Councilmember Skip Hall attended the 2018 Surprise Regional Chamber of Commerce Meeting

August 9, 2018 • Newsletter

City Council Work Session

Surprise Fire-Medical Fee Updates

The Surprise Fire-Medical Department (SFMD) has five categories of fee updates that were presented to the City Council for review. After this review, the updates will be presented for publication pursuant to Arizona Revised Statutes (A.R.S.) 9-499.15. Once the required publication period is met, SFMD will present the same fees to City Council for adoption at the City Council meeting scheduled for October 16, 2018. Some of the fees include CPR Training Class fees, Fire Suppression fees, Treat No Transport/Treat and Refer fee, updated Ground Ambulance Transport fees and updated medical supply and pharmaceutical fees.

City Council Grant Program Updates

The City Council designates $75,000 each fiscal year for community outreach programs; the Surprise Community Outreach Grant Program ($65,000) and the Neighborhood Grant Program ($10,000). In FY18, a total of 28 local non-profits and neighborhood groups were supported through these programs. Human Service and Community Vitality Director Seth Dyson provided an overview of what each awardee has been able to achieve through this outlet of funding. At a future meeting, City Council will consider increasing the Community Outreach Grant Program by an additional $35,000 to meet growing community needs.

City of Surprise Lobbying Ordinance

Earlier this spring, City Attorney Robert Wingo was asked to bring forth a proposed Lobbying Ordinance for City Council consideration. This requested ordinance is primarily designed to further transparency. Upon review of other Arizona municipal ordinances and state law pertaining to lobbying, Mr. Wingo presented a similar ordinance based on the same. This ordinance would require lobbyists to register with the City Clerk’s Office prior to, or within five days of engaging in lobbying city officials. The lobbyist(s) would then be required to annually disclose expenditures related to lobbying activity or quarterly when it pertains to donations to the campaigns of city officials. Furthermore, this ordinance would prohibit certain activities pertaining to gifts and also defines the penalties for violation – the first two violations being civil offenses with monetary penalties and suspensions of lobbying rights and the third violation being a misdemeanor criminal offense.

City Council Meeting

Distracted Driving Ordinance Approved

Earlier this spring, I asked our Surprise Police Department to investigate a primary distracted driving ordinance that our city could consider. I am happy to report, driving and using your mobile devices, which are not operating in a hands-free mode, is now illegal within Surprise city limits. City Council unanimously approved the Distracted Driving Ordinance at their Regular Meeting, Tuesday night.

The ordinance penalizes driving and using a mobile communications devise unless usage is in hands-free mode or if the driver is communicating an emergency situation to emergency personnel. Ordinance violators will be subject to a civil penalty of up to $250 plus any other assessments. Public safety personnel operating in their professional capacity are exempt from the ordinance. Drivers can continue to use two-way radio communication as long as they continue to safely operate the vehicle.

The Distracted Driving Ordinance goes into effect 30 calendar days following Council’s approval, which will be in the first week of September.

Councilmember Skip Hall interviewed by ABC 15 in regards of the distracted driving ordinance approval

Events & Meetings

Surprise Regional Chamber of Commerce Meeting

The Surprise Regional Chamber of Commerce hosted their Community Convener’s breakfast meeting on Wednesday, August 8, at the WestMEC Northwest Campus in Surprise. Congresswoman Debbie Lesko was the keynote speaker providing an opportunity for guests to get to know her and to provide an update on legislation.

Dysart Unified School District Meet the Teacher Nights

Dysart Unified School District hosted an evening of “Meet the Teacher” events on Tuesday, July 31. I was able to attend the elementary schools located in District 5 and speak to the principals on their plans for this school year and how I can help them in my capacity.

Dysart Unified School District Meet the Teacher Nights

Surprise Pickleball Association Scholarship Presentation

Each year, the Surprise Pickleball Association (SPA) awards a $2,000 scholarship to three high school seniors in Surprise. This year, there was a tie for second place so the SPA executive board members voted to award three $2,000 scholarships. All of the scholarship recipients attended Shadow Ridge High School; the highest application score went to Kai Nicole Sanford. Torrie Strand and Margaret Nicoli tied for the second scholarship award. Thank you to SPA for recognizing the talent of our students. Congratulations ladies, we wish you much success in your studies and chosen college majors.

Highland Prep Ribbon Cutting

Highland Prep celebrated the opening of their 36,000 square foot, state-of-the-art educational building with 20 classrooms, a gymnasium and athletic field on Thursday, July 19. Highland Prep is a tuition-free STEM, college preparatory high school with a rigorous academic program.

