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April 6, 2017 • Newsletter

City Council Work Session

Surprise Youth Council Update

Members of the Surprise Youth Council (SYC) provided an update on their recent activities. Some of their recent activities include:

  • Delivering a 7-part peer-to-peer workshop on healthy relationships and dating violence at local high schools
  • Hosting a free SAT prep class
  • Building community partnerships to provide greater mental and emotional health resources at local high schools
  • Conducting a hydration drive for people experiencing homelessness in and around the Surprise area
  • Developed a youth blog, and hosted a signature teen party on the 4th floor of the City Hall parking garage, with more than 225 high school student attendees.

SYC Kids walking parade route

The SYC is now wrapping up their most recent recruitment period and expects to add nearly a dozen new members with new ideas and a passion for community engagement. The Council will continue to prioritize projects and initiatives that have the potential for impact reaching far beyond its own membership. Council members hope that these efforts will raise the quality of life for local youth and solidify Surprise’s reputation as a truly innovative City.

City of Surprise Utility Billing Update

Assistance Finance Director Andrea Davis provided a utility billing update. Last spring, City Council unanimously voted to take over utility billing. In doing so, a new Customer Service/Utility Billing division was created within the Finance Department that generated 16 new full-time positions and utilized 6 current positions. Since November 1, when utility billing in the city began, call volumes have significantly decreased, as have average call wait times. Resolved utility billings issues have created and increase of $141,000 in monthly revenue for an annual increase of $1.7 million.

Non-residential Stormwater customers will be receiving their annual bill for the stormwater utility program that commenced in November 2016. Approximately 1,100 bills for the period November 2016 through June 2016 will be sent out in April generating $1 million in stormwater utility revenue.


City Council Meeting

Recognition of Valley Vista High School Girls Basketball Champions

City Council recognized the Valley Vista High School Girls 6A State Champion Basketball team at our Tuesday meeting. The team is led by coach Rachel Matakas who was named 6A Coach of the Year! Teammates told us that they won because they worked hard on building a true team, one that was committed to each other and understanding of each other- on and off the court. Congratulations to the team on a 26-6 winning year and a state title!

Approval of New Commission Members

City Council unanimously approved the appointments of Patrick Duffy to fill a vacancy on the Municipal Property Corporation with a term expiration of June 30, 2021 and Sally Wilson-Johnson to fill a vacancy on the Arts & Cultural Advisory Commission to complete the remainder of a term ending on June 30, 2019 due to resignation.

Central Arizona Project (CAP) and Water in Arizona

The Colorado River system has experienced drought conditions for nearly 16 years, resulting in the water level of Lake Mead to continue to be at historic lows. Water levels in Lake Mead determine how much Colorado River water Arizona receives on an annual basis. A large portion of Surprise’s renewable water supply is from the Colorado River, delivered by the Central Arizona Project (CAP) system. The Colorado River supply is of the upmost importance and it has a direct impact on the City’s water portfolio and future.

CAP Board President Lisa Atkins provided Council an update on the state of the Colorado River System, including Lake Mead and CAP. She provided a synopsis of the CAP system and the importance the CAP has on the state’s economy. A 2014 Arizona State University study found that the CAP system is responsible for 1.6 million jobs and over $1 trillion of Arizona’s gross state product. Ms. Atkins addressed the probability of water shortages on the Colorado River now and into the near future. She also identified programs that CAP, the state, and others have partnered on to ensure water levels in Lake Mead remain above shortage triggers. There is a 34% probability that a water shortage could be declared in 2018, with a similar likelihood one could occur in 2019. Shortages on the Colorado River will not affect Surprise’s water supply, but they will have direct effect on the cost to deliver water to Surprise.


Events & Meetings

Investiture of Associate Judge Catherine A. Gaudreau

I was honored to attend the investiture of Associate Judge Catherine A. Gaudreau on Wednesday, March 29 in the City Council Chambers. Judge Gaudreau was publicly sworn in by Judge Louis F. Dominguez and honored by her former colleagues prior to a reception in her honor.

