Tag Archives: Second Sundays

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 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

February 12, 2016 • Newsletter

Bell Road/Grand Avenue Update

US 60 (Grand Avenue) and Bell Road Weekly Project Update

Grand Avenue Traffic Switch is Anticipated the Week of February 22: Grand Avenue two-way traffic will temporarily be switched to the newly paved median between Dysart Road and Litchfield Road. Drivers should allow extra travel time in the area and consider alternate routes at times.

Weekly Update #3—Week of February 15, 2016

The Grand Avenue/Bell Road Interchange Project is using the design-build contracting method, which provides flexibility while the contractor’s designers work side-by-side with the construction team to deliver an improved connection between the two roadways. The project is scheduled to be completed over the next 14 months (in spring 2017).

Utility relocation work in the area, mostly during overnight hours, is already under way. In order to reduce the project’s length and lessen the overall impacts of construction, ADOT has worked with the city of Surprise and local businesses to schedule a full closure of Bell Road near Grand Avenue. The full closure will allow Bell Road to be reconstructed as an overpass traveling over Grand Avenue and the parallel railroad tracks, providing a significant improvement for traffic flow.

The preliminary activities below are preparing the team for the April 1 Bell Road closure.

Schedule of On-site Activities*

  • Continued work to remove existing Grand Avenue median:
    • excavate and haul away the median and roadway materials,
    • prepare roadway for paving, and
    • modify the traffic signal at Town Center Drive/Bell Grande Drive.

What to Expect > Traffic Restrictions*

  • Eastbound and westbound lane restrictions on Grand Avenue continue between just north of Dysart Road and Litchfield Road. The left turn lanes in both directions will be narrowed to one lane (instead of two) at Bell Road and Grand Avenue.
  • Additionally, Grand Avenue will be reduced to one lane in each direction overnight Tuesday (Feb. 16) through Thursday (Feb. 19) between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m.

*schedule subject to change based on design schedule, weather, or unforeseen conditions

Stay Informed – Keep In Touch

For more information or if you have questions:
ADOT’s project hotline: (855) 712-8530, press option #1
Project email: bellandgrandinfo@azdot.gov
Project website: www.azdot.gov/bellandgrand
Media inquiries: (800) 949-8057; email: news@azdot.gov

Bell Road/Grand Avenue Business Outreach Meeting

Councilman Todd Tande and I attended the Bell Road/Grand Avenue Business Outreach meeting on February 9. Approximately 15 business representatives were in attendance, including the Property Manager that represents both shopping centers on both sides of Bell Road.

ADOT and Coffman representatives gave a brief presentation, noting project phasing and business access points. Since this is a design-build project, specific traffic patterns are subject to change as needed. We will continue to communicate with the businesses and the public as changes may occur.

ADOT is working on an overall project map that will include project work and business access points to the shopping centers and to the Westgate/Foxfire businesses, north of Bell. This map will be shared with the businesses and available online soon. The timeline shared was as follows:

Business access will be maintained throughout the work at the following signalized intersections:

  • Grand @ Bell Grande (by Carl’s Junior)
  • Grand @Towne Center Drive (by Discount Tire)
  • Bell @ West Point Parkway (traffic can turn left or right from Bell to access both shopping centers)
  • Westgate/Foxfire business access will be Bell @ Dysart and also Bell @ the current 134th Dr., until 134th Avenue relocation is complete in early June

Construction phasing details:

Phase 1: now – late Feb US60 Median Work (Litchfield to Dysart)

  • Grand down to 2 lanes in each direction; one left-turn lane only in each direction onto Bell (Note: dual left turn lanes will be brought back by Spring Training until the full Bell closure in April)

Phase 2: late Feb – April 1

  • ADOT will begin the process of shifting Grand traffic (Dysart – Litchfield) to share the current southbound lanes, maintaining 2 travel lanes for each direction. The median and northbound lanes will be work zones.

Phase 3A: April 1 – early June

  • Full closure of Bell begins (soft closure at Dysart and Litchfield) (hard closure is 134th Dr./134th Ave to West Point Parkway to allow business access). This closure runs through early Nov.
  • Relocation of 134th Drive to 134th Avenue begins April 1, completion expected in early June

Phase 3B: early June – early Nov

  • ADOT to shift Grand traffic (Dysart – Litchfield) to share the northbound lanes, maintaining 2 travel lanes for each direction. The median and southbound lanes will be work zones (flip-flopping the traffic pattern set in Phase 2).
  • Bell re-opens in early Nov

Phase 3C: early Nov – late Feb

Restrictions remain on Grand; clean-up punch list work on both Grand and Bell.

These meetings will continue on a monthly basis, meeting the 2nd Tuesday of every month at Surprise City Hall Community Room (located on the first floor outside the Mayor’s Atrium). These meetings are open to business representatives and stakeholders.


Events & Meetings

Rotary Club of Surprise

I attended the Rotary Club of Surprise monthly meeting on Thursday, February 4. The Surprise Rotary Club gave the Homeless Youth Connection a check totaling $1,000 to help raise awareness and work to meet the needs of homeless youth in the West Valley. This organization was also awarded a $1,500 grant through the Surprise Community Outreach Program earlier this year.

Council Conversation with Mark Coronado

Director of Community & Recreation Services Mark Coronado was my guest for the taping of my new Council Conversation for Surprise 11. The interview will be televised beginning next week. Topics included the Surprise Stadium, spring training, tennis and much more!

Surprise Gateway Training Center Groundbreaking Ceremony

City Council took part in a groundbreaking ceremony at the new Surprise-GateWay Training Center which will be located at SPA 1, near the City of Surprise South Plant. Surprise and GateWay Community College have partnered to provide students interested in water and wastewater career operations a facility in the West Valley where they are able to learn adjacent to the City’s professional staff in an environment that allows them to experience the complete life cycle of water in Arizona.

As part of the partnership, the city is constructing a 13,100 square foot training facility within the SPA 1 Water Reclamation Facility located near the intersection of Litchfield and Cactus roads. The center’s design includes collaborative learning spaces, mission critical labs and assembly facilities.

City leadership, staff and representatives from GateWay Community College were available to answer questions about the partnership and its significance to the West Valley. Tours of the current facility were also provided following the ceremony.


Mark Your Calendar

Litchfield Road Widening

Work to widen the east side of Litchfield Road to two travel lanes between Cactus Road and Desert Cove Road will begin on Monday, February 15. A sidewalk and bike lane will also be added to the east side of the street.

During construction, the speed in the area will be limited to 25 MPH and left turn movement onto Desert Cove and Laurel Lane will be eliminated. For more information, please feel free to contact the Surprise Public Works Department at 623.222.6000.

Cactus League Lunch @ Surprise Stadium

The City of Surprise will be hosting the 2016 Cactus League Lunch at the Surprise Recreation Campus on Wednesday, February 24 at 11 a.m. You can catch a preview of the 2016 Spring Training season as Cactus League staff and committee members provide exciting and exclusive insight into what is to come this season for the fans and the State of Arizona!

The cost to attend is $50 for an individual seat or $500 for a corporate table of 10. Space is limited so get your tickets now. For more information, please contact the Community & Recreation Services Department at 623.222.2000, or you can always visit www.surprisespringtraining.com.

