City of Surprise District 5 Councilmember Skip Hall Speaks with Water Resources Director Terry Lowe about the future of Surprise’s water system, and an upcoming special election to acquire the Circle City water company.
Bell Road/Grand Avenue Update
The Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) continues to issue weekly project updates for the Bell Road/Grand Avenue bridge project.
Work continues as follows:
- Eastbound Grand Avenue is being reconstructed.
- Construction of the retaining wall panels on the bridge over Grand Avenue will continue for the next few months.
**City, County, and State law enforcement will be patrolling the area. Please obey all traffic signage and posted speed limits.**
As always, please allow plenty of time and observe all traffic control signs and barricades. Thank you again for your patience during this project. For more information, please visit the project website at www.azdot.gov/bellandgrand or you can contact ADOT’s project hotline at 855.712.8530, press option #1.
Bell & Grand Business Stakeholders Outreach Meeting
The City and ADOT hosted a monthly Business Stakeholders Outreach meeting on Tuesday, September 13. Councilmembers Rachel Villanueva, Roland Winters, Todd Tande and I attended along with staff and business representatives. Economic Development provided on update on outreach and education initiatives and ADOT provided a project update.
ADOT’s Assistant Communication Director Brock Barnhart introduced Phase 3C (see map below) of the project where Bell Rd reopens; a specific target date will be presented at the September 20 City Council meeting. The goal is to open all three lanes of Bell Rd in late November.
Due to continued work on tie-ins, there may be occasional curb lane restrictions and overnight work on Bell Rd after the reopening. The project team will work hard to ensure that at least two lanes in each direction remain open on Bell Rd during daytime work.
When Bell Rd reopens, Grand Ave will be inaccessible from the Bell Rd bridge and vice versa. The signal at the Bell Rd and Grand Ave intersection will be inactive until the ramps open in early 2017. A signal at the intersection of 134th Ave and Bell Rd will be up and operational.
Reconfiguration of the designated detour route to reflect the opening of Bell Road is under review. East-west through movements will resume on Bell Road, however drivers will still need to use Bell-Litchfield/ Bell-Dysart to access Grand Ave. Signage along the designated detour route will be changed so drivers are aware they no longer need to use Greenway Road. Lane striping and signals will be modified at the Bell-Litchfield and Bell-Dysart intersections.
Work continues on eastbound Grand Ave lanes through early 2017.
Now that deck pours have been completed on the BNSF bridge, ADOT does not anticipate any major Grand Ave closures until mid-October.
ShopSurprise has sent 171,000 messages to date and more than 25 businesses have participated. There has been 3,100 opt-in and 35 email subscribers as well. The Economic Development department plans to develop a direct marketing campaign to draw Sun City consumers back to Surprise. The department recently won the Gold Prospector Award, Multi-media Production at the Arizona Association of Economic Developers for their efforts on the ShopSurprise campaign. Congratulations to our amazing team!
The city hosted a job fair in August with 13 employers present. Approximately 100 job seekers also took advantage of the fair. Another employment workshop is being planned for late October. Additionally, another career fair and business information session will occur in November. More details will soon follow!
Events & Meetings
AZ STEM School Community of Practice Meeting
As part of the team representing our local STEM school, Canyon Ridge, Dr. Shelley Isai and I joined staff from Canyon Ridge and several other representatives from STEM schools at Grand Canyon University on September 8. Maricopa County Superintendent of Schools Dr. Don Covey and Provost for Grand Canyon University Dr. Hank Radda joined us. Breakout topics included discussions on barriers, solutions and commitments schools are facing. Opportunities to meet with representatives from any of the 44 STEM schools participating were available to those who took part in the meeting.
Grand Opening of Benevilla’s Helping Partners Program
The Helping Partners Program, run by local nonprofit Benevilla, has moved into a space at City Hall. To welcome the program, a grand opening ceremony took place on Monday, September 12, followed by a tour of the office space. Councilmembers Rachel Villanueva, Roland Winters, Todd Tande and I joined city staff and Benevilla representatives, including CEO Michelle Dionisio and program participants.
The Helping Partners Life Enrichment Program was designed for adults with intellectual or development challenges. The program provides volunteer and employment opportunities that enable members to contribute in their respective communities.
Surprise Tourism Advisory Commission Meeting
I attended the Surprise Tourism Advisory Commission meeting on Tuesday, September 13. Agenda items included an update on sports tourism and future baseball tournaments and a discussion pertaining to the Western Heritage Trail Society. Western Heritage Trail Society is an association striving to develop, promote and showcase events, programs and destinations truly unique to our beautiful State.