Associate Judge Catherine Gaudreau with Judge Louis F. Dominguez
Associate Judge Catherine Gaudreau with Judge Louis F. Dominguez

The Park @ Surprise Groundbreaking

Vice Mayor Todd Tande, Councilman Ken Remley and I joined an excited crowd on Thursday, March 30 at the groundbreaking of The Park @ Surprise which will be located on Parkwood Drive. The Park will produce 40 new jobs and consist of 135 apartments and 20 casitas spread out over 8.5 acres with a bistro, movie theater and much more on the property.

Special City Council Meeting

City Council held a special meeting on Monday, April 3 at the Heritage Club at Marley Park. Discussion included a five-year financial forecast, possible future general obligation bond election, and consideration of our gateway and key asset areas. This was a no-vote meeting, discussion only about possible future items and issues facing our city.

Rancho Mercado Groundbreaking

William Lyon Homes hosted a groundbreaking on Tuesday, April 4. The development is located in a six square-mile area along Happy Valley Road (in the area of 147th Avenue & Jomax). The development plans to provide a variety of affordable housing options including single-family and multi-family residential, as well as retail and commercial services and much more. Rancho Mercado’s projected population is more than 12,000 residents at build out.


Mark Your Calendar

Household Hazardous Waste Collection

The city’s next Household Hazardous Waste Collection Event is Saturday, April 8. This event is free and for Surprise residents only. Please bring a driver’s license or utility bill to show proof of a Surprise home address.

Drop-off is at the Public Works Maintenance Yard, 13433 W. Foxfire Drive (from Bell Road, turn north on Dysart and follow signs to the entrance off Foxfire), from 8 a.m. – Noon. For more information, check out www.surpriseaz.gov/HHWevent or call 623.222.6000.

Taste of Surprise

The Rotary Club of Surprise will host the Taste of Surprise event at Surprise Stadium on Saturday, April 8 from 4 p.m. until 9 p.m. The event will showcase some the West Valley’s best foods and include a beer and wine garden and live entertainment. This event is designed to be fun for the entire family!

Event proceeds will benefit five local non-profits including One Step Beyond, Surprise Youth Foundation, Benevilla, A New Leaf, and Rotary Club of Surprise Community Foundation. Tickets can be purchased at the event or online. To purchase tickets online, please visit http://www.tasteofsurprise.com/purchase-tickets.html.

Second Sundays in the Park – This Sunday!

The City of Surprise continues the “Second Sundays in the Park” concert series on Sunday, April 9 with blues and R&B music performed by “Notes from Neptune” from 2-4 p.m. in the center of the Surprise Community Park.

The entertainment is free. Families are encouraged to bring a picnic or purchase food from the onsite vendors and enjoy the live entertainment. Surprise Community Park is located at 15953 N. Bullard Avenue. For more information, please contact the Community & Recreation Services Office at 623.222.2000 or online at www.surpriseaz.gov/specialevents.


Did You Know?

2017 Surprise Retail Survey

There is still time to complete our 2017 Surprise Retail Survey! Please complete the survey to tell us what establishments you want in Surprise and to vote for your local favorites! The survey is open through April 9 and is available online at www.surpriseaz.gov/retailsurvey.


Contact Me

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

Ask a Question

March 16, 2017 • Newsletter

Events & Meetings

Valley Metro Audit & Finance Subcommittee Meeting

At the Valley Metro Audit & Finance Subcommittee Meeting on March 9, the Chief Financial Officer (CFO) presented on staffing for the upcoming fiscal year – explaining the need for additional staff and the potential financial impact. The committee provided feedback for the CFO to consider.

