December 19, 2014 • Newsletter

City Council Meetings

City Council Workshop
Intergovernmental Relations Director Michael Celaya described the City’s proposed state legislative agenda for the 1st Regular Session of the 52nd Arizona State Legislature which will begin on January 6, 2015.  Legislators will begin this session facing a deficit for fiscal year 2015.  Council’s key priorities are keeping local authority and protecting shared revenue with the State, advancing an initiative to establish an economic development tool called tax increment financing and establishing a fair and equitable policy on Fire District annexation.

Finance Director Lindsey Duncan provided Council with different sources of revenue options that we may want to consider as we approach fiscal year 2016 budget discussions.   Some of the sources included development impact fees, dedicated sales tax and a general obligation bond program to name a few.

City Council Meeting
Several new appointments were approved for openings on various Boards & Commissions.  Mary Pate was appointed to fill a vacancy on the Arts & Cultural Advisory Commission with a term expiration of July 1, 2016. Christine Baker, Nicole Jeffords and Joseph Poschner were appointed to fill vacancies on the Disability Advisory Commission with term expirations of July 1, 2015. Matthew Keating was appointed to fill a vacancy on the Planning & Zoning Commission with a term expiration of July 1, 2015.  Lastly, Ryan Spotts was appointed to fill a vacancy on the Health Benefits Trust Board with a term expiration of September 23, 2018.  City Clerk Sherry Aguilar issued all the Oath of Office.

various boards and commissions swearing in

Lindsey Duncan, Finance Director, provided Council with the FY2015 monthly budget status report as of October 2014.  In summary, FY2015 sales tax (excluding construction) actuals are 10.6% higher than FY2014 actuals and FY2015 actuals are 5.2% higher than FY2015 budget.  With regards to construction sales tax, FY2015 actuals are 25.6% lower than FY2014 actuals.  FY2015 actuals for construction sales tax are 43.5% lower than FY2015 budget.  Year-to-date expenditures are lower than the FY2015 adopted budget in the categories of personnel, supplies and services.

Jackie Keller, Long Range Planner, provided us with a presentation and discussion on the development of a Heritage Overlay District for the Original Town Site.  The Village 1 Plan identifies the Original Town Site (OTS) as a Heritage District and establishes four heritage goals that focus on preservation, economic revitalization, education and recreation. Due to the OTS’s cultural and historical significance within the City of Surprise, it provides the opportunity to create a distinct identity for the City through its unique qualities of history, geography and culture.

City Council voted to approve Community Outreach Program funding for six community organizations after considering the recommendations from the Grants and Community Outreach Subcommittee.  The Community Outreach Program is a Council-led initiative designed to assist community organizations in providing programs and events that benefit Surprise residents.  The Council set aside $50,000 in funding for the program as part of the FY2014-2015 budget.  The Council approved recipients are Benevilla ($10,000 for Community Garden enhancements); Friends of the Library ($2,000 for community outreach); Northwest Valley Connect ($8,000 for transit support); St. Vincent de Paul ($10,000 for utility assistance); West Valley Arts Council ($10,000 for backyard concerts); and WHAM ($10,000 for an Arts Youth Festival).  To be considered, applicants had to be a 501(c)3 organization or partnered with a 501(c)3 verified agency.  The maximum award per applicant was $10,000.

Events & Meetings

Adaptive Recreation & Outreach Tree Party
Adaptive Recreation & Outreach held their tree party on Friday, December 12 at DreamCatcher Park.  There were approximately 600 participants in attendance from Dysart Unified School District, Blue Mountain, Benevilla and One Step Beyond.  The City’s Adaptive Recreation provides recreation programs for individuals with disabilities, in which participants are provided an opportunity to socialize, develop and enhance their skills, build confidence and maximize potential.

Canyon Ridge Choir

Vice Mayor Hall and Councilman Winters at SO winter party 2014

Christmas Outreach
I attended a Christmas Outreach event at Radiant Church on Saturday, December 13.  There were over 3,000 on the Radiant Church Campus!  Over 700 members of the congregation served 1,000 food baskets for families and 1,900 gifts for children ages 3 through 12.

Valley Metro Meeting
David Kohlbeck, Public Works Business Manager, and I attended the Valley Metro RPTA meeting on Thursday, December 18.  Valley Metro renewed its contract with RideShark.  RideShark is online software through the Valley Metro website that assists commuters across the valley to identify carpooling, vanpooling and other transit options.  This is a great alternative for Surprise residents looking for commuting options.

