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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 www.westvalleyarts.org.


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!

June 28, 2018 • Newsletter

Special City Council Meeting

During a special meeting on June 26, the City Council approved two new development agreements for Prasada Lake Village, more specifically the Toll At Prasada project. Toll has contracted with Suburban Land Reserve to purchase 781 of the 1600 acres of Prasada Lake Village to develop a luxury master planned community with a golf course, lakes, clubhouse, and other amenities. The first agreement will apply to the 781 acres being purchased by Toll and will impose new, updated development requirements and provide for delivery of effluent by the city for use during construction and to fill the planned lakes. The second agreement is for the 821 acres of Prasada Lake Village being retained by Suburban Land Reserve, and, like the first, will provide for delivery of effluent by the city for use in the future when that property is developed.


Events & Meetings

Wedding Anniversary Recognition

I was honored to be asked to present a plaque to Robert and Roberta Therry who celebrated their 70 year wedding anniversary at Kingswood Place on Tuesday, June 26. Congratulations to them on their many years together!

Councilmember Skip Hall presents a plaque to Robert and Roberta Therry for their 70 year anniversary

District 5 Community Meeting

Sun Village HOA hosted my District 5 Community meeting on Wednesday, June 27. Ottawa University President Dr. Dennis Tyner provided an update on Ottawa University that included the upcoming additions to their campus. Scott Phillips of Carefree Partners provided an update on City Center, which included discussion on the revisions to the original master plan of the downtown area. In addition, city staff from Economic Development, Community Development, Surprise Police and Engineering provided updates on our city’s progress, as well as the status of the General Obligation Bond projects.

A link to the meeting will be available next week on my Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/SkipHallD5.

Thank you to Sun Village for the accommodations and to those of you who attended!

Destiny Springs Behavioral Hospital Tour

Several Councilmembers and I joined our Economic Development team for a hard hat tour of Destiny Spring Behavioral Hospital on Thursday, June 28. Destiny Springs is a free-standing behavioral health hospital that will provide voluntary behavioral health treatment to adult, adolescent and geriatric patients. The 70,000 square foot hospital will include 90-beds and employ upwards of 185 people. We anticipate the official opening later this summer.


Mark Your Calendar

USA Baseball Championship West 16U Tournament

Watch more than 45 baseball teams compete for a championship title when the USA Baseball National Team Championships – 16U West Division comes to the Surprise Recreation Campus this Sunday, July 1 through Friday, July 6.

Fans will get to see some of the best amateur baseball in the country, and players will have the opportunity to be evaluated by top college coaches, professional scouts and the USA Baseball Task Force, which looks for the best talent to fill future national team rosters.

The games will be held at the Kansas City Royals and Texas Rangers training facilities located within the Surprise Recreation Campus, 15960 N. Bullard Avenue, and will begin at 7 a.m. each day. There will be no games played on July 4. For ticket information and additional details, please visit: http://bit.ly/2lFzNrY

Celebrate the Fourth of July in Surprise

The city will host its 35th Annual Fourth of July Celebration on Wednesday, July 4th at the Surprise Recreation Campus, 15850 N. Bullard Avenue. This free event includes a rookie league baseball game at Surprise Stadium featuring the Cincinnati Reds vs. Texas Rangers, in-game contests and giveaways, live entertainment by the 8 Tracks at Mark Coronado Park, and fireworks to end the night!

Stadium gates open at 4:30 p.m. with the first pitch at 5:30 p.m. Concession stands will be offering a variety of food. After the game, at approximately 8:30 p.m., catch a spectacular 20-minute firework show set to patriotic music!

If you want your Independence Day celebration to include live music and lawn seating, head to Mark Coronado Park just north of the Stadium. The 8 Tracks will play from 6 p.m. until the 8:30 fireworks show.

Plus, we’re hosting a 4th of July Pool Party at Surprise Aquatic Center. Get the details here: http://bit.ly/2I0Z5cA. For event information, please contact the Community & Recreation Services at 623.222.2000 or check the website at www.surpriseaz.gov/specialevents.

Vietnam Veterans Memorial ‘The Moving Wall’

Experience a half-size replica of the Washington, DC Vietnam Veterans Memorial when The Moving Wall comes to Surprise next week.

The replica wall was created so that people who cannot travel to DC, can still share in this special way of honoring and remembering the sacrifice of our Vietnam service members. The wall is engraved with more than 58,000 names of killed or missing Vietnam service men and women.

The city of Surprise is honored to host The Moving Wall from July 5 – 9 at Mark Coronado Park, located at 15960 N Bullard Ave.

July 5, 9:00 a.m.
The Moving Wall Opens to Public

July 6, 6:00 a.m.
Welcome Ceremony

July 9, 6:00 a.m.
Closing Ceremony

July 9, 12:00 p.m.
The Moving Wall Closes

The Moving Wall will be open 24 hours for viewing from July 5 at 9 a.m. – July 9 at noon. Directory books will be available 8 a.m. – 8 p.m. This event is free to the public.

For more information, please visit www.surpriseaz.gov/specialevents or contact Steve Castillo at 623.222.2267 or steve.castillo@surpriseaz.gov.


Did You Know?

City Offices Closed for July 4

City of Surprise administrative offices will be closed Wednesday, July 4 for Independence Day. Due to the holiday, City of Surprise trash and recycling customers ONLY are reminded that there will be a modified collection schedule that week. Monday and Tuesday pickup will not be affected. Wednesday collection will occur on Thursday, July 5; Thursday collection will occur on Friday, July 6.

Please note that not all City of Surprise residents are City of Surprise trash and recycling customers, and as such, may not experience a change in pickup service. Please check with your service provider. For questions about the trash and recycling schedule, please call 623.222.1900.

City Council Recess

Each July, City Council takes a month recess. While we are still working and available, we typically do not meet. As such, I will not be distributing a newsletter until the first week of August. I look forward to communicating with you through this outlet in August!


Contact Me

Office: 623.222.1325
Mobile: 623.451.3975
Email: skip.hall@surpriseaz.gov

Ask a Question

June 21, 2018 • Newsletter

City Council Work Session

Sports & Tourism Department Update

Sports & Tourism Director Kendra Pettis provided an update including spring training and department initiatives. With the new fiscal year, there are plans to evaluate and analyze this past year’s business, establish tracking and baselines, creating comprehensive marketing and sales plans and much more.

We had another successful spring training season this year, 2018 was third highest gross revenue in Spring Training history, bringing in more than $6.7 million. This year, 190,043 people attended the games at Surprise Stadium. In addition, several different level baseball tournaments, various tennis and pickleball tournaments and special events were hosted in Surprise that generated significant hotel nights and tourism opportunities.

Distracted Driving Ordinance Discussion

Earlier this year, I asked the Surprise Police Department to present a proposed amendment to Chapter 54, Article I to add a new section of the Surprise Municipal Code relative to the use of handheld mobile devices or portable electronic devices while driving. Prohibiting the use of these items while driving would discourage distracted driving, thereby making the roadways safer for all of us on the roads.

Confinement of Animals Discussion

Surprise Police Department presented on a proposed amendment of the Surprise Municipal Code relative to the safe and sanitary confinement of animals. The ordinance would penalize unsafe and unhealthy practices as well as highlight conditions such as temperature, access to food and water, and tethering, which impact animal health and safety.

