Tag Archives: Read Across America

March 9, 2017 • Newsletter

City Council Work Session

Continued FY18 Budget Discussion

City Council heard the third presentation in a series of discussions on the upcoming FY2018 budget. The focus of this particular discussion was the enterprise utility funds and the Highway User Revenue Fund (HURF). The enterprise utilities include the Solid Waste, Stormwater, Wastewater, and Water services. Rates are set for each of those funds to recover the costs of the services provided.

The Solid Waste utility revenues are currently 3 percent or $0.1M ahead of the FY2017 budget. In the upcoming fiscal year, there will be a focus on vehicle and equipment replacement, renegotiation of the landfill services contract, and reviewing the efficiency of bulk trash scheduling.

The Stormwater utility is new in the current fiscal year with estimated year end revenues of $1.3M. Establishing its reserve and starting the construction of stormwater related infrastructure are the priorities for this utility.

The Wastewater utility revenues are currently 5 percent or $0.4M above FY2017 budgeted amounts. FY2018 will see an evaluation of current debt to identify potential refinancing opportunities; a review of current capacity, most specifically the recharging of treated water; and an update of the development impact fees.

The Water utility revenues are currently 15 percent or $0.9M above the budget through six months. Like the Wastewater utility, an update of the development impact fees is on the horizon, along with capital projects enhancing system interconnectivity and expanding arsenic treatment capacity. Management of the water portfolio, specifically the expansion of water rights, is also an important priority for the upcoming year. For FY2018, the Water utility is scheduled for an 8.25 percent rate increase adopted by Council in June of 2014.

HURF receives the majority of its revenue from gasoline tax collected by the state and distributed to the cities. The revenues are currently 3 percent or $0.1M above its budgeted amount. Key issues for HURF in the upcoming budget year include replacement of equipment and vehicles, as well as the continued maintenance of our streets through the pavement preservation program.

The budget discussions will continue over the next few Council meetings resulting in the June adoption of the FY2018 budget that will become effective July 1, 2017.

If you missed the live presentation, visit www.surpriseaz.gov/budget to watch it. All of the budget presentations are posted to the website following the City Council Work Session or Regular Meeting at which they are presented.

Surprise Public Art Policies and Procedures Guide

Members of the Arts & Cultural Commission elaborated on the Public Art Policies and Procedures Guide that was originally introduced at a City Council Work Session last month. The purpose of the guide is to establish a process for the selection, acquisition, placement and maintenance of works of public art, including policies for public art management, acceptance of donations and deaccession procedures.


City Council Meeting

Boards & Commissions Appointments

City Council unanimously approved three appointments that included Dustin Gardy (Arts & Cultural Advisory Commission), Robert Monahan (Disability Advisory Commission) and Ken Wright (Municipal Property Corporation Board). Congratulations!

Budget Amendment for Fencing at 8-Acre Park

The 8-Acre Park is the multi-purpose field located North of Surprise Stadium on Bullard Avenue. This field is used extensively throughout the year for youth sports such as soccer, flag football, tee-ball, baseball and softball practices. In addition, the area is utilized for City special events such as the annual Surprise Party.

Community and Recreation Services requested a FY17 budget amendment by reallocating appropriations and an actual transfer of $300,000 within the General Fund to the General Capital Projects Fund to facilitate the construction of fencing around the park for several pertinent reasons. The fence would provide a safety barrier for users of the field from Bullard Ave and Paradise Lane; allow for a greater span of control during special events; and would create a venue for ticketed events throughout the year. The fence would also allow maintenance staff to close the area during times of maintenance or over-seeding. 8-Acre Park would remain open to the public when the field is not being used for programming or closed for maintenance.

8 Acres Park fence project

The fence installation will consist of wrought iron fencing, brick pillars with lights and rolling gates to match existing stadium fencing. The fencing would be 2,300 linear feet of 8′ high ornamental fencing with six 20′ x 8′ rolling gates, one 40′ x 8′ iron double roll gate and one 8′ x 8′ double drive gate for accessibility. The resolution for the budget amendment utilizing savings was unanimously approved.