Valley Metro provided an update on the Southeast and Northwest Dial-A-Ride programs and future efforts to standardize hours of service, fares and development of more ridesharing for one-way trips in an effort to maximize services.  Rail service and bus service will expand for Super Bowl week beginning January 28 through January 31, 2015.  This is related to the NFL experience that will be held at the Phoenix Convention Center.  Super Bowl commemorative passes with lanyards for full and/or reduced fares are available online at Valley Metro.

Lastly, bus detours and bus enhanced services can be found on Valley Metro’s website at

MC - National and Peer Reagions Trends

Mark Your Calendars

Cookies & Crafts with Santa
Santa will be making a stop at Countryside Recreation Center (15038 N. Parkview Place) on Saturday, December 20 from 9 am until 12 noon.  Children, ages 3 – 9, will have the opportunity to make seasonal crafts, play games and enjoy holiday cookies.  The cost is $10 for residents.

Did You Know?

New Economic Development Director
Jeanine Jerkovic will be joining the City as our new Economic Development Director on Monday, December 22.  She returns to her hometown with a strong background in public economic development experience, 10 years of which were in management roles.  Her most recent position was with the City of Peoria as their Economic Development Manager.  She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Arizona State West Honors College and a Masters of Science from the London School of Economics.  We are honored to announce this new hire!  Welcome, Jeanine!

The City will temporarily increase the number of daily Dial-A-Ride trips and expand service hours beginning January 2, 2015.  The daily cap for weekday trips will increase from 135 to 140 one-way trips.  Saturday service will increase from 20 to 30 one-way trips per day.  This expanded service will run through June 30, 2015.  Additionally, service hours will be extended for all service days.  The new service hours will be Monday through Saturday from 5 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Due to the holidays, we will not issue a newsletter for the next two weeks.  You will receive your next newsletter on Friday, January 9, 2015.

I wish each of you a very Merry Christmas and a happy, healthy and successful New Year.  Thank you for your support during 2014.  I look forward to serving you in 2015!

Happy Holidays from the City of Surprise Council

Contact Me

Office: 623.222.1325
Mobile: 623.451.3975

December 12, 2014 • Newsletter

Events & Meetings

13th Annual Surprise Party
The 13th Annual Surprise Party began on Friday, December 5 at Surprise Stadium.  Mayor Wolcott and I, along with City Council welcomed the crowd and participated in the countdown for the tree lighting.  Approximately 7,000 were in attendance on Friday and 9,000 on Saturday.  A special thank you to Mark Coronado and our Community and Recreation Services Department for coordinating this spectacular event!

Surprise Party Council 2014

WHAM West Gallery Grand Opening
The Grand Opening Reception for WHAM’s West Gallery was held on December 6, 2014. I attended with approximately 400 hundred other art enthusiasts!  The evening began with the opening of the “All Member Juried Show” which is an art exhibit featuring well over 100 pieces of art work that includes oil, acrylic, assemblage, photography, mixed media and clay pieces. This exhibit will be on display through January 26, 2014.

The WHAM West Gallery is located at 16560 N. Dysart Road in Surprise.  Admission is free. The Gallery is open Tuesday through Saturday from 10 am until 4 pm.  Thank you to Connie Whitlock, WHAM Founder and President as well as Judith Visker, the WHAM West Gallery Director, for your phenomenal work putting together this successful event!
WHAM Grand Opening

WHAM Dec 2014

Surprise Regional Chamber Breakfast
The Surprise Regional Chamber of Commerce held their monthly breakfast on Tuesday, December 9.  The West Valley Conservatory Ballet and Spotlight Theater from Surprise performed for the crowd.  A special appearance was even had by Santa!  Diane McCarthy, Chairman of the Chamber Board of Directors provided the members with a recap of 2014 and the goals of the Chamber for 2015.  Currently, the Chamber has approximately 460 members and one of the Chamber’s goals is to increase membership to 600.
Santa and VM Hall.jpg

Meet the Elected Officials
On Wednesday, December 10, I attended “Meet the Elected Officials” at the Marley Park Club House.  Several elected officials were in attendance including State Treasurer elect, Jeff DeWitt.

