City Council Work Session
City staff presented Valley Metro’s Northwest Valley public transportation service model changes at Tuesday’s meeting. Beginning July 1, Valley Metro will discontinue the current Northwest Valley Dial-a-Ride service model to provide more service options and standardized regional transportation for seniors, Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) eligible, and income-qualified riders. Three transportation options will be available to customers when the new model begins July 1: the Senior Bus, Paratransit Shared Ride and RideChoice Taxi Service.
Seniors who frequently visit the Surprise Senior Center, on average 3-5 days per week, can catch a ride on the city’s shared route Senior Bus. The Senior Bus will follow a dedicated route to the Senior Center and provide door-to-door pick-up and drop-off service; fare for the bus will remain $2 per one-way trip. The bus will be available Monday through Friday, 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., excluding city holidays.
Paratransit Shared Ride is recommended for ADA certified customers, seniors and income-qualified general public who schedule rides for local medical and works trips greater than 7 miles and, generally, outside the city of Surprise. ADA certified riders may also use the service for medical and work trips anywhere within Maricopa County up to ¾ miles of bus service. Multiple vehicle options will be available for customers when booking their trips; the service contractor will schedule vehicles accordingly based on customer needs.
Customers booking Paratransit Shared Ride are required to schedule trips 1-14 days in advance; same day booking is not available. The service will operate daily 5:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.; trip fares are $4 each way.
Similar to the current Dial-a-Ride program, RideChoice Taxi Service provides 24 hours per day, 365 days per year service for riders with the ability to self-book and choose from multiple service providers. Riders will be allotted 16 trips per month however customers needing more trips are able to work with city staff to review monthly trip allowances on an individual basis.
RideChoice trips are managed on a RideChoice card that must be renewed each month; unused trips do not carry over. Customers can choose to load money to the RideChoice card to pay for trips however cash and credit cards are still accepted. RideChoice accounts can be self-managed online and by smart phone. Fares are $3 per one-way trip for riders. Riders will be responsible for any fare amounts that exceed $21 (city’s match is up to $18 per trip).
Valley Metro will contact current Northwest Valley Dial-a-Ride customers directly to educate them on the changes to the program and the new options. In addition, Surprise staff and representatives from Valley Metro will schedule a public meeting at the Surprise Senior Center, 15832 N Hollyhock Street, in May to discuss the service models and answer questions.
Surprise will continue to share information about changes to Valley Metro’s Northwest Valley service model at www.surpriseaz.gov/transportation as it becomes available.
City Manager’s FY18 Recommended Budget Discussion
City Manager Bob Wingenroth presented a $336.5 million Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 Recommended Budget to City Council. The Recommended Budget maintains existing city services and identifies creative options to maximize some resources. That includes securing outside revenue sources and reallocating the operating budget to provide new positions that address public safety, water and inspection demands. Two public safety grants (SAFER Grant and COPS Hiring Program) will partially fund a five-member Fire-Medical Peak Time Response Unit and two police officers, focused on community policing, through 2019. The Recommended Budget also includes $49.8 million to support the Capital Improvement Plan (CIP), which is used to maintain, preserve, and/or replace city infrastructure. This includes funding for pavement preservation of city streets, vehicle replacement and aging communications, information technology, recreation and utility infrastructure.
There are also two recommended financial policy revisions regarding the Minimum Fund Balance Policy for the General fund and the Stormwater and Workers’ Compensation funds that will provide clearer definition for the reserves to strengthen the city’s financial position.
The FY18 Recommended Budget is available at www.surpriseaz.gov/budget. Council is scheduled to vote on the final budget in June.
City Council Meeting
Reappointment of Public Safety Personnel Retirement System Board Members
City Council unanimously approved the re-appointment of Kenneth Broadfoot as the citizen member and Jim Hayden as Chairman of the Public Safety Retirement System Local Board, both serving a four year term expiring April 18, 2021.
Events & Meetings
Good Friday Breakfast
I joined hundreds of other leaders in the West Valley for the Good Friday Breakfast on Friday, April 14 at the WigWam. Speakers included Adam Agee, lead singer from Audio Adrenaline and Pastor Greg Laurie from Harvest Christian Fellowship, one of the largest churches in the United States. Pastor Laurie will also be leading Harvest America in Phoenix on June 11 at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale.