Discussion of Proposed Text Amendment of Surprise Municipal Code on Signs

The city’s Community Development Department is currently working to re-write our sign code. The goal is to balance business needs with community aesthetics, while complying with recent court decisions regarding free speech. Some of the highlights of the draft code include:

  • A content-neutral approach to sign regulation
  • A provision that serves to replace all previous sign codes while leaving intact any currently approved through the Comprehensive Sign Program
  • Robust definitions with illustrations and graphics
  • Clear articulation of permitted and prohibited signs
  • More opportunities for permanent business signage through increased wall and monument sign area
  • A provision for vertical (blade) signage in certain circumstances
  • Increased community aesthetics through a reduction in certain types of temporary signage
  • Limited use of Electronic Messaging Centers
  • A provision that will allow unique and creative designs through a Council-approved Comprehensive Sign Program

The draft code has been released to the public for review and comment, and outreach meetings have been scheduled as follows:

March 15
6-7 p.m. Surprise City Hall – Community Room, 16000 N. Civic Center Plaza

March 22
6-7 p.m. Surprise City Hall – Community Room, 16000 N. Civic Center Plaza

March 29
6-7 p.m. Surprise Regional Library, 16089 N. Bullard Avenue

More information is available on our website at www.surpriseaz.gov/signcode. You are encouraged to attend any of these meetings and to contact staff for more information or to submit comments.


Events & Meetings

Read Across America Day

I was invited to participate in Read Across America Day at Countryside Elementary School on March 2. Read Across America Day celebrates Dr. Seuss’ birthday and the joys of reading. I was honored to read a Dr. Seuss book to the second grade students of Ms. Igoe’s class.

Councilman Skip Hall reading to students

Arts & Cultural Advisory Commission Meeting

The Arts & Cultural Advisory Commission met on Monday, March 6 to discuss the Public Art Master Plan timeline which is scheduled for completion in July 2018. In addition, the winner of the baseball bat contest was chosen.

Youth Services Update

Youth Services Administrator Mike Cassidy and I met earlier this week to discuss the status of youth services. It is the goal of the City Manager’s department to ensure that we are: reaching a diverse group of youth within our community; engaging the disengaged; making 20 Surprise Youth Council Members feel like the outreach is significantly more; facilitating academic, technical and interpersonal skill-building so we are positioning Surprise for the future.


Mark Your Calendar

Second Sundays in the Park – March 12

The city continues its Second Sundays in the Park concert series this Sunday, March 12 with Celtic music performed by “Kilted Spirit” from 4 until 6 p.m. in the center of Surprise Community Park. The event is free. Surprise Community Park is located at 15953 N. Bullard Avenue.

Community Pride Day

Looking for an opportunity to better your community? The city invites all residents to participate in our Community Pride Day Cleanup Event. This event will have volunteers helping with landscaping projects and trash removal.

Volunteers are asked to meet at the city park located on 183rd Avenue, south of Enoch Drive (24303 N. 183rd Avenue) at 8 a.m. on Saturday, April 8 to receive cleanup assignments. Volunteers will meet back at the park for lunch at 11:30 a.m. and the event will conclude at noon. If you are interested in volunteering, please contact Jason Hughes at 623.222.3239.


Did You Know?

Southwest Gas Rate Case Update

Southwest Gas has recently filed a base rate adjustment request with the Arizona Corporation Commission (ACC). The Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) issued his recommended opinion and order approving the proposed settlement agreement which was signed by, among others: Arizona Corporation Commission staff, the Residential Utility Consumer Office, the Arizona Community Action Association, Property Owners and Residents Association of Sun City West. The ACC is expected to vote on the order during either their March or April open meeting. The recommended order can be modified by the Commissioners.

The recommended order adopts a $16 million revenue increase –the average residential customer will experience a 1.09% (or $0.40/month) increase. The recommended order adopts the Company’s proposed expansion of its Customer Owned Yard Line (COYL) program and Vintage Steel Pipe (VSP) Replacement Program. The COYL expansion will allow the Company to include a more proactive, systematic approach to replacing COYLS, whether or not they are leaking. The VSP program will facilitate the accelerated replacement of VSP (specifically, pre-1970s VSP). The agreed-upon VSP replacement program will enhance public safety by facilitating a proactive approach to the replacement of aging infrastructure, but will also offer rate impact protections to customers by including a reasonable cap on the annual rate adjustment that they will experience.

The recommended order adopts a modification to the Company’s decoupling mechanism to remove the monthly weather adjustment provision. Additionally, the mechanism will be renamed the Delivery Charge Adjustment Provision. For low income customers, the Low Income Ratepayer Assistance (LIRA) program eligibility is increasing to 200% of Federal Poverty Income Guidelines.

If you are not in favor of the recommended order, now is your time to notify the Commissioners. You can find their information at www.azcc.gov.


Contact Me

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

Ask a Question

March 10, 2016 • Newsletter

Bell Road/Grand Avenue Update

Work to build a Bell Road bridge over Grand Avenue continues this week. For weekly traffic updates on this project visit www.azdot.gov/bellandgrand. They are updated every Friday afternoon.