Annual Mayor’s Legislative Breakfast
Mayor Wolcott held a breakfast for City Council and State Legislators on Thursday, December 11 at the Holiday Inn Express in Surprise.  Senators Judy Burges, Debbie Lesko, Don Shooter and Representatives David Livingston, Rick Gray, Steve Montenegro and Tony Rivero were present with the entire City Council to discuss this upcoming legislative session and the vision and priorities of Surprise. Economic development, fire districts and education were the focus.
2014 Mayors Legislative Breakfast
Rep. Steve Montenegro addressing the meeting.                                   Councilwoman Villanueva, Senator Burges, Senator Lesko and I

Mark Your Calendars

Second Sunday in the Park
The next Second Sunday in the Park will be held on Sunday, December 14 from 2 until 4 pm at the Surprise Community Park (15953 N. Bullard).  The West Valley Conservatory of Ballet will be featured.

Surprise Police Department Needs Toys
The Surprise Police Department will be collecting new unwrapped toys for underprivileged children this holiday season.  Police are hoping to collect enough toys to serve the many families who suffered unfortunate circumstances this year.  Many of the families selected have been victimized by crime.  The toys will be collected until December 16.  If you would like to contribute a toy, you can drop it off at the Surprise Police Department lobby (14250 W. Statler), the Irish Wolfhound Restaurant (16811 N. Litchfield), Sun Health Colonnade Center (19116 Colonnade Way) or a few other locations.  For more information, please feel free to contact the City Council office at 623.222.1300.

Free Workshop
You can learn more about the pros and cons of annuities at a free workshop – “Understanding Annuities” – on December 16 in the auditorium of the Public Safety Building (Police Department), 14250 W. Statler Plaza.  The workshop will begin at 10 am through 12 noon.  If you would like to attend, please call Ruby Sitea to register at 623.222.3242.

Did You Know?

The contractors with Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) have begun lane restrictions on US 60/Grand Avenue, near Loop 303 this week as part of the 303-Grand Avenue Traffic Interchange project.  Crews have begun shoulder improvements on the south-side of Grand Avenue and left lane closures in both directions of Grand began December 10 for median widening, starting at Sunrise Boulevard and moving north.

Beginning the first week of January, all traffic will share the south-side of Grand Avenue from 163rd Avenue to Sunrise, leaving 2 lanes of travel for both directions. Please be advised that the speed limit will be reduced from 55 mph to 45 mph in this area throughout the 18-month project.

The overall scope of the project includes a new bridge that will be constructed on the south side of the existing Loop 303 bridge (serving as the new eastbound travel lanes), sound walls will be installed north of Mountain View Boulevard along the Loop 303 corridor, and the roadway will receive a layer of rubberized asphalt paving.  Sound wall construction near Sun City Grand is scheduled for this month and is anticipated to take a few months to complete.  The completion of this interchange project is expected in the summer of 2016.

ADOT will host an Open House to discuss project details on Tuesday, January 27, 2015 at the Sun City Grand Sonoran Plaza, Sage Brush Room (19753 N. Remington Drive) from 9 am until 11 am.  If at any time you’d like information on the project, the ADOT project hotline is 1.855.712.8530.

Economic Development Update
Cobalt Medical is currently under construction at its site located north of Bell Road and east of Dysart Road.  City staff will be tracking the progress of the 50,000 square foot facility that is scheduled to open in the spring of 2015.

Saigon Kitchen was chosen as the small business feature for an upcoming Communications Department marketing campaign to advertise spending locally this holiday season.  The Vietnamese restaurant specializes in its famous shaken beef, sandwiches and noodle soup.

MD24 has graduated from the AZ TechCelerator and now has a corporate office in Surprise!  MD24 House Call is a network of physicians, specialists and nurses that provide medical services to residents in senior retirement communities.  

Contact Me

Office: 623.222.1325
Mobile: 623.451.3975

Ask a Question

AZ Legislators meet with Surprise Mayor & Council

Vice Mayor Hall attended the City of Surprise Legislative Breakfast on December 11, 2014.

It was an opportunity for the Mayor and City Council to discuss the City of Surprise legislative priorities with Arizona Senators and Representatives.

Legislators present included Senators Judy Burges, Debbie Lesko and Don Shooter and Representatives David Livingston, Phil Lovas, Rick Gray, Tony Rivera, Darin Mitchell and Steve Montenegro.