Confinement should not endanger the health or wellbeing of the animal. The animal requires access to food and water, protection from inclement weather including heat and cold, and an area that is sanitary.


City Council Meeting

Boards & Commission Appointments

City Council unanimously approved the appointments of John Williams to fill the resident vacancy on the Tourism Advisory Commission with a term expiration of June 30, 2021 and Glenn Stark to fill the remainder of a term due to the vacancy of the Chamber of Commerce seat on the Tourism Advisory Commission.

Urban Camping Ordinance

A new urban camping ordinance was approved. The purpose behind the ordinance is to maintain streets, parks and other public and private areas within the city in a clean, sanitary and accessible condition and to adequately protect the health, safety and public welfare of the community, while recognizing that, subject to reasonable conditions, camping and camp facilities associated with special events can be beneficial to the cultural and educational climate in the city. This ordinance has a services first approach to anyone in violation of the ordinance. Individuals experiencing homelessness and who are seeking services can get connected by calling 211, or accessing the city’s Community Resource Guide found here: https://www.surpriseaz.gov/DocumentCenter/View/40011/Community-Resource-Guide?bidId.

Anyone seeking eviction prevention, utility and employment assistance can visit the Surprise Resource Center, located at 12425 W. Bell Rd, Bldg. A, Ste. #124 at the AZ TechCelerator Campus, or call 623-222-1600. The ordinance is scheduled to go into effect 30 days after council action.

General Obligation Bond Update

City staff provided City Council with a Decide Surprise General Obligation Bond projects and financial update at Tuesday night’s Regular Meeting. On April, 18, 2018 the city issued the first General Obligation Bond sale resulting in $37 million of principal outstanding. Piper Jaffray submitted the winning bid which resulted in a bond yield of 2.97%- lower than the original 4% estimate.

Design work is underway for:

  • Fire Stations 304 & 308
  • Public Works Operations Facility
  • Traffic Congestion Mitigation Projects along Waddell, Litchfield & Greenway Roads

Land acquisition for the fire stations and Public Works Operations Facility is underway and the groundbreaking for the Public Works structure will commence by the end of this calendar year.

The following areas have been selected for Pavement Preservation Treatments in Fiscal Year 2019:

  • Reems Road/Bell Road Intersection
  • Reems Road from Bell Road to Grand Avenue
  • Cactus Road from Bullard Avenue to Reems Road
  • Greenway Road from Bullard Avenue to Reems Road
  • Waddell Road/Litchfield Road Intersection
  • Waddell Road from Dysart Road to Litchfield Road
  • Waddell Road from Bullard Avenue to Reems Road
  • Reems Road /Cactus Road Intersection
  • Reems Road from Cactus Road to Waddell Road
  • Dysart Road from Greenway Road to Bell Road

Improvement work on Litchfield and Waddell roads begins in the summer of 2019. Greenway improvements will begin about nine months following the completion of Waddell.

The selection of a design-build team for the Public Safety Evidence & Readiness Center is scheduled for December 2018. The Police Training Facility design selection is expected in June 2020.

The secondary property tax assessment to fund the bond projects begins July 1, 2018. The secondary property tax rate is $0.42 per $100 of assessed property valuation. To review the scope of the projects, construction timeline, costs and more visit www.surpriseaz.gov/decidesurprise.

Tourism Five Year Strategic Plan (2018-2023)

In April of 2017, the Tourism Advisory Commission began the process of updating the 2010 Tourism Strategic Plan. The Commission worked with the Sports and Tourism department, Community and Recreation Services Department and a facilitator on two developmental planning work sessions in April and November of 2017.

With the consistent growth of the city, the Tourism Advisory Commission has a goal of increasing prospective awareness of Surprise tourism and enhancing the quality of life for residents through increased tourism-based development and partnership opportunities. Through a process of discovery and collaboration, the Commission identified four key focus areas for this strategic plan including events and entertainment, marketing, partnership and facility development; and funding.

The Tourism Five Year Strategic Plan (2018-2023) was approved by Council at Tuesday’s meeting. Read the plan at www.surpriseaz.gov/sportsandtourism.

Greater Phoenix Economic Council Agreement

The Greater Phoenix Economic Council (GPEC) is a public-private partnership founded in 1989 to leverage resources to attract and grow business to Greater Phoenix. Their goal is to develop a high-performance economy by attracting high-quality investments and jobs. The annual agreement with GPEC provides Surprise with the opportunity to partner with GPEC to attract quality jobs to the community, to receive marketing services that reach a targeted national and international industry and site selection audience, and to engage with local industry leaders in initiatives to enhance the overall regional competitiveness.

In the last 5 years, GPEC has assisted Surprise in locating nearly 1,000 jobs – providing a return-on-investment value of 12-to-1 for the community. Over the history of our membership, GPEC has assisted Surprise with the location of several local employers such as Janus International, RioGlass Solar, Brentwood Industries, Gestamp Solar Steel, Campcorp Structures, Cobalt Rehabilitation Hospital, and IRIS USA. The Economic Development Department is currently working on two confidential pending company location announcements with GPEC at the present time. GPEC will be engaging in enhanced marketing efforts over the next two years to roll out “The Connected Place” rebranding strategy for the region, implementing new marketing and data tools.

FY18 Financial Status Report

Revenue is trending higher than expected through March in the General Fund. Local sales tax is trending upwards due to increased activity in many categories but a portion of this revenue does go back out as an expenditure to reimburse development obligations. Growth is continuing to trend upwards thus increasing the amount of revenue collected for development related growth (permitting, planning, inspections). There has also been a change in timing for intergovernmental revenue that has increased what we have received from the DOR when compared to budget. Expenditures currently trending are below budget by 4%.


Events & Meetings

WESTMARC Legislative Breakfast

WESTMARC hosted a legislative breakfast on Thursday, June 14. Councilman Todd Tande and I attended along other elected officials and community leaders throughout the West Valley. Seven of our State Legislators were present to provide an update on their initiatives and this past legislative session as well as a look into what next session may bring.

Water Issues Hearing

The Arizona House of Representatives’ Committee on Energy, Environment and Natural Resources hosted a Special Committee Hearing on Water Issues in the State of Arizona on Wednesday, June 20 at the Palo Verde Nuclear Education Center in Buckeye. This hearing provided an opportunity for the public to speak on their concerns regarding water issues including conservation, salt cedar trees, water credits, desalination and much more.

West Valley Council to Council Mixer

Surprise City Council hosted a West Valley Council to Council mixer on Wednesday, June 20 at Ottawa University. Councilmembers from Buckeye, Goodyear, Peoria, Glendale and Tolleson attended. The mixer provided an opportunity to learn more about Ottawa University and to network with our peers. Thank you to Dr. Dennis Tyner and his team for hosting us!


Mark Your Calendar

Celebrate the Fourth of July in Surprise

The city will host its 35th Annual Fourth of July Celebration on Wednesday, July 4th at the Surprise Recreation Campus, 15850 N. Bullard Avenue. This free event includes a rookie league baseball game at Surprise Stadium featuring the Cincinnati Reds vs. Texas Rangers, in-game contests and giveaways, live entertainment by the 8 Tracks at Mark Coronado Park, and fireworks to end the night!