Annual Fiscal Year Water Resource Management Meeting
On Wednesday, September 14, the Water Resource Management Department held its Annual New Fiscal Year (FY) Kick-off All Hands Lunch for staff. The intent of the lunch is to give staff an opportunity to reflect on FY16 accomplishments through presentations made by division managers that recognize outstanding performers and provide staff with a look at what the department will be doing in FY17. Director Terry Lowe thanked everyone for coming and reminded his staff about the keys to a successful business: People… Processes… Product. This philosophy has led to the completion of the new Gateway Training Center and the successful coordination and teamwork in the commencement and completion of nearly a dozen other major projects. The training center, which will have its Grand Opening on October 26, is the place where staff will broaden its knowledge and understanding of their careers and assist the department in better serving the community. The department’s division managers: Lee Lambert, Water; Warren Dancer, Wastewater; Christine Nunez, Environmental Compliance; Paul Mohr, Business Process; and Fred Stevens, Resource Portfolio, each gave those in attendance a little deeper look into the work they do, their teams, and their initiatives for next year.
Mark Your Calendar
Movie Night at Surprise Stadium
Movie Night will be held at Surprise Stadium on Saturday, September 17 featuring “Hotel Transylvania 2” (Rated PG). The event is sponsored by Coulter Nissan in Surprise, and admission is free!
Gates open at 6 p.m., and the movie starts at 7 p.m. Bring your blankets and pillows and stretch out on the grass at Surprise Stadium, located at 15850 N Bullard Ave. The stadium food and beverage policy is in effect. Concessions will be available for purchase. Ice chests and lawn chairs are not permitted.
For more information, please contact Community and Recreation Services at 623.222.2000.
CPR Classes Offered
The Surprise Fire-Medical Department will be offering free Continuous Chest Compression Only-CPR (CCC-CPR) classes on Wednesday, September 21.
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.
Two sessions will be held. 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 firstname.lastname@example.org or call 623.222.5400.
Mental Health Advocacy Event
Author and mental health advocate Erin Callinan will take part in an event, “Beautifully Bipolar – From Trauma to Triumph,” at the Communiversity on September 26, 2016 from 6 p.m. until 9 p.m. The event will include a panel discussion with Erin’s family, mental health resource tables and a book signing. Erin will share her personal journey of finding hope after her mental illness diagnosis at the age of 17.
Did You Know?
Veteran’s Day Art Show
Are you a veteran with artistic talent? The city is seeking veteran-produced artwork for inclusion in an art show display during its Veterans Day Celebration on November 11. Professional and amateur artists are invited to display at this event. Paintings, photography, sculpture, illustrations or any other medium is welcome; there is no charge to participate. Interested artists should contact Arts and Cultural Advisory Commission Chair, Susan deJong, at 623.214.7537 or email@example.com.
The artwork will be on display from 8-11 a.m. in front of Surprise Stadium, located at 15960 N. Bullard Ave. In addition to the art show, the city’s Veterans Day celebration includes a parade that will begin at 9:30 a.m. and run along Bullard Avenue near Surprise Stadium. Both the art show and parade are free to attend.
For $4, you can enjoy a pancake breakfast at the stadium before the parade from 7-9 a.m. Tickets can be purchased in advance from the Community and Recreation Services Office, located at the stadium.
Learn more about the Veterans Day Celebration at www.surpriseaz.gov/specialevents.
There are so many great neighborhoods in D5! This page provides a look at the Homeowners Associations in the district and links to the association’s website, if there is one available.
Not sure you live in District 5? Click to find out…
City Council Work Session
Fiscal Year 2016 Budget Process
Lindsey Duncan, Acting Finance Director, discussed the budget process for fiscal year 2016. The budget process timeline will begin with a Strategic Planning Retreat in November, followed by a Budget Kick-Off Retreat in February. In April, the City Manager will issue the recommended budget for discussion. The tentative budget should be adopted in May followed by the adoption of the final budget and property tax levy in June.
City Council Meeting
Fiscal Year 2014 Budget Report
Lindsey Duncan, Acting Finance Director, discussed the FY2014 monthly budget status report as of May of this year. Through the month of May 2014, our actual sales tax receipts, excluding construction, are 7.7% higher than the prior year and 3.1% higher than expected (FY2013 actual of $29.3 million compared to FY2014 actual of $31.5 million). Restoring consumer confidence has contributed to increases in the retail and restaurant/bar categories. In addition, the communications/utilities category continues to reflect rate increases enacted by those utilities last year. The construction sales tax is 18.9% lower than the prior year due to one-time construction related to major roadway projects (Loop 303); however, it is still stronger than expected by 4.8%.
Quick N Clean Car Wash
The final plat for the Quick N Clean Car Wash was approved. The car wash will be built at the northwest corner of Bell Road and 115th Avenue. Construction will begin as soon as possible.
