Tag Archives: Community Development Block Grant

August 3, 2017 • Newsletter

City Council Work Session

New Enterprise Department Discussion

The mission statement for our city’s Community and Recreation Services (CRS) Department is to “enrich and complement the lives of Surprise residents through stewardship of our resources while providing responsive programs which promote and prioritize diversity, cultural, neighborhood, family, education, recreation and wellness opportunities.” At the same time, CRS is responsible for operating and staffing two world class facilities (baseball and tennis) and coordinating with the Surprise Tourism Commission. City Manager Bob Wingenroth recognizes the opportunity to further enhance the quality of life for our residents and proposed a potential organizational change to create a new department.

Staff is proposing a new Enterprise Department, possibly named the Sports and Tourism Department. This new Department would be business focused with the following primary responsibilities: operation of Surprise Stadium and the Surprise Tennis & Racquet Complex, establish public/private partnerships to construct an aquatics center and a regional recreation complex, coordinate the usage of city sports facilities with Ottawa University and our school district, and work in partnership with the Chamber of Commerce and the Tourism Commission to bring regional and national events to Surprise that would increase overnight stays and increase local restaurant and retail business.

The majority of the staffing necessary to build the Sports and Tourism Department would come from CRS divisions. In addition, it will be necessary to establish a director position and a coordinator position at an estimated annual cost of $318,900. There would be estimated start-up costs of $20,000. The potential gains from utilization and tourism dollars flowing to the city with this increased focus will outweigh the increased cost.

Shop Local Program

In 2016, the City partnered with the Surprise Regional Chamber of Commerce on an award-winning “Shop Local” campaign as part of our efforts to help businesses that were impacted by the Bell Road/Grand Avenue bridge construction. The campaign proved to be successful and as such, staff has received direction from City Council to partner again to explore a citywide Shop Local campaign, leveraging the best practices learned.  The campaign is consistent with the Council’s Strategic Plan to promote jobs and enhance the needs of small businesses, particularly through business retention and expansion activities.

Bell Road and Grand Avenue Monument Signage

Council discussed and provided staff with some direction relative to signage in and around the Bell and Grand overpass. With the construction of the overpass, signage was removed due to expansion of right-of-way and relocation of utilities and easements from properties at the intersection. Staff was able to work with two of the property owners to replace signage along Grand Avenue; however, the signage requested along Bell Road is higher than allowed by code and prior approvals. Council instructed staff to work with those property owners at the intersection of Grand Avenue and Bell Road to find amenable solutions to signage to provide visibility to the businesses while looking at impacts relative to the view shed.

Temporary Signage Discussion

A discussion on temporary signage was brought to the City Council during Tuesday’s Work Session. City Council had received concerns from residents and business owners relative to signage directing traffic to businesses and public services such as churches and events in and around the City. Currently, the City sign code does not allow for temporary signage such as A-frames and sandwich boards. City staff has been working on revising the sign code. Under the draft code, the City is looking to allow signage for lawful temporary events that would include signage such as A-frames and sandwich boards.

Staff presented Council with the option to enact the temporary sign portion of the draft code prior to the full code being adopted. This would assist business during the update process and allow staff to obtain data on how best to address temporary signage in the final sign code adoption.

Council voiced their understanding of the need for signage to promote businesses and events around the City and instructed staff to “beta-test” the temporary signage portion of the draft sign code under a new Temporary Sign Policy. That Temporary Sign Policy will be discussed and deliberated upon by City Council at their September 5, 2017 meeting.

I also want to share a bit of history with you on the city’s use of temporary sign policies to give you a better picture of how we got here.

In 2009, during the great recession, Council enacted Resolution 09-151 which allowed temporary signs; Council extended it in 2012 for one year. Then, in March of 2016, the City enacted the Bell Road Temporary Sign Policy (Resolution 2016-42) in order to assist businesses during the construction of the Bell and Grand Overpass Project. The City Wide Temporary Sign Policy was then approved again in April of 2016 under resolution 2016-43 for the entire City limits. In February 2017, after the completion of Bell and Grand Avenue Overpass construction, the City approved resolutions 2017-20 and 2017-21. These resolutions repealed the City Wide Temporary Sign Policy and the Bell and Grand Temporary Sign and Temporary Use Permit Policy.


