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!
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 Minutesstory 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 email@example.com.
As the end of the school year approaches each year, our Surprise Youth Council provides City Council with an update of their activities, accomplishments and future plans. Last May, new members were inducted to SYC. SYC Administrator Mike Cassidy wanted to increase the outreach to youth in Surprise by increasing the Youth Council membership.
This most definitely proved successful. In doing so, community events were also expanded. In addition to participating in the Surprise Veterans Day Parade and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr Day of Celebration and Service, SYC participated in several service projects including but not limited to the Adaptive Recreation Buddy Ball program, Surprise Fiesta Grande preparation, Taste of Surprise, Project Connect and the District 4 Block Party. The group is passionate about many concerns we all share including mental and emotional health and wellness of their peers. As such, they participated in Bloom 365 and partnered with Eve’s Place which both involved education of teen violence.
Members of SYC continue to have opportunities to thrive, serve and further develop. They’ve participated in a variety of workshops and screenings, radio appearances, panel discussions and camps. We have members who serve on the Governor’s Youth Commission, a member that has been successfully growing her own charities and has been featured on TV and magazines, a member that has been given the opportunity to attend Harvard University this summer as part of a leadership event. Many have been given scholarships and who are attending top universities in our country.
I am very proud of this group of incredible young leaders who are giving back and making a difference in our city. Please join me in congratulating them on their hard-earned successes.
Ambulatory Enterprise Fund and Sports & Tourism
This was the fifth in a series of presentations regarding the development of the FY2019 Budget. This presentation focused on the Ambulance Enterprise Fund and the new Sports and Tourism Department’s FY2018 status and the action items for the upcoming fiscal year. The Surprise Fire-Medical Department (SFMD) began ambulance service for Surprise residents in FY2016. As of December 31, 2017, there are three ambulances in service. In the fall of 2018 SFMD plans to put the fourth ambulance in service.
The new Sports & Tourism Department was formed in fall of 2017. An overview presentation was given of accomplishments over the first year of operations to include tennis tournaments, Arizona Fall League, college baseball and Major League Baseball Spring Training. For the FY2019 budget, the Finance Department will work with Sports & Tourism and Community & Recreation Services to separate the departments’ finances and assets that are currently comingled. The respective departments will also be updating their cost recovery philosophy and user fees in FY2019 and bringing them to council for consideration.
City Council Meeting
General Obligation Bond Purchase
City Council authorized staff to proceed with the first bond sale related to the General Obligation Bond Election approved by voters last fall. Tuesday night’s vote coincided with Standard and Poor’s (S&P) upgrade of the city’s General Obligation (GO) Bond rating from AA- to AA. The higher the rating, the lower the investment risk to the bond purchasers and the interest rate to the city on the borrowed funds.
This first sale of bonds will not exceed $40 million and will be used to fund public safety, traffic congestion mitigation and pavement preservation projects. The remaining nearly $20 million in bonds will be sold at a later time to meet with future project timelines. The expected next sale would be in summer 2020.
The principal and interest payments will be paid for through a secondary property tax. The first bond issuance will result in a secondary property tax of $0.42 per $100 of assessed limited property value, which will begin in the next fiscal year, starting July 1, 2018.
Events & Meetings
Arizona Charter Academy Annual Community Volunteer Appreciation Lunch
Arizona Charter Academy (ACA) hosted their annual Community Volunteer Appreciation lunch on Thursday, March 29. CEO Melissa Holdaway acknowledged her appreciation of the city and partners who help ACA each year.
Surprise Police Department Retirement
The Surprise Police Department held a retirement ceremony at the Public Safety Auditorium on March 29, 2017 to honor Officer Terry Vernon-Reppert. Terry joined the Surprise Police Department in February 1993 and served 25 years.
Pinnacle Vein & Vascular Center Ribbon Cutting
Pinnacle Vein and Vascular Center hosted a ribbon cutting on Thursday, March 29. They are located at 12361 W. Bola Drive, Suite 100 in Surprise. Dr. Baljeet Uppal has been provided vein and vascular services for almost 25 years. Welcome, Dr. Uppal!
Read On Greater Surprise Steering Committee Meeting
I was invited to attend the Read On Great Surprise Steering Committee meeting on Friday, March 30 at Northwest Regional Library. Donna Davis provided an update from Expect More Arizona. Updates were also provided on the Raising a Reader program, summer kinder readiness through Nadaburg School District and participation in upcoming vendor events.