Second Sundays in the Park

The City continues its “Second Sundays in the Park” concert series on Sunday, February 14 from 2 until 4 p.m. This free family event will take place in the center of the Surprise Community Park, 15953 N. Bullard Avenue, and will feature live music from Behind the Badge.

Public Art Bus Tour

On February 18, the Surprise Arts & 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.

The tour will begin at 9 a.m. at Benevilla, located at 16752 N. Greasewood Street, and will end at the same location at 12 noon. Space is limited so please reserve your spot by February 11. Reservations can be made by calling Fiona Falbo 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.

Surprise Stadium to Host Two Collegiate Baseball Tournaments

College Baseball returns to the Surprise Recreation Campus – Campus of Champions with two NCAA collegiate baseball tournaments: the Surprise Spring Training College Baseball Classic (Feb. 19-22) and the BIG 12 – PAC 12 Spring Training Baseball Challenge (Feb. 25-29).

Individual tickets and tournament passes for each of the scheduled tournaments are now available for purchase online at www.surprisespringtraining.com.Tickets can also be purchased at the Surprise Stadium Box Office, located at 15960 N. Bullard Avenue, or over the phone with Tickets.com at 888.755.2583. Service charges may apply to online and phone orders. All seating for collegiate tournaments is general admission.

2016 Surprise City Academy

Would you like to learn more about the structure of city government, get an update on local issues and get to know your city leaders? If so, you may want to register for the 2016 Surprise City Academy.

This eight session academy offers the opportunity to learn about the city directly from the Mayor, Councilmembers, City Manager and City Directors. The Academy begins on March 7 and meets weekly through April 18. Most classes will meet from 6 until 8:30 pm in the auditorium of the Surprise Public Safety Building, 14250 W. Statler Plaza. It’s free to participate but space is limited. Registration is required by February 29.

For an application and/or information, please visit www.surpriseaz.gov/cityacademy or you can contact Ruby Sitea at 623.222.3242.


Did You Know?

Surprise Stadium Renovations

The Kansas City Royals and Texas Rangers are moving in this week! They will be welcomed back with newly-renovated clubhouses, which have each been expanded from approximately 37,000 square feet to 50,000 square feet.

Pavement Preservation Projects Are Underway

The city’s Pavement Preservation Program identifies city streets to receive appropriate applications that lengthen the lifetime of the street surface. Over the next week, the following areas will be receiving Slurry Seal, an asphalt mixture that fills cracks and voids in the surface:

Feb. 13-15:

175th Ave (Greenway Rd to Bell Rd) – Note: Northbound 175th Ave between Greenway Road and Bell Road will be closed in the northbound direction on Saturday, Feb. 13 and the southbound direction on Monday, Feb. 15. The restrictions will be up from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. There will be no restrictions on Sunday, Feb. 14.

Surprise Farms Loop N (175th to Willow Canyon Dr)

Feb. 16-18:

Greenway Rd (Verde Vista Dr to 183rd Dr)

Feb. 19-23:

Waddell Rd (Litchfield Rd to La Cometa)

140th Dr (Greenway Rd to Waddell Rd)

La Cometa (Greenway Rd to Waddell Rd)

Residents can expect street restrictions during the work. For more information, please contact the Public Works Department at 623.222.6000.

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

February 5, 2016 • Newsletter

City Council Work Session

Luke Air Force Base Update

Rusty Mitchell, Director of Community Initiatives for Luke Air Force Base, provided an update on activities at the base. Luke AFB is a major contributor to our local economy with an approximate economic impact of $2 billion per year. The 944th Fighter Wing has over 1,350 personnel; however, Luke AFB has 3,600 active duty personnel, 600 reserves, 800 civilians, 300 pilots and 300 DCCs (Lockheed Martin) which will soon increase to 2,000. In addition, there are 30,000 retirees within 50 miles receiving $55 million in retiree payments on an annual basis. Their annual payroll totals $448 million and initiates contracts totaling $52.7 million.

To build an F-16 pilot, one requires 305 hours of academic studies, 148 training days, 110 student sorties, 54 simulator events which takes approximately 8 months to complete. To build an F-35 pilot, one requires 360 hours of academic studies, 105 training days, 18 student sorties, 42 simulator events which takes approximately 5 months to complete.

US 60 (Grand Avenue) and Bell Road Weekly Project Update

The Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) has issued a project update for the Grand Avenue/Bell Road Interchange Project, which includes upcoming traffic restrictions and a schedule of on-site activities for the week of February 8.

The update is as follows:

The Grand Avenue/Bell Road Interchange Project is using the design-build contracting method, which provides flexibility while the contractor’s designers work side-by-side with the construction team to deliver an improved connection between the two roadways. The project is scheduled to be completed over the next 14 months (in spring 2017).

Utility relocation work in the area, mostly during overnight hours, is already under way.

In order to reduce the project’s length and lessen the overall impacts of construction, ADOT has worked with the city of Surprise and local businesses to schedule a full closure of Bell Road near Grand Avenue. The full closure will allow Bell Road to be reconstructed as an overpass traveling over Grand Avenue and the parallel railroad tracks, providing a significant improvement for traffic flow.

The preliminary activities below are preparing the team for the April 1 Bell Road closure.

Schedule of On-site Activities*

Continued work to remove existing Grand Avenue median:

  • remove asphalt pavement,
  • excavate and haul away the median and roadway materials,
  • modify the traffic signal at Town Center Drive/Bell Grande Drive, and
  • work on Saturday Feb. 13 to prepare roadway for paving.

What to Expect > Traffic Restrictions*

Eastbound and westbound lane restrictions on Grand Avenue continue between just north of Dysart Road and Litchfield Road.?The left turn lanes in both directions will be narrowed to one lane (instead of two) at Bell Road and Grand Avenue. This will be a 24/7 set up through the week of Feb. 15.

*schedule subject to change based on design schedule, weather, or unforeseen conditions

Stay Informed – Keep In Touch

For more information or if you have questions:

ADOT’s project hotline: (855) 712-8530, press option #1
Project email: bellandgrandinfo@azdot.gov
Project website: www.azdot.gov/bellandgrand
Media inquiries: (800) 949-8057; email: news@azdot.gov

Bell Road/Grand Avenue Business Outreach

Director of Economic Development Jeanine Jerkovic made City Council aware of her department’s reprioritization due to the upcoming Bell Road/Grand Avenue interchange project. To help the businesses that will be impacted by the Bell Road closure, the city will focus on the Bridge Buddy Program and a Shop Local promotion.

As part of the plan to mitigate the construction impact, the city, in partnership with the Surprise Regional Chamber of Commerce, has co-authored “Getting Your Business Across the Finish Line” brochures and will be instituting several communications initiatives.


City Council Meeting

Community Acknowledgement

City Manager Bob Wingenroth and City Council acknowledged Dr. Gail Pletnick, Superintendent of Dysart Unified School District, on Tuesday evening. Dr. Pletnick was selected as Arizona’s Superintendent of the Year, and she will serve as the Arizona representative to the American Association of School Administrator’s (AASA) National Superintendent of the Year Program.

Surprise City Council with Arizona Superintendent of the Year Dr. Gail Pletnick
The Surprise City Council recognized Dr. Gail Pletnick for her achievement as Arizona Superintendent of the Year at their Feb. 2 meeting.

Under Dr. Pletnick’s leadership, Dysart Unified School District has earned a national reputation for its 21st Century learning environment and for its consistent support of a digital transformation that continues to change teaching and learning. Congratulations, Dr. Pletnick. We are proud of you!