City Council Meeting

2017 Summer Youth Interns

Each year, the City’s Human Service and Community Vitality Department sponsors a Summer Youth Employment Program for teens residing in Surprise. This year, 25 interns were selected to participate from over 70 applicants. Interns were permitted to work up to 25 hours a week. Each Monday, they received Life Skills training which included information on how to prepare for interviews, how to put together resumes, interviewing and job readiness skills and much more. All 25 interns were recognized at the City Council meeting. Many thanks to our HSCV team led by Director Seth Dyson for their dedication to this fantastic program that grooms our teens for life!

Surprsie Summer Youth Interns group photo
2017 Summer Youth Interns

Maricopa County Work Force Development Services

The Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act of 2014 (WIOA) is designed to help job seekers access employment, education, training and support services to succeed in the labor market and to match employers with the skilled workers they need to compete in the global economy. Maricopa County is a designated as a Local Workforce Development Area under the federal WIOA.

The County operates two (2) comprehensive Workforce Development One Stop Career Centers (Centers) under WIOA. The Centers provide employment-related services to job-seekers and employers in Maricopa County. Job seekers can access services such as workshops on job search and job retention skills; assessment tools for measuring interests, aptitude and skills; career exploration; vocational counseling, funding assistance for occupational skills training and job placement assistance. Resources such as computers, fax machines and copiers are available to assist in job search activities. The Centers hold job fairs for local employers recruiting employees to fill vacant positions. The Centers also provide transition assistance for local employers who experience a reduction in force and, therefore, must lay-off employees. The City will house a satellite office for the County through the approval of this Intergovernmental Agreement with Maricopa County. The services provided in the Resource Center will benefit job seekers and employers who cannot travel to access services in the County’s Centers.

The Intergovernmental Agreement was approved on Consent Agenda. This action will allow our HSCV Department to offer Workforce Development Services from the Surprise Resource Center with a full-time Workforce Development Coordinator.

Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Annual Plan

The city received an allotment of Community Development Block Grant funding of $638,560 from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development for year 2017-2018. Of this amount, $95,784 is being awarded to non-profits to provide social services to Surprise residents. These non-profits include Aid to Adoption of Special Kids, Benevilla, CASS, Surprise Community Action Program, Mentally Ill Kids in Distress, SoJourner, St. Mary’s Food Bank, and the Sun Health Foundation. Remaining funds will be utilized for neighborhood infrastructure improvements, micro-enterprise grants, emergency home repair, and associated administrative costs.


Events & Meetings

Project Connect

The city’s Human Service & Community Vitality Department (HSCV) recently partnered with Salvation Army and United Way for the comprehensive event, Project Connect, which provided the homeless with basic services and connection to resources. The event was held on Wednesday, July 26 at Salvation Army in Surprise. HSCV Director Seth Dyson was informed that we had 216 guests.

Project Connect infographic

Water Resource Management Department Meeting

Vice Mayor Todd Tande and I attended our Water Resource Management Department’s “All Hands” quarterly meeting on Wednesday, July 26. Director Terry Lowe provided an update on the department and an overview of their budget while Department managers also provided updates on their respective areas. Afterwards, we were given a tour of a demonstration project.

Decide Surprise 2017 Bond Meeting

2017 Decide Surprise Bond Election banner

Vice Mayor Todd Tande and I were asked to join Mayor Sharon Wolcott on Tuesday, August 1 at Marley Park for a meeting with a select group of residents to discuss the Decide Surprise General Obligation Bond Election that will be on the November ballot. Surprise voters will decide three separate bond questions in the areas of public safety, traffic congestion mitigation and pavement preservation. The mail-ballot only election will be November 7, but ballots will be mailed in early October.

For more information on the projects and costs, please visit www.surpriseaz.gov/decidesurprise.