Stadium gates open at 4:30 p.m. with the first pitch at 5:30 p.m. Concession stands will be offering a variety of food. After the game, at approximately 8:30 p.m., catch a spectacular 20-minute firework show set to patriotic music!

If you want your Independence Day celebration to include live music and lawn seating, head to Mark Coronado Park just north of the Stadium. The 8 Tracks will play from 6 p.m. until the 8:30 fireworks show.

Plus, we’re hosting a 4th of July Pool Party at Surprise Aquatic Center. Get the details here: http://bit.ly/2I0Z5cA. For event information, please contact the Community & Recreation Services at 623.222.2000 or check the website at www.surpriseaz.gov/specialevents.


Did You Know?

S&P Upgrades City Utility Revenue Bonds

S&P Global ratings has assigned an AA+ rating for the city’s Series 2018 senior-lien utility system revenue obligations, which is an upgrade from the previous MPC 2007 wastewater bonds which were rated A+ by Fitch. The credit rating firm cited the following criteria for the upgrade (view full report):

  • Extremely strong enterprise and financial risk profiles
  • Affordable service rates in the context of the service area’s strong income metrics although somewhat hindered by the higher-than-average county poverty rate;
  • Good overall operational management that includes ample water supply through a diverse source of supply in addition to sufficient wastewater treatment capacity to meet demand.
  • Extremely strong historical debt service coverage Extremely strong liquidity position, with over a year’s worth of unrestricted reserves;
  • Manageable debt profile
  • Good overall financial management reflected by policies and procedures

The higher the rating, the lower the investment risk to the bond purchasers and the interest rate to the city on the borrowed funds.

City staff has been working to refinance the 2007 MPC Wastewater Debt which will generate savings from a lower annual debt service payment by approximately $1 million. The wastewater debt will be refinanced with a combined utility system revenue bond which provides greater economies of scales in order to achieve lower financing cost from stronger revenue coverage and higher credit ratings.

If the purchase of Circle City Water Company Acquisition deal moves forward, this combined utility system revenue bond positions the city to execute financing for the acquisition. The city expects to finance $14 million of the total acquisition cost. The debt service on the water acquisition will be repaid with the sale of water portfolio assets.

The possible purchase of Circle City Water would require action by the City Council. Staff continues negotiations with the company at this time.

Hydration Stations Available During Heat Warnings

With a heat warning in effect this week, the city of Surprise reminds residents that the city is a Heat Relief Network partner, providing hydration and refuge stations for those in need of a place to cool off during the hot summer months.

The Maricopa Association of Governments (MAG) coordinates mapping of the Heat Relief Network – a network of service providers, faith-based groups, municipalities, businesses, and caring citizens mobilizing to provide hydration and heat refuge for people in need.

Designated hydration stations in Surprise include the Surprise Resource Center, 12425 W Bell Road Building A Suite 124, and Surprise Fire-Medical Station #301 (FS 301), 16750 N Village Drive East. FS 301 is also a place of refuge to cool off during the day.

For a heat safety message from Surprise Fire-Medical Department, watch this video.

To learn about the symptoms of heat related illness and what to do if you or a loved one shows symptoms, please visit: https://www.cdc.gov/disasters/extremeheat/warning.html.

June 14, 2018 • Newsletter

Events & Meetings

In-N-Out Burger Now Open

The much anticipated opening of In-N-Out occurred on Friday, June 8. The newest Valley location (14321 W. Bell Road) hosted a soft opening for staffers, Surprise local officials and community leaders on Thursday, June 7. Welcome to Surprise, In-N-Out!

Councilmember Skip Hall with In-N-Out Burger staff member during the soft opening in Surprise

Surprise Regional Chamber of Commerce Feedback Meeting

Surprise Regional Chamber of Commerce Board President Scott Phillips and CEO Raoul Sada met with me on Friday, June 8 to discuss feedback regarding the Tourism symposium that was held earlier this month. The meeting also provided us with an opportunity to discuss other partnering enhancements.

AZ TechCelerator’s 5th Annual Entrepreneurship Boot Camp

Youthful innovation was on display June 8 at Surprise City Hall in culmination of the AZ TechCelerator’s 5th Annual Surprise Youth Entrepreneurship Boot Camp. Fourteen students from Paradise Honors, Willow Canyon, Valley Vista, Shadow Ridge and Dysart high schools worked in teams at the city’s business incubator to identify a community need and develop a product or service to address that need.

The finale of the weeklong camp was a marketing pitch before a panel of judges in the Surprise City Council Chambers. The teens’ ideas included a new option for mobile resources to help the homeless, a foundation to help fund the research for synthetic organs and an eco-friendly and low cost water filtration system using thermal distillation. But, the big winner was Linked, an app that fully disables a driver’s ability to access messaging apps and social media while driving. Congratulations to Nickolas Robertson, Jack Platacz, Sean Cox and Sebastian Bednarek from Paradise Honors High School on their win!

Since 2009, the AZ TechCelerator has fostered local start-ups, resulting in 20 businesses and nearly 300 jobs. For more information, please visit www.aztechcelerator.com or call 623.222.TECH.


Mark Your Calendar

Task Force To Discuss Honoring Late Veteran Resident

At the request of the Surprise City Council the Honoring an Exceptional Leader Task Force will reconvene, Thursday, June 28, to begin the process to identifying possible ways in which to honor the late Brian Mancini. Mr. Mancini was a medically retired Sergeant First Class, Combat Wounded Veteran who served as a Combat Medic with two tours in Baghdad, Iraq. He served over 12 years in the United States Army. He was the recipient of two Purple Hearts, the Combat Action Badge, Combat Medical Badge, Air Assault Badge and Flight Medic Badge.

In 2007, Brian suffered life-threatening injuries from a roadside bomb attack in Iraq. Following years of surgeries and rehabilitation, the Surprise resident founded Honor House, a place where wounded veterans could go for therapy and counseling.

Suffering from Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Mancini ended his life at the age of 38 in 2017. His story and combat injuries were the focus of an April 2018 60 Minutes story detailing new medical studies surrounding PTSD and the brain impacts suffered during explosions.

The meeting begins at 6 p.m., in the Community Room of City Hall, 16000 N. Civic Center Plaza. The public is encouraged to attend. This task force will select a chairperson as their first order of business. All members shall participate in discussion and decision making.

Here is the remainder of their business process:

  • Within 30 days of the first meeting, conduct second public meeting to select at least two options to be vetted by city staff. Staff will, at a minimum; explore costs, legal environment, consistency, pros & cons, potential opportunity costs, etc. Within 30 days of the second meeting, Special Task Force will hold third public meeting to weigh all the information presented by city staff, and select the best two/three options. Again, the Special Task Force will use all avenues available, market the meeting in a way that encourages Surprise residents to attend and submit ideas and discuss pros and cons of each idea. Special Task Force will present its recommendations to the City Council at the next regularly scheduled City Council Workshop. City Council will either recommend that the action item be brought forward at the next City Council Meeting, or ask that the Special Task Force perform additional work. The Special Task Force will be dismissed after City Council Action.

Did You Know?