Operating Revenue Sources for FY2017

City Council began discussing the fiscal year 2017 budget that will begin on July 1, 2016. The focus was on General Fund operating sources, which total $96.9 million for the current fiscal year. Key issues included proposed legislation, the economy, and choices that we have available at the local level.

Proposed legislation is currently being reviewed at the state level that puts $6.8 million of the City’s current residential rental and contracting sales taxes at risk. The passage of this legislation would potentially result in service reductions locally. Historically, periods of growth lasting seven to ten years have been followed by recessionary periods of reduced growth or economic decline. Our economy has seen steady growth over the last five years, so the City will need to begin planning for this eventual reduction. Future discussion will look at creating an operating surplus to help minimize future service reductions.

Revenue sources were also reviewed to clarify which areas can be directly impacted by the Council’s decisions on rates and policies. Timelines on when and how decisions on rates and policies can be made was also discussed. City Council will be prepared to discuss balancing available resources with service needs, and be aware of how their decisions can affect each side of that balance.

The budget discussion will continue at each Council meeting through June, culminating in the Council adoption of the FY2017 budget. Budget presentations will be available following the City Council Work Session or Regular Meeting at which they are presented on our budget webpage.


Events & Meetings

Lunchtime Theater

I attended the Theater Works production of “I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change” on Thursday, January 28. There were back-to-back shows held at the West Valley Arts Headquarters with approximately 65 people in attendance. This show was a group of vignettes depicting love at different stages of life. It was a musical with fantastic voices and great comedy. Everyone could relate.

West Valley Council Mixer

Vice Mayor Jim Biundo, Councilmembers Todd Tande, Rachel Villanueva, Roland Winters and I attended the 2nd West Valley Council to Council Mixer at Rio Vista Recreation Center on Thursday, January 28. Councilwoman Villanueva spearheaded the first mixer which was held at Surprise Stadium as a way to better get know our fellow West Valley Councilmembers, share ideas, update each other on things occurring in our city and just network. Councilmembers from Peoria, Glendale, Tolleson, and Avondale were also present.

Surprise POPS Band Concert

Several Councilmembers and I attended the Surprise POPS band on Saturday, January 30 at the Valley Vista Performing Arts Center. Over 1,000 people attended and listened to the roaring 20’s concert.

Arts & Cultural Advisory Commission Meeting

I attended the Arts & Cultural Advisory Commission meeting on Monday, February 1. The agenda included discussion on the upcoming bus tour in partnership with Benevilla, the baseball bat decorating context, the purchase of a potential art piece and much more.

Bell Road/Grand Avenue Road Show

I continue to meet with the District 5 HOAs and businesses with city staff and ADOT representatives to discuss the upcoming Bell Road/Grand Avenue interchange project. This week, we met with Chaparral Winds Retirement Community staff, provided them an update on the construction project and answered their questions and concerns.


Mark Your Calendar

Art Show @ Benevilla

Benevilla’s Annual ‘Love of the Arts’ exhibition show begins Friday, February 5 through March 2 at Birt’s Bistro, 16752 N. Greasewood Street. All artwork is created by members from Benevilla’s Life Enrichment Day Programs in various mediums.

Second Sundays in the Park

The City continues its “Second Sundays in the Park” concert series on Friday, February 14 from 2 until 4 pm. This free family event will take place in the center of the Surprise Community Park, 15953 N. Bullard Avenue, and will feature live music from Behind the Badge.

Public Art Bus Tour

On February 18, the Surprise Arts & 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.

The tour will begin at 9 a.m. at Benevilla, located at 16752 N. Greasewood Street, and will end at the same location at 12 noon. Space is limited so please reserve your spot by February 11. Reservations can be made by calling Fiona Falbo 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.

Surprise Stadium to Host Two Collegiate Baseball Tournaments

College Baseball returns to the Surprise Recreation Campus – Campus of Champions with two NCAA collegiate baseball tournaments: the Surprise Spring Training College Baseball Classic (Feb. 19-22) and the BIG 12 – PAC 12 Spring Training Baseball Challenge (Feb. 25-29).

Individual tickets and tournament passes for each of the scheduled tournaments are now available for purchase online at www.surprisespringtraining.com.Tickets can also be purchased at the Surprise Stadium Box Office, located at 15960 N. Bullard Avenue, or over the phone with Tickets.com at 888.755.2583. Service charges may apply to online and phone orders. All seating for collegiate tournaments is general admission.

SURPRISE SPRING TRAINING COLLEGE BASEBALL CLASSIC: Feb. 19-22 OREGON STATE // BALL STATE // UTAH // MINNESOTA // UTAH VALLEY

Friday, Feb. 19
1 p.m. Ball State University vs. Oregon State University, Surprise Stadium
5 p.m. University of Utah vs. University of Minnesota, Surprise Stadium
5 p.m. Ball State University vs. Utah Valley University, Kansas City Practice Field

Saturday, Feb. 20
10 a.m. Utah Valley University vs. University of Minnesota, Surprise Stadium
2 p.m. Utah Valley University vs. Oregon State University, Surprise Stadium
6 p.m. Ball State University vs. University of Utah, Surprise Stadium

Sunday, Feb. 21
9 a.m. University of Minnesota vs. University of Utah, Surprise Stadium
10 a.m. Utah Valley University vs. Ball State University, Kansas City Practice Field
1 p.m. University of Minnesota vs. Oregon State University, Surprise Stadium

Monday, Feb. 22
12 p.m. University of Utah vs. Oregon State University, Surprise Stadium

Individual Tickets: Adult $10, Senior $8, Youth/Student $5
Tournament Passes: Adult $30, Senior $25, Youth/Student $15

BIG 12 – PAC 12 Spring Training Baseball Challenge: Feb. 25-29
OREGON STATE // KANSAS STATE // UTAH // KANSAS

Thursday, Feb. 25
1 p.m. Oregon State University vs. Kansas State University, Surprise Stadium

Friday, Feb. 26
1 p.m. Oregon State University vs. Kansas State University, Surprise Stadium
5 p.m. University of Kansas vs. University of Utah, Surprise Stadium

Saturday, Feb. 27
1 p.m. Oregon State University vs. University of Kansas, Surprise Stadium
5 p.m. Kansas State University vs. University of Utah, Surprise Stadium

Sunday, Feb. 28
10 a.m. University of Kansas vs. Oregon State University, Surprise Stadium
1:30 p.m. University of Utah vs. Kansas State University, Surprise Stadium

Monday, Feb. 29
11 a.m. University of Kansas vs. University of Utah, Surprise Stadium

*SCHEDULE SUBJECT TO CHANGE

Individual Tickets: Adult $10, Senior $8, Youth/Student $5
Tournament Passes: Adult $30, Senior $25, Youth/Student $15

For more information, call the Surprise Recreation Campus Box Office at 623.222.2222 or visit www.surprisespringtraining.com.


Did You Know?

2015 National Citizen Survey

The 2015 National Citizen Survey (NCS) results are in and nearly 90% of residents rate Surprise as a great place to live and would recommend living here.

