Military Appreciation Night at Willow Canyon High School
Willow Canyon High School hosted crosstown rival Valley Vista for a football showdown on September 22. Immediately prior to the game, Willow Canyon seized the opportunity to recognize our veterans and active military as part of the Military Appreciation Night. I joined several of our West Valley veterans and active military on the field during the ceremony as we stood together on the field during the National Anthem. A special thank you to Willow Canyon for this opportunity to recognize us!
Valley Metro RPTA Board Meeting
I attended the Valley Metro RPTA Board meeting on Thursday, September 21. The fifth express bus from Surprise to downtown Phoenix was approved.
Surprise Regional Chamber of Breakfast Meeting
The Surprise Regional Chamber of Commerce hosted their monthly breakfast on Tuesday, September 26. The meeting focused on effective marketing. Chamber President Raoul Sada briefed the membership on the city’s sign policy and Firehouse Subs owner Ed Cunningham provided the group with his inspirational story on how his networking skills have led to his successes.
Decide Surprise GO Bond Meeting
Surprise residents will consider three separate General Obligation Bond questions to fund 10 capital improvement projects in the areas of Public Safety, Traffic Congestion Mitigation and Pavement Preservation. The city is hosting several public meetings, and the first meeting kicked off on Tuesday, September 26 in the City Council Chamber. City staff utilizes the meetings to provide facts related to the bond election. The next meeting is scheduled for Thursday, October 5 at 10 am at Sun Village, 17300 N. Sun Village Parkway. Learn more about the projects and additional meeting dates at www.surpriseaz.gov/decidesurprise.
Mark Your Calendar
Dick McComb Park Renaming
Following City Council’s direction to honor the city’s longest-tenured City Manager Dick McComb (1990 – 2000), the city will officially rename Surprise Farms Community Park, to Dick McComb City Park, at a public ceremony this Saturday, September 30, at 9 a.m. The ceremony will take place at the southeast corner of 175th Avenue and Surprise Farms Loop South. The park features a playground, splash pad, basketball court, skate park, restrooms and other park amenities.
Surprise Fire-Medical Hosting Open House
The Surprise Fire-Medical Department is hosting an open house at Fire Station 304 (24900 N. 163rd Avenue) on Saturday, September 30, from 9 am until 12 noon. Residents can come out and meet the firefighters, tour their living and eating quarters, walk through the bays and see the fire trucks! Attendees will also get a look at the medical equipment, firefighting gear and tools used on emergency calls.
For more information, please call the Surprise Fire-Medical Department administration line at 623.222.5000.
Surprise Super Swap Meet
The city’s popular community-wide garage sale, Surprise Super Swap Meet, is set for Saturday, November 18 from 8 am until 1 pm at the Surprise Aquatic Center parking lot, 15831 N. Bullard Avenue. Parking and admission are free.
Vendor spaces for the event are now available to rent. Proceeds from the rental fees support senior programs. Space is limited and reserved on a first-come, first-serve basis. For more information or to receive an application for space, please call 623.222.1500 or visit the Surprise Senior Center at 15832 Hollyhock Street.
Did You Know?
Veterans Day Art Show – Call for Artists
The City of Surprise and the Arts and Cultural Advisory Commission would like to invite all veterans who are painters, photographers, sculptors, illustrators, wood workers or work in any other medium to submit their artwork to be included in a display for the November 11, 2017 Veterans Day Parade. You need not be a professional artist. This show made its debut last year and was enjoyed by all who saw it. For further information about the show, please contact Susan deJong at 623-214-7537.
City’s Lock It or Lose It Campaign Wins National Award
An important community safety message is now award-winning! The City of Surprise Lock It or Lose It took top honors at the National Association of Telecommunications Officers & Advisors (NATOA) Government Programming Awards, held two weeks ago in Seattle, Washington. Lock It or Lose It placed first in the Public Service Announcement (PSA) category (Operating Budget Under $200,000).
The campaign was created by our Marketing and Communications team to support the Surprise Police Department’s efforts to reduce theft from vehicles. The PSA features a would-be thief trying to open several vehicles in a parking lot and in two cases the doors are unlocked and the thief is then seen casually walking away with his stolen goods. The campaign, first launched in 2007, was recently updated to introduce this important message to a new audience and remind the public that they are the “key” to preventing this type of crime.
Approximately 60 percent of all thefts from vehicles are the result of people leaving their car doors unlocked or leaving items of value in the car where would-be thieves can easily spot them. The message- if thieves can see it, they will steal it. By simply locking the doors of your vehicle and by taking valuable items with you or hiding them in a locked trunk, you can dramatically reduce the risk of being a crime victim.
You can view the PSA and learn more about Lock It or Lose It at www.surpriseaz.gov/lockit. See the list of NATOA Award winners at www.natoa.org. To report a crime or suspicious activity, call Surprise Police at 623.222.4000. If an emergency or dangerous situation, dial 911.
Surprise Community & Recreation Services Receives National Accreditation
The City of Surprise Community & Recreation Services (CRS) Department has received accreditation by the National Recreation and Parks Association. The Association recognized Surprise’s efforts to provide high quality parks and recreation services and experience to its residents and visitors.
The Commission for Accreditation of Park and Recreation Agencies (CAPRA) has issued a five-year accreditation to the city’s Community & Recreation Services Department after meeting more than 140 standards ranging from hiring practices to marketing techniques, from park planning to program implementation. The application and accreditation process was intensive, lasting more than 14 months. The final step was a hearing through the commission earlier this month.
The public will benefit from the accreditation by knowing that the city is adhering to best practices in the field of parks, facilities and programs. It also shows partners, potential funders and the public that Surprise operates under such standards. Congratulations, CRS!
Many of you have been inquiring about the recent press release pertaining the Truth in Taxation Hearing Notice that was distributed on Friday, May 26 (See Press Release). The city is required by state law to post annually a Truth in Taxation Notice. The verbiage is very specific and may lead to confusion. To clarify, the city is not raising property taxes. The City Council can only set the property tax rate, which we have agreed will remain at $0.7591 per $100 of assessed limited property value for the upcoming year.
The Truth in Taxation statement is showing the results of applying the same rate to the latest assessed limited property values for the city. The average assessed limited property value, as determined by the Maricopa County Assessor, increased by 3.7%. Applying this same rate to the new assessed limited property values results in the 3.7% increase in the amount referred to the aforementioned statement. While the rate is not increasing, the assessed property values are.
You are invited to attend and speak at the June 6 Regular City Council Meeting, 6 p.m. at Surprise City Hall, should you have any comments on this topic. At that meeting, Council will vote on our intention to levy primary property taxes in the amount of $0.7591 per $100 of assessed valuation and set the property tax levy adoption for the June 20 Council Meeting.
I have also been receiving inquiries about the construction occurring at Bell Road and Civic Center Drive. The property is known as Thompson Thrift which consists of a 9-acre small retail center that will include Raising Canes and In & Out Burger.
Civic Center Drive Expansion
Road construction to extend Civic Center Drive to one lane in each direction between Paradise Lane and Bell Road is scheduled to begin next month. When complete in September 2017, the much anticipated roadway will provide direct connection to Surprise City Hall from Bell Road. As development occurs adjacent to the roadway, there are plans to fully build Civic Center Drive to two lanes in each direction with a center median and sidewalks.
Events & Meetings
Memorial Day Activities
Last weekend, I was honored to participate in multiple Memorial Day events including the following:
Wreath laying ceremony at the WWII Memorial outside the Northwest Regional Library coordinated by the City of Surprise Community and Recreation Services Department in partnership with American Legion Post 96 and the Marine Corps League White Tank Mountain Detachment #1246
Wreath laying ceremony at the Nick Bacon Memorial located at City Hall that was hosted by VFW Post 285 led by Commander Glen Stark
The Sun Village Memorial Day Remembrance led by resident Tomas Garcia and a host of volunteers
6th Annual Memorial Day Ceremony at Radiant Church organized and coordinated by the Veterans Memorial Hall Committee led by Larry Brown and George Van de Langeryt. This particular ceremony included a tribute to Bill Lipscomb who was instrumental in the planning of ceremonies in years past.