Milam Glass Groundbreaking
Vice Mayor Todd Tande, Councilman Ken Remley and I attended the groundbreaking ceremony for Milam Glass on Monday, April 17. Milam Glass is developing a 22,000 square foot facility in the city’s industrial district, which will become their new company headquarters and employ approximately 50 people. The company has been in business since 1969. It started as a three-man residential glass company, and by 1977, it had become a storefront business and a leader in the commercial glass industry.
Council Conversation Taping
On Tuesday, April 18, I taped a new Council Conversation on water which will be aired on Surprise TV beginning next week. As part of the conversation, I interviewed Water Resource Management Director Terry Lowe and Director of the Kyl Center for Water Policy at Morrison Institute at ASU, Sarah Porter. April is Water Awareness Month for the Arizona Department of Water Resources. Watch the episode…
Mark Your Calendar
WHAM Recycle Arts Festival
WHAM Art Association is hosting their Recycle Arts Fest: Exhibit & Fashion Show on Saturday, April 22 at WHAM Community Art Center, 16560 N. Dysart Road. The free neighborhood event is scheduled from 4 – 9 p.m. and will include a Recycle Arts Exhibit and Eco Styles Fashion Show, a creative art display that underscores the possibilities of working with reusable post-consumer materials.
Artists of all ages and talents are invited to participate. Enjoy food, music, free activities for kids and the spirit of community and collaboration at the Recycle Arts Fest– where creative expression goes green! If you are interested in becoming involved with the 2017 Recycle Arts Fest send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Surprise Police Explorers Fundraising Event
The Surprise Police Explorer Post #2236 is partnering with a local business, Chipotle, for an upcoming fund raising event. The event will be held at Chipotle, 13869 West Bell Road in Surprise, on Friday, April 28 from 5 – 9 p.m.
Please remember to bring in a copy of the flyer (view flyer) or show a copy of the flyer on your smart phone or other electronic device in order to help the Explorers raise money (50% of the proceeds will be donated to the Surprise Police Explorers).
Chipotle is located on the southeast corner of Litchfield Road and Bell Road in Surprise.
Movie Night at Surprise Stadium
The City of Surprise presents Movie Night at Surprise Stadium featuring The Secret Life of Pets – rated PG on Saturday, April 29. This event is sponsored by Coulter Nissan, and admission is free. Bring your blankets and pillows, stretch out on the stadium grass and enjoy! Gates will open at 6 p.m. The movie will begin at 7 p.m.
The stadium food and beverage policy is in effect. Ice chests and lawn chairs are not permitted. For more information, please contact City of Surprise Community and Recreation Services at 623.222.2000 or visit www.surpriseaz.gov/specialevents.
Did You Know?
Surprise Sundancers Award Scholarships to West Valley Students
Surprise Sundancers, the official Surprise Recreation Campus Spring Training volunteer organization, with the support of the Arizona Community Foundation, awarded $135,000 in scholarships to west valley students.
The scholarship recipients were awarded the following:
10 applicants each receiving $5,000
19 applicants each receiving $2,500
25 applicants each receiving $1,500
The Surprise Sundancers provide scholarships to graduating students from high schools in Surprise, El Mirage, Youngtown or Wickenburg. Applicants must demonstrate high engagement in the community, be a participating student athlete, and have a minimum 3.0 cumulative GPA.
The Surprise Sundancers will present the scholarship funds to the technical school or college on behalf of the student.
The Sundancers are a registered 501(c)3 non-profit organization with over 800 members. They provide volunteer services during Spring Training and other city special events. Each spring training season, the Surprise Sundancers host an annual Charity Game in which all proceeds collected from tickets sales, merchandise, 50/50 raffle, concessions and programs are contributed to the Surprise Sundancers Scholarship Program as well as Surprise/Northwest Valley youth related programs and projects.
To learn more about the Surprise Sundancers, visit www.surprisesundancers.org or call 623.222.2000 for more information.