City Opens Surprise Community Outreach Grant Program Application Process

A City Council-led initiative to assist community organizations in providing programs and events that benefit City of Surprise residents is now accepting applications. Council has set aside $65,000 for FY2018-2019 for the Surprise Community Outreach Program in an effort to support and grow qualified local programs and events to improve the health and welfare of Surprise residents.

To be considered, applicants must be a 501(c)3 organization or partner with a 501(c)3 verified agency. The maximum award per applicant is $10,000. According to program guidelines, funds are distributed by reimbursement through an invoice process. The application, complete program details, and eligibility requirements are available online at: www.surpriseaz.gov/communityoutreachprogram.

Applications will be accepted until Friday, August 3, and should be post-marked to:

Human Service & Community Vitality
Attention: Jodi Tas
City of Surprise
16000 N. Civic Center Plaza
Surprise, AZ 85374

A pre-application meeting that will include information about the program and the application process will be held on Tuesday, July 10, at 11:00 a.m. at Surprise City Hall, Council Overflow Room, 16000 N. Civic Center Plaza. For more information, please contact Jodi Tas at 623.222.1330 or jodi.tas@surpriseaz.gov.

Surprise is Seeking Instructors

Do you have a special skill or hobby you would like to teach others? The City of Surprise Community and Recreation Services Department is now recruiting instructors and proposals for special interest classes; such as, dance and fitness, art, preschool, cooking and STEM.

If you are interested in submitting a proposal or becoming an instructor with the City of Surprise, please contact us at 623.222.2000 or email recreation@surpriseaz.gov.


Contact Me

Office: 623.222.1325
Mobile: 623.451.3975
Email: skip.hall@surpriseaz.gov

Ask a Question

June 7, 2018 • Newsletter

City Council Work Session

City Investment Policy Discussion

Finance staff presented changes to the City’s Investment Policy,  which provides guidance to ensure the sound and prudent investment of public monies. The policies cover the areas of Investment Authority; Delegation of Authority; Policy Adoption; Internal Control; Prudence; Investment Objectives; Authorized and Eligible Investments; Safekeeping and Custody; Ethics and Conflicts of Interest; Authorized Financial Institutions; and Reporting. Finance staff updated the policy to streamline language and simplify procedures to facilitate application of the policy, remove investment options that carry a high degree of risk, such as commercial paper, document the City’s objective to approach volatile investments with caution, include additional categories of funds, unless otherwise specified, in order to accommodate for the City’s growth, remove references to ineligible investments and irrelevant definitions.

Refinancing of Wastewater Utility Revenue Bonds

Finance staff is working to refinance the 2007 MPC Wastewater Debt which is expected to lower the annual debt service payment by $1M. The wastewater debt will be refinanced with a combined utility system revenue bond which provides greater economies of scales in order to achieve lower financing cost from stronger revenue coverage and higher credit ratings. If the purchase of Circle City Water Company Acquisition deal moves forward, this combined utility system revenue bond positions the city to execute financing for the acquisition. The city expects to finance $14M of the total acquisition cost. The debt service on the water acquisition will be repaid with the sale of water portfolio assets.

Comprehensive Financial Management Policies Discussion

Staff proposed changes to the City’s Comprehensive Financial Management Policies which are reviewed and updated annually to support the development of a solid financial structure and long-term planning. The policies cover the areas of Operating Management, Capital Management, Debt Management, Minimum Fund Balance, and Financial Reporting. The most significant revisions are as follows: reflect the existing budget amendment authority for the City Council, City Manager, and Department Directors; expand the budget amendment authority for the Finance Director related to carryforward, developer agreements, and adjustments between the Community and Recreation Services Department and Sports and Tourism Department; revise the General Fund’s minimum fund balance calculation to include the Ground Ambulance Fund; and revise the Workers’ Compensation minimum fund balance from twice the amount of budgeted claims to $1,500,000 as required by the Industrial Commission.

Surprise Arts and Culture Master Plan

A City Ready for More… Now is the time to ensure the culture of the city and its place in the world. The city is currently in the public hearing and adoption process for our first ever Surprise Arts & Culture Master Plan; implementing a policy outlined in the Arts & Culture Element of the Surprise General Plan 2035. The Arts and Cultural Advisory Commission recommended approval at their meeting on June 4, and the City Council plans to take action regarding adoption at their next meeting on June 19.

There are two key elements to achieving success for arts and culture in Surprise – reacting to the city that already exists and preparing for the new city that will be built over the next 30 years. Arts and cultural activities can serve as agents of change and growth. The Surprise Arts and Culture Master Plan will help guide the future of public art and investment in cultural amenities; revitalizing neighborhoods, promoting economic prosperity, and giving the community a sense of place. The story of Surprise can be told by public art while its cultural amenities and activities become its calling card to the world.

Full Commitment to the Arts… Public Art and the current collaboration for amenities and festivals had been a ‘grass roots’ effort in the past with a meager budget allocated out of the General Fund on a year-to-year basis. City leadership recognized that the growth Surprise has been experiencing, and hoping to sustain, needed a larger commitment to this method of placemaking. City Council passed an ordinance One and One-Third Percent for the Art Program. This commits money from qualifying Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) projects into a fund dedicated to the arts and cultural amenities, leading the way for this Arts and Culture Master Plan to guide the use of those funds.

Art Is Not Exclusive, Art Is For Everyone! In order to understand Surprise and gauge the needs of its residents, visitors, and the arts community, a series of strategic public engagement events were undertaken that created the foundation for the Arts & Culture Master Plan process. Over a 10 month community outreach, three main stakeholders groups were utilized: City leadership, professionals of the art world, and community members.

Each group was necessary and shared a connection in a way that created a unified vision for what was needed and what would likely be supported. The collaborative community brought together a master plan that will grow and change with the trajectory of the community – as will the scale and diversity of artwork and cultural amenities available to the citizens of Surprise.

Vital Role of the Arts and Cultural Advisory Commission… Surprise has an Arts and Cultural Advisory (ACA) Commission to encourage cultural growth in Surprise and to ensure that art, culture and entertainment are central elements of the quality of life for Surprise residents. Lacking a department full of resources to engage and grow arts is not an uncommon issue for cities of any size, but the Commission has policies and procedures for guidance and structure.

The Commission had a ‘hands on’ approach throughout the entire process of drafting the master plan. They were dedicated in the outreach and communications, the networking with stakeholders, and reviewing the Arts and Culture Master Plan. This ACA Commission understands the need for this community driven document to be a true reflection of the vision of City leadership, art professionals, and the greater community. The resulting plan is a positive collaboration between the Arts and Cultural Advisory Commission, city staff, and stakeholders.


City Council Meeting

City Council Adopts Safety Focused Fiscal Year 19 Budget

City Council approved the Fiscal Year (FY) 2019 City Budget in a Special Meeting on Tuesday night, that addresses safety needs for Information Technology, Police and Fire-Medical. New to the $384.6 million budget is funding for Decide Surprise capital improvement projects that were approved by voters in the November 2017 General Obligation (GO) Bond election. Learn more at www.surpriseaz.gov/decidesurprise.

The budget also includes $16 million in contingency capacity to purchase the Circle City Water Company and grow renewable water allocations by 38 percent. The release of any expenditure would require Council approval and this will be repaid through future water credit sales. For more information, please visit www.surpriseaz.gov/waterelection.

