Events & Meetings
National Day of Prayer
Councilmember Nancy Hayden and I joined several City staff representatives, residents and church organizations on Thursday, May 3 in the City Hall courtyard to participate in the National Day of Prayer. Many thanks to Ray Grimm for hosting the event.
Altrusa of the West Valley Reception
Altrusa of the West Valley hosted a reception on Thursday, May 3 at Rio Salado College in Surprise. The reception was held for high school students and their family members. Rio Salado’s College Bridge Pathways program helps high school students achieve the GED. Altrusa provides the families with the opportunity to celebrate their student’s achievements through this reception and scholarships for the students.
Altrusa of the West Valley has been serving residents of the West Valley since 1978. In 2015, they initiated the formation of Read On Arizona Greater Surprise. Thanks to their partnership with Friends of the Surprise Libraries, five grants in the last six years were provided to reimburse students for the high school equivalency test.
Surprise Safety Day
I attended Surprise Safety Day on Saturday, May 5 at the Surprise Aquatic Center located at 15831 N. Bullard Avenue. Attendees were able to enjoy emergency vehicle and equipment displays including an appearance by Native Air helicopter as well as interactive exhibits and live demonstrations from Surprise public safety services. Additionally, there were water safety and CPR demonstrations.
At this time, the Aquatic Center offered free swim lesson assessments and conducted swim team tryouts. Thank you to our public safety teams for hosting this successful educational event for our residents!
Surprise Arts & Cultural Advisory Commission Meeting
The Surprise Arts & Cultural Advisory Commission met on Monday, May 7. Discussion included a proposed history wall display in the Mayor’s Atrium and an update on the development of the Public Art Plan. Additionally, City Engineering Manager Michael Boule discussed the timeline for the General Obligation bond projects and WHAM Executive Director discussed a neighborhood photography project in the Original Town Site that will be completed by San Diego artist John Raymond Mireles who is travelling to all 50 states in his quest to visually compose a bridge between the racial, ideological, geographic and socioeconomic differences that divide our country.
WESTMARC Economic Development Summit
WESTMARC Economic Development Summit was held on Tuesday, May 8 at the Renaissance Hotel in Glendale. The focus of this particular summit was building a quality community. More than 1.6 million people reside in the West Valley. Approximately 40 percent of Phoenix residents live west of I-17. The average income is $62,775 for households in the West Valley and 62 percent of the said population is workforce age. Many of the West Valley amenities, civic engagement career and education opportunities were discussed as they enhance the lives of our residents.
Mark Your Calendar
Surprise Day of Service
Are you looking for opportunities to help your community? The city is seeking volunteers for the Surprise Day of Service, which will be held on Saturday, May 12 from 8 a.m. until noon.
On the day of the event, volunteers will check in at the Surprise Senior Center located at 15832 N. Hollyhock Street. Transportation will be required to get to most service projects, which include painting, cleaning, trash removal and more.
Light refreshments will be provided for breakfast and lunch. If you are interested in volunteering, please contact Jason Hughes at 623.222.3239 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
City Council/Planning & Zoning Joint Planning Meeting
The Surprise City Council and city Planning and Zoning Commission will hold a joint meeting on Monday, May 14, to discuss Community Facilities Districts (CFDs). CFDs are special taxing districts that finance the installation, operation and maintenance of public improvements such as roads, water and wastewater facilities, flood control and drainage projects that benefit the specified area.
City staff will brief members of Council and the Planning and Zoning Commission on recent state law changes on how CFDs operate. After the briefing, the collective body will discuss whether the city should update its policies regarding CFDs in order to encourage and support continued livable and quality neighborhood development in Surprise.
The meeting begins at 6 p.m., in Council Chambers at City Hall, 16000 N. Civic Center Plaza. The complete agenda will be posted at least 24 hours before the meeting at https://agenda.surpriseaz.gov.
May 15 Special Election
Please don’t forget to cast your ballot for the city’s May 15 Special Election to decide whether or not to authorize the purchase and acquisition of a water service company, Circle City Water Company. The acquisition would provide Surprise with the company’s existing infrastructure and grow the city’s allocation of Colorado River by more than 38%.