Review of Appointed Officials’ Goals
Councilman John Williams and I met to review and discuss the FY18 goals of the City Manager, City Clerk and City Attorney. The final edition of said goals will be forwarded to the rest of City Council for review and discussion in Executive Session at the City Council meeting scheduled for Tuesday, June 6.
Surprise Police Department Celebration of Gail Kuhn
The Surprise Police Department hosted a retirement celebration honoring Community Services Officer (CSO) Gail Kuhn on Wednesday, May 31. CSO Kuhn began employment with the Surprise Fire Department in January 2005 and joined the Surprise Police Department in June 2009. CSO Kuhn received many commendations throughout her employment and also received the Police Department “Civilian of the Year” award in 2012.
Mark Your Calendar
Valley Metro to Host Dial-a-Ride Transition Public Meeting
The city of Surprise, in partnership with Valley Metro, will host a public outreach meeting on Wednesday, June 14 to provide current Northwest Valley Dial-a-Ride passengers an opportunity to learn about the new transportation service models prior to the July 1 transition of Dial-a-Ride to RideChoice and Valley Metro Paratransit.
Information about the shared route Senior Bus will also be presented at the meeting. Following the presentation, city and Valley Metro representatives will be available to answer questions about the transportation services.
Individuals needing reasonable accommodations should contact the ADA coordinator at 623.222.3531 (Voice); or 623.222.3503 (TTY) at least three (3) business days prior to the meeting so arrangements can be made.
The outreach meeting will be held in the Surprise City Hall Community Room, 16000 N. Civic Center Plaza, on June 14 from 4:00-5:30 p.m. A brief presentation will begin at 4 p.m. Customers unable to attend the meeting can stay informed about the Dial-a-Ride service changes by visiting www.surpriseaz.gov/transportation.
Share Your Thoughts on Arts & Culture Master Plan
The city in the process of developing an Arts and Culture Master Plan that will set the standard and strategic direction for how we continue to implement and enjoy arts and culture. We are asking for your help in shaping that plan, and there are several opportunities to do that!
Tuesday, June 6
Marley Park Heritage Club, 15210 W Sweetwater Avenue
Tuesday, June 6
Surprise City Hall – Community Room, 16000 N Civic Center Plaza
Wednesday, June 7
Sonoran Plaza at Sun City Grand – Palms Room, 19753 N Remington Drive
Thursday, June 8
Surprise City Hall – Community Room, 16000 N Civic Center Plaza
The survey results and public input meetings will help us create a draft Arts and Culture Master Plan that will be presented to the community, the Surprise Arts and Cultural Advisory Commission and the Surprise City Council for review and feedback.
The city of Surprise is a Heat Relief Network partner, providing hydration and refuge stations for those in need of a place to cool off during the hot summer months. The Maricopa Association of Governments (MAG) coordinates mapping of the Heat Relief Network – a network of service providers, faith-based groups, municipalities, businesses, and caring citizens mobilizing to provide hydration and heat refuge for people in need. The ultimate goal of the Heat Relief Network is to help prevent heat-related deaths. The Heat Relief Network will run from May through September.
Designated hydration stations in Surprise include the Surprise Resource Center, 12425 W Bell Road Building A Suite 124, and Surprise Fire-Medical Station #301 (FS 301), 16750 N Village Drive East. FS 301 is also a place of refuge to cool off during the day. You can help those in need of relief by donating water bottles, sun screen, sun glasses and hats at either of the heat relief locations.
City Seeking Donations for Homeless
Surprise has partnered with the Valley of the Sun United Way, the Salvation Army and Rio Salado Community College to bring Project Connect to Surprise on Wednesday, July 26 and we need your help to make this humanitarian event a success! Project Connect works with organizations to provide a broad range of vital health and human services such as applying for birth certificates, getting social security cards, haircuts, bicycle repair, and meals, in a single accessible location.
You can help by donating items listed below in one of the designated boxes at City Hall, 16000 N Civic Center Plaza; Surprise Police Department or Surprise Fire-Medical Department, 14250 W Statler Plaza; or at the Surprise Senior Center, 15832 N Hollyhock Street, by 5 p.m. on Tuesday, July 25.
Here are the requested donations:
New underwear & new socks
General hygiene products (toothpaste, toothbrush, combs, brushes, soap, deodorant)
Are you interested in volunteering at this deserving event? Volunteers will serve as Guest Guides and will be partnered with homeless individuals and families to lead them to and from each service professional. View the United Way Project Connect Volunteer Overview video to learn more about being a volunteer.
Guest Guides must be at least 18 years old. Morning, afternoon or full-day shifts are available; volunteers will be asked to report to the Salvation Army, 17420 Ave of the Arts, Surprise. Select a shift and sign up on the United Way Project Connect Surprise event page. Please contact Jason Hughes, firstname.lastname@example.org if you have questions about the event.
Pure Physique PilateZ and Reflexion Medical Rejuvenation Ribbon Cutting
I attended the grand opening and ribbon cutting for the Pure Physique PilateZ Studio and Reflexion Medical Rejuvenation Center on Thursday, April 20. The Center is located at 14815 W. Bell Road. Pure Physique PilateZ offers a variation of pilates equipment and a full barre studio. Reflexion Medical Rejuvenation offers IV nutrition, anti-aging, injury management, medical weight loss and much more. Welcome to District 5!
Surprise Police Department Annual Appreciation Celebration
The Surprise Police Department held their annual Police Appreciation Celebration on Friday, April 21, 2017 at Christ’s Church of the Valley (CCV) in Surprise. The theme for this year’s event was “The Thin Blue Line – the line between order and chaos.” Police Department employees and family members, along with City Directors and their families and Councilman Roland Winters and I joined together to show appreciation for and to recognize employees and volunteers of the Surprise Police Department who, through their commitment to excellence, have helped make the Department what it is today.
Chief Terry Young expressed his sincere appreciation for the hard work, professionalism, and dedication of the employees and volunteers to the Police Department and to the City of Surprise. Dr. Dennis J. Tyner, Vice President and Provost of Ottawa University AZ, was the Master of Ceremonies. The 2016 award winners were as follows:
Civilian of the Year – Yolanda Zamora; Supervisor of the Year – Jennifer Guthrie; Officer of the Year – Tyler Johnson; Rookie of the Year – Michelle Cain; Detective of the Year – Kristy Coats; Citizens Patrol Volunteer of the Year – James Gearns; Volunteer of the Year – Tina Jennings; Medal of Merit – Russell Jurn; Police Shield – Adam Layton; Lifesaving Award – Joanna Massimillo-Vallet.
WHAM Recycle Arts Festival
WHAM Art Association hosted their Recycle Arts Fest: Exhibit & Fashion Show on Saturday, April 22 at WHAM Community Art Center, 16560 N. Dysart Road. The free neighborhood event was well attended and included a Recycle Arts Exhibit and Eco Styles Fashion Show. Thank you to WHAM’s Executive Director, Connie Whitlock, and her team for having this event each year!
Surprise Regional Chamber of Commerce Meeting
The Surprise Regional Chamber of Commerce held their monthly breakfast meeting on Tuesday, April 25. The meeting included a panel discussion on Economic Development led by featured speaker and moderator Jim Rounds. Economic Development Director Jeanine Jerkovic served as a panelist. Discussion surrounded how cities have been prioritizing economic development opportunities with limited financial resources and how the West Valley cities are taking a regional approach to attracting companies and jobs.
Mark Your Calendar
Surprise Police Explorers Fundraising Event
The Surprise Police Explorer Post #2236 is partnering with a local business, Chipotle, for an upcoming fund raising event. The event will be held at Chipotle, 13869 West Bell Road in Surprise, on Friday, April 28 from 5 – 9 p.m.
Please remember to bring in a copy of the flyer (view flyer) or show a copy of the flyer on your smart phone or other electronic device in order to help the Explorers raise money (50% of the proceeds will be donated to the Surprise Police Explorers).
