City Council Work Session
City Center Development Update
Last month, I requested that City Council receive an update from City staff and the land owner about the City Center development components and any future plans. At a Council meeting last year, City Council denied a resident development by Mattamy Homes as part of the said development and a request for a Master Plan had been initiated. City Council hosted a joint planning meeting with the Planning and Zoning Commission to discuss needs and desires for City Center in November and until this meeting, an update had not been provided to the entire City Council.
Over the last two years, City Council has approved two developments – Surprise Medical and Thompson Thrift Development (southwest corner of Bell Road and Civic Center Drive). Staff has worked towards a draft circulation plan, draft roadway cross-sections, a master drainage study, a fiscal impact analysis and the donation of 20 acres from the property owner to the City for higher education use by Ottawa University. With this being said, there is still a lot to achieve, and to do so, we need to work together to build a downtown for the future while incorporating the desires of our residents.
City Manager’s FY2019 Recommended Budget
Finance Director Lindsey Duncan presented the Fiscal Year (FY) 2019 City Manager Recommended Budget that is built on the foundation of safety for residents, city infrastructure/technology, and the city’s financial position. The most notable change in the $387.8 million budget is the inclusion of new capital projects with the passing of the General Obligation (GO) Bond election from last November. The bonds will fund $59.5 million of needed public safety, traffic congestion mitigation and pavement preservation projects beginning in FY2019. You can learn more at www.surpriseaz.gov/decidesurprise.
Increased operating expenditures are focused on public safety, security, inflation factors, mandated and contractual obligations. Public Safety was the largest recipient of increases to ensure the safety of residents. The Recommended Budget includes the expansion of the city’s ground ambulance service to include a fourth ambulance. The SAFER grant which was awarded to the Fire-Medical Department in 2017 ends in FY2019. The costs for these positions will be fully absorbed by the General Fund mid-year to maintain the enhanced service for residents. In addition, the budget addresses new safety/security needs with the funding of two additional police officers, an emergency manager, an information technology security analyst, and a court compliance coordinator.
With the new requirements of Proposition 206, additional funding is programmed for the minimum wage increase of part-time employees and for paid sick time. The budget also includes additional funding for costs which increase over time such as costs of living, medical premiums, pension contribution rate increases and service-related increases; including water user rates, software licenses, library intergovernmental agreements, and transit intergovernmental agreements.
The Recommended Budget includes funding for the Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) of $71 million. This includes utilizing $13 million in FY2019 for land, design, and/or construction of some of the GO Bond projects. The budget commits $21 million to maintain, secure, preserve, and/or replace infrastructure including roads, buildings, equipment and aged vehicles. The remaining capital is divided between utility-related projects ($15 million) and the functional areas of transportation, public safety, general government, and parks and recreation. Funding carried forward (approximately $22 million) from the prior year will continue the work on Desert Oasis water supply facility phase 2, special planning area 1 recharge expansion, and City Center public infrastructure.
Funding for additional operations and capital improvements is generated from growth in general fund revenue. General fund revenues are expected to increase by 10% or approximately $10.9 million above the current adopted budget. Recent escalations in housing activity as well as growing local sales tax account for most of the increase. A five-year forecast of city resources compared to uses helps ensure long-term financial sustainability and secures safety of the city’s financial position. The FY2019 Recommended Budget is available at www.surpriseaz.gov/budget.
City Council is scheduled to adopt a final budget in June.
City Council Meeting
Community Development Block Grant Program FY18-19
Human Service and Community Vitality Director Seth Dyson presented funding priorities and recommendations for the Community Development Block Grant Program Annual Action Plan and public service activities for FY18-19. As an entitlement city, Surprise receives a yearly allotment of CDBG funding from the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). The anticipated funding amount for our Annual Action Plan is $638,560.
CDBG public service funds can be utilized to provide a variety of public services such as child care, health services, job training, youth services and more for low to moderate income individuals and families. The funding amount for this category is $95,784. CDBG Public Service funding is limited to 15% of the annual CDBG allocation for the program year. Council approved the 2018-2019 Community Development Block Grant Public Service Funding as recommended.
Toll at Prasada Preliminary Plat
City Council approved a Preliminary Plat for Toll at Prasada, which is generally located west of Cotton Lane, between Cactus Road and Peoria Avenue. The Preliminary Plat covers approximately 772 gross acres and anticipates a maximum of 2,207 lots in eighteen (18) development parcels or “pads” to be developed over ten (10) phases. Phase 1 will include 463 of those lots in addition to roadway improvements to Cactus Road from Cotton Lane to 175th Avenue and Peoria Avenue from Cotton Lane to 175th Avenue. Phase I also includes five different lot products intended to reach a variety of customers. Amenities will include a club house, recreation center and golf course with abundant, beautifully-landscaped open space.
Events & Meetings
Surprise Regional Chamber of Commerce Breakfast Meeting
The Surprise Regional Chamber of Commerce hosted their monthly breakfast meeting on Thursday, April 12 at West-MEC Northwest Campus. Garrick Taylor with the Arizona Chamber of Commerce led interviews with both Congressional District 8 candidates, former State Legislator Debbie Lesko and Dr. Hiral Tipirneni. The Special General Election for the seat will take place Tuesday, April 24.
Tourism Advisory Commission Meeting
The Tourism Advisory Commission met on Thursday, April 12. Items of discussion included the adoption of the Commission’s Strategic Master Plan with staff recommendations.
The Tourism Advisory Commission, Arts and Cultural Advisory Commission and Community and Recreation Services Commission will be hosting a joint meeting at 6 p.m. on April 30 in the Community and Recreation Services meeting room, located at 15960 N. Bullard Avenue. The purpose of the meeting is to discuss collaboration opportunities between the commissions.