Mark Your Calendar

Raise a Reader Series

Surprise has partnered with Southwest Human Development to host a free eight week Raising a Reader program that utilizes proven skills to educate parents about the importance of early literacy and provides tools to help children learn to read. Using an evidence-based model that focuses on developmental milestones and brain development, literacy specialists will model how to engage children with the use of books. Families will also learn the significance of singing, dancing and playing as a way to build their child’s vocabulary and prepare them for school.

All members of the family are invited to participate! Plus, participating families will take home a bag filled with award-winning children’s books at the end of each week. Courses will be taught from 11 a.m. -12:30 p.m. on consecutive Fridays beginning August 11 at the Surprise Resource Center, 12425 W. Bell Rd, Suite 124. To enroll in the eight week Raising a Reader series, contact Lizette Garced at LGarced@swhd.org.

Free Educational Presentation on Older Adults and Series

Suicide rates of older adults are higher than any other age group in Maricopa County. The City of Surprise has partnered with Area Agency on Aging and Maricopa Elder Behavioral Health Advocacy Coalition to provide a free educational presentation.

A Matter of Life is a presentation created to educate and help people recognize the signs and symptoms of suicide, depression, anxiety and substance abuse. It encourages help-seeking behaviors by connecting people with resources and tools to access help for themselves or someone they know.

This program will be held on Wednesday, August 23 at 9 a.m. at the Surprise Senior Center, located at 15832 N. Hollyhock Street. It will run approximately one hour. Please register with Trisha Weston at 623.222.1544 or trisha.weston@surpriseaz.gov

Senior Services is a division of the Human Service & Community Vitality Department and is designed to provide programs to strengthen the community and better serve Surprise residents. Located in the heart of Surprise, in the Heritage District, at 15832 N. Hollyhock Street. The Surprise Senior Center is the hub of activities for citizens age 50 and better and adults with disabilities. The membership fee for a resident of Surprise is $12 per year, and for non-residents it’s $15 per year. The Senior Center also offers a gym membership for an additional fee (some rules and restrictions apply). Hours of operation are Monday thru Friday from 8 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Disclaimer: Information in seminars and classes sponsored by the City are a public service and should not be construed as advice or representation of any specific business, company, individual business owners, brokers or affiliations. The City does not endorse any particular business, product or speaker. Any information presented does not reflect the opinion or position of the City.


Did You Know?

Monsoon Safety Tips

Monsoon season, June 15-September 30, is characterized by increased thunderstorm and lightning activity, high winds, dust storms and flooding. Having a plan of action and knowing what to do in each of the weather conditions can help save your life.

During any major storm event, the safest place to be is indoors. If you are at home, turn off all unnecessary power equipment and refrain from using landline phones. Make sure your home is equipped with flashlights, batteries, bottled water and non-perishable food items.

Dust storms and rain events can decrease visibility and increase road hazards when driving. If you are in your vehicle during a storm, slow down and pull off to the right side of the road as far as possible and turn off your engine and lights. Be sure to take your foot off the brake pedal.

Never drive through flooded intersections or washes! Even shallow flowing water has enough power to sweep your vehicle off the road or stall your engine. If you approach a flooded intersection, safely turn your vehicle around and find an alternate route.

Monitor weather reports and listen for potential flood warnings in your area. When flooding is imminent, knowing where to find sand and bags is essential to protecting your home and family. Sand and bags are provided free of charge to Surprise residents at multiple locations throughout the city; you will need to bring your own shovel to fill the bags. Sand and bag locations

To report downed trees, roadway debris or clogged storm drains, contact the Public Works department at 623.222.6000; crews will be on call and available to provide assistance during major storm events. If reporting after hours or on a holiday, please call the Surprise Police Department Non-Emergency Line at 623.222.4000.

Visit www.surpriseaz.gov/monsoon for a complete list of monsoon safety tips and resources.


Contact Me

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

Ask a Question

April 7, 2016 • Newsletter

Bell Road/Grand Avenue Update

ShopSurprise

The City, Surprise Regional Chamber of Commerce, and local businesses have partnered to give you even more reasons to ShopSurprise during the Bell Road full closure. Launching ahead of schedule, the Bell & Grand ShopSurprise campaign is helping to promote businesses in the Bell Road construction area by offering daily deals for shoppers so they continue to spend money in their hometown.