Mark Your Calendar
Taste of Surprise
The much anticipated Taste of Surprise is this Saturday, April 7 from 4 pm until 9 pm at Surprise Stadium, 15850 N. Bullard Avenue. More than 50 local restaurants, beer, wine and spirit vendors will be ready for the crowd! There is also an incredible line-up of entertainment scheduled for the entire event. Plan on bringing your dancing shoes because there will be a dance floor too! Last year, this event raised well over $40,000 for five local non-profit organizations.
For more information and tickets, please visit http://www.tasteofsurprise.com/. Tickets are available at the gate as well. General admission tickets include unlimited food samples and entry into the drawing for an Australian vacation for two.
Sunday in the Park Food Truck Festival
The City of Surprise, in coordination with State 48 Brewery and Food Truck Friday West, presents Sunday in the Park Food Truck Festival on April 8 with live music performed by Notes from Neptune! Please join us from 4 – 8 p.m. at Mark Coronado Park, 15960 N Bullard Avenue.
Event admission is free; food and drink will be available for purchase. Choose from a variety of delicious food trucks, as well as an assortment of craft beers and wines provided by State 48 Brewery. Don’t forget a blanket or lawn chair! Dogs must be on leashes. For more information, please contact the City of Surprise Community & Recreation Services Office at 623.222.2000 or visit www.surpriseaz.gov/specialevents.
Surprise SciTech Festival
Have fun with science and technology, while celebrating Earth Day, at the Surprise SciTech Festival on April 21! The event is free and has something for all ages! Come check out interactive SciTech booths, an incredible line-up of speakers, music and more! Plus, we’ll have delicious food options from local vendors available for purchase.
The event will take place from 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. in the Surprise City Hall Outside Courtyard, 16000 N. Civic Center Plaza.Demonstrations and displays include:
City of Surprise Fire-Medical, Police, Public Works, Water Resources and other departments
Local businesses and colleges (including ASU and Ottawa University)
Dysart School District Solar Go Kart and Robotics teams
We also have a variety of amazing speakers lined up for this event. Make plans to watch these exciting and informative presentations in the Surprise City Hall Council Chambers:
How the Brain Works (9:00 – 9:50 a.m. and 10:10 – 11:00 a.m.) – Presentation will identify the main parts of the brain and what they do, explore sensory illusions, and teach how to enhance the formation of memories by our brain.
When Even The Walking Dead Refuse to Conserve Energy: Sustainable Innovations from the Developing World (11:20 a.m. – 12:10 p.m.) – This talk is aimed at encouraging creative, innovative thinking about sustainability and energy innovations at all scales, in all places, and for all our communities.
Science the Earth (12:30 p.m. – 1:20 p.m.) – A discussion on how to bridge cultures through science and human discovery, and how logic and innovation unite our planet in a quest for knowledge.
U.S. Manned Space Flight (1:40 p.m. – 2:30 p.m.) – Who were the early astronauts? What ‘firsts’ were accomplished by American astronauts? What happened to the American space program after the moon landings? These and many other questions will be answered and discussed in this presentation.
Micro-Enterprise Grants Available to Eligible Surprise Businesses
Applications are currently being accepted for the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Micro-enterprise Grant. Under the 2017-2018 CDBG program funding, Micro-enterprise Grant funds were set aside to support innovative small businesses licensed within the city of Surprise that provide services that benefit low income clients.
Eligible city of Surprise-based businesses can apply to receive one of three $20,000 awards to grow their small business. To be considered for the award, applicants must meet eligibility requirements which include:
Must have a valid city of Surprise business license
Applicants must meet AZ TechCelerator business incubator tenant requirements
Business owner is low or moderate income and has five or fewer employees, or business benefits low income clients in the city of Surprise
Business objective must focus on scalable technological advancement and innovation as evidenced in an executive plan
Application and supporting documents are due by 2 p.m. Monday, April 30, 2018. For more information about the Micro-enterprise Grant, contact Julie Neal, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Surprise TV Website Boasts New Layout
Surprise TV, the official channel of the City of Surprise, has a new website with responsive design making it easier for you to watch shows on all your devices! The new layout features a user-friendly schedule guide and recent videos are easily located on the homepage. Plus, descriptions of Surprise shows and city meetings make finding the program you’re looking for more simple.
Watch the channel LIVE from most internet browsers; viewers using Internet Explorer 11 can view archived videos but will need to use a different browser to watch the livestream.
From bi-weekly City Council Meetings to special programs – Surprise TV has what you need to stay informed with city activities. That informative city public service announcement you saw on Facebook @CityofSurprise a couple of weeks ago and can’t remember where it was? It’s on Surprise TV! Watch it again and share it with your friends. Tune in 24-7 to watch your favorite series and stay up to date on the latest city news at surpriseaz.gov/surprisetv.
The Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) continues to issue project updates for the Bell Road/Grand Avenue bridge project. Please note that the project has entered the third and final stage through late February 2017.
Work continues on the following:
Reconstructing eastbound Grand Avenue
Installing curb and sidewalk along eastbound Grand Avenue
Paving Grand Avenue ramps
City, County, and State law enforcement will be patrolling the area. Please obey all traffic signage and posted speed limits.
For more information or if you have questions: ADOT’s project hotline: (855) 712-8530, press option #1 or the Project email: email@example.com
Events & Meetings
AZ TechCelerator Open House
AZ TechCelerator hosted a “Tech the Halls” Holiday Open House on December 8. This event was an opportunity to look at the latest advancements from Surprise’s technology start-ups, including electric vehicle conversions, water desalination and electric skateboards.
Since 2009, the TechCelerator has fostered local start-ups resulting in 16 businesses, over 200 jobs graduated and a local Google corporate office. This year, the TechCelerator reached worldwide with its Global Concierge Services program which helps international businesses establish local operations in Surprise and has thus far generated more than 300 additional community jobs.
Dunkin’ Donuts Grand Opening
The City is happy to welcome Dunkin’ Donuts to District 6. Dunkin’ Donuts, located at 13953 W. Waddell Road near the intersection of Litchfield and Waddell roads, opened on Friday, December 9.
Rockin’ Holiday Celebration
Surprise Towne Center and Surprise Marketplace hosted a “Rockin’ Holiday Celebration” on Saturday, December 10. This well-attended event provided free activities and entertainment for the entire family. I want to personally thank our residents who continue to patronize our local Surprise businesses! Please continue to ShopSurprise!
Arts & Cultural Advisory Commission
The Arts & Cultural Advisory Commission met on Monday, December 12. Betty Drake with Drake and Associates presented draft policies and procedures relative to public art in Surprise. Commission members were given an opportunity to provide feedback.
Mark Your Calendar
WHAM Bowls of Home Program
WHAM Art Center will be hosting a “Bowls of Hope” program on Saturday, December 17 from 8 am until 2 pm. Bowls, created by local artists, will be sold at this event. This event will raise money for local organizations that help needy families in the West Valley. Last year, WHAM raised $1,900 which was split between St. Mary’s Food Bank, Valley View Food Bank and Eve’s Place.
Surprise Police will be hosting a “Coffee with a Cop” event on Saturday, December 17 from 10 am until 12 noon at Sunsational Coffee, 15643 N. Reems Road. This community event offers an opportunity to speak to police representatives in a social setting with hopes to make stronger and lasting connections to our residents and community as a whole.
Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Celebration & Service
In honor of the life and work of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., the city of Surprise, in partnership with APS and the Northwest Black History Committee, is hosting a day of celebration and service on Saturday, January 14, 2017.
A program celebrating Dr. King’s life will begin at 9 a.m. in the outside courtyard at Surprise City Hall, located at 16000 N Civic Center Plaza. It will feature a keynote address by Colonel Richard Toliver, retired USAF, author and renowned speaker with ties to the King family. Emceeing the program will be Steve Irvin, Emmy award-winning journalist and anchor of ABC15 News. Come early, and enjoy a free breakfast at 8:30 a.m. Breakfast is limited to the first 500 attendees.
Following the program, at 9:45 a.m., volunteers will be sent out into the community to complete service projects that include food sorting, painting, landscaping, trash collection and more. Projects will last approximately 1-4 hours.
How to get involved:
Individuals/Families – Join us for the breakfast, the program and the day of service! If you can only attend the service project portion of the day, please arrive at 9:45 a.m. to receive an assignment. Advanced registration is not required.
Groups – If you plan on bringing your group/club/congregation and would like to participate in the service projects, please RSVP your group name and estimated number of people to Ervin Cutwright at Ervin.Cutwright@surpriseaz.gov.
Sponsorships – If your business or organization would like to help sponsor the event, please contact Christina Ramirez at Christina.Ramirez@surpriseaz.gov to hear about opportunities available.
A New Leaf, in partnership with Valley of the Sun United Way is looking for volunteers to support Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) sites in the West Valley during the tax season (from late January through April 15). Volunteers will assist individuals and families in preparing their tax returns, claiming benefits for which they are eligible and being connected to financial education and asset building opportunities. Services are provided free of charge. For more information, please contact Ann Picchione at APicchione@TurnaNewLeaf.org.