Increased operating expenditures are focused on public safety, security, inflation factors, and mandated/contractual obligations.

Public Safety was the largest recipient of increases to ensure the safety of residents. This 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 Final Budget includes funding for the Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) of $67 million. This includes utilizing $14.4 million in FY2019 for land, design, and/or construction of some of the GO Bond projects. The budget commits $18.4 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 ($14.4 million) and the functional areas of transportation, public safety, general government, and parks and recreation. Funding carried forward (approximately $24 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.

Council is scheduled to take action on the property tax rate at the June 19th Regular Council Meeting that begins at 6 p.m., at City Hall- Council Chambers. The agenda will be posted at least 24 hours prior to the meeting. You can view budget-related materials please visit www.surpriseaz.gov/budget.

Surprise Village Marketplace Freeway Monument Sign

City Council unanimously approved a Conditional Use Permit to allow a Freeway Monument Sign in Surprise Village Marketplace. This is the first such Conditional Use Permit to come before the City Council since the approval of the new Sign Code earlier this year. The proposed 45 foot high Freeway Monument Sign was designed to complement the commercial center where it will be located, and will contain approximately 367 square feet of internally illuminated sign copy.

Freeway Monument Sign in Surprise Village Marketplace

Board & Commission Appointments

City Council approved the appointments of Donald Jeffrey (4 year term – Public Safety Personnel Retirement System Local Board); Steven Berwald (1 year term – Community & Recreation Services Commission); Deborah Welch (1 year term – Arts & Cultural Advisory Commission); and Doc Sullivan (3 year term – Municipal Property Corporation). Thank you to each of you for your commitment to Surprise!


Events & Meetings

Menchie’s Frozen Yogurt Ribbon Cutting

I joined residents and community members on Saturday, June 2 for the grand opening and ribbon cutting for Menchie’s Frozen Yogurt. Menchie’s is located at 14345 W. Bell Road, Suite 104. The owners welcomed patrons with free yogurt, prizes, face painting, balloons, music and more. Welcome to Surprise!

Surprise Police Department Promotion Ceremony

The Surprise Police Department held a promotion ceremony on Monday, June 4 to celebrate the recent promotions of Sergeant Tyler Hollowell, Sergeant Richard Hernandez and Lieutenant R. Mark Filler. Congratulations to our newly promoted officers.

Surprise Police Department Promotion Ceremony June 2018

Christopher Todd Communities at Mountain View Outreach Meeting

City staff hosted a public outreach meeting regarding the Christopher Todd Communities at Mountain View development. This development requires a rezone from residential ranch to RH-15 (12 dwelling units per acre, together with a Final Plat from the purpose of abandoning the Carlin Drive Right-of-Way adjacent to the site. Approximately 22 residents came to the meeting for information on the project.

A map of the Christopher Todd Communities at Mountain View


Mark Your Calendar

HOA Connections

The city is hosting a free HOA Connection Class on June 11 that will educate attendees on federal and state fair housing laws and provide information on the city’s public safety community outreach programs. The fair housing laws will be covered by Lauren Vie, Esq. of Mulcahy Law Firm, who will also review what the law says about assistance/comfort animals and group homes. Representatives from the city’s Fire-Medical and Police Departments will be also present to discuss the city’s various community outreach programs.

The meeting will be held at Surprise City Hall, Community Room, 16000 N Civic Center Plaza, Surprise, AZ.

For more information or to register, please contact Ruby Sitea at 623.222.3242 or ruby.sitea@surpriseaz.gov.

Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall Coming to Surprise

Experience a half-size replica of the Washington, DC Vietnam Veterans Memorial when The Moving Wall comes to Surprise this summer. The replica wall was created so that people who cannot travel to DC, can still share in this special way of honoring and remembering the sacrifice of our Vietnam service members. The wall is engraved with more than 58,000 names of killed or missing Vietnam service men and women.

The schedule will be as follows:

  • July 5, 9:00 a.m. The Moving Wall Opens to Public
  • July 6, 6:00 a.m. Welcome Ceremony
  • July 9, 6:00 a.m. Closing Ceremony
  • July 9, 12:00 p.m. The Moving Wall Closes

The Moving Wall will be open 24 hours for viewing from July 5 at 9 a.m. – July 9 at noon. Directory books will be available 8 a.m. – 8 p.m. This event is free to the public. The Moving Wall will be located at Mark Coronado Park, located at 15960 N Bullard Avenue.

The city is seeking volunteers (individuals and groups) for assistance with assembly and disassembly of the wall, staffing the information and directory tables and more. If you can’t volunteer your time, we have another great way you can get involved. Donations of non-perishable food items, meals and bottled water for the volunteers are being accepted. Additional details are available at www.surpriseaz.gov/specialevents. For more information, or to sign up as a volunteer, please contact Steve Castillo at 623.222.2267 or steve.castillo@surpriseaz.gov.


Did You Know?

Surprise Transit Study Needs Your Help

Where do you travel within the city of Surprise? We’re asking you to share your most frequented shopping, dining, education, medical and recreation destinations in Surprise to help us determine potential public transportation routes. The city will capture your travel start and end points within city boundaries in an online interactive Wikimap. Using the collected data, the Transit Feasibility Study team will determine where routes are most needed, potential ridership levels, and transit frequency.

A link to the Wikimap, and instructions for adding your information, is now available on the project website surpriseaz.gov/transitstudy. The Wikimap will be available until 5 p.m., Friday, June 29, 2018.

For those needing assistance with the Wikimap, or who may have questions about the Transit Feasibility Study, a public workshop is scheduled for Wednesday, June 13, from 5:30-7:30 p.m. in the Community Room at Surprise City Hall, 16000 N. Civic Center Plaza. At the workshop, the project team will share more information about public transit and provide a preview of potential routes.

The goal of the Transit Feasibility Study is to understand how transit can best serve Surprise residents and visitors, including what type of services will be needed, where transit will be most successful and potential funding sources. Learn more about the study online at surpriseaz.gov/transitstudy.


Contact Me

Office: 623.222.1325
Mobile: 623.451.3975
Email: skip.hall@surpriseaz.gov

Ask a Question

May 31, 2018 • Newsletter

City Council Meeting

City Council meets next on June 5, and I hope you will join us in person or by watching live on Surprise TV (www.surpriseaz.gov/surprisetv) or on Facebook (www.facebook.com/cityofsurprise). An engaged community is a strong community. Council will be discussing the newly revised draft Surprise Arts & Culture Master Plan during the Work Session, which should be a great discussion as the plan is nearing the end of the development process and should go to Council for consideration later this month. The complete Work Session and Regular Session agendas will be posted at least 24 hours before the meeting at https://agenda.surpriseaz.gov/.


Events & Meetings

Memorial Day Events

Several Councilmembers and I joined members of the White Tank Mountain Detachment and American Legion Post 96 for a ceremony in observance of Memorial Day on Saturday, May 26 at the Luke Memorial located to the east of the Northwest Regional Library parking lot.

VFW Post 285 hosted a wreath laying event at the Nick Bacon Memorial at City Hall in honor of Memorial Day and Nick Bacon on Monday, May 28.