Mayor Wolcott and City Manager Bob Wingenroth shared the vision of Surprise and discussions covered economic development, education and fire districts.

City hosts 8th Annual Special Olympics Winter Party

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!

Tree Lighting at Surprise Party

Councilmember Hall attended the annual tree lighting ceremony at Surprise Party on Dec. 5, along with Mayor Wolcott and other members of City Council. Surprise Party attracted thousands of attendees and featured great food, rides, live music, a hot-air balloon glow, fireworks and so much more!

December 5, 2014 • Newsletter

City Council Meeting

Council Work Session
Mike Gent, Director of Public Works, updated the City Council on transportation projects and issues in and around Surprise.  Due to savings from various capital improvement projects, Public Works will be addressing two median projects.  A median on Waddell Road (from intersection on Waddell Road and Litchfield Road through east of Freddy’s Restaurant) will be installed.  The design and possibly construction will occur this fiscal year.  Additionally, a median located on Bell Road, just east of El Mirage Road will be redesigned.  This project should begin January 5, 2015 and it should take four weeks to complete.

Traffic safety concerns were discussed.  One area of concern is El Mirage Road near Kiva.

The Bell Road sidewalk project will begin in January 2015.  This project will add sidewalks so they are continuous from east of Grand Avenue until the Park & Ride.  This project is estimated to last for four months.  We were assured that the project will not interfere with Spring Training as the traffic lane closest to the curb will open one hour prior to each game.

The traffic lanes, bike lanes and turn arrows in Kingswood Park along Parkview will be restriped this year.  Public Works is in the procurement stage of the project which should begin in the next 30 to 60 days.  Repaving of Parkview from Bell Road to Grand Avenue is scheduled to occur with the fiscal year 2017 budget.

Council Meeting Special Recognition
Mayor Wolcott recognized Arizona Charter Academy Principal Heather Henderson.  Mrs. Henderson was recognized as the Transformational Leader of the Year by the Arizona Charter Schools Association in October.  Congratulations to Mrs. Henderson on this special award and thank you for your leadership with education in our City!

During 2012, in response to service limitations for riders, the City suspended use of the 6 grant funded buses and instead joined Valley Metro’s northwest regional Dial-a-Ride program, which provided transportation through an independent taxi service. The change significantly improved the service received by Surprise residents. The buses are part of the regional pass-through grant program through Maricopa Association of Governments (MAG) and the City of Phoenix. The City of Surprise is required to comply with Federal guidelines as part of the grant award. Since the buses were no longer needed for Dial-a-Ride service the City has been working in conjunction with MAG and Phoenix to find other qualified grant sub-recipients get the buses back in service. By transferring the buses to the two qualified non-profit grant sub-recipients, the City will receive its fair share of local transit funds used in the original bus purchases, and in turn, program those funds for future transit services.

Budget Amendment
The City Council approved a FY14-15 budget amendment in the amount of $125,000 to improve traffic conditions and control through the utilization of medians on Waddell and Bell Roads.  A new median will be constructed on Waddell Road and cut-through on a current median on Bell Road will occur.

Surprise Village
The Surprise Village at West Point Towne Center plat was approved to divide the interior of the property into smaller lots. This plat is located at the northeast corner of Bell and Litchfield Roads

West Point Towne Center Parcel 12
City Council considered and approved a Minor General Plan Amendment (GPA) to change the land use designation of West Point Towne Center Parcel 12 from medium density residential to commercial.  Additionally, a major PAD amendment to Parcel 12 was approved to change the zoning of the property from PAD (mixed-use) to PAD (commercial).  The final plat will be heard by the City Council on December 16, 2014.  The property is currently under contract.  West-MEC, a public school district, intends to develop approximately 15.12 net acres of the property into a vocational training center geared towards high school students.

Events & Meetings

Water Planning Subcommittee
The Water Planning Subcommittee met for their November meeting on Thursday, November 20.  Staff provided a presentation on the possible membership in the Western Coalition of Arid States (WestCAS).  WestCAS was formed to promote research and technology applications in the arid states of the country, including Arizona, California, Nevada and Texas.  WestCAS champions with Federal, State and Regional water agencies to promote sound laws, regulations and appropriations that will benefit the public.  It is a larger regional organization that has a presence in Washington, D.C. and it would benefit Surprise to have firsthand knowledge of what is being discussed about water at the federal level.