Bell Road/Grand Avenue Business Outreach Stakeholder Meeting

Councilman Todd Tande and I joined ADOT representatives and city staff for the second monthly Bell Road/Grand Avenue Business Outreach Stakeholder meeting on Tuesday, March 8. Approximately 10 business representatives were in attendance.

Economic Development provided an update on the Bridge Buddy program and noted that the Business Education Series begins on March 17. Businesses are encouraged to attend the seminars that will be held at the AZ TechCelerator. There will be a job fair at the Communiversity on Tuesday, April 19 and businesses are encouraged to contact the city to reserve a space.

Community Development presented information on the temporary Bell-Grand sign policy and the changes that will be taken to City Council on March 15. If approved, the revised policy will allow businesses in the designated Bell-Grand shopping areas to utilize a-frames, banners, sign walkers and directional signs. Businesses not located in the Bell-Grand area can use banners and sign walkers. Following Council action, the city will share the revised policy on the website and create printed materials to share with the local businesses.

Business Education Series Launching for Local Businesses

To help support the businesses in the area of Bell Road/Grand Avenue, as well as other local businesses and entrepreneurs, the city is launching a Business Education series.

Launching on March 17, the first Business Series course will provide local entrepreneurs with the inside scoop on how to start and grow a new business venture. Future topics range from effective hiring practices to innovative marketing strategies.

Seminars in the series include:

March 17: The ABC’s of Starting Your Business, 10 a.m. – 1 p.m.

March 31: The Inbound Disruption: A New Way of Marketing Your Business, 10 a.m. – noon

April 7: Five Things Companies with Less than 10 Employees Need to Know, 9 a.m. – 11 a.m.

April 28: No More Bad Hires, 9 a.m. – 11 a.m.

Future sessions are under development for topics on social media management and small business accounting. All Business Series sessions will be held at the AZ TechCelerator, 12425 W. Bell Road. Businesses interested in attending should RSVP to Julie Neal at 623.222.8324


Events & Meetings

International Businesses Hosted at Ballpark

I joined staff from our Economic Development team at the Surprise Stadium on Friday, March 4. We networked with several international businesses located in Surprise including Rioglass and Gestamp which are situated in our industrial park.

KC Royals World Series Celebration – Surprise Style

Mayor Wolcott and Surprise City Council took the field with the 2015 World Series Champions, the Kansas City Royals, and Kansas City Mayor Sly James on Saturday, March 5 as part of the World Series celebration held at Surprise Stadium. What an incredible event our city hosted, and even better, what incredible teams! We are lucky to have them on our home field!

Arts & Cultural Advisory Commission Meeting

I attended the Arts & Cultural Advisory Commission meeting on Monday, March 7. Due to the overwhelming success of the inaugural Surprise Public Art Bus Tour, the Commission has organized a second tour! You can join the Arts Commission on Tuesday, March 22, and experience the art of Surprise. Participants will visit locations and exhibits such as the WHAM Art Gallery, Arts HQ, the Joe Tyler Learning Tree, and many more. The bus departs Surprise City Hall, 16000 N. Civic Center Plaza, at 8:30 a.m. and will return at noon. For questions about the tour or to reserve a seat, contact Susan de Jong, 623.214.7537. The deadline to reserve a spot is Tuesday, March 15.

The Commission members requested approval for a reception to celebrate the opening of the new gallery space in the Café Express and the recent display of John Clark’s art at City Hall. The Café Express grab and go coffee shop opened in the City Hall lobby in November 2015.

Read Across America @ Thompson Ranch Elementary School

I was honored to read to first and third graders at Thompson Ranch Elementary School on Monday, March 7 as part of the annual Read Across America event for Dr. Seuss’s birthday.

Councilman Hall reads to first and third graders at Thompson Ranch Elementary School on Monday, March 7

Summerfield HOA Meeting

ADOT’s Assistant Communication Director Brock Barnhart and city staff joined me at the Summerfield HOA meeting on Tuesday, March 8. An update on Bell Road/Grand Avenue interchange project was provided, and detour maps were distributed. In addition, we listened to the residents’ concerns regarding increased traffic and continued speeding through their community. City staff will discuss their concerns and work together to help mitigate their issues.

ADOT’s Assistant Communication Director Brock Barnhart and city staff attending Summerfield HOA meeting
Brock Barnhart and I at Summerfield HOA Meeting.