Chipotle is located on the southeast corner of Litchfield Road and Bell Road in Surprise.
Surprise Super Swap Meet
Come shop at the semiannual Surprise Super Swap Meet on Saturday, April 29. More than 50 vendors will have new and used treasures on display from 8 a.m. – 1 p.m. in the parking lot of the Surprise Aquatics Center, located at 15831 N. Bullard Avenue. Parking and admission are free.
The Surprise Swap Meet is sponsored by the Human Service & Community Vitality Department and the Surprise Senior Center Site Council. For more information, please call 623.222.1500.
Surprise Safety Day
Join us for Surprise Safety Day on Saturday, May 6! It’s a fun, interactive and educational event focused on the city’s public safety services, water safety and more! The event will be held from 8-11 a.m. at the Surprise Aquatic Center, 15831 N Bullard Avenue, and will showcase emergency vehicles and equipment and feature interactive exhibits and live demonstrations on water safety, CPR and the city’s public safety services.
The Surprise Aquatic Center will be conducting free swim lesson assessments and swim team tryouts during the event. Participants are encouraged to bring a bathing suit and towel; the pool is heated.
Surprise Safety Day is hosted by the Surprise Aquatic Center in partnership with the Surprise Police and Fire-Medical departments and is presented by Banner Del E. Webb Medical Center. For more information about Safety Day, swim lesson assessments or swim team tryouts, please contact the Community and Recreation Services office at 623.222.2000.
Did You Know?
2017 General Obligation Bond Election
The Surprise Capital Improvement Funding Exploratory Committee met on April 19. The Committee was briefed by city staff on proposed capital improvement projects that may be included in three separate bond questions this fall.
Staff will present the proposed projects to City Council in a May Work Session. Pending Council approval, a Call to Election vote would be scheduled at a Regular Meeting in June. If approved, Surprise voters would decide on three possible General Obligation Bond questions in the areas of Public Safety, Traffic Congestion Mitigation and Pavement Preservation in a mail-ballot only Special Election on November 7, 2017.
Proposed Question #1: Voters in Surprise are asked to consider a $35 million public safety bond proposal to: build a Public Safety Evidence & Readiness Center; renovate an existing city facility into a Police Training Facility; acquire Land for Future Fire Station/Police Substation/ & Park; build a new Fire Station at Cactus and Litchfield roads; build a new Fire Station along 163rd Avenue, south of Happy Valley Road, to replace the current temporary station; and build a Public Works Operations Facility to centralize operations. The annual cost for a homeowner would be approximately $29 per $100,000 in Limited Property Value (LPV).
Proposed Question #2: Voters in Surprise are asked to consider a $22.9 million street bond proposal to provide funds to plan, design, construct and improve Waddell, Greenway, Litchfield and Cactus roads. The annual cost for a homeowner would be approximately $19 per $100,000 in Limited Property Value (LPV).
Proposed Question #3: Voters in Surprise are asked to consider a $24 million street pavement preservation bond proposal to plan, design, construct, replace and improve deteriorated street pavement citywide. The annual cost for a homeowner would be approximately $20 per $100,000 in Limited Property Value (LPV).
City Council Work Sessions begin at 4 p.m. and Regular Meetings begin at 6 p.m. They are open to the public and carried live on Surprise TV and online www.surpriseaz.gov/surprise11. All meeting agendas are posted online at least 24 hours ahead of the meeting at www.surpriseaz.gov.
2017 Surprise Retail Survey Results
The City of Surprise launched a retail survey in March that garnered more than 3,000 responses!
Thanks to our engaged community, we were able to collect data that helped to identify the city’s retail strengths, as well as opportunities to bring additional amenities closer to home.
The Surprise Police Department held a promotional ceremony on March 23, 2017 to recognize the promotions of Lieutenant Norman Owens, Sergeant Michael Jalbert and Property and Evidence Supervisor Sarah Welch.
Lieutenant Norman Owens began his law enforcement career in 1996 with the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office (MCSO). Throughout his service with MCSO, Norm served as a detention officer, patrol deputy, and a narcotics detective with the MCSO Special Investigations Division. Lieutenant Owens joined the Surprise Police Department in 2001 and has served as the Off-Duty/Training Coordinator, Field Training Officer, Detective, Training Unit Officer, Sergeant, Detective Sergeant, and most recently as the Department’s Public Information Officer.
Sergeant Michael Jalbert joined the Surprise Police Department in August of 2005 and has served as a Patrol Officer, Field Training Officer and Detective. Sergeant Jalbert is currently serving as a Field Training Officer and is on the Department’s SWAT team.
Sarah Welch began employment with the Police Department in February 2007 and has been an integral part of the Property and Evidence Unit for the past 9 years. Sarah was instrumental in the implementation of the Department’s gun trade-in program and the electronic barcode evidence tracking system.
Congratulations to all of them on their promotions!
Cal Ripken Day at Surprise Stadium
Surprise Stadium hosted a parade for our city’s Cal Ripken players on Saturday, March 25 prior to the regularly scheduled spring training game. This is one of my favorite events every year as it provides Council an opportunity to welcome the players for another season. This year, there are 140 teams, 1,800 participants and 350 volunteer coaches. Thank you to Paul Frie, Community and Recreation Services Recreation Division Manager and Arizona Cal Ripken Commissioner, and his team for their work each year putting together this successful program!
National League of Cities Debrief
I met with staff on Monday, March 27 for a post-trip debrief on the National League of Cities Conference in Washington D.C. In addition to the sessions attended by staff and Councilmembers, we had a series of highly productive meetings aimed at accomplishing several objectives. Some of those objectives included the request of support from our Congressional representatives for opportunities related to funding the transportation needs of our growing city and collaborating to identify ways to meet transit and transportation needs in Surprise in a fiscally pragmatic manner.
In order to continue the conversation relative to transit and transportation needs in Surprise, Council will consider a request in the FY18 budget discussions to fund a demand study which will identify both transit demands and appropriate solutions to meet those demands. This item will be considered along with the other requests for funding in the coming fiscal year.
Surprise Regional Chamber of Commerce Monthly Breakfast Meeting
Councilmembers Jim Hayden, Ken Remley and I attended the Surprise Regional Chamber of Commerce monthly breakfast meeting on Tuesday, March 28. Scott Phillips, Vice President of Carefree Partners Investments, provided an update on City Center. The goal of Carefree Partners, in partnership with the City, is to create a downtown, walkable city center from scratch.
A project of this caliber will take patience and perseverance as we try to build the right mix of commerce, culture, recreation, entertainment, ingenuity and energy. Retail trends have changed due to the popularity of online shopping, and we are diligently working on an ever changing model. The future downtown will include major employment, Ottawa University, dense residential living, a multitude of entertainment and food options plus much more. In summary, this is a very unique public private partnership for a project of this size in the state, if not the entire country.
Surprise Literacy Challenge
The Surprise Literacy Challenge this year utilized partnerships with Surprise Friends of the Library and the local branch of the Maricopa County Library District to bring an engaging program to the 4th, 5th, and 6th grade students from Surprise. Through the use of bingo cards with 25 various challenges, students were engaged in literacy in many new and unique ways beyond just reading a book.
Ten schools participated this year with more than 2,200 students taking part of the challenge. I’m happy to report that the winners are Arizona Charter Academy’s 4th grade class led by Mrs. Wernet, Cimarron Springs’ 5th grade class led by Ms. Mohaupt and Kingswood Park Elementary’s 6th grade class led by Ms. Johnson. Congratulations!
Celebrating Expansion in Surprise
Luv 2 Play hosted a grand opening celebration on Wednesday, March 29 with a ribbon cutting ceremony, face painting, balloon artists and much more! Luv 2 Play is an indoor playground and arcade for children ages 0-12. They also have menu options for parents and kids alike! For more information, please visit http://luv2play.com/surprise/.