West Valley Arts Council Celebrates 35 Year Anniversary

West Valley Arts Council celebrated their 35 year anniversary at Arts HQ on March 9. The event featured live music, food and art. I attended, along with Vice Mayor Tande and Council Members Winters and Remley. Following the reception, guests were invited to enjoy the “Neu Art Exhibit” at Surprise City Hall. The exhibit is on display through April 20. Stop by the first floor of City Hall to check it out!

“The Future of Desalination” Speaker Panel

The Kyle Center for Water Policy hosted a panel of speakers on March 10 who addressed the future of desalination by sharing their experience with and knowledge of the process, as well as the associated costs. Desalination is the process of removing salt from saltwater. Desalinated water is produced by either using seawater or brackish water (water that has more salinity than fresh water, but not as much as seawater). Shawn Bradford with Epcor talked about how the desalination plants in Goodyear deal with brackish water; Chuck Collum with Central Arizona Project spoke about next steps for dealing with brackish water throughout Arizona and gave insight into how North San Diego County is using desalination plants to supply 8 percent of that county’s water; Bob Lotts with APS spoke about his work on the Governor’s appointed Water Augmentation Council, which includes desalination; and Sharon Magdel, Ph.D., Director of University of Arizona’s Water Resources Research Center, shared what Israel is doing with desalination, as they possess leading technology in this field.

Veteran Success Project Advisory Board Meeting

I am a member of the Veteran Success Project Advisory Board. The Veterans Success Project is a program spearheaded by the Maricopa Community College District that is designed to provide support to military personnel, veterans and their families as they move from active duty to civilian life. I attended a meeting on March 15 where the board discussed the kickoff of a pilot program at Luke Air Force Base that will help those transitioning out of the air force find employment. We also discussed an outreach program for both active duty military and veterans. The program would involve a self-assessment that would help to identify the person’s current needs and their goals so the program can support their next steps. Lastly, we talked about the opening date for the new Veterans Resource Center – which will occupy the former Visitor’s Center at Luke Air Force Base. The center would provide various social services for veterans, with employment assistance being a major component. The center will open in the near future, but the exact date has not yet been determined.


Mark Your Calendar

Public Meetings on Proposed Sign Code Changes, Mar. 22 & 29

The city is in the process of updating its Sign Code and wants your input! The proposed code aims to balance business needs with aesthetics, while meeting the requirements of law.

There are two public meetings remaining where you can learn more and give your feedback on the proposed changes:

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

The code changes will also be presented to the Surprise City Council at their Regular Meeting on March 7 at 6 p.m. in the Surprise City Hall – City Council Chambers.

To learn more, view the proposed sign code text or submit online comments, please visit: www.surpriseaz.gov/signcode.

Surprise Arts Commission hosts Public Art Bus Tour, March 22

Spend a morning discovering various art exhibits and experiences in the city of Surprise! On March 22, the Surprise Arts and Cultural Advisory Commission and Benevilla are joining together to offer a free public art bus tour.

Tour participants will visit art locations such as WHAM Art Gallery, Arts HQ and City Hall; they will also view public art pieces, including the Joe Tyler Learning Tree!

The tour will begin at 9 a.m. at Benevilla, located at 16752 N. Greasewood St. in Surprise, and will end at the same location at noon. Space is limited, so please reserve your spot by Wednesday, March 15, 2017. Reservations can be made by calling Benevilla at 623.584.4999.

At the conclusion of the bus tour, there will be an option to enjoy lunch at Birt’s Bistro on Benevilla’s campus. The lunch package is $15 per person, which includes a meal, soft drink, tip and tax. Please note if you would like the optional lunch when you reserve your spot for the bus tour. Payment is due at the time of reservation.

Community Pride Day, April 8

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?

Seeking Applications for Voluntary Commissions

The City of Surprise is currently accepting applications for the following commissions:

Arts & Cultural Advisory Commission – 1 vacancy
Municipal Property Corporation Board – 1 vacancy

All board/commission positions are voluntary.

Applications for the above mentioned commissions are immediately available for pick-up from the City Clerk’s Office from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday – Friday at 16000 N. Civic Center Plaza.