Surprise Seeks National Anthem Performers
The city is looking for experienced vocalists and musicians to perform the National Anthem at Surprise Stadium for the 2017 Cactus League Spring Training games. To be considered, please submit an audio recording via DVD or audio CD to the Community and Recreation Services office, located at 15960 N. Bullard Avenue. Recordings may also be submitted electronically by .mp3 or YouTube link to firstname.lastname@example.org by Jan.16, 2017.
All submissions must include the performer’s name, address, phone number and email address, along with their performance of “The Star-Spangled Banner.” Due to the number of demos received, you will only be contacted if you are selected. Limited spots are available.
For more information, please contact Regina Miller of the Surprise Community and Recreation Services Department at 623.222.2249.
The Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) continues to issue project updates for the Bell Road/Grand Avenue bridge project. Please note that the project has entered the third and final stage beginning November 22 through late February 2017. Phase 3C includes the following:
No direct access to Bell Road until late February 2017. The Bell-Grand interchange ramps are inaccessible until the end of construction. Motorists needing to access Grand Avenue from Bell Road will need to use the revised designated detour route.
Grand Avenue will continue to be reduced to 2 lanes in each direction from Litchfield to Dysart roads until Late February 2017.
Business access along Grand Avenue to/from Surprise Towne Center and Surprise Marketplace maintained at the signalized intersections at Towne Center and Bell Grande drives.
Access from US 60 (Grand Avenue) between Litchfield Road and Dysart Road available via detour route at Reems Road and Dysart Road.
Open to traffic
Currently, work continues on the following:
Painting Bell Road Bridge
Reconstructing eastbound Grand Avenue
**City, County, and State law enforcement will be patrolling the area. Please obey all traffic signage and posted speed limits.**
Events & Meetings
Bell Road Reopening
The Arizona Department of Transportation officially opened the new Bell Road Bridge at Grand Avenue at 12:15 a.m. on November 22. To commemorate the reopening and thank the area businesses, residents and drivers for their patience during the seven-month closure of Bell Road, the city hosted a pre-celebration on Monday, November 21 in the Surprise Marketplace parking lot.
Representatives from the Arizona Department of Transportation and the Surprise Regional Chamber of Commerce spoke at the event that was also attended by neighboring elected officials, residents and local businesses. As a “thank you” for supporting the businesses around the Bell and Grand intersection attendees received Surprise shopping bags, filled with vendor coupons and promotional items. A perfect reminder to Shop Surprise this holiday season!
The entire Bell-Grand project, included the ramps connecting Grand Avenue to Bell Road, is scheduled to be complete prior to Spring Training 2017 at the Surprise Recreation Campus. In the meantime, your Bell to Grand Avenue access remains on Dysart Road, east of the intersection and Bell to Reems to Grand, west of the intersection.
Valley Metro Audit & Finance Subcommittee
The Valley Metro Audit & Finance Subcommittee met on Monday, November 28 to discuss applicants for the Chief Financial Officer position. The subcommittee will make a recommendation to the full Valley Metro Board this month.
Surprise Regional Chamber of Commerce Monthly
Council Members Jim Hayden, Todd Tande and I attended the Surprise Regional Chamber of Commerce monthly breakfast meeting on Tuesday, November 29. Brigadier General Brook J. Leonard of Luke AFB was the keynote speaker and provided a thorough update on Luke AFB and the economic impact the Base brings to Arizona and the plans to bring more F35s here.
Mark Your Calendar
15th Annual Surprise Party
Celebrate with the City of Surprise at the 15th Annual Surprise Party this weekend at the Surprise Recreation Campus! This fun-filled event offers a variety of activities and entertainment experiences, and admission is free with a canned food or toy donation benefiting Sanderson Ford Operation Santa Claus. The schedule, subject to change, is as follows:
Friday, December 2 (5 p.m. – 9 p.m.) will include a hot air balloon glow; Arizona Skyhawks Skydivers; a traditional tree lighting ceremony; great food; live musical performances from “Steven P. Project,” “Nothin’ but a Party Band” and “Gonzology”; and fireworks. Plus, Santa’s Workshop, presented by Palm Valley Pediatric Dentistry, offers a free opportunity for youth of all ages to visit with Santa and Mrs. Claus while enjoying arts and crafts, cookies, and fun!