Christopher Todd Communities broke ground at the future Christopher Todd Communities on Greenway project. The area is located on the southwest corner of Greenway and Litchfield roads. This project will offer 136 one and two-bedroom private rental residences with a gated entry, charming detached homes with front and backyards, optional detached garages, community park with a pet washing station and a community pool. There will be 56 one-bedroom and 80 larger two-bedroom floor plans.
Mark Your Calendar
Household Hazardous Waste Collection
If you’ve been holding on to unwanted paint, electronics and other hazardous waste; mark your calendar for the City’s next Household Hazardous Waste Collection Event on 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.
Acceptable items list:
Antifreeze, car batteries, motor oil, gasoline, diesel and fuel additives
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!
The 2017 Taste of Surprise 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.
Did You Know?
Greenway Road – Litchfield Road Intersection Improvement Work to Begin
Drivers can expect lane restrictions around the intersection of Litchfield and Greenway roads from March 30 through May 8 as crews perform utility work and correct a dip in the intersection.
A full closure of the intersection is planned for the final weekend of the project. The intersection will close Friday, May 5 at 9 p.m. and reopen Monday, May 8 at 5 a.m.
This work will complete the final phase of the Greenway Road Improvement Project. Last summer, the city completed the widening portion of the Greenway Road project between Litchfield Road and Bullard Avenue; the project also included landscaped medians, drainage improvements and sidewalks.
The Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) continues to issue project updates for the Bell Road/Grand Avenue bridge project. Please note that the project has entered the third and final stage through late February 2017.
Work continues on the following:
Reconstructing eastbound Grand Avenue. Paving anticipated to begin this week.
Installing curb and sidewalk along eastbound Grand Avenue
Spreading landscape rock along westbound Grand Avenue
City, County, and State law enforcement will be patrolling the area. Please obey all traffic signage and posted speed limits.
For more information or if you have questions: ADOT’s project hotline (855) 712-8530, press option #1 or email: email@example.com
City Council Meeting
Mayor and Councilmembers Take Oath of Office
City Clerk Sherry Aguilar administered the Oath of Office for Mayor Sharon Wolcott, Councilmember Jim Hayden (District 2), Councilmember John Williams (District 3) and Councilmember Ken Remley (District 4), all of whom were elected in the August 2016 Primary Election. Each official was sworn to a four-year term. Congratulations to all!
Reporting Authority of City Attorney
After a healthy discussion, City Council voted to repeal Ordinance #2015-24 with respect to the reporting authority of the City Attorney. In June 2015, the majority of City Council voted to change the reporting structure of the City Attorney from the City Council to the City Manager. With the repeal, the City Council will resume the reporting authority of the City Attorney.
Neighborhood Grant Program Recommendations
The Surprise Neighborhood Grant Program was designed to increase community engagement, resident interest and involvement within the city. The Committee on Community Outreach, Partnerships and Grants recently reviewed the second round of applications and made funding recommendations to the full City Council. The Committee made the recommendations to approve an application for Benevilla for their Surprise Community Garden in the amount of $1,485 and an application from WHAM for their Recycled Arts Festival in the amount of $3,975. City Council unanimously approved the specified awards. The first round of awards went to Marley Park HOA for their Veterans Commemorative Plaza ($3,000) and Sanalina HOA for water conservation efforts and playground equipment ($3,000).
Worker’s Compensation Internal Service Fund
The City is now poised to transition to a self-insured and self-administered worker’s compensation program. The transition will require the recruitment and hiring of one full-time position. The total program implementation cost is $800,000 but the city will realize substantial savings by offsetting policy premiums by increasing risk tolerance. With the implantation, we will save $2.1 million dollars over the next three fiscal years.
Events & Meetings
Sierra Verde Self Storage Citizen Outreach Meeting
The city hosted a Citizen Outreach meeting at the Residence Inn on Wednesday, December 28. The meeting was held to obtain residents’ input on a proposed storage facility that would be located on 5.24 acres north of the Fry’s development along Litchfield Road. I attended the meeting to listen to resident feedback in advance of consideration by the City Council.
Mark Your Calendar
Lunchtime Theatre “Sound of Music”
West Valley Arts Council, Theater Works, West Valley Symphony and Phoenix Opera have partnered for the Lunchtime Theatre series. On January 12, 2017, the performance of Sound of Music is scheduled at 11:30 am and again at 1:30 am at the Arts HQ (16126 N. Civic Center Plaza). Attendees are welcome to bring their own lunch or they can pre-order one from the City Café.
Veteran Job Club
The next meeting of the Veteran Job Club is scheduled for January 12, 2017 at 6 p.m. at the Surprise Resource Center located at the AZ TechCelerator, 12425 W. Bell Road, Suite 124. The Veteran Job Club provides veterans, active military and their family members with industry and career pathway knowledge to help them gain the skills they need for job employment or to pursue a new career.
Surprise Police host Shred-a-Thon and Drug Take Back
The Surprise Police Department will host a Shred-a-Thon and Drug Take Back Event on Saturday, January 21, 2017 from 7 until 10 am. This event will be held at the Surprise Public Safety Building located at 14250 West Statler Plaza.
During the event, the public will be able to bring up to 3 boxes of documents, per vehicle, to be shredded. Additionally, unused prescription and over-the-counter medications can be brought and dropped off for destruction. There is no cost for the shredding of documents or destruction of medications.
Please note that we are unable to accept sharps (to include insulin syringes/needles) or inhalers of any kind. Additionally, the shredding event will continue until 10am or until the shred trucks have been filled up.
Did You Know?
Surprise Service Event
In honor of the life and work of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., the city of Surprise, in partnership with APS and the Northwest Black History Committee, is hosting a day of celebration and service on Saturday, January 14, 2017. A program celebrating Dr. King’s life will begin at 9 a.m. in the outside courtyard at Surprise City Hall, located at 16000 N Civic Center Plaza. It will feature a keynote address by Colonel Richard Toliver, retired USAF, author and renowned speaker with ties to the King family. Emceeing the program will be Steve Irvin, Emmy award-winning journalist and anchor of ABC15 News. Come early, and enjoy a free breakfast at 8:30 a.m. Breakfast is limited to the first 500 attendees.
Following the program, at 9:45 a.m., volunteers will be sent out into the community to complete service projects that include food sorting, painting, landscaping, trash collection and more. Projects will last approximately 1-4 hours. There is still plenty of time to sign up and serve!
How to get involved:
Individuals/Families – Join us for the breakfast, the program and the day of service! If you can only attend the service project portion of the day, please arrive at 9:45 a.m. to receive an assignment. Advanced registration is not required.
Groups – If you plan on bringing your group/club/congregation and would like to participate in the service projects, please RSVP your group name and estimated number of people to Ervin Cutwright at Ervin.Cutwright@surpriseaz.gov.
Sponsorships – If your business or organization would like to help sponsor the event, please contact Christina Ramirez at Christina.Ramirez@surpriseaz.gov to hear about opportunities available.
The Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) continues to issue project updates for the Bell Road/Grand Avenue bridge project. Please note that the project has entered the third and final stage beginning November 22 through late February 2017. Phase 3C includes the following:
No direct access to Bell Road until late February 2017. The Bell-Grand interchange ramps are inaccessible until the end of construction. Motorists needing to access Grand Avenue from Bell Road will need to use the revised designated detour route.
Grand Avenue will continue to be reduced to 2 lanes in each direction from Litchfield to Dysart roads until Late February 2017.
Business access along Grand Avenue to/from Surprise Towne Center and Surprise Marketplace maintained at the signalized intersections at Towne Center and Bell Grande drives.
Access from US 60 (Grand Avenue) between Litchfield Road and Dysart Road available via detour route at Reems Road and Dysart Road.
Open to traffic
Currently, work continues on the following:
Painting Bell Road Bridge
Reconstructing eastbound Grand Avenue
**City, County, and State law enforcement will be patrolling the area. Please obey all traffic signage and posted speed limits.**
Events & Meetings
Bell Road Reopening
The Arizona Department of Transportation officially opened the new Bell Road Bridge at Grand Avenue at 12:15 a.m. on November 22. To commemorate the reopening and thank the area businesses, residents and drivers for their patience during the seven-month closure of Bell Road, the city hosted a pre-celebration on Monday, November 21 in the Surprise Marketplace parking lot.