The NCS serves as the city’s service report card, and the collected data assists in setting future city priorities. The survey captures residents’ opinions within three community pillars: Community Characteristics, Governance & Participation. These are broken down into eight categories: Safety, Mobility/Transportation, Natural Environment, Built Environment, Economy, Recreation & Wellness, Education & Enrichment and Community Engagement. Across these eight categories the city’s results were similar to over 200 peer cities across the United States.

According to the survey, the areas that are most important to Surprise residents are safety, mobility/transportation and the economy.

The city rated above the national benchmark in the following categories: (% selected excellent/good)

88% overall appearance of the city (cleanliness)
86% recommend Surprise as a place to retire
84% Street lighting
83% Street cleaning
82% Sidewalk maintenance
81% Overall built environment
76% Affordable quality housing
74% Public parking
69% Cost of living

Survey results also indicate a need for more public transportation options and local job creation- two areas that rated below the national benchmark.

Residents were asked how likely they would be to support a separate funding source to pay for new Police and Fire-Medical personnel, which would reallocate General Fund dollars towards other projects. Sixty-six percent of residents strongly/somewhat support this proposal.

Nearly three-quarters of the surveyed residents are confident in local government, and 89% are pleased with the quality of city services.

Since the 2012 NCS, residents noted significant improvements in traffic flow, crime and fire prevention, shopping opportunities/economic development, drinking water and overall national environment. Ratings fell in the number of residents who volunteered, visited a park or watched a local public meeting.

The 2015 NCS was conducted by Boulder, Colorado-based National Research Center from October-November 2015. The survey was sent to 1,400 randomly-selected Surprise households. The overall response rate was 26%, which is average for this type of survey. The margin of error is +/- 5%. Results are weighted as to not have one particular demographic (age, sex, race, etc…) skew results.

The City of Surprise would like to thank those residents who participated in the survey. The city’s next NCS is on target for 2017.

To see the complete results visit www.surpriseaz.gov/ncs.

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


Contact Me

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

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December 11, 2015 • Newsletter

Events & Meetings

Santé of Surprise Holiday Festival

Santé of Surprise hosted a Holiday Festival on Friday, December 4. Guests who attended the holiday festivity brought canned food items to donate to the Valley View Community Food Bank. Its always an honor to help Valley View Community Food Bank as they feed thousands of our Surprise families each year. A special thank you to Santé for hosting this wonderful fundraiser and to those who help support this special cause.

14th Annual Surprise Party

The Community and Recreation Services (CRS) Department hosted the 14th Annual Surprise Party on Friday, December 4 and Saturday, December 5. Mayor Wolcott, Councilman Todd Tande, Councilman Roland Winters and I kicked-off the event with the tree lighting ceremony that was attended by thousands of Surprise residents.

Surprise Party tree lighting Hot Air Ballons

Approximately 7,500 people attended the event on Friday and 13,000 on Saturday. The most popular events included the balloon glow, tree lighting, sky divers, fireworks and zip line. This event could not happen without the hard work and dedication of CRS Director Mark Coronado and his outstanding team. Thank you!

Valley Metro Joint Meeting

I participated in the Valley Metro RPTA and Valley Metro Rail Boards of Directors joint meeting on Monday, December 7 to continue our discussion pertaining to the resignation of Valley Metro CEO Steve Banta. The boards approved his resignation without a separation agreement. Although on administrative leave, Mr. Banta will stay on Valley Metro payroll until January 4 when his paid time off expires.

The boards also reviewed various human resource policies including the Ethics Policy, Travel Policy, Credit Card Policy, Accounting Policies and Procedures and the travel records submitted to the AZ Republic.

For Our City Initiative

Councilman Todd Tande and I met with City staff on Monday, December 7, to further discuss the For Our City initiative. The purpose of the For Our City initiative is to coordinate community service projects for the City of Surprise and non-profit organizations by collaborating with faith-based communities, employers, business groups, and others in our area. It is our hope that Surprise begins our own For Our City program in the very near future.

Arts & Cultural Advisory Commission Open House

I was invited to attend the Arts & Cultural Advisory Commission Student Art Open House on Monday, December 7 at City Hall. This is the first time that the Commission has had the opportunity to hang student art in the City Hall Gallery.  The student gallery consists of an art collection from various charter school students and was organized by Imagine Rosefield’s principal, James Mecca. If you get a chance, please visit the gallery and check out the talent of our charter school youth!

Student Art Student Art

Boards & Commissions Committee

Councilman Roland Winters, Councilwoman Rachel Villanueva and I met to interview a candidate for the Board of Trustees. The Committee will make a recommendation to the full City Council at the next regular City Council meeting on Tuesday, December 15 at 6 p.m.

Taste of Surprise

The Surprise Rotary Club Taste of Surprise Committee met on Wednesday, December 9 to continue to plan the Taste of Surprise event. The event will be held on March 9, 2016 at the Riverboat, 18300 W. Bell Road. Mark your calendars! This is an annual event where attendees are treated to the local flavor of many different restaurants in Surprise as well as entertainment!  Committee Chairperson Amanda Sanchez has done a fabulous job organizing this event!  I am so grateful for all of her hard work and dedication to making it a success for all of Surprise.

Department of Human Service & Community Vitality Annual Holiday Party

Tis’ the season to express our gratitude for the residents of Surprise and all they do to support the needs of our community. The Department of Human Service & Community Vitality hosted their Annual Holiday Party at the AZ Traditions Ballroom. Councilman Todd Tande, Councilman Roland Winters and I attended and expressed our sincerest gratitude and happiest season’s greetings to the residents in attendance.

Meet the Elected Officials Night

The Surprise Regional Chamber of Commerce hosted “Meet the Elected Officials Night” at Marley Park on Wednesday, December 9. Several people attended the event including State Treasurer Jeff DeWit. Thank you to the Surprise Chamber and Ray Grim for putting on this nice event!

Surprise Resource Center Ribbon Cutting

I was thrilled to be part of the celebration and ribbon cutting for the Surprise Resource Center and Community Action Program (CAP) office at the AZ TechCelerator on Thursday, December 10. The addition of this Program in our City enforces our Council and City Leadership’s commitment to human services which began earlier this year with the addition of the Department of Human Service and Community Vitality. This Department has become our anchor for those less fortunate and now we can expand on the magnitude of those services with the CAP office.

Guest speaker at event addresses the crowd

HSCV Director Speaks at ribbon cutting event

AZ TechCelerator Re-Launch

City Council attended the re-launch of our very own AZ TechCelerator on Thursday, December 10. Earlier this year, City Council unanimously approved a $500,000 budget amendment for improvements to the TechCelerator as a vote of confidence in the program’s ability to continue to exceed our expectations. The community value generated from this business incubator has been enormous with over 200 jobs in Surprise created as a direct result of the innovation program, the very first in the West Valley.

Congratulations to Economic Development Director Jeanine Jerkovic, AZ TechCelerator Manager Julie Neal, and the Economic Development team for their creative genius, hard work and continued dedication to Surprise.

Event opening crowd at the Surprise Resource Center and Community Action Program (CAP) office at the AZ TechCelerator

Mayor and Council cutting ribbon at AZ Tech relaunch


Mark Your Calendar

Surprise Police Explorers – Spirit Day

Several members of our Surprise Police Explorer Post 2236 are partnering with Chick-fil-A for “Spirit Day”, a Tip-a-Cop fundraising event. on Saturday, December 12 from 11 a.m. until 3 p.m. If you plan to dine at the Chick-fil-A at Surprise Market, 13725 W. Bell Road, please be sure to tip your server.

