City Council Meeting
City Council Work Session
City Council held a joint meeting with the Planning and Zoning Commission in the Community Room on Tuesday, February 3. Community Development Director Eric Fitzer discussed the recent community meetings with regards to the development of the city-initiated General Plan Amendment. The City is updating key elements of General Plan 2035 including land use, economic development, roadway systems, housing, and recreation/open space. Kevin Kugler, a consultant with Michael Baker International, shared some stats concerning our population and economic development. At some of the recent meetings that were held in Marley Park and Willow Canyon and led by Mr. Kugler, residents indicated that they treasured the safety, diverse architecture, parks and open spaces in the City but there was a lack of community, pedestrian connectivity and arts and culture that presented a challenge to them as well. Residents also appreciated the access to healthcare, small business incubator space and the public sector jobs that Surprise offers, but they were challenged by the lack of higher quality, higher income jobs and transportation infrastructure in the City.
In addition to the General Plan Update meetings, two other public meetings took place last month. The Heritage District Overlay meeting was held at the Surprise Senior Center on January 21. The purpose of this particular meeting was to establish alternative development requirements while managing appropriate, compatible development for the area. It is the goal of the City to develop incentives for converting incompatible uses to more appropriate activities in the Original Town Site and to ensure quality housing combines with appropriate consumer-oriented retail and service functions, such as mixed use. Preservation, education, recreation and economic revitalization are the OTS Heritage District goals.
The last public meeting concerned the Public Arts Master Plan, and the purpose of this meeting was to guide the development of public art and culture opportunities in the City that will enhance our quality of life, create a sense of place, provide venues for community art, help to become an economic driver and assist in revitalization efforts throughout our City.
City Council Meeting Budget Update
Lindsey Duncan, Finance Director, provided a budget status report with data as of November 2014. Sales tax, excluding construction, is 10.9% higher than FY2014 actuals and FY2015 actuals are 5.3% higher than FY2015 budget. Construction sales tax is 28.8% lower for FY2015 than FY2014 actuals and 45.8% lower than FY2015 budget. FY2015 actual expenditures are significantly lower than the FY2015 adopted budget from savings with personnel, supplies and services.
Mrs. Duncan and Dana Garr, Procurement Manager, also provided a procurement update to Council. A formalized policy and procedure for surplus personal property disposal was reviewed. The Finance Department developed the policy and procedure which has achieved negotiated contract savings and ensured responsive, detailed and complete bids. A Notify Me link has been established so residents can receive notifications of upcoming solicitations. The surplus personal property disposal for FY2015 year-to-date is $131,000.
Water Acquisition Policy
Director of Water Resource Management Terry Lowe discussed the proposed Water Acquisition Policy, which is the third policy in a series of water-related policies that staff has recommended and approved by the Committee on Water Resource Planning. The main purpose of this particular policy will allow for strategic investment in Surprise’s water future. Several different strategies for water acquisition were discussed including CAP (Central Arizona Project) allotment and CARGD membership, extinguishment credits, long-term storage credits, physical water such as groundwater importation, water leases, water transfers and exchanges, as well as future land development.
City Attorney Misty Leslie requested consideration of a Development Agreement between the City of Surprise and 371 on 163rd LLC, regarding the development of property located on the northwest corner of Pinnacle Peak Road and 155th Avenue and a Development Agreement between the City of Surprise and Verdugo Land, LLC regarding the development of property located on the northwest corner of Pinnacle Peak Road and 163rd Avenue. Both Development Agreements were approved unanimously by City Council.
Zoning Text Amendment
Bart Wingard asked the City Council to consider a zoning text amendment regarding the height of structures within the Industrial General Zoning District. The current Surprise Municipal Code provides a maximum height of structure in this particular district. This district is described as areas for concentrated manufacturing, fabrication and other industrial uses. Due to various requests from prospective industrial businesses, staff is proposing this zoning text amendment to increase the building height from 60 to 85 feet.
Events & Meetings
Surprise Youth Council
The Surprise Youth Council (SYC) held their team building retreat on January 30th & 31st at the Public Safety Training Center. The SYC is comprised of 25 students ranging in age from 6th grade – 11th grade representing five local high schools & nine local middle schools. The retreat was facilitated by Deanie Wlodek from Opening Minds, LLC with assistance from three local school staff: Arthur Greenway (Asst. Principal – Willow Canyon High), Jan Fellow (Guidance Counselor – Shadow Ridge High), Diosa Holmes (Student Council Advisor – Paradise Honors High). This brand new council quickly bonded as a team after learning about their personal lives, fears and leadership styles. Other topics explored included issues at school, human rights and Surprise as a community. Council members also took time out to attend the Surprise Celebrity Flag Football Challenge, create various crafts representing the retreat and enjoy some dancing!
Celebrity Flag Football Game
The Celebrity Flag Football game was held on Saturday, January 31 at Surprise Stadium. According to Mark Coronado, Community and Recreation Services Director, approximately 4,000 people were in attendance. The event had over 10 million national and local media impressions.
Imagine Prep Science Fair
Councilman Jim Biundo and I were judges for a regional science fair at Imagine Prep in Surprise. The group science fair is scheduled on February 19.
Mark Your Calendars
3rd Annual Surprise Fine Art & Wine Festival
The Thunderbird Artists will be hosting the 3rd Annual Surprise Fine Art & Wine Festival for artists to exhibit and sell their work and for art buyers to make a direct connection to the artists and the vast selection of art. The Festival will take place February 6-8 from 10 am until 5 pm each day at the Surprise Recreation Campus, 15940 N. Bullard Avenue. Admission is $3; or $10 for a Wine Tasting Ticket with souvenir glass. For more information, please visit www.thunderbirdartists.com/surprise.
Second Sundays in the Park Concert
The Second Sunday in the Park series will continue on Sunday, February 8 from 2 pm until 4 pm at the Surprise Community Park (15953 N. Bullard Ave). Please come and enjoy a free concert from Retirement Rocks! You can bring a picnic or purchase food from one of the onsite vendors and enjoy the show!