Representatives from the Arizona Department of Transportation and the Surprise Regional Chamber of Commerce spoke at the event that was also attended by neighboring elected officials, residents and local businesses. As a “thank you” for supporting the businesses around the Bell and Grand intersection attendees received Surprise shopping bags, filled with vendor coupons and promotional items. A perfect reminder to Shop Surprise this holiday season!
The entire Bell-Grand project, included the ramps connecting Grand Avenue to Bell Road, is scheduled to be complete prior to Spring Training 2017 at the Surprise Recreation Campus. In the meantime, your Bell to Grand Avenue access remains on Dysart Road, east of the intersection and Bell to Reems to Grand, west of the intersection.
Valley Metro Audit & Finance Subcommittee
The Valley Metro Audit & Finance Subcommittee met on Monday, November 28 to discuss applicants for the Chief Financial Officer position. The subcommittee will make a recommendation to the full Valley Metro Board this month.
Surprise Regional Chamber of Commerce Monthly
Council Members Jim Hayden, Todd Tande and I attended the Surprise Regional Chamber of Commerce monthly breakfast meeting on Tuesday, November 29. Brigadier General Brook J. Leonard of Luke AFB was the keynote speaker and provided a thorough update on Luke AFB and the economic impact the Base brings to Arizona and the plans to bring more F35s here.
Mark Your Calendar
15th Annual Surprise Party
Celebrate with the City of Surprise at the 15th Annual Surprise Party this weekend at the Surprise Recreation Campus! This fun-filled event offers a variety of activities and entertainment experiences, and admission is free with a canned food or toy donation benefiting Sanderson Ford Operation Santa Claus. The schedule, subject to change, is as follows:
Friday, December 2 (5 p.m. – 9 p.m.) will include a hot air balloon glow; Arizona Skyhawks Skydivers; a traditional tree lighting ceremony; great food; live musical performances from “Steven P. Project,” “Nothin’ but a Party Band” and “Gonzology”; and fireworks. Plus, Santa’s Workshop, presented by Palm Valley Pediatric Dentistry, offers a free opportunity for youth of all ages to visit with Santa and Mrs. Claus while enjoying arts and crafts, cookies, and fun!
5 – 7 p.m. – Musical performances by “Steven P. Project” and “Nothin’ but a Party Band”
7 – 7:15 p.m. – Tree Lighting Ceremony
7:15 – 8:45 p.m. – Musical performances by “Gonzology” and “Nothin’ but a Party Band”; Festive Balloon Glow
8:45 – 8:55 p.m. – Night time Skydivers
8:55 – 9 p.m. – “Party in the Sky” Fireworks
Friday’s event will be held at the Surprise Recreation Campus – Stadium Plaza, located at 15850 N. Bullard Avenue. Fireworks will begin approximately at 8:55 p.m.
Saturday, December 3 (11 a.m. – 5 p.m.) will include an arts and crafts festival, classic car show, interactive games, camel rides, a petting zoo, clowns, face painters, inflatables, carnival, gingerbread house contest and much more! Throughout the day, enjoy a variety of entertainment, including performances by the City of Surprise Dance programs and this year’s new attraction – “Robosaurus” the world’s largest car-crushing robot. Event activities and attractions may include a nominal fee. Concessions will be available for purchase.
11 – 11:15 a.m. – The 15th Annual Surprise Party kickoff
11:15 – 12:30 p.m. – City of Surprise – Special Interest Class Performance Groups
1 – 2:45 p.m. – “Gonzology” musical performance
3 – 5 p.m. – “Steppin’ Into Tomorrow” musical performance
Saturday’s events will be held at the Surprise Recreation Campus – 8 Acres Park, north of Surprise Stadium.
For additional event information, please contact the Surprise Community and Recreation Services Department at 623.222.2000 or visit www.surpriseaz.gov/specialevents.
AZ TechCelerator Holiday Open House
Check out the latest tech wonders evolving at the city’s business incubator on Thursday, December 8, at the AZ TechCelerator campus and enter for a chance to win some tech devices! The AZ TechCelerator’s “Tech the Halls” Holiday Open House runs from 5–7 p.m., Dec. 8, at 12425 W. Bell Road. This is an excellent opportunity to look at latest advancements from Surprise’s technology start-ups, including electric vehicle conversions, water desalination, and electric skateboards, all in a joyful setting of holiday music, comfort food, and warm coffee.
A raffle will be held at 6:30 p.m. for those who complete a special scavenger hunt, with tech giveaways ranging from a Fitbit Charge 2, Google Home, an Xbox One and more!
Since 2009, the AZ TechCelerator has fostered local start-ups, resulting in 16 businesses, over 200 jobs graduated, and a local Google corporate office. This year, the AZ TechCelerator reached worldwide with its Global Concierge Services program, which helps international businesses establish local operations in Surprise and has so far generated more than 300 additional community jobs.
Did You Know?
Surprise Park-and-Ride Returns to Bell & Grand Location
The pick-up and drop-off locations for bus route 571 – Surprise Express will relocate to the Surprise Park-and-Ride, 13327 W. Bell Road, effective December 5! The Park-and-Ride was temporarily located at DreamCatcher Park due to the construction activity related to the Bell Road/Grand Avenue interchange project.
For more information, please contact Valley Metro Customer Service at 602.253.5000.
Surprise Police Department Completes Accreditation Process
Chief Terry Young recently announced Surprise Police Department has once again successfully completed a multi-year process designed to recognize professionalism in law enforcement through achievement of accredited status with the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies, Inc. (CALEA®).
The Surprise Police Department received their initial accreditation on November 17, 2007, and received two subsequent reaccreditations in November of 2010 and 2013. On November 5, 2016, the Surprise Police Department was awarded their third reaccreditation from CALEA, and fourth overall award.
The purpose and mission of CALEA is two-fold. First, to establish a body of standards designed to increase agency efficiency and effectiveness in the delivery of public safety services; and second, to establish and administer a series of credentialing programs through which public safety agencies can demonstrate voluntarily that they meet an established set of internationally recognized law enforcement standards leading to excellence in management and service delivery.
The CALEA Accreditation Process, itself, is a proven management model. Some of the benefits that law enforcement agencies receive as a result of their accredited status with CALEA include:
Validation that policies comply with professionally developed law enforcement standards,
Scheduled review process for policies to ensure SPD continues to employ and develop progressive policies that reflect best practices in law enforcement,
Promotion of fair recruitment, selection, and promotional processes,
Enhanced administrative and operational efficiency and effectiveness,
Advanced capability to generate reports and analyses to make informed management decisions,
Higher level of accountability by Department members at all levels,
Reduction of liability and risk exposure, and
Greater public confidence in the agency and its members.
The CALEA Accreditation Process has proven to be of great benefit to both the agency and the community. It requires that the agency conform to procedures that are consistent with internationally recognized, progressive law enforcement standards. This is the foundation for competent, responsible, and ethical service to the public. It also requires the agency to take a thorough, introspective look at its mission, objectives, and operation. The Surprise Police Department voluntarily participates in the law enforcement accreditation process, and will continue to do so into the future.
The Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) continues to issue weekly project updates for the Bell Road/Grand Avenue bridge project. Bell Road will remain closed between 134th Avenue and West Point Parkway until November 22, pending weather conditions and other unforeseen factors that may affect the target date.
Work continues as follows:
Build Grand Avenue retaining walls connecting to the Bell Road bridge.
Install sidewalk and hand railing on new bridge.
Reconstruct eastbound Grand Avenue.
Complete the retaining wall panels on the bridge over Grand Avenue.
City, County, and State law enforcement will be patrolling the area. Please obey all traffic signage and posted speed limits.
As always, please allow plenty of time and observe all traffic control signs and barricades. Thank you again for your patience during this project. For more information, please visit the project website at www.azdot.gov/bellandgrand or you can contact ADOT’s project hotline at Kyl Center Leaders 855.712.8530, press option #1.