Second Sundays in the Park

Second Sundays in the Park concert series continues this Sunday, December 13 from 2 – 4 p.m. with a live performance by The Goode Time Carolers. This free family event, presented by Surprise Toyota, will take place at Surprise Community Park, 15953 N. Bullard. We hope to see you there!

Surprise Police Department – Crime Prevention Awareness Event

The Surprise Police Department is hosting their final 2015 crime prevention awareness event on December 14 from 4 – 6 p.m. at the Walmart store located at 17049 W. Bell Road. Officers from our Community Relations Unit will be educating the public about programs like “Lock-It or Lose-It”, a campaign aimed at reducing theft of property from vehicles. For more information on the campaign, please visit http://ow.ly/HLcza


Did You Know?

Surprise Dog Park Opens!

I am pleased to announce the Surprise Farms Community Park – Dog Park is officially open for visitors and their dogs. The dog park, located at 15991 N. Willow Canyon Drive opened on Wednesday, December 9. Amenities include drinking fountains, picnic tables, park benches, dog play features and a grass play area. The park consists of three divided areas; one area for dogs over 20 pounds, one area for dogs under 20 pounds and one area will be utilized as an alternative when either of the sections are closed for maintenance and healthy turf practices.

Please note this dog park will be closed on Thursdays from 6 – 10 a.m. for mowing and cleaning.

Spring Training 2016

The Spring Training schedule is now available! Get your tickets when the online pre-sale begins on December 12 or purchase them in person when the box office opens its windows on January 9. For more information, please visit http://bit.ly/1XEyd32.

Special Work Session Scheduled for December 15

A 4 p.m. Work Session will take place on December 15 prior to the City Council Special Meeting (5:30 p.m.) and Regular Meeting (6:00 p.m.).

The Work Session agenda includes the General Plan Update which proposes amendments to elements of the Surprise General Plan 2035; Council will consider and may take action on the General Plan Update during the December 15 Regular Meeting.

The Work Session and Regular Council meetings can be viewed online at www.surpriseaz.gov/surprise11

Social Media

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


Contact Me

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

Ask a Question

November 6, 2015 • Newsletter

City Council Work Session

Surprise Regional Chamber of Commerce Membership Agreement

City Council reviewed the new draft membership agreement from the Chamber of Commerce, under the leadership of President Melissa Holdaway and CEO Raul Sada. The agreement will be brought forward for Council consideration and action in December.

Surprise City Code Chapter 54 Revision Discussion

Surprise Police Lieutenant Harold Brady presented on recommended changes to the City’s Large Vehicle Parking City Codes. Some of the suggested changes include adding a definition for “curb return” to utilize in defining where large vehicles should park relative to intersections; amending the definition of “truck” to capture the scope of vehicles that can safely park within residential zones; the addition of verbiage to include a large vehicle can only be parked on a residential street if it leaves 20′ of roadway available for traffic; and, adding wording to clarify that, while parked on the street, recreational vehicles cannot be slept in or lived in.

Surprise Neighborhood Grant Pilot Program

Earlier this year, Neighborhood Association Committees were discussed. At that time, City Council designated $10,000 for the purpose of establishing a Neighborhood Grant Pilot Program. The purpose of the program is to increase community engagement, interest and involvement within the City.

The proposed program would allow neighborhoods the opportunity for monetary assistance for funding community events, neighborhood functions or even some improvements. The outlet would provide neighborhoods the opportunity to request assistance with the goal of building community engagement and stronger relationships with the City. The program will be discussed with the Committee on Community Outreach, Grants and Partnerships and presented to the City Council at a later date.


City Council Meeting

Parkview Elementary School

In a continued effort to recognize students, our schools and their importance to our community, fifth grade students from Ms. Swenson’s class at Parkview Elementary School led the pledge. A few students were afforded the chance to speak to Council about their school and classmates. Parkview Elementary School is located in District 5 and led by Dr. Roz Fisher and Assistant Principal Robin Hollowell.

Parkview Elementary student recognition

1936 Ramola Plat Resolution

Staff, in an effort to improve safety and connectivity in the community, attempted to obtain Rights-of-Way donations for Cactus Road between Cotton Lane and 175th Avenue. The request was made because this section of Cactus Road is unpaved. The City has budgeted $500,000 to pave two lanes within this section. Staff has been able to obtain Rights-of-Way donations from all but two property owners; which have been unwilling to grant such right-of-way. Through research, staff has determined that Right-of-Way does exist on Cactus Road per the 1936 Ramola Plat so staff requested that the City Council recognize the 1936 Ramola Plat so that the City may annex the public roadway pursuant to A.R.S. Section 9-471(N) which allows for an alternative annexation method for county roadways. City Council unanimously approved the request.

City Attorney General Release Agreement

After a brief Executive Session, City Council voted unanimously to take no action on the General Release Agreement proposed by the former City Attorney Misty Leslie.

City Attorney Reporting Authority Municipal Code Amendment

The City Council approved, with a 4-3 vote, action on Ordinance 2015-24, an ordinance approving amendments to Chapters 2 and 3 of the Surprise Municipal Code relating to the reporting authority of the City Attorney. The action moves the City Attorney under the City Manager’s direction. Per previous discussions, the appointed officials of the City will now consist of the City Manager, City Clerk and the City Court judge.


Events & Meetings

3rd Annual Local Colorado River Conference

Water Resource Portfolio Manager Fred Stevens and I attended the 3rd Annual Local Colorado River Conference. Represented at the Conference were the US Bureau of Reclamation, Arizona Department of Water Resources, Central Arizona Project (CAP), and the Arizona Water Banking Authority. We covered the history behind the Law of the River.

Challenges on the Colorado River were also discussed including the probability of shortages. According to the US Bureau of Reclamation models, there is a 0% probability in 2016, 18% probability in 2017, 52% in 2018, 65% in 2019 and 57% in 2020. On a Tier One shortage (Lake Mead below 1075 feet), Arizona would be impacted with a reduction of 320,000 acre feet, all in agriculture. The current models show that cities could be impacted in 2026.

Governor Ducey’s Arizona Water Initiative from October 2015 addresses these issues. The first track is to prioritize and evaluate all of the 22 planning areas identified in the Arizona Department of Water Resources Strategic Vision. Arizona Department of Water Resources will work closely with planning areas to identify issues that are resulting in demand and supply imbalances and to develop strategic goals that are likely to be successful in addressing them. The second track will involve establishing a team appointed by the Governor to investigate long term augmentation strategies in addition to conversation, funding and infrastructure needs. The team will be led by the Arizona Department Water Resources Director Thomas Buschatzke.

Veteran’s SMART Memory Research Program Event

On Monday, November 2, I attended a special event for veterans, the SMART Memory Research Program. The program is part of a research study for veterans that are targeting the early onset of Dementia/Alzheimer’s from TBI (Traumatic Brain Injury) and PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder). Dr. John W. Denboer, Clinical Neuropsychologist, was the guest speaker.

A special thank you to Debbie Lee with America’s Mighty Warriors for initiating the event and for covering the cost of the workbooks for the program.

Arts & Cultural Commission Meeting

The Arts & Cultural Commission met on Monday, November 2 to review their annual budget and make adjustments to accommodate the City Hall art display plan. They also discussed any potential aesthetics on the Bell/Grand Avenue intersection project. The Commission will soon begin to work on their annual mini bat design contest in partnership with the Community & Recreation Services Department.