Highland Prep Ribbon Cutting

Council Recess Update

Although City Council was in recess in July, it remained a very busy month. I met with several of my constituents, attended meetings with local agencies working to benefit Surprise as well as our Public Outreach meeting on July 24. I also took part in a few interviews pertaining to the Distracted Driving Ordinance. In addition, we celebrated new businesses including Codobe, located at 12211 W. Bell Road, Suite 107 and MagQU, located in the AZ TechCelerator. Welcome to Surprise!

I was also honored to participate in the Fill the Bus/Back to School backpack event with Surprise Youth Foundation and Walmart which benefited Parkview Elementary School this year. Thank you to our generous residents who donated school items to our students and to WalMart for their partnership.

Councilmember Skip Hall participated in the Fill the Bus/Back to School backpack event with Surprise Youth Foundation and Walmart

Mark Your Calendar

West Valley Arts HQ Upcoming Performances

The Surprise Arts & Cultural Advisory Commission is excited to announce some upcoming arts performances at West Valley Arts HQ!

NEW! Sunset Series

August 11, 6:30 p.m.
Stuck Moving Up (condensed version)
Performed by Holly Theater
West Valley Arts HQ – 16126 N Civic Center Dr. Surprise
Cost: $11.95

This is the first-ever Sunset Series performance at Arts HQ! Stuck Moving Up is about an unemployed, divorcing, 30-something named Heather. She has high hopes of life looking up as she steps into a Manhattan elevator. Too bad the universe has other plans!

Lunchtime Theater

September 20, noon
Chamber Music Concert
Performed by Mill Ave. Players
West Valley Arts HQ – 16126 N Civic Center Dr. Surprise
Cost: $11.95

This performance opens the fourth season of Lunchtime Theater and features the critically-acclaimed Mill Ave. Players!

Attendees are welcome to bring their lunch, or they can pre-order one from Sunsational Coffee. To place a lunch order, please contact Sunsational Coffee at 623.544.8979. Lunch orders are delivered to West Valley Arts HQ before the performance.

Seating is limited, so make sure to reserve your spot for these performances. To make a reservation, please call 623.584.2626. To learn more about West Valley Arts and West Valley Arts HQ, please visit

Did You Know?

WHAM Neighbors Photography Exhibit

Larger-than-life photographs of Surprise residents and others from across the country are on display in an outdoor art exhibit in the city’s Original Town Site (OTS), through October 31. The exhibit, titled “Neighbors”, is the work of artist John Raymond Mireles. Over the past several years, Mireles has traveled to heritage areas in every state to photograph the people who live there. He is working to create an inclusive, expansive visual document of America through its people – one that captures a diverse range of individuals. The artist’s hope is that the exhibit will encourage viewers to relate to and empathize with their fellow “neighbors” across the country – helping each other feel welcome, safe and recognized.

Mireles was invited to do this exhibit by the local WHAM Art Association, with support from the Surprise Arts & Cultural Advisory Commission. The artist came to Surprise earlier this year to capture the faces of residents in the OTS. The 4′ X 5′ photos are hung on fencing near the Surprise Senior Center.

If you go:

Neighbors Exhibit
August 1 – October 31
Near the Surprise Senior Center, 15832 N Hollyhock St.

Don’t miss these bonus opportunities!

Indoor Exhibit: The artist will showcase smaller versions of select photos at WHAM West Gallery August 1 – 31; open Tues. thru Sat. 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Spring Training

Spring Training brings generates revenue and brings people to Arizona and as a proud Cactus League city, Surprise is feeling the benefits! According to research released last month by the Cactus League, the 2018 Cactus League season generated $373 million in the state’s Gross Domestic Product, resulting in a total economic impact of more than $644 million, once you add in jobs, sales taxes and indirect support. That’s an 11% increase from the last study conducted in 2015.

The study conducted by the L. William Seidman Research Institute at Arizona State University’s W.P. Carey School of Business also found that the Cactus League created 6,439 annual jobs!

Nearly 1.8 million people attended a Cactus League game this past season- more than 190,000 fans visited Surprise Stadium!

Looking a little closer into Surprise Stadium specific data, 61% of visitors to Surprise Stadium this season were from outside of Arizona. That’s a 5% increase from 2015. We also saw a 23% increase in the number of first-time visitors to Surprise Stadium since the last survey!

Surprise fans spent an average of $3,400 per trip and 66% of visitors paid for accommodations during their visit with a median stay of three nights and attended three games. Nearly 93% of fans shared that Spring Training was a factor for visiting the area.

The USA Today ranked Surprise Stadium as the No. 1 Spring Training stadium in the Cactus League this year and the park also topped all 23 Arizona and Florida spring training facilities in the categories of facility and fan-experience!