For more information, please visit www.surpriseaz.gov/waterelection
Did You Know?
2018 National Citizen Survey Results – Residents Love Surprise
The 2018 National Citizen Survey (NCS) results reveal more than 8 in 10 residents rate the quality of life in Surprise as excellent or good; and they recommend living here. The NCS serves as the city’s service report card, and the collected data assists in setting future city priorities. According to the survey, the areas that are most important to Surprise residents are safety and the economy.
The survey captures residents’ opinions within three community pillars: Community Characteristics, Governance & Participation. These are broken down into eight categories: Safety, Mobility/Transportation, Natural Environment, Built Environment, Economy, Recreation & Wellness, Education & Enrichment and Community Engagement. Overall, ratings in Surprise for 2018 remained stable from the 2015 NCS. Of the 132 items, for which comparisons were available, 106 were rated similarly/ 23 decreased/3 increased. And across the eight overall categories a majority of the city’s results were similar to 200 or more peer cities across the United States.
The city rated above the national benchmark in the following categories:
(% selected excellent/good)
- 89% Surprise as a place to retire
- 80% Sidewalk maintenance
- 72% Variety of housing options
- 66% Affordable housing
- 63% Cost of living
- 62% Street repair
A majority of residents (96%) recycled at home and 95% feel safe in their neighborhood. Overall appearance of the city (cleanliness) also rated well (84%). Employment opportunities rose 7% since the 2015 survey and rated as similar to the national benchmark.
Survey results continue to indicate a need for more public transportation options which rated much lower than the national benchmark. Residents ages 18 – 35 gave less favorable ratings to Education/Enrichment and Community Engagement than respondents over 35; and they were less likely to remain living in Surprise over the next five years.
While the survey indicated a need for public transit; when asked to identify a funding source the Strongly/Somewhat Support responses were very low: 31% favored a New Transit Tax; 30% supported GO Bonds for vehicles only; and 18% supported a property tax increase.
Residents continue to rate investing in water resources; completing streets; and protecting the White Tank Mountains as high-to-medium priorities for the city.
93% of respondents say they utilize the city’s website www.surpriseaz.gov to access city news and information and when asked for ways in which they would like to engage with the city, 68% wrote in social media and the website as their top connections.
The 2018 NCS was conducted by Boulder, Colorado-based National Research Center (NRC) from February – March 2018. The survey was sent to 1,500 randomly-selected Surprise households. The overall response rate was 23%. The margin of error is +/- 5%. Results were weighted as to not have one particular demographic dominate response.
For the first time, the NCS was offered online March 5 – 19. 454 online surveys were received. The paper and online datasets were not combined. NRC survey conductors found quite a few more disparities in ratings than they typically see. Online participants were more likely to be middle-aged or female than the mailed paper respondents. The online results were similar in that more than 8 in 10 residents rate the quality of life in Surprise as excellent or good and they recommend living here.
Thank you to those residents who participated in the survey. To see the complete results for the paper and online survey; or to view previous surveys visit www.surpriseaz.gov/ncs.
Phoenix Business Journal Ranks City as One of Valley’s Healthiest Employers
The City of Surprise has been named one of the Valley’s Healthiest Employers in a 2018 Phoenix Business Journal ranking, placing sixth among midsized companies. The city’s employee wellness program includes diverse initiatives that address physical activity, nutrition, stress management, and preventative disease management.
City Hall has two on-site Wellness Rooms that host fitness classes like Yoga, Pilates, Zumba, Cardio/Strength and Bootcamp; as well as chair massages, reflexology and meditation. The city also offers nutritional counseling programs and an annual health risk assessment.
The city’s wellness programs complement overall healthcare benefits in a way that helps contain costs.To see Phoenix Business Journal’s Healthiest Employers list, please visit https://www.bizjournals.com/phoenix/subscriber-only/2018/05/04/top-of-the-phoenix-lists-healthiest-1.html