Congressional Medal of Honor Recipient Memorial
City Council unanimously approved a monument in memoriam of Medal of Honor Recipient Staff Sergeant Nick Bacon. Mr. Bacon also served as the Surprise Town Manager from 1986 until 1990. According to his Medal of Honor citation, “S/Sgt. Bacon was serving his second tour in Vietnam on Aug. 26, 1968, when he and his unit were ambushed during an operation west of Tam Ky. Under intense enemy fire, he destroyed an enemy bunker with hand grenades while his platoon leader was shot and fell wounded in an exposed position. S/Sgt. Bacon immediately assumed command of the platoon and assaulted the hostile gun position, finally killing the enemy gun crew in a single-handed effort. As a result of S/Sgt. Bacon’s extraordinary efforts, his company was able to move forward, eliminate the enemy positions, and rescue the men trapped to the front. S/Sgt. Bacon’s bravery at the risk of his life was in the highest traditions of the military service and reflects great credit upon himself, his unit, and the U.S. Army.” Mr. Bacon received his Medal of Honor from President Richard Nixon in 1969. He passed away in July 2010. Council directed that the memorial be located on the grounds of City Hall at a cost not to exceed $7,000.
Events & Meetings
Arizona League of Cities Conference
The League of Arizona Cities and Towns held their Annual Conference last week at the Sheraton Downtown Phoenix Hotel. The Conference began on Tuesday, August 19 with the Gubernatorial Forum and Welcome Reception. Sessions began on Wednesday, August 20 after the opening General Session with keynote speaker, Elliot Eisenberg, who is a nationally acclaimed economist. His predictions indicate that Arizona’s housing and economic development are on the rise but we still have work to do. I was able to attend several informative sessions regarding local community initiatives, rapid fire innovation, military veteran issues, water management and energy resources. The Showcase of Cities was held on Thursday evening, August 21. The City garnered media attention for our booth. There were mariachis, trivia games and popcorn advertising the City of Surprise and the upcoming Surprise Fiesta Grande which will be held on Saturday, October 4.
WESTMARC Water & Planning Meeting
WESTMARC (Western Maricopa Coalition) Water & Energy Committee met on Wednesday, August 27th in Peoria. The Honorable Bob Burns, Commissioner for the Arizona Corporation Commission discussed elections and other issues facing the Commission. The Arizona Corporation Commission is comprised of 5 elected officials statewide. The Corporation regulates public service corporations, private water companies (like SRP), securities (anyone who trades in securities), pipeline & railroad safety (such as Southwest Gas), and corporations (registers business and files reporting of officers and expenditures).
ACC is a constitutional-created body, they do not report to the Governor or Legislature. They employ over 250 people between both of their offices in Phoenix and Tucson. ACC consists of 8 divisions: Administration, Corporations, Hearing, Information Technology/Broadcasting, Legal, Securities, Safety (Railroad & Pipeline) and Utilities. The Corporation Division oversees 776,484 Corporations and LLC’s transacting business in the State of Arizona. The Utilities Division regulates 225 telecommunication companies, 357 water utility companies, 62 sewer companies, 18 water and sewer companies, and 7 gas utilities. Legislature provides a budget line for the ACC.
Any revenue the ACC receives that exceeds the Commission’s budget needs flows in to the State General Fund and it is utilized to defray the costs of state government. Historically, the Commission has generated significantly more revenue than its General Fund requirements from securities and broker registrations, corporation filing fees, fines and miscellaneous service charges. The Commission revenue has increased by over $800,000 since FY2011-2012.
Teresa Makinen, WESTCAPS Director, made a presentation about WESTCAPS, its history, purpose and the current members and interested parties. The City of Surprise is a current Member. Additionally, there are 11 water providers as members (8 municipal and 3 private). Ms. Makinen also provided an overview of the changes in WESTCAPS, from being a planning, collaborative committee with members that are Central Arizona Project (CAP) sub-contractors to possibly opening membership to all West Valley water entities. Ms. Makinen gave an overview of the West Valley water supply deficit at build-out and the strategic planning and organizational efforts that WESTCAPS is currently undertaking. Lastly, she spoke about the $1.7 million West Salt River Valley Basin Study that is funded by the United State Bureau of Reclamation ($860K) and the WESTCAPS Members ($840K). This study includes a supply and demand study, a supply analysis to include climate change, an economic analysis, a groundwater modeling update, a recharge and reuse siting study, and options and trade-off analysis. She asked for stakeholder involvement, ending with a call to attend the Stakeholder Kick-Off meeting on September 9, 2014.
Office: 623.222.1325 Mobile: 623.451.3975 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org