Applications are also available online at www.surpriseaz.gov.

Please submit applications to the City Clerk’s Office in person or by e-mail to clerk@surpriseaz.gov.

Applications are always available for all boards and commissions and will be kept on file for future vacancies.

For more information, please contact the City Clerk’s Office at 623.222.1200.

Surprise Youth Council Accepting Applications; Deadline is March 20

The city of Surprise 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, service projects, 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, attending a Dysart Unified School District high school, or reside within Surprise city limits.

Applications are being accepted now – 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 Mike Cassidy by uploading your application video from your Google Drive and sharing it with cityofsurpriseyouth@gmail.com.

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

For questions or more information, please contact Mike Cassidy at 623.222.1033 or mike.cassidy@surpriseaz.gov or visit www.surpriseaz.gov/syc.

2017 Surprise Retail Survey is open! Help bring in new shopping & dining; vote for local favorites

Do you have a favorite restaurant that you would like to see open in Surprise? What about a unique shopping experience that you want added to your hometown? Tell us in our 2017 Surprise Retail Survey!

We want to know how we can make our city a one-stop shopping and dining destination, and we’ll be giving away $20 Visa gift cards to five randomly-selected survey-takers just for offering their thoughts!

The survey will help the city to identify retail strengths within the community, as well as opportunities to bring additional amenities closer to home. Every response helps the Surprise Economic Development Department better reach the retailers you want the most.

In the 2015 Surprise Retail Survey, we asked what restaurants and retailers you wanted us to target, and two of your top ten picks have already opened in Surprise – Oregano’s Pizza Bistro and Texas Roadhouse! We are still actively engaging with others on the list, and hope to see more of your favorites open up shop in Surprise.

It’s important to us that we attract businesses you want, because the money you spend here, stays here. In fact, local sales tax makes up nearly 40 percent of our city’s General Fund revenues which support public safety, clean parks and street maintenance.

The survey runs through April 9 and is available online at www.surpriseaz.gov/retailsurvey.


Contact Me

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

Ask a Question

August 7, 2015 • Newsletter

City Council Work Session

Youth Strategic Plan for 2015-2016

Several members of the Surprise Youth Council presented their Youth Strategic Plan for the new fiscal year to the City Council. Their strategic priorities include representing the City’s youth voice, understanding issues, helping to solve problems and bringing the entire community together. Some of their goals include helping teens improve self-esteem and working with the arts community on a mural to promote positivity.

SYC Members Samantha Salazar and Jada Henderson at council meeting
SYC Members Samantha Salazar and Jada Henderson

Surprise Retail Market

Economic Development Director Jeanine Jerkovich discussed the 2015 retail survey results. The survey launched in May and garnered nearly 3,000 responses. In addition to the results, staff considered retail gap analysis as well. Locally-owned businesses are clearly preferred by our residents. Some of the top ten local favorite restaurants include Nick’s Diner I & II, Jim’s Burgers and Eggs, Vogue Bistro, Saigon Kitchen, Amuse Bouche, and Archie’s Deli. By tenfold, Costco was the most desired retailer, and the top desired restaurants were In-N-Out Burger, Sweet Tomatoes, Portillos, Cheesecake Factory and Texas Roadhouse.

The next steps include an outreach campaign to the top ten most wanted retailers and restaurants, a specialized campaign for Costco and a local recognition for top ten local favorites.

Thank you to all of our engaged residents who completed this survey. The data collected truly helped ideyntify our City’s retail strengths as well as opportunities to bring your favorite amenities to Surprise. If you would like more information on the survey results, you can view them at www.surpriseaz.gov/retailsurvey.


City Council Meeting

Surprise Summer Youth Employment Program Participants Recognized

The Surprise Summer Youth Employment Program participants were honored at our City Council meeting on Tuesday evening. For ten weeks this summer, 21 teens from our City worked alongside staff and select partner organizations through a paid internship program. They helped with a variety of tasks in mostly all of our departments, and they also participated in a weekly life skills training class. I am so proud of our youth, and I want to thank them for their hard work all summer!

