of every age, ethnicity and background. Its complications can be far-reaching. Today, over 20 million Americans suffer from this disease and public health officials estimate that more than 1 million new cases will be diagnosed this year. Our City is proud to help advance this cause and support promising breakthroughs in prevention, treatment and care.
Sunset Hills Elementary School Principal Karen Winterstein was recognized for her recently earned title of 2014 Principal of the Year. This award was given to Mrs. Winterstein by the National Association of Elementary School Principals. Congratulations, Mrs. Winterstein! Thank you for instilling our youth with the highest standards of ethics, compassion and education.
City staff provided a presentation on the City’s Community Development federal funding and the 5-year consolidated plan. The Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) is a federal funding source for housing projects, community development and economic development. Fifty-one percent of area residents must be low-moderate income to receive these funds. The Original Townsite (OTS) is the only area that fits this eligibility. Most cities utilize these funds for infrastructure such as street projects, sidewalks and other public infrastructure improvements. They also utilize these funds for housing acquisition and rehabilitation, public facilities such as community centers and assistance to companies to increase housing opportunities. Surprise receives approximately $525,000 in CDBG funds annually. Some of our public service agencies that receive CDBG support are St. Mary’s Food Bank Alliance, Benevilla, Arizona Charter Academy and Arizona Bridge to Independent Living.
HOME Investment Partnerships provides federal funding for housing activities and related service benefiting low income persons. HOME funds must be spent within the City’s limits. Most cities utilize the funding for housing with forgivable loans and energy efficient options.
The 5 year Consolidated Plan is created every 5 years (2015-2019) and it is accomplished through a yearly action plan. This plan helps the City determine community needs and identifies funding priorities for CDBG, HOME and other HUD funded programs. The Nonprofit Applications are due in January followed by the Planning & Zoning Public Hearings in February 2015 and a City Council Workshop in March 2015. Under this timeline, the City Council would be scheduled to discuss the Consolidated Plan in April and pending approval the plan would be submitted to HUD in May.
Public Services Grant applications will be made public in December 2014. Applications will be due in January 2015 and staff will screen and evaluate them in February-March 2015 followed by the Planning & Zoning Public Hearings in February 2015 and a City Council Workshop in March 2015. Under this timeline, the City Council would be scheduled to discuss Consolidated Plan in April and pending approval it will be submitted to HUD in May.
Events & Meetings
27th Annual Clean Air Campaign Awards
On Thursday, October 30, I attended the 27th Annual Clean Air Campaign Awards & Luncheon hosted by Valley Metro at the JW Marriott Desert Ridge Resort. Sean McLaughlin, CBS-5 News, was the Master of Ceremonies. I was a guest of Steve Banta and Valley Metro.
Water Planning Subcommittee Meeting
The Water Planning Subcommittee met on Thursday, October 30th. Staff presented the Subcommittee with the next Council Water Policy for review. This policy, the Water Acquisition Policy, outlines the City’s approach to growing and managing its water portfolio. The Policy addresses the different water asset classes including Extinguishment Credits, Central Arizona Project (CAP), Long-Term Storage Credits and physical water. The Subcommittee will thoroughly review this Policy over the next month and bring it for final discussion at the November Water Planning Subcommittee meeting before it will be discussed with the City Council for review.
In addition to the Water Acquisition Policy, staff presented the Subcommittee with an educational partnership opportunity with Gateway Community College (GCC). GCC is the only Valley school, college or university that offers programs in water and wastewater utility operations. Students who go through these programs are trained to become certified water and wastewater operators and can also acquire an Associate’s Degree in their discipline of choice. GCC is looking to expand their program in the West Valley. They are looking to partner with institutions that can offer opportunities for both classroom and hands on instruction. The Subcommittee and staff will be discussing this partnership opportunity in greater detail with Gateway Community College and City management in the coming months. The Subcommittee believes this opportunity would present some real possibilities for Surprise to be able to assist its youth with additional education and career opportunities.
West-MEC – Glendale Campus Tour
On Friday, October 31st, I participated in a tour of the West-MEC Central Campus in Glendale. This campus offers programs in Aviation Maintenance Technology, Avionics/Electronics, Precision Manufacturing and Welding Technology. Interestingly, more than $1 million dollars of training materials and equipment for the Aviation Tech program were donated by the industry. After speaking to professors from West-MEC, there is quite a demand for the professions and some of the students are already being recruited for companies throughout Arizona.