Events & Meetings
Surprise Police Promotion Ceremony
The Surprise Police Department held a ceremony in the City Council Chambers on September 22 to honor the promotions of Commander James Jackson and Sergeant Terri Calabrese-Kopronica. Commander Jackson joined the Surprise Police Department in September 2013, and Sergeant Calabrese-Kopronica joined the Department in August 2008. Congratulations to the both of them!
KB Homes Ribbon Cutting
On September 22, KB Homes had a ribbon cutting for their new Villas at Sycamore Farms. Mayor Wolcott, Councilmembers Roland Winters, Todd Tande and I took part and welcomed KB Homes to the community located near Cactus Road and Loop 303.
Kyl Center for Water Policy – Leaders Roundtable
I attended the Kyl Center Leaders Roundtable at ASU SkySong on September 23. The keynote speakers were Kathryn Sorensen, Director of City of Phoenix Water Services, and Susan Craig, Communications Director for the Water Infrastructure Finance Authority of Arizona. Ms. Sorenson spoke about infrastructure challenges facing the city of Phoenix related to water and wastewater. Ms. Craig explained infrastructure financing options available to municipalities.
Arts and Cultural Advisory Commission Breakfast
On Saturday, September 24, I attended the Surprise Arts and Cultural Advisory Commission breakfast. Kristen Pierce with the Arizona Commission on the Arts was the speaker and facilitated a discussion on how arts organizations can be more collaborative. Other attendees included members of the Arts and Cultural Advisory Commission, WHAM, West Valley Arts Council, Arts HQ and the art teacher from Paradise Honors High School.
General Obligation Bond Election Discussion at Sun Village
I participated in a community meeting at Sun Village on Monday, September 26. The city’s Economic Development Director, Jeanine Jerkovic, gave an update on economic development and City Manager Bob Wingenroth presented on the upcoming $63 million General Obligation Bond Election. He explained the projects and the cost of the bond to residents, should it be approved by the voters. You can learn about the projects, costs and more at www.surpriseaz.gov/surpriseforward.
Surprise Regional Chamber of Commerce Breakfast Meeting
The Surprise Regional Chamber of Commerce breakfast meeting was held September 27 at The Colonnade. The five candidates for the AZ Corporation Commission participated in a candidate’s forum. Arizona will hold an election for Corporation Commission on November 8. Three seats are up for election. Additionally, City Manager Bob Wingenroth gave a presentation on the General Obligation Bond Election.
Mark Your Calendar
Emergency Preparedness Fair – Oct. 1
The Surprise Police and Fire-Medical Departments are teaming up with other local organizations to host an Emergency Preparedness Fair this Saturday, October 1! Join us from 9 a.m. to noon at the Home Depot located at 13760 W Bell Rd. in Surprise.
There will be ham radio demos, 72-hour emergency kits, activities for kids, fire truck and police car displays and more!
Participating agencies and organizations include: Surprise Fire Department, Surprise Police Department, Surprise Citizen Corps, Surprise Crisis Response Team, Surprise Community Response Team, West Valley Amateur Radio Club and Chance Pet Shelter.
Household Hazardous Waste Event – Oct. 8
If you’ve been holding on to unwanted paint, electronics and other hazardous waste, mark your calendar for the City’s next Household Hazardous Waste Collection Event on October 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.
The fall 2016 volume of Progress Magazine is out! Much of the magazine is dedicated to informing you about the upcoming $63 million General Obligation Bond Election. It has details on each of the 9 proposed projects, the cost of the bond to you if it is approved by the voters, and what you’ll see on the ballot.
This issue also includes upcoming art experiences, an update on the Bell-Grand bridge project and the fall events calendar!
Construction at the Bell Road/Grand Avenue interchange continues to progress. This past week, work included the following:
Installation of storm drain and sewer main on Bell Road east of 134th Drive
Installation of gas line in new alignment of 134th Avenue
Preparation to pave and form the curb/gutters to build the east side of Grand Ave
Building of the bridge columns and support beams on the east side of Grand Ave
Relocation and installation of utilities on Bell Road and Grand Ave
Utility work on 134th Drive began on Tuesday, May 17th and is expected to last through Friday, May 20th. The utility work will merit additional traffic control and possible delays. Access through 134th Drive will be maintained during the utility work with Dysart Road as an alternate route. Please allow plenty of time and observe all traffic control signs and barricades. Thank you again for your patience during this project.
City Council Work Session
Intergovernmental Agreement with Maricopa County Library District
The Maricopa Library District and the City of Surprise entered into an Intergovernmental Agreement (IGA) for the operation of the Northwest Regional Library in 2001. The term of the agreement was ten years, with an option to renew an additional five years. The first ten years, the county paid for operating the library. After that the city began to fund a percentage of the operating costs paid by the library district until the city became responsible for 100% of the cost to operate the Northwest Regional Library FY2016.
The current IGA expires June 30, 2016 but the agreement is needed to continue to provide library services to residents. Pending FY2017 budget allocation; the CRS Department plans to conduct a feasibility study which will determine future library needs as well as explore possible options for the city to take over future library operations. This renewal will allow continuation of library programming at the Hollyhock and Northwest Regional libraries. The total cost for one year is approximately $1.8 million. The city currently has full funding for the operation of both libraries. Reduction scenarios were discussed for cost savings purposes only.
Surprise Heritage District
Planning staff provided a presentation for discussion pertaining to a zoning text amendment and rezoning application to create a new Surprise Heritage District (SHD) zoning overlay for the Original Town Site (OTS). The SHD is designed to preserve, protect and enhance the types of uses that are indicative of historic residential neighborhoods and to provide and promote the local arts and culture as well as business opportunities that are compatible with the overlay.
Unique to the SHD is the introduction of the “Cottage Industry” in a residential setting. By definition, a cottage industry in an accessory use to the single-family dwelling unit and must retain the residential architecture and character.
Public hearings for the Zoning Text Amendment will be held in June.
Mayor Sharon Wolcott issued a Proclamation to Water Resource Management Director Terry Lowe and Public Works Director Mike Gent in honor of National Public Works Week. This national recognition is utilized to energize and educate the public on the importance of public works in our daily lives: planning, building, managing and operating the heart of our community to improve everyday quality of life. Thank you to all of our employees in this critical department…I greatly appreciate everything you do!
Storm Water Service Rates
Water Resource Management Director Terry Lowe discussed the action needed for the adoption of rates for stormwater services with an effective date of November 1, 2016. City Council unanimously approved Resolution #2016-60 after a public hearing. Specific fee information can be found online at: http://www.surpriseaz.gov/3405/Public-Notices#stormwater
White Tank Mountain Conservancy
The White Tank Mountain Conservancy is a 501(c)3 organization whose mission is to preserve the resources in the White Tank Mountains for posterity. Regional partners include Sonoran Institute, DMB, City of Buckeye, Maricopa County, WESTMARC, and many more. The organization intends to focus on five specific areas of impact in support of the White Tank Mountains and their resources which include: regional planning and partnerships; stewardship and volunteerism; advocacy and public policy; research, education and training; and tourism and public attraction.
The Conservancy will protect the White Tank Mountains by seeking pragmatic solutions that will enhance the economy of the West Valley while ensuring the sustainability of the natural resources the White Tanks have to offer. There is a one-time membership fee, which was included in the FY17 tentative budget, of $25,000 to include the City of Surprise as a regional partner.
Events & Meetings
Valley Metro Budget & Finance Subcommittee Meeting
The Valley Metro Budget & Finance Subcommittee met on Thursday, May 12.
Surprise Police Department Retirement Celebration
The Surprise Police Department honored Detective James Parr and Officer Morgan Bastien at a retirement ceremony on May 12, 2016.
Detective James Parr was employed by the Surprise Police Department from January 2000 – January 2016. Throughout his career with the Department, Jim served in the Field Operations Division, Criminal Investigations Division, and as a School Resource Officer. Jim was employed with the Arizona Department of Corrections prior to joining the Police Department.