City Council Intern Rose Aranas
City Council Intern Rose Aranas
Summer Youth Employment Program Interns with Mayor Wolcott & Bob Wingenroth
Summer Youth Employment Program Interns with Mayor Wolcott & Bob Wingenroth

Appointment of New Members for City’s Boards & Commissions

After three days of interviews with the Selections Committee consisting of Councilman Roland Winters, Councilwoman Rachel Villanueva and me, a recommendation to approve new Board/Commissions members was brought before the City Council. The City Council unanimously approved the recommendations as follows: Althea Whitehead for the Arts & Cultural Commission; Monique Hernandez for the Community & Recreation Services Commission; George de Langeryt for the Disability Advisory Commission; Robert Ferrago and Gwen Skorpuan for the Board of Trustees, both with a term expiration of June 30, 2018; James Connor for the Personnel Appeals Board; Jim Ferguson and Shari Martin for the Planning & Zoning Commission; and James Penberthy for the Tourism Commission. The new members’ terms will expire on June 30, 2019 unless otherwise noted. The City is honored to have so many residents willing to donate their time, knowledge and talent. Thank you to everyone who interviewed!

New Members for City's Boards & Commissions

City Code Amendment regarding City Attorney

The City Council voted to authorize the City Attorney’s office to draft an ordinance that would change the city code to have the City Attorney report to the City Manager. That position is currently appointed by the City Council. Once the ordinance is written by outside legal counsel, to avoid any conflict of interest, that ordinance will be brought before the City Council for a vote. The discussion and vote will most likely occur in September. If approved, the reporting structure change would go into effect 30 days following adoption.

Greenway Road Preservation Projects

The City Council unanimously voted to approve a budget amendment in the amount of $4.5 million to establish Greenway Road improvement projects (from Litchfield Road to Bullard Avenue) by reallocating appropriations of $2.7 million from the General Fund Mid-Decade Census Project and contingencies from the Sewer Fund and Water Resource Development. The improvements include the following:

Segment 1 Improvements
Greenway Rd. will be widened between Litchfield Rd. and Bullard Ave. These widening improvements will include: two additional travel lanes, turning movement lanes, raised median with landscaping, sidewalks on the north and south side, drainage improvements, sewer line, reclaimed water line, signing and striping, lighting and improvements to the existing asphalt. The intersections at Bullard Ave. and Litchfield Rd. will be re-profiled to improve the drainage and remove the dips. The design is currently underway and will be completed in October of this year. Following the construction contractor bidding process, construction will begin in November and will be completed by March 2016.

Segment 2 Improvements
The intersection of Greenway Rd. and Dysart Rd. will be re-profiled to improve the eastbound and westbound dips. These intersection improvements will improve traffic flow but more importantly improve the safety of this intersection. Construction is scheduled to begin in November and last through January 2016.

Surprise Transient Lodging Tax Public Hearing

Community & Recreation Services Director Mark Coronado discussed the increase of the Surprise Transient Lodging Tax (Bed Tax) by 2%. This increase required an ordinance amendment which was unanimously approved by City Council. The current bed tax rate is 2.52%. The Surprise General Fund receives 1% of the tax and the other 1.52% is put into the Tourism Fund. The increase brings the current tax rate to 11.99% which is still significantly lower than other Valley cities such as Glendale, Scottsdale, Mesa and Tempe.


Events & Meetings

Surprise Announces New Police Chief in July

City Manager Bob Wingenroth announced key organizational leadership changes earlier last month. After a 40-year career in law enforcement, Surprise Police Chief Michael Frazier accepted the position of Assistant City Manager. Mr. Frazier replaced the retiring April Reynolds. Mr. Frazier now oversees the following departments: Police, Fire-Medical, Public Works and Communications.