Surprise Regional Chamber Breakfast
Surprise Regional Chamber of Commerce hosted their monthly breakfast on Tuesday, November 5th. Colonel Jeremy T. Sloane, Vice commander of the 56th Fighter Wing at Luke Air Force Base was the key-note speaker. Colonel Sloane spoke about Luke Air Force Base and the economic impact it has on the West Valley. Luke AFB employs 800 civilians, 300 pilots and many other positions with an annual payroll of $448 million per year. They spend $52.7 million for vendor contracts, $5.3 million annually for utilities and $2 million each year for education assistance. Luke AFB has 30,000 retirees living within 50 miles of the base.
Military and veterans were the topic of this month’s meeting in honor of Veteran’s Day on November 11th, 2014. Several new businesses were also introduced.
Best of the West Awards
I attended WESTMARC’s Best of the West Awards at Phoenix International Raceway on Wednesday, November 6th. Over 450 people were in attendance. The West Valley inspiration in Leadership Award was given to the Honorable Jan Brewer, the West Valley Visionary Award was given to Dr. Lattie Coor and the West Valley Regional Advancement Award was given to Charley Freericks of DMB and Associates.
Mark Your Calendars
USTA Tennis Tournaments
The USTA League Tennis National Championships continue to be held at the Surprise Tennis and Racquetball Complex. This upcoming weekend, the 55 and Over National Championships will be held followed by a 40 and Over Mixed Doubles National Championships the weekend of November 14-16. The last tournament will be held the weekend of November 21-23 for 40 and Over 7.0 and 9.0 Mixed Doubles National Championships. The USTA National Selection Tournament for Boys and Girls 18’s will be held the weekend of November 28-30.
The public is invited to attend and enjoy the action! These tournaments will attract approximately 2,800 players. Most of the players are out of town and the players and spectators are expected to generate 2,400 hotel room nights this month.
Veteran’s Day Parade at Sun Village
Sun Village will be hosting an “Annual Veteran’s Day Salute with Parade” on November 11th at the Sun Village Community, 14300 W. Bell Road in Surprise. The Parade will begin at 10 am and the presentation of colors will begin promptly at 11:45 am. The American Kountry Band will play, followed by Up-Tempo Classic Country, along with some 50’s through 80’s music from 12 noon until 3 pm. Lunch will be available. We hope to see you there!
Nick Bacon Memorial Dedication
There will be a memorial dedication for Nick D. Bacon, USA Medal of Honor Recipient and former Surprise Town Manager, on Tuesday, November 11 at sunset in the south courtyard of City Hall. An orchestra, the West Valley Pops Band, will begin playing patriotic music at 5:15 pm and the candlelight program is scheduled to begin promptly at 5:55 pm. Parking is available in the City Hall parking garage and City Court parking lot on the northeast side of the complex. We hope to see you there for this very special and moving event!
2014 Annual Summit
The 2014 Annual Summit for the City Council will be held on Saturday, November 8th in the City Hall Community Room from 8 am until 2 pm. The purpose of the meeting is to comply with Chapter 6 of the General Plan, which is known as the Implementation Plan. The Summit presents a summary of the report and acts as a forum to obtain input to the staff from the Council. This is an open meeting.
Second Sunday in the Park
The band, the Roadrunners will be playing ‘50s and ‘60s rock music at the next Second Sunday in the Park on November 9th from 2 pm until 4 pm at the Surprise Community Park (15953 N. Bullard). This public event is free.
Surprise Super Swap Meet
The fall Surprise Super Swap Meet will be held on Saturday, November 15th. This popular community-wide garage sale, sponsored by the Surprise Community and Recreation Services Department and the Surprise Senior Center Council, will be held in the Surprise Aquatic Center parking lot at 15831 N. Bullard Avenue from 8 am until 1 pm. Parking and admission is free. Vendor spaces are now available for rent. If you are interested in space, please contact 623.222.1500.
Surprise Health and Wellness Fair
The Surprise Health and Wellness Fair will be held on Saturday, November 15th from 9 am until 12 noon. The Fair will be held at the Banner Health Center at 13995 W. Statler. There will be several health screenings, demos, clinics and displays. This event is free to the public.
In his latest Council Conversations show Vice Mayor Skip Hall introduces residents to our new Assistant City Manager Rick Buss. Their discussion is centered on the future of economic development in Surprise.
Watch the video to learn about the exciting opportunities.