Mark Your Calendar

Second Sunday in the Park

The City of Surprise continues its Second Sundays in the Park series this Sunday, Nov. 8. Shake, rattle, and roll from 2-4p.m. as the “8 Tracks” perform jukebox hits from the 50’s and 60’s in the center of Surprise Community Park.

This free family event, presented by Surprise Toyota, is a great opportunity to picnic and enjoy a beautiful day outdoors while listening to live musical entertainment. Surprise Community Park is located at 15953 N. Bullard Avenue.

Inaugural Surprise Veterans Day Parade

The City cordially invites you to join us in honoring our service men and women at the inaugural City of Surprise Veterans Day Parade and pancake breakfast on November 11. The breakfast, catered by The Links Neighborhood Grill, kicks off at 7:30 a.m. at Surprise Recreation Campus and will feature pancakes, sausage, and breakfast refreshments. Tickets are $4 per plate and available for purchase at the Surprise Community and Recreation Services office, located at 15960 N. Bullard Avenue. Office hours are Monday through Friday, 8 am-5 pm. Reserved parade viewing is included with the purchase of a breakfast ticket.

The parade begins at 9:30 a.m. and will be routed along Bullard Avenue between Paradise Lane and Tierra Buena Lane. It will feature more than 75 community entries honoring the men and women in uniform who have selflessly served our country.

Parking will be available for parade attendees at the Surprise Recreation Campus, located at 15960 N. Bullard Avenue. Please note in preparation for parade, Paradise Lane between Bullard Avenue and Statler Avenue will be closed at 6:30 a.m. and Bullard Avenue between Paradise Lane and Tierra Buena Lane will be closed at 9 a.m.

Arts & Cultural Advisory Commission Art Encounter

The Arts and Cultural Advisory Commission invites the public to an Art Encounter at Surprise City Hall to explore the architecture of the building through a creative lens and explore the areas of city history and government. This free public event will be held Thursday, November 12. The encounter begins at 5 p.m. in the Mayor’s Atrium of Surprise City Hall, 16000 N. Civic Center Plaza, and guests will then be escorted to other locations throughout the building.

Attendees will hear from the Surprise City Manager, City Clerk, and members of both the City Council and the Arts and Cultural Advisory Commission as they experience the following:

  • A walking tour of Surprise City Hall’s architectural interest points
  • The telling of the history of Surprise
  • A description of how local government works
  • An explanation of city management operations

Surprise Farms and Veramonte Parks Ribbon Cuttings

The Surprise City Council, the Recreation Advisory Commission and the Community and Recreation Services Department invite you to attend the Surprise Ribbon Cutting Celebration for Surprise Farms and Veramonte Community Parks on Saturday, November 14.

The celebration will begin at 9 a.m. with a ribbon cutting at Veramonte Community Park located at 12741 N. 140th Ave. The park will feature restrooms, a splash pad, a parking lot and other park amenities.

The Surprise Farms Community Park ribbon cutting ceremony will start at 10 a.m. The Community Park is located on the southeast corner of 175th Avenue and Surprise Farms Loop South and will feature a playground, splash pad, basketball court, skate park, restrooms and other park amenities.

There will be bus transportation available to the public for both ribbon cutting ceremonies. The bus will depart from the Surprise Recreation Campus – Surprise Stadium, located at 15960 N. Bullard Avenue, at 8:45 a.m. To reserve a seat on the bus, please contact Stacy Cieszynski at 623.222.2268 by November 9. Space is limited to the first 60 residents/participants. Subject to availability.


Did You Know?

Grand Avenue Overnight Closures

Several overnight closures are scheduled for Grand Avenue (U.S. 60) beginning Tuesday, November 10, so that the Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) may continue construction on the Loop 303 bridge.

Grand Avenue will be closed overnight in both directions between RH Johnson Boulevard/Sunrise Boulevard and Loop 303 on Tuesday, November 10, Wednesday, November 11 and Thursday, November 12; the closures are scheduled to begin at 9 p.m. and conclude at 5 a.m. the following mornings.

The weekend closure of Grand Avenue between Loop 303 and RH Johnson Boulevard/Sunrise Boulevard will begin at 9 p.m. Friday, November 13 and conclude at 5 a.m. Monday, November 15.

The work is part of the ongoing $46 million project to improve the Loop 303/Grand Avenue traffic interchange. The project is scheduled for completion in summer 2016. For more information, please call 855.712.8530, or email projects@azdot.gov.

City Ambulance Service Launches

The City began running its first city-owned and operated ambulance this week. After receiving approval of its Certificate of Necessity application this past summer, the Surprise Fire-Medical Department purchased a paramedic ambulance that is now running out of Fire Station 305, at Greenway Road and Parkview Place. The Department now has responsibility for the oversight of all ambulance service within the city and, as the fleet grows, Surprise Fire-Medical will also become the primary provider of emergency transport.

This set-up will allow Rural Metro to continue its long-standing partnership with the city by providing hospital-to-hospital transport, care facility transport and back-up emergency transport.


Contact Me

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

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October 9, 2015 • Newsletter

City Council Work Session

Boys & Girls Club of Surprise

Earlier this year, City Council identified the need for a Boys & Girls Club within the City of Surprise. After a 5-2 vote, City Council allocated $2 million for an endowment fund where interest earned will help fund operational costs for the future development of a Club; however, a new facility is at least two years away. Mark Coronado, Director of Community & Recreation Services, presented an option to open Boys & Girls Club satellite locations at current City operated recreation centers in advance of the new facility. This option eliminates initial costs to open a facility since we would utilize space at Countryside Recreation Center and Sierra Montana Recreation Center.

Mr. Coronado reinforced that all existing facility programing will continue and enhance opportunities for all youth in our community.

Surprise City Code Chapter 10 – Animals Chapter

After reviewing Surprise City Code. Chapter 10, Surprise Lieutenant Harold Brady recommends that City Council consider a few changes to the animals chapter, including, but not limited to, definitions of at large, owner and vicious; new licensing violations; additional regulations for animals declared vicious; cost recovery for impounded animals; animal cruelty penalties; improved due process for owner(s) of suspected barking dogs; and eliminating an exception allowing dogs to be off leash throughout gated communities.

New violations were recommended for failure to obtain a license within 15 days after written notification to do so, counterfeiting a dog license, removing a valid license from a dog and placing an invalid license on a dog. New vicious animal restrictions were also discussed including the purchase of a $100,000 public liability insurance policy and spaying or neutering within 30 days of final judgment of viciousness.

Barking dog procedure recommendations included civil violations for first offenses (Must disturb peace and quiet for two or more residences); second violation may be criminal or civil at the discretion of the enforcement agent; third and subsequent violations are criminal. There must be at least one witness willing to testify in court under these proposed circumstances.

Surprise Conference and Training Center

Water Resource Manager Director Terry Lowe discussed the need for future water and wastewater jobs within the next 10 years. One of the greatest challenges in finding replacements for those currently working in these positions and expected to retire within the next five years is there is a lack of applicants with needed certifications and lack of skills to operate today’s treatment systems.

The City of Surprise can help as we have the facilities to show the complete Life Cycle of Water in Arizona at one location; the groundwater treatment/distribution (Rancho Gabriella WSF) and water reclamation/recharge (SPA1 WRF). This can be achieved in partnership with Gateway Community College.