Valley Metro Community Meeting

Valley Metro hosted a community meeting at the Surprise Senior Center on March 9 to share information about bus and light rail services available to residents in the Northwest Valley. Information was provided on Dial-a-Ride, the door-to-door transportation service for qualified seniors, people with disabilities and other residents.


Mark Your Calendars

Pavement Preservation Work

The city continues our pavement preservation work this week with work at the following locations through March 14:

  • Mountain Vista Blvd (Bell Rd to Vista Ranch Rd)
  • Paradise Ln (157th Ave to Reems Rd)
  • Young St (Reems Rd to Parkview Pl)
  • Mondell Rd (Reems Rd to Parkview Pl)
  • Honeysuckle Ln (Reems Rd to Parkview Pl)

The treatment will leave some debris in the form of slurry chips. Sweepers will continue to sweep the loose chips as the product cures and compacts. Motorists are asked to drive with caution and proceed slowly during the application.

The pavement preservation work schedule and maps will be available online at www.surpriseaz.gov/ppp, as they become available throughout the various phases of the work. For more information, please contact the Public Works Department at 623.222.6000.

Surprise Pops Band Concert – April 3

The Surprise Pops Band will be performing at Valley Vista High School Performing Arts Center, 15550 N. Parkview Place on Sunday, April 3 at 3 pm. Doors open at 2:30 pm. The line-up includes music from The Twilight Zone, MASH, Happy Days, Mr. Ed, The Lone Ranger and much more.

The performance is open to the public and is free with the donation of a non-perishable food item. All donations help support the Valley View Community Food Bank.

HOA Summit

The City of Surprise is proud to host the next HOA Summit on Wednesday, April 6. You won’t want to miss this opportunity to hear the latest news from the City Manager and various City Directors, including those from Public Works, Human Service & Community Vitality and the Chief of Police. You will also have a chance to share your opportunities, issues, concerns and solutions with your Surprise neighbors.

HOA board members and management company representatives are encouraged to attend, as are HOA community members. The HOA Summit will be held in the Community Room of the Surprise City Hall, 16000 N. Civic Center Plaza. The summit will begin at 5:30 p.m. and conclude around 8 p.m. A light meal will be served.

For information or to register, contact Ruby Sitea at 623.222.3242 or ruby.sitea@surpriseaz.gov. Please register early since space is limited.


Did You Know?

Newsletter Distribution

The distribution of my newsletters has changed. Moving forward, I’ll be sending them at 5 pm on Thursdays!

Park-and-Ride Temporarily Relocating in April

As a reminder, the Surprise Park-and-Ride will temporarily relocate beginning April 4 due to construction activity related to the Bell Road/Grand Avenue Interchange Project. The facility will remain open at its current location at 13327 W Bell Road through Friday, April 1. Beginning on Monday, April 4, the Park-and-Ride will be temporarily relocated to DreamCatcher Park, located at 14534 W Tierra Buena Lane. It is expected to return to its original location following the completion of the project, estimated to be no later than Feb. 2017.

If you have any questions, please call Valley Metro Customer Service at 602.253.5000 or TTY 602.251.2039, or the City of Surprise Customer Service Line at 623.222.6000.

Surprise Youth Council Accepting Applications

The city is recruiting new members for the Surprise Youth Council (SYC) – a group of groundbreaking teens who are making a difference in their community! SYC members serve the community by collaborating with local leaders, including the Mayor and City Council, to give youth a voice in city issues and to help solve youth issues through awareness campaigns and community-building events.

Students who are currently in grades 6-11 may apply, as long as they are attending a middle school or high school within the Surprise city limits or a Dysart Unified School District high school.

Applications are being accepted Feb. 22 – Mar. 20. The application consists of a video submission, no longer than 1 minute and 15 seconds, and should include the following information:

  • Your name, grade and school you attend
  • Why you want to be on the SYC
  • If you could bring one thing to this city or change one thing, what would it be? What can you and a group like SYC do about it?
  • Of these three words: fearless, creative, hardworking – which one best describes you and why? Briefly tell us about a time you were fearless, creative or hardworking.

The videos should be sent to Youth Services Administrator Paul Bernardo using one of the following methods:

Applicants must also have a parent or guardian complete and return a Parent Acknowledgement Form.

For questions or more information, please contact Paul Bernardo at 623.222.1029 or paul.bernardo@surpriseaz.gov or visit www.surpriseaz.gov/syc.

Social Media

You can now follow me on Facebook and on Twitter @skiphall2! I look forward to hearing from you!


Contact Me

Shop Surprise

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

Ask a Question