Terry Young, the former Surprise Assistant Police Chief, was named the new Chief of Police. Chief Young joined the Surprise Police Department in 2010, after retiring from the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office as Deputy Chief. During his career, he oversaw a variety of divisions including Patrol Operations, Investigations and Personnel Management.

New ACM and Police Chief seen with City Council

City council during New ACM introduction

Dedication for New Home

On July 10, I was honored to attend the dedication of a new home in the Original Town site (OTS) along with Councilwoman Villanueva and City Manager Bob Wingenroth. The Human Service and Community Vitality Department handed over the keys of a newly constructed, 1,300 square foot home to a local family. The three bedroom, two bathroom Habitat for Humanity constructed home was built as part of the HOME Investment Partnerships Program, an income-based grant that assists families with rehabilitation activities.

The new Habitat for Humanity Home
The new Habitat for Humanity Home
Homeowner with Councilwoman Villanueva, City Manager Wingenroth and me
Homeowner with Councilwoman Villanueva, City Manager Wingenroth and me

Additional grant programs available through Neighborhood Services include the Homebuyer’s Assistant Program, Emergency Housing Rehabilitation Program and the Major Rehabilitation Program. If you’d like to learn more about these grants and housing programs in our City, please contact Jason Hughes at 623.222.3239.

Legacy Traditional School Ribbon Cutting

Mayor Wolcott, Councilmembers Tande, Winters and Biundo and I attended the Legacy Traditional School-Surprise Campus ribbon cutting on Friday, July 31. The charter school welcomed 1,200 students in grades kindergarten through eighth grade this week. The 68,000 square foot school has 40 classrooms and a curriculum that focuses on academics, athletics, performing arts and citizenship.


Mark Your Calendar

Bell Road Sidewalk Project

Pedestrians will soon see paved sidewalks on the south side of Bell Road as part of the City’s Bell Road sidewalk project. The project, which began this week and will conclude in October 2015, will construct a sidewalk that extends from the Park and Ride located near Grand Avenue, east to the Avenue of the Arts.

One-half to one mile curb lane eastbound restriction will be required with this project and will move as the project progresses. Motorists should expect delays and be mindful of construction crews working in the area. Local business access and access to the Surprise Park and Ride will be maintained throughout the project.

For more information on the traffic restrictions, please visit http://surpriseaz.gov/index.aspx?NID=100.

Surprise Veteran’s Day Parade

The City is looking for patriotic themed parade entries for our inaugural Veteran’s Day Parade, which will be held on Wednesday, November 11 at the Surprise Recreation Campus. This parade, which will honor the men and women in uniform who have selflessly served our country, will run along Bullard Avenue and begin at 11 a.m.

If you are interested in participating in the parade, please visit our Community & Recreation Services offices at 15960 N. Bullard Avenue, or you can call 623.222.2000. Entries are due by October 28.


Did You Know?

Surprise MVD to Re-open

The Surprise Motor Vehicle Division office will reopen on August 10 after the completion of interior renovations. The remodeling project has increased the capacity in the customer waiting area, offering more efficient and comfortable service.

Residents wanting access to select MVD services, including registration renewal, duplicate vehicle registration, duplicate driver license, change of address and temporary vehicle permits will still be able to utilize the MVD kiosk located inside the Surprise City Court, 16081 N. Civic Center Plaza, Suite 105.

Northwest Regional Library Hours Change

The City of Surprise and the Maricopa County Library District will be modifying the hours for the Northwest Regional Library effective August 31, 2015. The library will now be open Monday through Thursday from 9 a.m. until 8 p.m. and will have extended hours on Sundays, from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. There are no changes to the Friday and Saturday hours which are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Programming will remain the same with the ever popular baby story time for crawlers, various teen book discussions, and much more. For more information, please call the Northwest Valley Regional Library at 602.656.3400.


Contact Me

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

Ask a Question