The proposed new training center, the Surprise-Gateway Training Center, would contain a wastewater operations lab, a water operations lab, large assembly space, three classrooms (2 standard classrooms and 1 learning lab), a water education lab, an OSHA education lab and a small fitness center.

Surprise-Gateway Training Center render

Surprise-Gateway Training Center floor plan render

In order to proceed, the Council will need to consider and staff will need to complete an intergovernmental agreement (IGA) with Gateway Community College. The design should be complete by December 2015, and a groundbreaking would likely take place during the first quarter of 2016. Classes are anticipated to begin in September 2016, timeline and approval permitting.


City Council Meeting

Domestic Violence Awareness Proclamation Presentation

Domestic violence is an awful epidemic affecting individuals in every community, regardless of age, gender, race, religion or economic status. Sadly, 1 in 4 U.S. women experience violence by a partner at some time during their life and 2 out of 3 children are exposed to trauma and violence in their life. The devastating consequences of domestic violence can cross generations and last a lifetime.

Vice Mayor John Williams presented a Proclamation in honor of the City’s support of Domestic Violence Awareness Month for the month of October. We stand behind all victims, and we will continue to bring awareness to providing protections against domestic violence.


Events & Meetings

Rotary Club of Surprise Monthly Meeting

I attended the Rotary Club of Surprise monthly meeting on Thursday, October 1. The Rotary Club discussed the plans for their two major annual fundraisers. The 2015 Rotary Club of Surprise Golf Classic will be held on November 7, 2015 at Great Eagle Golf Club. More information can be found at www.surpriserotarygolfclassic.org. The Taste of Surprise will be held on March 9, 2016.

Arts & Cultural Commission Meeting

The Arts & Cultural Commission met on Monday, October 1. The Commission will have a booth at the upcoming Surprise Fiesta Grande. They are also busy planning the Art Encounter at City Hall scheduled for November 12 from 5 until 7 pm.

Meet & Greet for New Director Candidates

City Manager Bob Wingenroth hosted a Meet & Greet in the Mayor’s Atrium on Friday, October 2 for seven finalists vying for the Director of Human Service and Community Vitality Position. I will include the announcement of the new director in a future newsletter.

Governor Ducey’s International State of the State Address

Assistant City Manager Rick Buss, Economic Development Director Jeanine Jerkovic and I attended Governor Ducey’s International State of the State address on Monday, October 5 at the Arizona Biltmore Resort. A bi-national mega-region, shared border and foreign trade policy were the focus of the Governor’s conversation.

This year, U.S. exports are down by 5% while Arizona’s export volume continues to increase with a current volume of up to 7%. Arizona exported approximately $21.25 billion in goods and services to foreign markets in 2014. Arizona’s largest market in 2014 was Mexico with $8.62 billion in exports. The second largest market was Canada with $2.25 billion, followed by United Kingdom ($1.10 billion), China ($1.02 billion) and Germany ($753 million).

The state’s largest merchandise export category is computer & electronic products which accounted for $4.975 billion of Arizona’s total merchandise exports in 2014. The largest metropolitan areas are Phoenix – Mesa – Scottsdale at $12.8 billion (65.4% share); Tucson at $2.3 billion (11.7% share); Sierra Vista-Douglas at $425 million (2.2% share); Lake Havasu City – Kingman at $255 million (1.3% share); and Prescott at $50 million (0.3% share).

Boards & Commission Interviews

Councilman Roland Winters, Councilwoman Rachel Villanueva and I interviewed interested candidates for openings on the Arts & Cultural Commission on Wednesday, October 7. Thank you to everyone who applied!


Mark Your Calendar

Household Hazardous Waste Collection

The City’s next Household Hazardous Waste Collection event will take place on Saturday, October 10 from 8 am until 12 noon. Drop-off is at the Public Works Maintenance Yard, 13433 W. Foxfire Drive (from Bell Road, turn north on Dysart and follow signs to entrance off Foxfire Drive). This event is free and for Surprise residents only.

Acceptable items include antifreeze, car batteries, motor oil, gasoline, diesel, fuel additives, pool chemicals, stain, paint, pesticides and much more. For more information, please visit www.surpriseaz.gov/HHWevent or you can call 623.222.6000.

Second Sunday in the Park

The Silverkats live will perform 70s and 80s cover tunes at the next Second Sundays in the Park event on Sunday, October 11 at the Surprise Community Park, located at 15953 N. Bullard Avenue. The band will play from 2 until 4 p.m.

Surprise Fiesta Grande

Please mark your calendar and join us at this fun-filled street festival paying homage to the significance of the Original Town Site (OTS) and the importance of the Grand Avenue Corridor. The event will be held on Saturday, October 17 from 2 pm until 10 pm on Hollyhock Street on the Roy Villanueva Recreation Campus in the OTS.

I hope to see you there! For more information, please visit www.surpriseaz.gov/fiestagrande.

fiesta Grande logo

Bullard Avenue Task Force Meeting

The Bullard Avenue Task Force will meet on October 19 at 6 pm at the Northwest Regional Library meeting room, 16089 N. Bullard Avenue. This meeting is open to the public. For more information about the task force, please visit www.surpriseaz.gov/bullard.


Did You Know?

City Hall – Upcoming Holiday Schedule

With several fall holidays quickly approaching, there are a few holiday scheduling changes you may want to know about.

City offices will remain open on Columbus Day – Monday, October 12.

City offices will be closed on Veterans Day – Wednesday, November 11. The holiday trash and recycling schedule will be in effect that week. Monday and Tuesday pick-up will not be affected. Pick up originally scheduled for Wednesday, November 11 will move to Thursday, November 12 and pick up originally scheduled for Thursday, November 12 will move to Friday, November 13.

City offices will be closed for Thanksgiving on Thursday, November 26 and Friday, November 27. The holiday trash and recycling schedule will be in effect. The holiday will only affect residents with Thursday pick-up, which will move to Friday, November 27.

Important Election Dates for November 2015

The City of Surprise has been designated as an Early Voting Site for the Nov. 3 election. All registered voters within Maricopa County are able to vote at City Hall through October 30 at 5p.m. Please note that voter registration for the Nov. 3 election has closed, but those who are registered have until Oct. 23 to request an Early Ballot.

No voting will take place at City Hall on Election Day. All voters must go to their designated polling locations to vote in person. Polls will be open from 6 am until 7 pm on Election Day only. For information on your polling location for Election Day, you can contact the Maricopa County Elections Department at 602.506.3535 or visit our website at www.surpriseaz.gov/electionnews.


Contact Me

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

Ask a Question

September 18, 2015 • Newsletter

City Council Work Session

Capital Scholars Program Presentation

Capital Scholars is a collaborative program with students from Arizona Charter Academy and Imagine Prep in Surprise. The goal of the program is to introduce students to the municipal and legislative process in Arizona. For 2015, the students met with City of Surprise representatives from the Police, Community and Recreation Services and Fire Departments with hopes that they can create “bills” that will impact their own neighborhoods.

During the City Council Work Session on Tuesday evening, the Scholars presented their ideas which included: Doughnuts with Police, the City of Surprise Traveling Library, Local Building for Recreational Art Use, Recreation in Surprise, CCC (Continuous Chest Compression) Across Dysart Schools, and Fire Service Education Betterment.

