Bell Road/Grand Avenue Update
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.
Full closure scheduled on Grand Avenue:
- US 60 (Grand Avenue) closed in both directions between Dysart and Litchfield roads from 9 p.m. Friday, Nov. 4, to 8 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 5, to paint the Bell Road bridge. Traffic will be detoured at Dysart and Litchfield roads.
Work continues this week on the following:
- Installation of barrier and lighting on new bridge.
- Paving the east side of the new bridge.
- Building the new median ramps from Grand Avenue to Bell Road.
**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 855.712.8530, press option #1.
City Council Work Session
FY2016 Financial Status Report
Assistant Finance Director Jared Askelson presented the 2016 fiscal year end Financial Status Report. Local sales tax exceeded original estimates by $400,000; state shared revenue increased by $200,000 due to stronger than expected vehicle license tax; charges for services exceeded original estimates by $1.4 million due to increases from spring training, community development, and public works revenues. Due to the approximate increase in revenues and decrease in expenditures, the estimated General Fund balance is $3.3 million higher than originally anticipated.
City Council Meeting
Neighborhood Grant Program Recommendations
Human Service and Community Vitality Director Seth Dyson provided the Committee on Community Outreach, Partnerships & Grants funding recommendations for the Neighborhood Grant Program. The Committee recommended funding for Marley Park (Veteran Commemorative Plaza) for $3,000 and Sanalina HOA (water conservation and playground equipment) for $3,000. The City Council unanimously approved funding.
The Committee has extended the grant program through November 30, 2016. If you are interested, please visit https://www.surpriseaz.gov/3406/Neighborhood-Grant-Program.
Reopening of Bell Road – Celebration Activities
The City of Surprise is preparing activities to celebrate the reopening of Bell Road and thank local businesses, residents and visitors for their patience during the closure. The activities are scheduled for November 21. Specific event details will be available soon. Arizona Department of Transportation announced earlier last month that the target date for the reopening is scheduled for November 22.
The Bell Road/Grand Avenue corridor is still an active construction zone. While Bell Road will reopen on November 22, Grand Avenue will be inaccessible from the Bell Road bridge and vice versa. A detour route will be in place to allow for connection between those roads until project completion in early 2017.
Events & Meetings
New Real Estate Brokerage Office – Ribbon Cutting
Council Members Jim Hayden, Todd Tande and I joined members of the Surprise Regional Chamber of Commerce for the ribbon cutting celebration of the Leolinda Realty office in Sun City Grand on Wednesday, October 26. We wish her the best in her new office!
Torque Trends Unveils Electric City Truck
President and CEO of Torque Trends, located in the AZ TechCelerator, hosted the unveiling of the converted City of Surprise Ford F-150 work truck to an electric engine on Wednesday, October 26. The conversion allows the truck to travel between 50 to 75 miles before requiring a charge, therefore saving money and reducing our carbon footprint.
Annual Legislative Breakfast Meeting
City Council Members John Williams, Rachel Villanueva, Jim Hayden and I joined staff, state legislators and local business leaders at our Annual Legislative Breakfast on Thursday, October 27 at Surprise Stadium. This year, the focus was on economic development partnerships, our Veteran Job Club success, and our upcoming legislative agenda. The state legislators included State Senators Don Shooter and Judy Burges as well as State Representative David Livingston.
GAIN Night was held on Saturday, October 29 at 8-Acre Park, and the event had record-breaking attendance. Representatives from public safety and city management were present, and the Water Resource Management Department provided a demonstration on solid waste and water resources.
Mark Your Calendar
Surprise Super Swap Meet
The fall Surprise Super Swap Meet is scheduled for Saturday, November 19. More than 70 vendors will be onsite at the popular community-wide swap meet, sponsored by the Surprise Senior Center Site Council. The event will be held from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the Surprise Aquatic Center parking lot, 15831 N. Bullard Ave.
Annual Surprise Party
The Annual Surprise Party is scheduled for Friday, December 2 from 5-9 p.m. and Saturday, December 3 from 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. at the Surprise Recreation Campus, located at 15850 N. Bullard Avenue. This free event features fun for the entire family. For more information, please visit www.surpriseaz.gov/specialevents.
Did You Know?
Fitch Upgrades Surprise Revenue Bond and Long Term Default Ratings
City Manager Bob Wingenroth announced Tuesday night that Fitch Ratings, one of the “Big Three” nationally recognized credit rating agencies, has upgraded the city’s Excise Tax and State-Shared Revenue Obligation (ETRO) bond rating to ‘AA+’ from ‘AA-’. A city’s credit rating is important due to its impact on interest rates in the bond market. A better rating means the city can sell bonds to finance capital projects and pay a lower interest rate to the buyer.
Fitch stated the “rating reflects a solid coverage cushion and expectations for strong pledged revenue growth.”
Fitch also upgraded the city’s Long-Term Issuer Default rating (IDR) to ‘AA+’ from ‘AA-’.
In reviewing the city’s economic base Fitch noted, “The city’s 2015 population of 128,422 has realized a rapid 10% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) over the past 15 years and its median household income exceeds that of the U.S. by 16%.”
In commenting on the city’s operating performance Fitch reported, “Fitch expects Surprise to maintain a high level of financial flexibility through economic downturns based on its ample revenue raising capacity and solid financial flexibility, supplemented by its ample reserves.”