Businesses on all sides of the Bell Road and Grand Avenue intersection are open and have created incentives so that you ShopSurprise!

Daily deals are available now and opting-in for deals is simple. There are multiple ways for you to participate; just pick the one, or two, that are right for you:

  • Visit shopsurpriseaz.com to view the daily deals online;
  • Text ‘ShopSurprise’ (one word) to 40518 to have daily deals sent to your phone;
  • Like the Shop Surprise, Arizona Facebook page and have the deals appear in your timeline; or
  • Follow @ShopSurpriseAZ on Twitter to have deals tweeted to you daily.

A Construction Business Access Map is also available online to help you find the best ways to enter the shopping, dining and service centers to claim your deals.

The Bell & Grand ShopSurprise daily deals are only available during the Bell Road full closure. The Chamber will consider a more comprehensive, citywide campaign in the future.

For more information about the Bell & Grand ShopSurprise campaign, contact the Surprise Regional Chamber of Commerce at 623.583.0692. To learn more about the Bell Road and Grand Avenue Interchange project, visit surpriseaz.gov/bellandgrand.


City Council Work Session

Community Development Block Grant Annual Action Plan

As an entitlement city, Surprise received a yearly allotment of Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funding from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). CDBG administration and neighborhood improvement activities are administered by city departments. These projects address neighborhood infrastructure improvement needs identified in the city’s Consolidated Plan 2015-2019. CDBG funds will be utilized to implement projects that will improve the safety and quality of life of the residents within the Original Town Site area of Surprise since it meets three national objectives (benefits low to moderate income persons, provides area benefit, limited clientele).

The funding amount for 2016-2017 is $585,139. The public hearing and recommendation for funding to the City Council is scheduled for the Regular City Council meeting on April 19.

Review of Capital Projects and Potential Capital Funding

Budget Manager Jared Askelson provided a review of the FY2017 capital projects which were part of a recommendation by the Capital Improvement Exploratory Committee last year. Some of the projects include a permanent fire station, a new property and evidence facility, and the implementation of the Parks Master Plan which includes, but is not limited to, a field house, a competitive aquatic facility, a new community park, pickleball courts and 8-Acre Park improvements.

City Manager Bob Wingenroth discussed the possibility for another bond opportunity for November 2016. The bond amount discussed was $60 million (25%) of current capacity with a 20 year term. City Council requested input from the community prior to further discussion.


City Council Meeting

Austin Ranch West Parcel 1 & 4

After much discussion and an Executive Session, City Council approved, subject to alternative approval directions, the final plat entitled “Austin Ranch West Parcel 4” and “Austin Ranch West Parcel 1”, a 36.55 acre, 138 lot, single family subdivision generally located on the northern side of West Deer Valley Road, 2.4 miles west of Grand Avenue and a 114.28 acre, 420 lot, single family subdivision located on the northern side of West Deer Valley Road, 1.6 miles west of Grand Avenue. This is the first and second phase of a multi-phased project known as Austin Ranch Planned Area Development (PAD) that was approved by the Mayor and City Council on May 13, 2004.

Stormwater Utility Discussion

City Council unanimously approved the adoption of the “Notice of Intent” declaring the City’s intent to adopt a Stormwater Utility Rate and setting the public hearing on May 17, 2016 at 6 pm in the City Hall Council Chambers.

Revenue Projections and Expenditure Recommendations

Jared Askelson discussed General Fund sources for fiscal year 2016 which is currently at $96.9 million which is .5% less than what was estimated due to a decrease in local sales tax and transfers in. Our Finance Department is expecting revenue reduction of approximately $900,000 due to Bell/Grand Intersection construction. There is no change in projections for property taxes. General Fund sources for fiscal year 2017 is projected to be $101.6 million due to an increase in local sales tax since there will be additional car dealerships, an increase in State Shared revenue, Franchise Fees, Transfers in and property tax due to increase in population. General Fund Uses for FY2016 is $96.9 million which is 2.1% less than what was estimated.