The Capital Scholars Program began as the brainchild of Representative Rick Gray in 2014. I congratulate the students on their success, and I thank them for their diligent work putting together their respective proposals.

General Plan Elements Update

City staff is currently updating key elements of General Plan 2035 which takes into consideration land use, economic development, roadway systems, housing, growth areas, recreation and open spaces. On September 9, staff hosted a Stakeholder Meeting and Community Open House to review the land use element of the General Plan. Currently, the City’s incorporated land area is approximately 108 square miles. In contrast, the City’s planning area is 302 square miles which includes the current incorporated and unincorporated areas. With such a large planning area in relation to the City’s current municipal limits, Surprise is a community that is poised for future growth. Defining where and how this growth will appear is imperative to maintaining a sustainable community and character which is distinct to Surprise.

The Land Use Element provides the critical foundation we need to guide us. It utilizes a sustainable approach that balances development and conservation within the Surprise planning area to ensure that infrastructure is maximized and adequate distribution of services, employment, open space and recreation are provided in proximity to where people live. Staff provided a general overview of the existing community form and land ownership composition and provided details regarding the proposed character area approach and associated strategies that form the vision for future land use within Surprise.

The Planning and Zoning Commission reviewed the Land Use Element at their meeting on September 17. The start of the 60–day review period as required by Arizona law, begins on September 18. The draft Land Use Element documents can be found at www.surpriseaz.gov/GPupdate. The City Council and the Planning and Zoning Commission will host a General Plan Summit meeting on December 4 to discuss the General Plan Amendment and a focus will be placed on Economic Development.

Community Development Director Eric Fitzer presenting to Council
Community Development Director Eric Fitzer presenting to Council

City Council Meeting

Fiscal Year 2015 Financial Status Report

Early results are in for the fiscal year 2015, which ended on June 30, and the General Fund is outperforming estimates set during the recently completed budget process. General Fund resources are up 1.8% or $1.7 million over the estimates, fueled in large part by better than expected local sales tax collections. Meanwhile, expenses in the General Fund are below estimates by 2.9% or $2.7 million. The combination of the two results in a positive increase of $4.4 million in the General Fund.

During the budget process, the need for facility, vehicle, and equipment maintenance and replacement was discussed and set as a high priority. On October 6, the City Council will discuss action to increase funding in these areas using a portion of fiscal year 2015 gains. City Manager Bob Wingenroth and our Finance team have done a fantastic job. Thank you!


Events & Meetings

Rotary Club of Surprise Induction

On Thursday, September 10, I was inducted into the Rotary Club of Surprise. I was honored to be invited to become a member of this selfless service organization, and I look forward to sharing my passion of helping with others with my Rotarian peers.

Councilman Hall receiving his rotary induction

Councilman Hall with rotary members

Desert Streams Lutheran Church of Surprise Groundbreaking

Vice Mayor John Williams and I attended the groundbreaking ceremony for Desert Streams Lutheran Church in Surprise on Saturday, September 12. The church started services at Rosefield Charter School, but will soon expand to a new church at the northwest corner of Reems and Hearn. Congratulations on your expansion!

Surprise Farms II Block Party

Surprise Farms II hosted a block party on Saturday, September 12. It was a great opportunity to meet some of the residents of District 1!

Arts & Cultural Advisory Commission Meeting

The Arts & Cultural Advisory Commission met on Monday, September 14 at City Hall. Amongst several items on the agenda, the Commission discussed the establishment of a display plan for art on the City Hall campus. Nicole Lance, Deputy City Manager and staff liaison to the Commission, will be working with the building’s architect for input on the plan.

The Arts & Cultural Advisory Commission is responsible for ensuring public art policies and procedures are drafted and reviewed for ultimate recommendation to the City Council. Staff is currently exploring options for completing this task and will most likely utilize an outside firm to help establish the policies to determine the best next steps forward.

Dysart Unified School District’s Constitution Day Veterans Panel

Several Surprise Veterans, including me, were invited to take part on a Veteran’s panel at Willow Canyon High School as part of Dysart Unified School District’s Constitution Day events. The entire morning was spent talking to combined social study classes regarding our respective military experiences and how they directly relate to the Constitution.

Panelist included Bob Marotta, Julia Holland, Councilman Biundo, Staff Sgt. Jesse Schneider and Wayne Zaricor
Panelist included Bob Marotta, Julia Holland, Councilman Biundo, Staff Sgt. Jesse Schneider and Wayne Zaricor

A special thank you to Willow Canyon Principal Dr. Jayne Wieferich, and Assistant Principals Cheryl Pete and John Williams for hosting this memorable event!


Mark Your Calendar

Special Work Session Meeting

City Council will hold a Special Work Session on Tuesday, September 22 at City Hall to discuss the city’s sign code policy. The meeting will be held at 4 p.m. in the Council Chambers.

City staff is in the process of amending the City of Surprise Sign Code and at this work session is looking for general policy guidance from the Council. The main question to be answered will be what is the vision for signage in the City of Surprise, is it to the extreme of regulating signage vigorously or is it more of a laissez faire approach, or a combination where the city should be thinking about regulating some signage more than other signage.

Second Sundays Fall Series Returns

Second Sundays in the Park concert series, presented by Surprise Toyota, is returning! This free family event will take place in the center of the Surprise Community Park located at 15953 N. Bullard Avenue. The first fall performance is Sunday, October 11, and the Silverkats Live will perform 70’s and 80’s cover tunes. We hope to see you there!


Did You Know?

Traffic Restrictions

In preparation for the 115th Avenue and Union Hills drainage improvement project, APS is relocating some of their infrastructure located within the intersection of 115th Avenue and Union Hills Drive. The following traffic restrictions are in place as follows:

Beginning at 9 p.m. on Friday, September 18 through 6 a.m. on Monday, September 21

  • 115th Avenue north and southbound lanes will be closed from Beardsley Road to Union Hills Drive.
  • 115th Avenue northbound lanes will be closed north of the Avenue of the Arts.

For the most current information on traffic restrictions, visit the traffic restrictions webpage at http://ow.ly/RKXZJ.

Bullard Avenue Task Force Meeting

The Bullard Avenue Task Force comprised of volunteer residents, school officials and a business representative have been tasked with studying workable solutions, while maintaining safety along Bullard Avenue, from Greenway to Peoria. They will be presented with current traffic data and asked to consider the options heard from the public. This group may identify additional options during the course of conversation.

The public is invited to attend this meeting on Thursday, September 24 at 6 p.m. in the Community Room of City Hall.

If you have questions, please contact Public Works Director Mike Gent at 623.222.6223.

Fall Events for Teens

The City is excited to offer teens a full lineup of things to do this fall. Some of the events include a dodgeball tournament, a teen night, a haunted maze and much more. For more information, please be sure to follow Surprise Teen Programs on Facebook at www.facebook.com/surpriseteenprograms or you can always contact our Community and Recreation Services Department at 623.222.2000.


Contact Me

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

Ask a Question

February 6, 2015 • Newsletter

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.

Procurement
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.

Development Agreements
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!

SYC Retreat January 2015

SYC Retreat 2015 group

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.

Mayor and Council at 2015 Celebrity Flag Football

2015 Celebrity Flag Football game

Councilmember Hall with Quinton Aaron

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!

Contact Me


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

Ask a Question