City Council Work Session
Community Development User Fee Discussion
The current FY18 budget is supported in part by direct charges for services provided by the city. These charges for services fall into three broad groups including utility rates, development impact fees, and user fees. With that being said, the revision of utility rates and development impact fees is highly regulated by state law. Though less regulated, user fees do have state mandated posting requirements and Comprehensive Financial Management Policies call for a periodic examination of user fees to determine an acceptable rate of cost recovery. In order to ensure compliance with state mandates and to facilitate a more consistent user fee policy process, a consolidated user fee schedule was adopted by City Council in FY16. User Fees make up $9.8 million of the estimated User Fee Revenue for FY18. Community Development fees are $2.4 million of that amount. The Community Development Department has not conducted a formal overhaul of the Community Development User Fees since 2010, under Resolution 2010-23, which had an effective date of April 1, 2010. There have been subsequent minor modifications in 2012 and 2016 but not a thorough review of the fees. The Department’s goal is to recover all or part of program costs associated with development; some of which include various other departments.
Community Outreach consists of a written notice of the proposed fee schedule on our city website, distribution of information via the city’s social media outlets with a notice of intent and the potential City Council adoption on August 15, 2017.
Special City Council Meeting
Public Hearing on Budget, Truth in Taxation and Property Tax Levies
The city is required to hold a public hearing on proposed expenditures and tax levy in which any taxpayer may appear and be heard in favor of or against any proposed expenditure or tax levy. Pursuant to Arizona Revised Statute 42-17107, any increase in the primary property tax levy, exclusive of new growth, must go through a Truth in Taxation hearing. Statute requires that a public hearing is held prior to the levy of property taxes for street light improvement districts (SLIDS). A public hearing was conducted with no comments from the public.
The resolution adopting the FY18 final budget and the notices of intent to levy primary and street light improvement districts property tax levies were adopted as part of this meeting. The resolution was passed unanimously.
The FY18 Budget, approved at $275.8 million, maintains city services and the primary property tax rate of $0.7591 per $100 of assessed property valuation. Due to new construction and higher property valuations, as assessed by Maricopa County that would generate approximately $380,100 in new money.
The property tax levy adoption is scheduled for discussion and action for the City Council meeting on June 20.
City Council Meeting
Mattamy Preliminary Plat Discussion
Community Development Director Eric Fitzer provided an overview of the preliminary plat for City Center, a 56.38 acre property located along Statler Boulevard west of Litchfield Road, which included a multi-phased, attached and detached, single-family lot subdivision. The applicant proposed a total of 369 residential lots on 50.7 acres for a density of 7.28 dwelling units per acre. The lots would consist of a combination of 50 foot by 60 foot detached, 46 foot by 80 foot detached, and 50 foot by 60 foot duplex parcels. The plat also included 9.9 acres of land that would provide 17.6 open space for the development.
City Council voted to deny the approval of the Mattamy preliminary plat by a 4-3 vote.
City Council Approves Bond for November Ballot
City Council unanimously approved sending three General Obligation Bond questions in the areas of Public Safety, Traffic Congestion Mitigation and Pavement Preservation to the ballot in a Special Election on November 7, 2017. All registered voters in Surprise will receive a ballot by mail. Residents are invited to learn more about the projects, costs and voter information at a specialized website Decide Surprise www.surpriseaz.gov/decidesurprise.
The projects included in the following questions were based on community needs, comments received from residents during the 2016 bond election outreach process, and input received during and after the Surprise Capital Improvement Funding Exploratory Committee’s meeting that was held on April 19.
Question #1: Voters in Surprise are asked to consider a $34 million public safety bond proposal to: build a Public Safety Evidence & Readiness Center; renovate an existing city facility into a Police Training Facility; acquire Land for Future Fire Station/Police Substation & Park; build a new Fire Station at Cactus and Litchfield roads; build a new Fire Station along 163rd Avenue, south of Happy Valley Road, to replace the current temporary station; and build a Public Works Operations Facility to centralize operations. The annual cost for a homeowner would be approximately $26 per $100,000 in Limited Property Value (LPV).
Question #2: Voters in Surprise are asked to consider a $15.5 million street bond proposal to provide funds to plan, design, construct and improve Waddell, Greenway and Litchfield roads. The annual cost for a homeowner would be approximately $12 per $100,000 in Limited Property Value (LPV).
Question #3: Voters in Surprise are asked to consider a $10 million street pavement preservation bond proposal to plan, design, construct, replace and improve deteriorated street pavement citywide. The annual cost for a homeowner would be approximately $8 per $100,000 in Limited Property Value (LPV).
General Obligation Bonds are sold to investors who are repaid with interest. The repayment comes from a secondary property tax, which Surprise does not currently have. If all three questions are approved, the annual secondary property tax could be up to $46 per $100,000 in Limited Property Value, or approximately $4 per month. ($92 per $200,000 in Limited Property Value, or approximately $8 per month). You can determine the exact cost to your property by following the steps listed at www.surpriseaz.gov/decidesurprise.
