City Council Work Session
Surprise Youth Council Update
Members of the Surprise Youth Council (SYC) provided an update on their recent activities. Some of their recent activities include:
- Delivering a 7-part peer-to-peer workshop on healthy relationships and dating violence at local high schools
- Hosting a free SAT prep class
- Building community partnerships to provide greater mental and emotional health resources at local high schools
- Conducting a hydration drive for people experiencing homelessness in and around the Surprise area
- Developed a youth blog, and hosted a signature teen party on the 4th floor of the City Hall parking garage, with more than 225 high school student attendees.
The SYC is now wrapping up their most recent recruitment period and expects to add nearly a dozen new members with new ideas and a passion for community engagement. The Council will continue to prioritize projects and initiatives that have the potential for impact reaching far beyond its own membership. Council members hope that these efforts will raise the quality of life for local youth and solidify Surprise’s reputation as a truly innovative City.
City of Surprise Utility Billing Update
Assistance Finance Director Andrea Davis provided a utility billing update. Last spring, City Council unanimously voted to take over utility billing. In doing so, a new Customer Service/Utility Billing division was created within the Finance Department that generated 16 new full-time positions and utilized 6 current positions. Since November 1, when utility billing in the city began, call volumes have significantly decreased, as have average call wait times. Resolved utility billings issues have created and increase of $141,000 in monthly revenue for an annual increase of $1.7 million.
Non-residential Stormwater customers will be receiving their annual bill for the stormwater utility program that commenced in November 2016. Approximately 1,100 bills for the period November 2016 through June 2016 will be sent out in April generating $1 million in stormwater utility revenue.
City Council Meeting
Recognition of Valley Vista High School Girls Basketball Champions
City Council recognized the Valley Vista High School Girls 6A State Champion Basketball team at our Tuesday meeting. The team is led by coach Rachel Matakas who was named 6A Coach of the Year! Teammates told us that they won because they worked hard on building a true team, one that was committed to each other and understanding of each other- on and off the court. Congratulations to the team on a 26-6 winning year and a state title!
Approval of New Commission Members
City Council unanimously approved the appointments of Patrick Duffy to fill a vacancy on the Municipal Property Corporation with a term expiration of June 30, 2021 and Sally Wilson-Johnson to fill a vacancy on the Arts & Cultural Advisory Commission to complete the remainder of a term ending on June 30, 2019 due to resignation.
Central Arizona Project (CAP) and Water in Arizona
The Colorado River system has experienced drought conditions for nearly 16 years, resulting in the water level of Lake Mead to continue to be at historic lows. Water levels in Lake Mead determine how much Colorado River water Arizona receives on an annual basis. A large portion of Surprise’s renewable water supply is from the Colorado River, delivered by the Central Arizona Project (CAP) system. The Colorado River supply is of the upmost importance and it has a direct impact on the City’s water portfolio and future.
CAP Board President Lisa Atkins provided Council an update on the state of the Colorado River System, including Lake Mead and CAP. She provided a synopsis of the CAP system and the importance the CAP has on the state’s economy. A 2014 Arizona State University study found that the CAP system is responsible for 1.6 million jobs and over $1 trillion of Arizona’s gross state product. Ms. Atkins addressed the probability of water shortages on the Colorado River now and into the near future. She also identified programs that CAP, the state, and others have partnered on to ensure water levels in Lake Mead remain above shortage triggers. There is a 34% probability that a water shortage could be declared in 2018, with a similar likelihood one could occur in 2019. Shortages on the Colorado River will not affect Surprise’s water supply, but they will have direct effect on the cost to deliver water to Surprise.
Events & Meetings
Investiture of Associate Judge Catherine A. Gaudreau
I was honored to attend the investiture of Associate Judge Catherine A. Gaudreau on Wednesday, March 29 in the City Council Chambers. Judge Gaudreau was publicly sworn in by Judge Louis F. Dominguez and honored by her former colleagues prior to a reception in her honor.
The Park @ Surprise Groundbreaking
Vice Mayor Todd Tande, Councilman Ken Remley and I joined an excited crowd on Thursday, March 30 at the groundbreaking of The Park @ Surprise which will be located on Parkwood Drive. The Park will produce 40 new jobs and consist of 135 apartments and 20 casitas spread out over 8.5 acres with a bistro, movie theater and much more on the property.
Special City Council Meeting
City Council held a special meeting on Monday, April 3 at the Heritage Club at Marley Park. Discussion included a five-year financial forecast, possible future general obligation bond election, and consideration of our gateway and key asset areas. This was a no-vote meeting, discussion only about possible future items and issues facing our city.
Rancho Mercado Groundbreaking
William Lyon Homes hosted a groundbreaking on Tuesday, April 4. The development is located in a six square-mile area along Happy Valley Road (in the area of 147th Avenue & Jomax). The development plans to provide a variety of affordable housing options including single-family and multi-family residential, as well as retail and commercial services and much more. Rancho Mercado’s projected population is more than 12,000 residents at build out.
Mark Your Calendar
Household Hazardous Waste Collection
The city’s next Household Hazardous Waste Collection Event is Saturday, April 8. This event is free and for Surprise residents only. Please bring a driver’s license or utility bill to show proof of a Surprise home address.
Drop-off is at the Public Works Maintenance Yard, 13433 W. Foxfire Drive (from Bell Road, turn north on Dysart and follow signs to the entrance off Foxfire), from 8 a.m. – Noon. For more information, check out www.surpriseaz.gov/HHWevent or call 623.222.6000.
Taste of Surprise
The Rotary Club of Surprise will host the Taste of Surprise event at Surprise Stadium on Saturday, April 8 from 4 p.m. until 9 p.m. The event will showcase some the West Valley’s best foods and include a beer and wine garden and live entertainment. This event is designed to be fun for the entire family!
Event proceeds will benefit five local non-profits including One Step Beyond, Surprise Youth Foundation, Benevilla, A New Leaf, and Rotary Club of Surprise Community Foundation. Tickets can be purchased at the event or online. To purchase tickets online, please visit http://www.tasteofsurprise.com/purchase-tickets.html.
Second Sundays in the Park – This Sunday!
The City of Surprise continues the “Second Sundays in the Park” concert series on Sunday, April 9 with blues and R&B music performed by “Notes from Neptune” from 2-4 p.m. in the center of the Surprise Community Park.
The entertainment is free. Families are encouraged to bring a picnic or purchase food from the onsite vendors and enjoy the live entertainment. Surprise Community Park is located at 15953 N. Bullard Avenue. For more information, please contact the Community & Recreation Services Office at 623.222.2000 or online at www.surpriseaz.gov/specialevents.
Did You Know?
2017 Surprise Retail Survey
There is still time to complete our 2017 Surprise Retail Survey! Please complete the survey to tell us what establishments you want in Surprise and to vote for your local favorites! The survey is open through April 9 and is available online at www.surpriseaz.gov/retailsurvey.