I joined residents for the annual Memorial Day Ceremony in the Sun Village community. City Manager Bob Wingenroth was the keynote speaker.

Thank you to Tomas Garcia, Larry Brown, George Van de Langeryt and the many others who work diligently to prepare for these events each year to honor our fallen comrades.

The Future of Tourism

The Surprise Regional Chamber of Commerce hosted a Tourism Summit on Wednesday, May 30. Several business owners, elected officials and Chamber members gathered for an update and panel discussion on tourism in Arizona and shared ideas on how we can increase tourism in Surprise.

There are approximately 43 million domestic and international visitors to our state each year. These visitors spend roughly $21.2 billion dollars in Arizona. It is estimated that the tax revenue generated by the tourism industry lessens the annual tax burden by $1,186 for every Arizona household.

Sports tourism is a significant source of tourism for Surprise due to Spring Training. The Cactus League generates more than $544 million in economic impact each February/March in Arizona. In addition, there is an economic impact with all ten stadiums of an additional $265 million. This past spring training season, Surprise Stadium received 190,043 visitors.


Mark Your Calendar

HOA Connections

The city is hosting a free HOA Connection Class on June 11 that will educate attendees on federal and state fair housing laws and provide information on the city’s public safety community outreach programs. The fair housing laws will be covered by Lauren Vie, Esq. of Mulcahy Law Firm, who will also review what the law says about assistance/comfort animals and group homes. Representatives from the city’s Fire-Medical and Police Departments will be also present to discuss the city’s various community outreach programs.

The meeting will be held at Surprise City Hall, Community Room, 16000 N Civic Center Plaza, Surprise, AZ.

For more information or to register, please contact Ruby Sitea at 623.222.3242 or ruby.sitea@surpriseaz.gov.

Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall Coming to Surprise

Experience a half-size replica of the Washington, DC Vietnam Veterans Memorial when The Moving Wall comes to Surprise this summer. The replica wall was created so that people who cannot travel to DC, can still share in this special way of honoring and remembering the sacrifice of our Vietnam service members. The wall is engraved with more than 58,000 names of killed or missing Vietnam service men and women.

The schedule will be as follows:

  • July 5, 9:00 a.m. The Moving Wall Opens to Public
  • July 6, 6:00 a.m. Welcome Ceremony
  • July 9, 6:00 a.m. Closing Ceremony
  • July 9, 12:00 p.m. The Moving Wall Closes

The Moving Wall will be open 24 hours for viewing from July 5 at 9 a.m. – July 9 at noon. Directory books will be available 8 a.m. – 8 p.m. This event is free to the public. The Moving Wall will be located at Mark Coronado Park, located at 15960 N Bullard Avenue.

The city is seeking volunteers (individuals and groups) for assistance with assembly and disassembly of the wall, staffing the information and directory tables and more. If you can’t volunteer your time, we have another great way you can get involved. Donations of non-perishable food items, meals and bottled water for the volunteers are being accepted. Additional details are available at www.surpriseaz.gov/specialevents. For more information, or to sign up as a volunteer, please contact Steve Castillo at 623.222.2267 or steve.castillo@surpriseaz.gov.


Did You Know?

Surprise Transit Study Needs Your Help

Where do you travel within the city of Surprise? We’re asking you to share your most frequented shopping, dining, education, medical and recreation destinations in Surprise to help us determine potential public transportation routes. The city will capture your travel start and end points within city boundaries in an online interactive Wikimap. Using the collected data, the Transit Feasibility Study team will determine where routes are most needed, potential ridership levels, and transit frequency.

A link to the Wikimap, and instructions for adding your information, is now available on the project website surpriseaz.gov/transitstudy. The Wikimap will be available until 5 p.m., Friday, June 29, 2018.

For those needing assistance with the Wikimap, or who may have questions about the Transit Feasibility Study, a public workshop is scheduled for Wednesday, June 13, from 5:30-7:30 p.m. in the Community Room at Surprise City Hall, 16000 N. Civic Center Plaza. At the workshop, the project team will share more information about public transit and provide a preview of potential routes.

The goal of the Transit Feasibility Study is to understand how transit can best serve Surprise residents and visitors, including what type of services will be needed, where transit will be most successful and potential funding sources. Learn more about the study online at surpriseaz.gov/transitstudy.


Contact Me

Office: 623.222.1325
Mobile: 623.451.3975
Email: skip.hall@surpriseaz.gov

Ask a Question

May 24, 2018 • Newsletter

Events & Meetings

Retirement Celebration for Dysart Unified School District Superintendent Pletnick

On Wednesday, May 16, I attended a surprise retirement party for Dr. Gail Pletnick, along with Councilmembers Winters and Tande. Dr. Pletnick had served as the Dysart Unified School District (DUSD) Superintendent since 2007, after working previously as assistant superintendent.

Meeting with new Dysart Unified School District Superintendent Kellis

I had the pleasure of meeting the new DUSD Superintendent, Dr. Quinn Kellis, on Tuesday, May 22. I joined City Manager Bob Wingenroth and Councilmember Todd Tande for the meeting.

The Dysart Governing Board selected Dr. Kellis to serve as the district superintendent beginning July 1, 2018. Dr. Kellis was the Superintendent of the Madison School District in Phoenix and had previously served in Dysart as an assistant superintendent.

Surprise Area Interfaith Breakfast

I attended the 2nd Annual Surprise Area Interfaith Breakfast in the City Hall Courtyard on Thursday, May 17, which celebrated Surprise as a ‘Golden Rule Community’.

It was a great turnout with more than 170 people in attendance. The Shadow Ridge High School choir performed and did an outstanding job! Speakers included Rev. Larry Fultz from the Arizona Interfaith Movement who spoke about the golden rule; Surprise Fire Medial Chief Tom Abbott who presented the exceptional work the Crisis Response Team does in supporting the community; and Connie Phillips, CEO of Lutheran Social Services who spoke about how churches can work together to help the homeless.

Additionally, the new 2018 Community Resource Guide, which features social services and programs designed to assist Northwest Valley residents in need was made available at the event.

The guide, which was created in partnership between the cities of Surprise and Peoria, is also available online at www.surpriseaz.gov/surprisecares.

Surprise Rotary Donation to Schools

I serve on the Surprise Rotary, and I was honored to join my Rotary colleagues Chris Judd and Jay Lickus on Thursday, May 17 to drop off donations to two local schools. The Rotary donated 750 wireless mice to Kingswood Elementary and another 750 to Countryside Elementary!

Kingswood Parke HOA Meeting

On the evening of May 17, I attended the Kingswood Parke HOA Meeting, along with Surprise Police Chief Terry Young and Officer Nathaniel Miller. I updated residents on the city’s Economic Development activity, and Chief Young and Officer Miller gave safety tips and shared community crime statistics. One surprising statistic they shared was that 90 percent of the burglaries in that neighborhood were due to unlocked cars. Our Police Department has been working to inform residents of the importance of locking vehicles for years. Visit www.surpriseaz.gov/lockit to learn more about their “Lock it or Lose it” awareness campaign.