Educational public meetings will be scheduled ahead of the November 7 Special Election. Meeting dates and locations will be posted at www.surpriseaz.gov/decidesurprise.
Voter registration for this election closes on October 9. You can register online by visiting: https://recorder.maricopa.gov/elections/registrationform.aspx, or stop by the Surprise City Clerk’s Office in person Monday thru Friday 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
City Clerk Employment Contract
At the request of the Performance Evaluation Leaders Committee consisting of Councilman John Williams and myself, an employment contract for City Clerk Sherry Aguilar was drafted. Her former contract was set to expire on June 30, 2017. Her employment contract is now in harmony with the other Council appointed positions and it was approved unanimously.
Events & Meetings
Arts & Cultural Advisory Commission Meeting
The Arts & Cultural Advisory Commission met on Monday, June 5. Several items were discussed including the Arts & Culture Master Plan that will set the standard and strategic direction for how the city will continue to implement and enjoy arts and culture. Planner Joshua Mike and Designing Local consultant Josh Lapp provided an overview of their current community outreach plans that consists of several roundtable discussions with arts and cultural stakeholders. The discussions were held this week.
Mark Your Calendar
Valley Metro to Host Dial-a-Ride Transition Public Meeting
The city of Surprise, in partnership with Valley Metro, will host a public outreach meeting on Wednesday, June 14 to provide current Northwest Valley Dial-a-Ride passengers an opportunity to learn about the new transportation service models prior to the July 1 transition of Dial-a-Ride to RideChoice and Valley Metro Paratransit.
The outreach meeting will be held in the Surprise City Hall Community Room, 16000 N. Civic Center Plaza, on June 14 from 4:00-5:30 p.m. A brief presentation will begin at 4 p.m. Customers unable to attend the meeting can stay informed about the Dial-a-Ride service changes by visiting www.surpriseaz.gov/transportation.
Did You Know?
Surprise Named National Finalist for 2017 Best Intergenerational Community Award
The City of Surprise has been selected as a National Finalist for the 2017 MetLife Foundation/Generations United America’s Best Intergenerational Communities Awards. Since 2012, the awards program has recognized 24 innovative communities across America that are leading the way by incorporating intergenerational solutions that engage the wisdom and vitality of all generations. Surprise was recognized for its intergenerational workforce development partnerships that promote a greater sense of community while establishing and tapping into our current and future talent pool.
Those programs include:
Surprise City Court Explorers Program – an interactive worksite-based career education program affiliated with the Boys Scouts of America that introduces high school students to career opportunities in the judicial and legal lines of work
Helping Partners Program – a vocational training program for adults with cognitive and developmental disabilities that is offered by nonprofits Benevilla and One Step Beyond in partnership with the city
Summer Youth Employment Program – a summer jobs program for teens where they to receive professional development training through city internships; from shadowing a building inspector to working with seniors
Other programs and services included the Surprise Citizen Patrol, Surprise Community Pride Day, Crisis Response Team and the Block Party Trailer Program.
The award entry also cited how volunteerism in the city engages all generations to share their time and talent to maintain and grow community vitality. Our volunteers assist our police and fire-medical departments, beautify the community through clean up events, help raise money for college scholarships and more.
The winning community is Two Harbors, Minnesota. The other National Finalists are: Jenks Public Schools in Jenks, Oklahoma, and the Town of Yarmouth, Massachusetts. A blue-ribbon panel of judges selected the winning entries from among a host of applicants from across the country. Presentation of this year’s awards will occur at the 2017 Global Intergenerational Conference on June 14 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
The Best Intergenerational Communities awards program is made possible with a grant from MetLife Foundation.
Surprise Community Outreach Grant Program Application Opens
A City Council-led initiative to assist community organizations in providing programs and events that benefit City of Surprise residents is now accepting applications. Council set aside $65,000 for FY2017-2018 for the Surprise Community Outreach Program in an effort to support and grow qualified local programs and events to improve the health and welfare of Surprise residents.
To be considered, applicants must be a 501(c)3 organization or partner with a 501(c)3 verified agency. The maximum award per applicant is $10,000. According to program guidelines, funds are distributed by reimbursement through an invoice process. The application, complete program details and eligibility requirements are available online at: www.surpriseaz.gov/communityoutreachprogram.
Applications will be accepted until Friday, August 11 and should be post-marked to:
Human Service & Community Vitality Department
City of Surprise
Attention: Jodi Tas
16000 N. Civic Center Plaza
Surprise, AZ 85374
A pre-application meeting that will include information about the program and the application process will be held on Wednesday, July 12, at 11 a.m. at Surprise City Hall- Overflow Room, 16000 N. Civic Center Plaza. For more information, please contact Jodi Tas at 623.222.1330 or firstname.lastname@example.org.