Councilman Hall attended an appreciation breakfast at Canyon Ridge Elementary School on May 7 and had the opportunity to thank the school’s teachers and volunteers. Canyon Ridge Principal, Dr. Shelley Isai, also recognized him for his support of our local schools.
Councilman Hall attend the May 5th ribbon cutting for the new self-service MVD kiosk located at the Surprise City Court.
The kiosk offers an alternative to visiting the Surprise MVD office on Bell Road, which is temporarily closed for renovations. The kiosk provides access to select MVD services, including registration renewal, duplicate vehicle registration, duplicate driver license, change of address, and temporary vehicle permits.
Surprise City Court is located at 16081 N. Civic Center Plaza, Suite 105.
Customers can also access more than 20 services online through ServiceArizona.com.
For those in need of a full-service location, a list of MVD office locations and Authorized Third Party providers can be found online at azdot.gov/mvdlocations.
The Surprise MVD is expected to reopen this summer with increased capacity and an enhanced look in the customer waiting area, an expanded number of customer service windows and upgraded air conditioning and restrooms.
During the April 21 City Council Meeting, City Manager Bob Wingenroth and the Surprise City Council recognized Athena Wireless, the city’s first AZ Techcelerator client, for its success! The company, which develops high capacity wireless connectivity systems, was acquired by Google Inc. this year.
Councilman Hall shakes the hands of kids and coaches participating in Cal Ripken Day at Surprise Stadium on March 21. Teams from the city’s Cal Ripkin Baseball League had the chance to walk the bases in a “parade of teams” before the start of the game.
Councilman Hall visited the classrooms of the 4th and 5th grade students who won the 2015 Surprise Literacy Challenge during their celebratory pizza parties on March 25!
The Challenge, created by Vice Mayor Williams and Councilman Hall, asked students in 4th -6th grade to track the number of hours they read outside the classroom for a period of four months.
The winning 4th grade class was Ms. Housari’s class at Rancho Gabriela.
The winning 5th grade class was Ms. Guest’s class at Parkview.
In addition to the pizza party, each of the students received a medal for their reading efforts. They will also receive a trophy for their classroom at the City Council Meeting on April 7.
Councilman Hall also attended the recognition of the winning 6th grade class from Paradise Education Center, which happened on the field at the March 26 Spring Training game at Surprise Stadium.
Councilmember Hall attended the groundbreaking for Surprise Farms Park improvements on February 28. When improvements are complete, by the end of 2015, residents can enjoy a new skate park, splash pad, basketball courts and more!
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.
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.
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!
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.
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!
Surprise was buzzing Super Bowl weekend with the Celebrity Flag Football Challenge hitting the field at Surprise Stadium on January 31! The game drew celebrities like Evander Holyfield, Alice Cooper and Darnell Dockett, and it benefited the Wounded Warrior Project. Councilman Hall enjoyed the opportunity to show visiting fans and celebs alike what a great city Surprise is!
Vice Mayor Hall attended the city’s 8th Annual Special Olympics Winter Party and Tree Decorating Ceremony on December 12, 2014 at DreamCatcher Park. Partygoers had the chance to decorate holiday trees with ornaments and garlands that were made by Dysart School District’s Special Olympic athletes and teachers. The event also included choir performances, games, face painting, train rides and more!
Vice Mayor Hall attended the Surprise Fire Medical Department’s Promotion Ceremony on Monday, November 17. The Ceremony was held in the Public Safety Auditorium. The Department honored seven men for their recent promotions including Captain Richard Brown, Captain Brandley Williams, Engineer Kenneth Herrguth, Engineer Nathan Perkins, Firefighter Donovan Maturan, Firefighter Robert Wieser and Firefighter Edward Swartz. Congratulations to these fine men and their families!