Next week, the City Council will receive the City Manager’s Recommended Budget for FY2017. Public Safety needs have been discussed in previous Council meetings. In order to properly fund those needs, there is a $2.4 million need. Four revenue options were reviewed. Final decisions have not been made at this time. The recommended budget review will take place at the Regular City Council meeting on April 19 in the City Council Chamber at 6 pm.

IGA for Safe Route to School Grant

The City of Surprise in partnership with five elementary schools and the Dysart Unified School District were awarded three Transportation Alternative Non-Infrastructure grants. These grants will help develop a Safe Routes to school Action Plan for Marley Park, Rancho Gabriela, Parkview, Countryside and Ashton Ranch Elementary Schools. It also provides funding for the procurement of Crosswalk Safety Equipment.

City Council unanimously approved the Intergovernmental Agreement to accept and utilize the funds.

City-wide Temporary Sign Policy

In order to assist businesses while the City updates the City Sign Code, City staff has developed the City-wide Temporary Sign Policy. The new Temporary Sign policy includes some of the signage as allowed in the previous Temporary Sign policy and also removes the requirement for the Temporary Use Permit to utilize a sign walker. The temporary policy was approved with a 5-2 vote.

Regular Council Meeting CHANGE

City Council unanimously approved a date change for the Regular City Council meeting originally scheduled for Tuesday, May 3 to Wednesday, May 4, 2016 due to the grand opening ceremony of IRIS USA.


Events & Meetings

City Café Express Gallery Grand Opening

The Arts and Cultural Advisory Commission hosted a grand opening ceremony for the City Café Express featuring the artwork of John W. Clark art on Wednesday, March 30. Mayor Wolcott, Vice Mayor Biundo and I all attended the fantastic event and admired the Air Force artwork of John W. Clark.

Sierra Verde HOA Meeting

Surprise Police Chief Terry Young, Community Policing Officer Tim Klarkowski and I attended the Sierra Verde HOA meeting on Wednesday, March 30. We discussed preventative measures, crime stats and participated in a Q&A with the residents in attendance.

The Orchards Block Party

I attended the Orchards HOA block party on Friday, April 1. I thoroughly enjoy attending these events and engaging with my constituents!

Surprise Literacy Challenge Pizza Parties

As part of the grand finale for the Surprise Literacy Challenge, I attended two pizza parties for the 4th and 5th grade winning classes this week. The 5th grade winners, Ms. Frazier’s class from West Point Elementary, read an average of 683 minutes per student for an approximate total of 19,124! They received their pizza party on Monday, April 4. The 4th grade winners, Ms. Gore’s class from Arizona Charter, received their pizza party on Wednesday, April 6. Ms. Gore’s students read an average of 866 minutes per student for an approximate total of 21,640 minutes over the course of the challenge.

HOA Summit

The City of Surprise hosted an HOA Summit on Wednesday, April 6. Various City Directors, including those from Public Works, Human Service & Community Vitality and the Chief of Police provided updates and were available to answer questions. More than 60 residents attended. Thank you to everyone, including the staff that participated!


Mark Your Calendars

Job Fair Coming to Surprise

The City of Surprise and Arizona@Work are teaming up to present both a job seeker workshop and a job fair! The workshop will be held on Friday, April 15 from 9 a.m. until 12 noon at the Communiversity@Surprise, 15950 N. Civic Center Parkway. The workshop will include tips on resume building, interviewing, social media networking and much more.

The job fair will take place on Tuesday, April 19 from 9 am until 1 pm at the same location. This fair will have more than a dozen employers from Surprise and our neighboring cities. The employers scheduled to attend represent a variety of industries including healthcare, real estate, banking, automotive and much more. For more information, please contact Julie Neal at 623.222.3322.


Did You Know?

ADOT’s National Household Travel Survey

The Arizona Department of Transportation and Federal Highway Administration are asking households, most of them outside of metro Phoenix and Tucson, to participate in the National Household Travel Survey. Up to 30,000 households, chosen at random, will be contacted via letter over the next year. This survey is conducted every five to seven years and provides an essential snapshot of transportation behaviors and trends.

ADOT has created an online survey which is available at azdot.gov/NHTS. Information gathered by your participation in this survey will also help create a more valuable transportation system for all.


Contact Me

Shop Bell & Grand local

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