Officer Morgan Bastien joined the Surprise Police Department in August 2000 and served in the Field Operations Division and as a Motor Officer with the Support Services Unit. Morgan retired on April 30, 2016. Prior to joining Surprise Police, Morgan was employed as an officer in Page, Arizona.
Thank you for your service to the city of Surprise and best wishes for a safe, happy and healthy retirement!
WeMAR West Valley Economic Development Forum
On Monday, May 16, I attended WeMAR’s West Valley Economic Development Forum along with several other elected officials from the West Valley. Over 250 attendees were present for the panel discussions led by Moderator Liz Recchia. Surprise Community Development Director Eric Fitzer and Economic Development Director Jeanine Jerkovic were panelists and provided insight on the future of West Valley economic development; city and state economic development plans, including the 303 corridor; as well as commercial development.
Public Outreach Meeting for Bond Program
City Manager Bob Wingenroth and staff hosted one of seven public outreach meetings for a proposed bond program at the Northwest Regional Library on Monday, May 16. Councilman Todd Tande and I both attended along with five residents. You can read more about the proposed projects and costs at www.surpriseaz.gov/surpriseforward, as City Council plans to discuss whether to send a bond package to the voters on the November 2016 ballot at our June 21 meeting.
Surprise Networking Group Presentation
I provided a city update on economic development to the Surprise Networking Group on Tuesday, May 17. I greatly appreciate the invite and was happy to attend to report the recent successes of the city.
Mark Your Calendar
An Art Encounter with Eric Mengel
The Surprise Arts and Cultural Advisory Commission will host “An Art Encounter with Eric Mengel” on Saturday, May 21, from 11 am until 1 pm. The event will be held at Barnes & Noble, 13719 W. Bell Road. Mr. Mengel is a writer, artist and publisher of OCHO Comics.
Did You Know?
Surprise Water Resource Management Department Receives Safety Awards
Our very own Water Resource Management (WRM) Department was presented with four safety awards at the 2016 AZ Water Association Annual Water Conference for amassing more than 1,400 concurrent days without losing a man-day due to injury.
The Department was recognized during the May 11 awards ceremony for their safety record on specific systems in both water and wastewater utilities. For water, the city received two awards for the Mountain Vista Water System Treatment and Distribution. Wastewater was presented with two awards for the SPA1 and SP2 Water Reclamation Facilities (WRFs). The WRM team credits its success to reinforcing a safety culture in all of their facilities.
Many thanks to Water Resource Management Director Terry Lowe for his leadership with this fairly new department and congratulations to the staff for their success with safety!
2016 Retail Survey
The city is working hard to bring you the shopping and dining amenities that you want here. Since the last survey, we have had several of your top picks either open or announce they are coming to Surprise including Oregano’s and Texas Roadhouse. We’d like to recognize the top picks as a local favorite so please take some time to answer the survey prior to May 22. You can do so by clicking this link: www.surpriseaz.gov/retailsurvey.
Columns that will support a $41.9 million overpass and interchange at Bell Road and Grand Avenue (US 60) have begun rising on the east side of the project now that nine shafts have been drilled, according to the Arizona Department of Transportation.
Work has proceeded steadily since Bell Road closed April 1 between 134th Drive and West Point Parkway, with crews clearing the project area, relocating utilities and more. Among the latest progress, forms have been assembled to create bridge panels with an agave pattern.
As always, the project team appreciates your understanding and continued patience. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact the project hotline at 855.712.8530 and press option #1. You may also send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
City Council Work Session
Surprise Youth Council (SYC) Update
Eight members of SYC attended a week long immersive civic education program in Washington D.C. from March 13 through March 18, 2016 along with over 250 students from across the nation. This program was done in partnership with Close Up, a successful 45 year old company that leads thousands of students each year by turning the nation’s Capital into a living classroom.
Members of SYC launched an awareness campaign, “Be Yourself. Find Your Crowd. Get Along”, for teens on April 4, 2016 to help spread the message that everyone belongs. Promoting the idea of finding your crowd encourages students to break out of their comfort zones and expand their horizons when it comes to making friends.
Utility Partners Update
Deputy City Manager Nicole Lance provided a utility update. The utility partners discussed included EPCOR, Southwest Gas and APS.
EPCOR has a planned investment in excess of $500 million primarily for the repair and/or replacement of aging infrastructure in addition to support for new homes and businesses. Some of EPCOR’s impending projects include the installation of new pumps to replace aging wastewater infrastructure and improve operational safety at the Bell Road Lift Station (June 2016); the relocation of water and sewer lines (October 2016); and the replacement of approximately 3.5 miles of water main that is consistently prone to issues in Coyote Lakes. Additional projects include the Bell Road Lift Station connection with the Northwest Valley Water Reclamation Facility (end of 2016); the installation of 3.4 miles of new 12 to 16 inch water main to support new development and ensure adequate water pressure and fire flow at Water Plant 8 to Zanjero Trails (2017+ pending developer activity) and the expansion of capacity at the White Tanks Water Treatment Plant (late 2016).
EPCOR has been ordered by ACC to file a new wastewater rate case by April 29, 2016. They will be required to provide 2015 date/costs to examine three rate design scenarios. Once the application is accepted, EPCOR will be holding community open houses. EPCOR would like to create one large rate district to mitigate the impact that infrastructure replacements and increasing operating costs will have on customers.
Mrs. Lance provided an APS construction update which included a project update occurring immediately outside the City limits. This project will connect the Sun Valley Substation near Sun Valley Parkway in Buckeye to the Morgan Substation located near SR74 in Peoria. In fall of 2016, APS will begin to build roads needed to access parts of the line with an in-service date of spring 2018. Additionally, APS filed a 120-day Notice of Intent to File a rate case with the Arizona Corporation Commission (ACC). In June 2016, APS plans to file a general rate case which will identify details. A decision regarding the case is expected in 2017. Public input will be a cornerstone in this process. The last rate case was approximately 5 years ago. For updates, you can visit http://www.azenergyfuture.com/rate-review.
Southwest Gas is in the process of relocating facilities to accommodate the pending construction of the bridge on Bell Road. No other projects within Surprise limits are planned at this time. Southwest Gas has partnered with the Salvation Army for the Energy Share program which is an emergency fund that provides direct utility assistance to qualified customers with unexpected difficulties.
City Council Meeting
Grant Funding Priorities – Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Programs
City Council unanimously approved the grant funding priorities for CDBG’s Second Year Annual Action Plan for year 2016-2017. The organizations approved included Ability 360 ($27,560), Aid to Adoption to Special Kids ($5,000), Central Arizona Shelter Services ($7,000), Benevilla ($22,560), Mentally Ill Kids in Distress ($5,000), Potter’s House ($7,650) and Surprise Youth Employment Program ($13,000). Improvements to the AZ TechCelerator were also included in the funding strategy. The anticipated cost is less than $380,000 which will help expand programming options.
City Manager’s FY2017 Recommended Budget
The City Council reviewed the City Manager’s recommended FY2017 budget that focuses on continuing the Council’s commitment to maintaining the quality public services and infrastructure our residents value most. The recommended budget, which totals $298.6 million, includes 23 new positions across the public safety services of Police, Fire-Medical, Emergency Management, Prosecution, and City Court. These positions are financed through a combination of a reduction in the city’s transaction privilege tax (“sales tax”) base from 2.2% to 2.12%, a slight reduction of the property tax from $0.7591 to $0.7413 per $100 of assessed valuation, and an addition of a food for home consumption tax of 2.12% to generate an estimated $2.4 million. The City Council will discuss and adopt changes to the tax rates on May 17.
The recommended budget includes transitioning water, wastewater and sanitation utility billing services in-house to better control the customer experience as well as providing for more efficient and effective operations than currently provided. For this purpose, 11 positions are added to the FY2017 budget, which will be offset by the reduction of the current billing provider’s contract costs. Six other positions are added to support the areas of fleet, information technology, human resources, community development, finance, and the senior center.