Surprise Bike Rodeo

On Saturday, May 12, I attended Surprise Police Department’s Bike Rodeo outside the Kohl’s on Bell Road. The event allowed kids to practice bike handling and traffic safety skills, and offered helmet fittings, bicycle inspections, safety information and more! Participants were also entered into a raffle for a free bike, and the winner was chosen last week. Since I donated the bike, I had the pleasure of presenting it to the raffle winner. Congratulations on your new bike, Kinzlie!

Councilmember Skip Hall and the Surprise Police Department present a new bike to the winner of the Bike Rodeo raffle


Mark Your Calendar

Property Tax Hearing June 5

With Council scheduled to set the Primary Property Tax rate on June 19, there is a public hearing on the topic during the June 5 City Council Meeting, beginning at 6 p.m. in Surprise City Hall City Council Chambers.

During a public budget-building process, Council indicated its wishes to maintain the Primary Property Tax rate at $0.7591 per $100 of assessed valuation in Fiscal Year 2018. While that rate is the same as last year, higher assessed property valuations (as determined by the County Assessor) and new construction impacts will result in higher property tax collections.

Surprise continues to have one of the lowest overall property tax rates amongst Phoenix-Metro cities, as you can see in the chart below. Surprise’s combined rate of $0.7591 Primary Property Tax and FY2019 anticipated $0.42 Secondary Property Tax (passed by voters last year to fund the General Obligation Bond) is $1.1791 per $100 of assessed valuation. The average combined rate of the 12 cities shown in the chart is $1.57.

Property Tax Rate Comparison Chart

City to host urban camping discussion in June

The city will host a public meeting to discuss an amendment to the city code related to urban camping on Wednesday, June 6.

The meeting will be held in the Community Room at City Hall, 16000 N. Civic Center Dr.; beginning at 5:30 p.m.

The intent of this amendment to Chapter 42 of the Surprise Municipal Code is to add Article III, Urban Camping.

City staff from the Human Service and Community Vitality and Police Departments will be part of the public presentation.

This article is designed to maintain streets, parks and other public/ private areas within the city in a clean, sanitary and accessible condition that protects the health, safety and public welfare of the community.

The intent of the amendment also recognizes that, subject to reasonable conditions, camping facilities associated with special events can be beneficial to the cultural and educational climate within the city.

For questions, please call 623.222.1620.

City Offices Closed for Memorial Day; Trash Recycling Schedule Change

City of Surprise administrative offices will be closed Monday, May 28 for Memorial Day.

Due to the holiday, City of Surprise trash and recycling customers ONLY are reminded that collection will be postponed by one day the week of May 28 – June 1. Monday collection will occur on Tuesday; Tuesday collection will occur on Wednesday; Wednesday collection will occur on Thursday; Thursday collection will occur on Friday.

Please note that not all City of Surprise residents are City of Surprise trash and recycling customers, and as such, may not experience a change in pickup service. Please check with your service provider.

Questions? Please call 623.222.1900.

Vietnam Veterans Memorial ‘The Moving Wall’ coming to Surprise in July

Experience a half-size replica of the Washington, DC Vietnam Veterans Memorial when The Moving Wall comes to Surprise this summer.

The replica wall was created so that people who cannot travel to DC, can still share in this special way of honoring and remembering the sacrifice of our Vietnam service members. The wall is engraved with more than 58,000 names of killed or missing Vietnam service men and women.

The city of Surprise is honored to host The Moving Wall from July 5 – 9 at Mark Coronado Park, located at 15960 N Bullard Ave.

  • July 5, 9:00 a.m.
    The Moving Wall Opens to Public
  • July 6, 6:00 a.m.
    Welcome Ceremony
  • July 9, 6:00 a.m.
    Closing Ceremony
  • July 9, 12:00 p.m.
    The Moving Wall Closes

The Moving Wall will be open 24 hours for viewing from July 5 at 9 a.m. – July 9 at noon. Directory books will be available 8 a.m. – 8 p.m. This event is free to the public.

The city is seeking volunteers (individuals and groups) for assistance with assembly and disassembly of the wall, staffing the information and directory tables and more.

For more information, or to sign up as a volunteer, please contact Steve Castillo at 623.222.2267 or steve.castillo@surpriseaz.gov.


Did You Know?

City of Surprise Seeking Applications for Voluntary Commission Vacancy

The City of Surprise is currently accepting applications for the following Commissions. All Board/Commission positions are voluntary.

  • Audit Committee (Resident Position) – 2 year term – 1 vacancy
  • Judicial Selection Advisory Commission (Resident Position) – 4 year term – 1 vacancy
  • Tourism Commission (Resident Position & Hotel Position) – 2 vacancies

Applications for the above mentioned commission are available for pick-up immediately and can be picked up from the City Clerk’s Office from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday – Friday at 16000 N. Civic Center Plaza. Applications are also available online at www.surpriseaz.gov. Please submit applications to the City Clerk’s Office in person or by e-mail to clerk@surpriseaz.gov. Applications are always available for all boards and commissions and will be kept on file for future vacancies.


Contact Me

Office: 623.222.1325
Mobile: 623.451.3975
Email: skip.hall@surpriseaz.gov

Ask a Question

May 17, 2018 • Newsletter

Joint City Council/Planning & Zoning Meeting

At a Joint City Council and Planning and Zoning meeting this week, staff provided a comparison of the city’s land use and General Fund sources with 11 other valley cities. Surprise’s land use is broken down as follows: 76% residential, 20% commercial, and 4% agricultural land. As the city continues to play catch-up and grow our commercial base, it is more important than ever for residents and visitors to shop local. Growing our retail sales tax revenue helps support the General Fund to pay for valuable city services. The illustration of the various ways to fund operations led into the discussion of Community Facilities Districts (CFDs). Recent legislative changes call for the city to revise its current policy for the application and establishment of CFDs. Staff requested guidance on the policy update so that the city may continue to utilize CFDs as a mechanism to fund public infrastructure and incentivize development that will provide a better balance of sources for the city.


City Council Work Session

Draft Tourism Five Year Strategic Plan (2018-2023)

In the summer of 2017, the Tourism Advisory Commissions (TAC) elected to start the process of updating the 2010 Tourism Strategic Plan. With the creation of the new Department of Sports and Tourism, TAC believed it was important to engage both the new department, Community and Recreation Services Department and a facilitator through two developmental planning work sessions in April and November of 2017. The Commission and the Department of Sports and Tourism drafted a comprehensive strategic plan that will position the City to get a more significant portion of the over $3 billion dollars in tax revenue that the state of Arizona generates from tourism each year.

The plan’s purpose focuses on the consistent growth of the City of Surprise and the need to increase prospective awareness of City as a tourism destination while enhancing the quality of life for residents through increased tourism-based development, partnership opportunities, and showcasing the attractions and amenities within the City as international tourist destinations. The plan focuses on four critical focus areas: Events & Entertainment, Marketing, Partnership & Facility Development, and Funding. Each area lists strategic goals and is accompanied by action items, timelines, and measurable outcomes to help provide a reference point for analysis.

The area of Events & Entertainment zeros in on the utilization of the Tourism Fund (which comes from the additional taxes that come from the hotel bed tax) to partner with an event management contractor to create an annual magnet event to attract tourist attendance in excess over 10% each year. This focus area also aims to develop and update infrastructure for outside/third party events to add three new event/entertainment opportunities to build and promote year‐round tourism activity. All of these goals look to leverage the opportunity to increase overall attendance to Spring Training, current sports tournaments and events by 5% and tourism-related room nights by 5% each year.