Friends of the Surprise Libraries
On Friday, April 13, I attended the Friends of the Surprise Libraries meeting at the Surprise Chamber of Commerce. Included in the discussion was the approval of audio book sets in the amount of $450 to Imagine Rosefield Charter School for 29 students.
WHAM Recycled Arts Festival
WHAM hosted their annual WHAM Recycled Arts Festival on Saturday, April 14. This year’s event gave local artists, local musicians, and dancers, a place to gather to showcase their talents. The art activities for kids were free and gave them ideas on what they can do with the repurposed material in their homes.
I was honored to be asked to introduce the Recycled Arts fashion show and witness the talent of all those involved.
State of the City
Growing a downtown, building community wealth, enhancing public transit via autonomous vehicle options and highlighting ways to maintain a connected Surprise, were all addressed in Mayor Sharon Wolcott’s 2018 State of the City speech, on Monday, April 16. Mayor Wolcott talked about how the city has performed well in previous years to build the foundation that will allow the city to grow responsibly in the future for all generations.
Furthermore, she elaborated on the attributes for what is required to create a true downtown such as walkability to comfort and access. The goal is to achieve a downtown Surprise that creates a sense of place for residents and visitors alike. You can read the speech and watch the video at https://www.surpriseaz.gov/SOTC.
Mark Your Calendar
Surprise SciTech Festival
Have fun with science and technology, while celebrating Earth Day, at the Surprise SciTech Festival on April 21! The event is free and has something for all ages! Come check out interactive SciTech booths, an incredible line-up of speakers, music and more! Plus, we’ll have delicious food options from local vendors available for purchase. The event will take place from 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. in the Surprise City Hall Outside Courtyard, 16000 N. Civic Center Plaza.
Demonstrations and displays include:
- City of Surprise Fire-Medical, Police, Public Works, Water Resources and other departments
- Local businesses and colleges (including ASU and Ottawa University)
- Dysart School District Solar Go Kart and Robotics teams
We also have a variety of amazing speakers lined up for this event. Make plans to watch these exciting and informative presentations in the Surprise City Hall Council Chambers:
- How the Brain Works (9:00 – 9:50 a.m. and 10:10 – 11:00 a.m.) – Presentation will identify the main parts of the brain and what they do, explore sensory illusions, and teach how to enhance the formation of memories by our brain.
- When Even The Walking Dead Refuse to Conserve Energy: Sustainable Innovations from the Developing World (11:20 a.m. – 12:10 p.m.) – This talk is aimed at encouraging creative, innovative thinking about sustainability and energy innovations at all scales, in all places, and for all our communities.
- Science the Earth (12:30 p.m. – 1:20 p.m.) – A discussion on how to bridge cultures through science and human discovery, and how logic and innovation unite our planet in a quest for knowledge.
- U.S. Manned Space Flight (1:40 p.m. – 2:30 p.m.) – Who were the early astronauts? What ‘firsts’ were accomplished by American astronauts? What happened to the American space program after the moon landings? These and many other questions will be answered and discussed in this presentation.
For more information on the event, please visit www.surpriseaz.gov/scitech.
Surprise Senior Services Senior Prom
Get your dancing shoes ready because the City of Surprise Seniors Prom is happening on Tuesday, May 1! “Starry Night” is the theme for this yearâ€™s annual Seniors Prom, which will be held Tuesday, May 1 from 10 a.m. – 1 p.m. at the Surprise Senior Center, 15832 N. Hollyhock St.
In addition to music and dancing, prom attendees will enjoy a delicious catered lunch. A prom king and queen will also be crowned. Come in formal or casual attire. Both singles and couples are welcome. Please make reservations at the Surprise Senior Center front desk by 3:30 p.m. on Friday, April 27. The cost is $7 for Senior Center members and $15 for non-members.
Seniors Prom is hosted by the City of Surprise Human Service & Community Vitality Department’s Senior Services Division. For more information, please call 623.222.1500 or visit the Senior Center Monday through Friday between 8:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m.
Did You Know?
2018 Surprise Retail Survey Results
The City of Surprise launched a retail survey in March asking the community to vote for their favorite locally-owned businesses; both their top restaurant and top retailer. In just three weeks, the survey garnered more than 3,000 responses!
Congratulations to following businesses for earning the title “Local Favorite”:
Top 10 Local Restaurants
Oregano’s Pizza Bistro
State 48 Brewery
Babbo Italian Eatery
Rio Mirage Café
Nick’s Diner II
Jim’s Burgers and Eggs
Top 5 Local Retailers
Son Glow Boutique
Kimbur Pet Wash
Gifts to Go
The city would like to thank everyone who participated in the survey!
Surprise Public Transit Study Continues
Although the Transit Feasibility Survey is closed, there are other opportunities for you to be involved in deciding the future of public transportation in Surprise. In addition to the online public comment form, two community engagement and education opportunities are planned for later this year.
A community workshop is tentatively planned for the afternoon of June 13, 2018 and will introduce the service alternatives available to Surprise and which ones should be priorities for the next five to ten years. Various public engagement tools are planned for this phase of community engagement, including WikiMapping – an online tool that provides users the opportunity to view, at their leisure, draft transit route concepts and comment on them.
During the fall 2018 public meeting, the project team will share the recommended short-term and long-term service alternatives based on information received from the Transit Feasibility Survey and initial public meeting. Public comments shared at both meetings will be included in the final implementation plan.
For more information regarding Transit Feasibility Study and stay informed about future updates and meeting details at surpriseaz.gov/transitstudy.