Selection Committee Interviews
Councilman Roland Winters, Councilman Jim Biundo and I participated in the Selection Committee interview process for a few openings on various Boards and Commissions (Disability Advisory Commission, Arts & Cultural Advisory Commission, Planning & Zoning Commission and the Health Benefit Trust Fund Board).

Competitive Sports Roundtable Discussion
I attended the Competitive Sports Roundtable that was held on November 25 with 15 attendees.  The attendees were a mixture of coaches and parents interested in the introduction of the program.  Paul Frie, Recreation Division Manager, discussed the current registration format and the consensus was that it should remain a team registration with the possible addition of an open try-out day for individuals interested in playing.  Marketing will expand for upcoming registrations for competitive basketball which opens on January 5, 2015 and soccer which will open on February 2, 2015.

Boys or girls teams may register in the 10U, 12U or 14U division for a fee of $1,200. All three divisions will follow National Federation of High Schools rules and will play a 10-game regular season, followed by a single elimination league tournament. Games will begin in early March and the league tournament will conclude by April 25.

Mayor’s Quarterly Business Roundtable
The Mayor hosted her quarterly business roundtable meeting on Wednesday, December 10 at the Communiversity.  The purpose of the meeting was to make local business leaders aware of current discussions City officials are having with ADOT and Maricopa Association of Governments (MAG) to create a legacy art project as part of the future Bell/Grand Avenue Corridor improvement project.  Artist Meg Saligman, who is recognized worldwide for her work on murals, spoke on how she created the nation’s largest publicly funded mural in Shreveport, Louisiana and developed a painting method that has now become an industry standard for communities to collaborate on public art projects.

Boys & Girls Club Discussion
We continue to meet with local business leaders to discuss the future of a Boys & Girls Club in Surprise.  Another meeting took place on Thursday, December 4, 2014.

Surprise Police Department 2014 Promotional Ceremony
The Surprise Police Department held their 2014 Promotional Ceremony on Thursday, December 4 at the Public Safety Building.  Please join me in congratulating Commander Randy Rody, Lieutenant Mike Donovan, Sergeant John C. Vance and Sergeant Anna Weaver.  Additionally, we welcomed new Commander Christine DeSanti.

Commander Randy Rody, Lieutenant Mike Donovan, Sergeant John C. Vance and Sergeant Anna Weaver

new Commander Christine DeSanti

Mark Your Calendars

13th Annual Surprise Party
Come celebrate with Surprise!  The 13th Annual Surprise Party will be held at the Surprise Recreation Campus (15960 N. Bullard Avenue) on December 5 and December 6, 2014.  The admission is FREE!  The tree lighting ceremony, balloon glow and live entertainment will occur on Friday night.  Saturday will be full of activities including an arts & crafts show, classic car show, elephant rides, petting zoo, pictures with Santa and much more.

WHAM West Gallery Grand Opening
WHAM is scheduled to have a grand opening reception on December 6, 2014 from 5 until 7 pm.  The new exhibit, “all-member juried show” will open on December 1 through January 26, 2015.   WHAM is located at 16560 N. Dysart in Surprise.

Holiday Safety Awareness
The Surprise Police Department will be hosting a Personal and Holiday Safety Awareness Open House presentation on Thursday, December 11 from 6 pm until 9 pm at the Public Safety Auditorium (14250 W. Statler Plaza).  The Open House is intended to provide information that will help residents avoid being a victim throughout the holiday season and to raise awareness of the most recent and common crimes.

Did You Know?

Spring Training
The 13th Annual Surprise Spring Training Season is right around the corner.  It will kick-off on Wednesday, March 4, 2015.  There will be a special online presale at starting Monday, December 15 at 10 am.  Tickets can also be purchased over the phone through Ticketmaster at 800.745.3000 or at Ticketmaster outlets such as Fry’s.  The Surprise Recreational Campus Box Office will open for ticket sales on Saturday, January 3, 2015 beginning at 7 am.  The box office is located at 15960 N. Bullard.  For questions or additional information, please visit or you can call 623.222.2222.

Upcoming Road Construction Project Schedule

ADOT Work Update Graph

Contact Me

Vice Mayor Skip Hall
Office: 623.222.1325
Mobile: 623.451.3975