The Marketing focus area is centered around positioning Surprise as a tourism destination. By increasing the advertising/marketing reach by 20% by 2021 through destination publications, building strategic partnerships, and collaborating with current partners, the City should gain the ability to attract more tourism activity and, in turn, grow tax revenue exponentially. The creation of a comprehensive tourism advertising and communications plan that focuses on expanding our city’s brand to the right demographic will also help leverage more tourism activity.

The Partnerships & Facility Development focus area expands upon the relationship development by building a strategy to establish public‐private partnerships for the development of two new permanent facilities/attractions by 2023, including working with the Economic Development department to attract a resort to the City by 2023.

Finally, the Funding focus area looks to capitalize on some of the resources the TAC is already receiving and leverage those assets to fund studies to provide support for the other focus areas, as well as support events that have the opportunity to grow into large magnet events. In addition to using the resources that the TAC already has, the plan outlines ways to increase the tourism fund by 50% through different revenue opportunities.


City Council Meeting

Resort Feasibility Study

The desire to attract a resort in the City of Surprise has been on the Tourism Strategic Plan since 2010. A request to reallocate funding within the Tourism Fund in the amount of $20,000 was made to authorize a resort feasibility study. The Sports and Tourism Department, in partnership with the Tourism Advisory Commission, would like a study that includes a market feasibility study, market demand analysis and site analysis, possibly of sites near City Center, Loop 303 and the White Tanks to determine the demand for such a resort.

City Council unanimously voted to proceed.

FY18 Financial Status Report

Revenue is trending higher than expected through February in the General Fund. Local sales tax is trending upwards due to increased activity in many categories but a portion of this revenue does go back out as an expenditure to reimburse development obligations. Growth is continuing to trend upwards, thus increasing the amount of revenue collected for development-related growth (permitting, planning, inspections). There has also been a change in timing for intergovernmental revenue that has increased what we have received from the DOR when compared to budget. Expenditures are currently trending below budget by 3%.


Events & Meetings

West Valley Arts Council Reception

I attended the West Valley Arts HQ opening reception for their latest exhibit, Arizona Artists Guild, on Thursday, May 10 at West Valley Arts HQ located at 16126 N. Civic Center Plaza. The Seventh Annual Statewide Juried Exhibition of Fine Art features artists from across Arizona. The exhibit is on display through July 6, 2018.

Artist Marcia Losh with her piece, Circle 24
Artist Marcia Losh with her piece, Circle 24

Kingswood Elementary School STEAM Night

Students, families and teachers came together on Thursday, May 10 for their annual STEAM night event at Kingswood Elementary School. Each grade provided exhibits showcasing the STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math) curriculum including coding, solar energy and much more.

Kingswood Elementary School STEAM Night

The event also provided a unique opportunity for families to learn about reading skills. To further support parents at home, all families were given a free bag of resources to utilize this summer. Many thanks to Principal Jeremy St. Germaine for his continued dedication to our students!


Mark Your Calendar

Surprise Pools Open May 26

Both the Surprise Aquatic Center and Hollyhock Pool will open for summer swimming beginning May 26, including Memorial Day, May 28. Daily admission for residents is $1 per child (17 and under) and $2 per adult with proof of residency. Children ages 10 and under must be accompanied by a responsible person (16 years and older) at all times.

Surprise Aquatic Center, located at 15831 N. Bullard Avenue, will open on weekends from noon until 5 pm; noon until 6 pm, Monday through Thursday; and Friday from noon until 4 pm.

The Hollyhock Pool, located at 15808 Hollyhock Street will be open on weekends from noon until 4 pm and from noon until 3 pm, Monday through Thursday.

For more information including pool passes, please contact www.surpriseaz.gov/aquatics or call Hollyhock Pool at 623.222.2530 or the Surprise Aquatic Center at 623.222.2500.

Free Chest Compression Only CPR Classes

The Surprise Fire-Medical Department will be offering free Continuous Chest Compression Only-CPR (CCC-CPR) classes this summer. CCC-CPR consists of continuous aggressive chest compressions to keep the victim’s blood circulating through their brain and heart, which has been proven to increase survival rates. And, because it does not require mouth-to-mouth resuscitation, it reduces the risk of spreading viruses or other kinds of disease between the life-saver and victim.

A morning and afternoon class will be held on each of the following dates:

  • Wednesday, June 6
  • Wednesday, June 27
  • Wednesday, July 18

The morning class will run from 9-11 a.m., and the afternoon class will run from 2-4 p.m.; both will be held in the Public Safety Building Auditorium, located at 14250 W. Statler Plaza. To register for a class, please email crfire@surpriseaz.gov or call 623.222.5400.


Did You Know?

May 15 Special Election Results

Surprise voters have approved the May 15th Water Election, authorizing City Council to complete negotiations with the Circle City Water Company (CCW) for the possible acquisition of the utility. According to final results released by the Maricopa County Recorder’s Office 80% (-15,045) of registered voters voted yes; 20% (3,709) voted no.

CCW is a small water service company in the northern part of Surprise’s planning area and future water service area. This acquisition, which would require City Council approval, would provide Surprise with the company’s existing water infrastructure and grow the city’s allocation of Colorado River water by more than 38 percent.

Colorado River water is currently the only renewable surface supply available to Surprise. Having a right to more surface water will help the city meet future demands and shortfalls. The purchase of CCW would be funded through the sale of current and future water portfolio assets.

The City Council will meet to canvass the votes at a Special Council Meeting, on Tuesday, May 22. This meeting will begin at 4:30 p.m., and will be held in the Community Room of City Hall, as Council Chambers will be closed for pre-scheduled equipment upgrade work.


Contact Me

Office: 623.222.1325
Mobile: 623.451.3975
Email: skip.hall@surpriseaz.gov

Ask a Question

Voters ok city water election

Voters have approved the May 15th Water Election, authorizing City Council to complete negotiations with the Circle City Water Company (CCW) for the possible acquisition of the utility.

According to preliminary results released by the Maricopa County Recorder’s Office tonight 80% (14,676) of registered voters voted yes; 20% (3,615) voted no.

CCW is a small water service company in the northern part of Surprise’s planning area and future water service area. This acquisition, which would require City Council approval, would provide Surprise with the company’s existing water infrastructure and grow the city’s allocation of Colorado River water by more than 38 percent.

Colorado River water is currently the only renewable surface supply available to Surprise. Having a right to more surface water will help the city meet future demands and shortfalls.

The purchase of CCW would be funded through the sale of current and future water portfolio assets.

Official final results are expected from the county by Friday, May 18.

The City Council will meet to canvass the votes at a Special Council Meeting, on Tuesday, May 22.  This meeting will begin at 4:30 p.m., and will be held in the Community Room of City Hall, as Council Chambers will be closed for pre-scheduled equipment upgrade work.

May 10, 2018 • Newsletter

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.

National Day of Prayer at City Hall

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 jason.hughes@surpriseaz.gov.

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


Contact Me

Office: 623.222.1325
Mobile: 623.451.3975
Email: skip.hall@surpriseaz.gov

Ask a Question