The recommended budget increases funding for maintaining the city’s roads through the pavement preservation program to $4.5 million; invests $6.8 million in communications, facility, information technology, recreation, and utility infrastructure; and replaces $10.5 million of aged vehicles minimizing future maintenance costs.
During the discussion, the City Council gave direction on some changes that will be brought back with the tentative budget that will be adopted on May 4. That will be followed by the adoption of the final budget on June 7.
Events & Meetings
Audit Committee Meeting
Earlier this year, City Manager Bob Wingenroth formed an Audit Committee whose goal is to provide advice to the City Council with respect to fulfilling its oversight responsibilities regarding the integrity of the financial statements of the city. The Committee will also assist and advise the Internal Auditor and City Council on matters relating to the City’s compliance with legal and regulatory requirements, systems of internal controls, management of city-wide risk environment and the performance of internal and external auditors. The Committee consists of 7 members appointed by the City Manager. In addition to the City Manager, the Committee members are Councilman Roland Winters and me, Finance Director Lindsey Duncan, IT Director Tammie Hollowell and Surprise citizens Sharon Ward, Melissa Holdaway and Arden Engmark.
The Committee met on April 14 and will hold our first official meeting on Thursday, May 19 at 2 pm in the Overflow Room of City Hall. The public is welcome to attend!
Surprise Job Workshop and Job Fair
I attended the Surprise Job Fair Workshop at the Surprise Communiversity on Friday, April 15. The event was made possible through partnerships with Arizona @ Work, Rio Salado College, LinkedIn and the Communiversity. The workshop provided attendees with tips on updating their resumes, having a successful interview, and much more.
The Surprise Job Fair took place at the Surprise Communiversity on Tuesday, April 19. The event was overwhelmingly successful thanks to the team effort of our Economic Development Department, Human Service and Community Vitality Department, and the many businesses who participated. During the time I stopped by, there were over 140 people and one company alone made four offers for employment.
Surprise Police Appreciation Bonanza
The Surprise Police Department hosted the 2016 Employee Appreciation Awards Bonanza at the Surprise Stadium on Friday, April 15. Vice Mayor Jim Biundo, Council Members Todd Tande, Roland Winters and I attended. The Master of Ceremonies for the event was Rick D’amico, a host on FOX 10’s “Morning Show”.
During the award ceremony, Chief Terry Young presented Mr. Michael Walker, a cab driver for West Valley Cab Company, with a Certificate of Appreciation. A Certificate of Appreciation is presented to a citizen who takes it upon themselves to “get involved” when many would not. In January 2015, Mr. Walker contacted the police and provided information on how to locate a residence, where he dropped off a female fare. As the woman exited the cab, she told Mr. Walker she was in fear for her life. Once officers arrived at the residence, they heard a female screaming inside, entered the home and found the husband strangling the victim to the point where she could no longer breathe. Mr. Walker, thank you!
In special recognition, Chief Young formally recognized several employees, both sworn and civilian, and several other volunteers, for their personal dedication, professionalism and commitment to excellence. At the top of that list, Officer Ray Johnson was bestowed with the department’s highest honor, the Medal of Valor. To be awarded the Medal of Valor, an individual must have performed an act displaying extreme courage while consciously facing imminent peril.
Highlighting some other achievements, Detective Antonio Martinez was awarded the Medal of Merit. Additionally, Officer Matthew Barker, Officer Craig Scartozzi, Officer Joanna Massimillo-Vallet, and Detective Joshua Waldeck were each presented with a Life Saving Award. Officer Jason Lewis received a Department Commendation and the Training and Recruitment Unit was recognized as the Unit of the Year.
Several annual awards were also presented including the following; Officer of the Year – Officer James Jennings, Rookie of the Year – Officer Morgan Williams, Detective of the Year – Detective Michael Forbrook, Civilian of the Year – Kim Davies, Volunteer of the Year – Barbara Jones, Citizen Patrol Member of the Year – Jim Gearns, and the Supervisor of the Year – Public Safety Communication Supervisor Emily Pepe.
Mark Your Calendar
Utility Payment Assistance Event
The City of Surprise Resource Center, in partnership with the City of El Mirage, Maricopa County and APS, is hosting a Gas and Electric Utility Payment Assistance event on Saturday, April 23 from 8 a.m. – 3 p.m. at the El Mirage Senior Center, located at 14010 N El Mirage Rd.
Southwest Gas and APS customers who qualify are encouraged to attend! This event is open for residents of Surprise and El Mirage who meet the income qualifying guidelines. Specific documents must be provided in order for an application to be taken. The income guidelines and document requirements are available here: http://bit.ly/1oCmSWu.
Please note, applicants will be served on a first-come, first-served basis, and an interview is not a guarantee of assistance. If your household has received utility assistance from a CAP office in the last 12 months, you are not eligible for utility assistance at this time.
For questions, please contact the Surprise Resource Center at 623.222.1600.
Surprise Citizen Corps Council Workshop on Protection
With concerns about personal safety and security at an all-time high, the Surprise Citizen Corps Council is inviting women in the Northwest Valley to an informative workshop on ways to protect yourself and your family. The workshop will be held at the Surprise Fire-Medical Department, 14250 W. Statler Plaza from 6:30 pm until 8:30 pm on April 27. Tuition is $25 and can be paid at the door. You can make your reservation by emailing email@example.com.
Relay for Life
Relay for Life is scheduled for April 23 at Willow Canyon High School’s football field, 17001 W. Lundberg Street from 12 noon until 10 pm. This marks the 10th anniversary of the event in Surprise! The public is invited to participate in the walk. If you’d like to sign up for this annual event, please do so at http://relayforlife.org/SurpriseAZ.
Did You Know?
Deal of the Day
Please remember the new “ShopSurprise” incentive program is in full gear during the Bell/Grand interchange project. This program offers you special coupons and shopping promotions as well as prizes and drawings. You just need to text “ShopSurprise” – one word – to 40518. If you don’t have a smart phone, you are welcome to see all the daily deals at www.shopsurpriseaz.com. Thank you for your assistance to help support our businesses impacted by this construction project!
Public Meetings Scheduled for Proposed Surprise Heritage District
The public is invited to attend several upcoming meetings on a proposed Surprise Heritage District, which aims to advance the revitalization plan for the city’s Original Town Site (OTS) – a one square mile area bounded by Bell, Greenway, El Mirage and Dysart roads. The city has drafted ordinance changes that, if approved by City Council, would implement a new zoning district in the OTS with two associated zoning overlays – one that focuses on residential and one that focuses on commercial.
The proposed zoning changes are intended to further implement the existing OTS Revitalization Plan that was adopted by City Council in 2002. The city has collaborated with residents through presentations, interactive workshops and visual surveys to gather input and draft this proposed ordinance, which supports a unique sense of place and character.
The next meeting (Citizen Review Meeting) is scheduled for April 27 at 5 pm at the Surprise Senior Center, 15832 N Hollyhock Street. You can also review the Draft Surprise Heritage District Ordinance and offer your comments online at www.surpriseaz.gov/heritagedistrict.
The Surprise Police invite you to attend the upcoming G.A.I.N. Night (Getting Arizona Involved in Neighborhoods). This engaging community event is scheduled to occur on Saturday, October 3, 2015 from 6-9 pm at 15960 North Bullard Avenue (on the 8-acre field).
During the event, members of the Surprise Police Department and Surprise Fire-Medical Department will be in attendance providing K-9 displays, children’s finger printing kits, bicycle safety info and trick demos, fire prevention equipment, a Safety House display, and other safety information for all ages. Other activities will include inflatable children’s rides, D J Music, free raffles & GREAT PRIZES, along with food vendors.
In support of the Arizona Special Olympics organization, public safety personnel will also be accepting donations to help benefit the Athletes of the Arizona Special Olympics. So come out, join in the fun, further a great cause, and hang out with members of your Surprise Public Safety Departments.
In the event of inclement weather, please contact the Surprise Police Department Community Action Line for cancellation notification: (602) 222-4422.