5 – 7 p.m. – Musical performances by “Steven P. Project” and “Nothin’ but a Party Band”
7 – 7:15 p.m. – Tree Lighting Ceremony
7:15 – 8:45 p.m. – Musical performances by “Gonzology” and “Nothin’ but a Party Band”; Festive Balloon Glow
8:45 – 8:55 p.m. – Night time Skydivers
8:55 – 9 p.m. – “Party in the Sky” Fireworks
Friday’s event will be held at the Surprise Recreation Campus – Stadium Plaza, located at 15850 N. Bullard Avenue. Fireworks will begin approximately at 8:55 p.m.
Saturday, December 3 (11 a.m. – 5 p.m.) will include an arts and crafts festival, classic car show, interactive games, camel rides, a petting zoo, clowns, face painters, inflatables, carnival, gingerbread house contest and much more! Throughout the day, enjoy a variety of entertainment, including performances by the City of Surprise Dance programs and this year’s new attraction – “Robosaurus” the world’s largest car-crushing robot. Event activities and attractions may include a nominal fee. Concessions will be available for purchase.
11 – 11:15 a.m. – The 15th Annual Surprise Party kickoff
11:15 – 12:30 p.m. – City of Surprise – Special Interest Class Performance Groups
1 – 2:45 p.m. – “Gonzology” musical performance
3 – 5 p.m. – “Steppin’ Into Tomorrow” musical performance
Saturday’s events will be held at the Surprise Recreation Campus – 8 Acres Park, north of Surprise Stadium.
For additional event information, please contact the Surprise Community and Recreation Services Department at 623.222.2000 or visit www.surpriseaz.gov/specialevents.
AZ TechCelerator Holiday Open House
Check out the latest tech wonders evolving at the city’s business incubator on Thursday, December 8, at the AZ TechCelerator campus and enter for a chance to win some tech devices! The AZ TechCelerator’s “Tech the Halls” Holiday Open House runs from 5–7 p.m., Dec. 8, at 12425 W. Bell Road. This is an excellent opportunity to look at latest advancements from Surprise’s technology start-ups, including electric vehicle conversions, water desalination, and electric skateboards, all in a joyful setting of holiday music, comfort food, and warm coffee.
A raffle will be held at 6:30 p.m. for those who complete a special scavenger hunt, with tech giveaways ranging from a Fitbit Charge 2, Google Home, an Xbox One and more!
Since 2009, the AZ TechCelerator has fostered local start-ups, resulting in 16 businesses, over 200 jobs graduated, and a local Google corporate office. This year, the AZ TechCelerator reached worldwide with its Global Concierge Services program, which helps international businesses establish local operations in Surprise and has so far generated more than 300 additional community jobs.
Did You Know?
Surprise Park-and-Ride Returns to Bell & Grand Location
The pick-up and drop-off locations for bus route 571 – Surprise Express will relocate to the Surprise Park-and-Ride, 13327 W. Bell Road, effective December 5! The Park-and-Ride was temporarily located at DreamCatcher Park due to the construction activity related to the Bell Road/Grand Avenue interchange project.
For more information, please contact Valley Metro Customer Service at 602.253.5000.
Surprise Police Department Completes Accreditation Process
Chief Terry Young recently announced Surprise Police Department has once again successfully completed a multi-year process designed to recognize professionalism in law enforcement through achievement of accredited status with the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies, Inc. (CALEA®).
The Surprise Police Department received their initial accreditation on November 17, 2007, and received two subsequent reaccreditations in November of 2010 and 2013. On November 5, 2016, the Surprise Police Department was awarded their third reaccreditation from CALEA, and fourth overall award.
The purpose and mission of CALEA is two-fold. First, to establish a body of standards designed to increase agency efficiency and effectiveness in the delivery of public safety services; and second, to establish and administer a series of credentialing programs through which public safety agencies can demonstrate voluntarily that they meet an established set of internationally recognized law enforcement standards leading to excellence in management and service delivery.
The CALEA Accreditation Process, itself, is a proven management model. Some of the benefits that law enforcement agencies receive as a result of their accredited status with CALEA include:
Validation that policies comply with professionally developed law enforcement standards,
Scheduled review process for policies to ensure SPD continues to employ and develop progressive policies that reflect best practices in law enforcement,
Promotion of fair recruitment, selection, and promotional processes,
Enhanced administrative and operational efficiency and effectiveness,
Advanced capability to generate reports and analyses to make informed management decisions,
Higher level of accountability by Department members at all levels,
Reduction of liability and risk exposure, and
Greater public confidence in the agency and its members.
The CALEA Accreditation Process has proven to be of great benefit to both the agency and the community. It requires that the agency conform to procedures that are consistent with internationally recognized, progressive law enforcement standards. This is the foundation for competent, responsible, and ethical service to the public. It also requires the agency to take a thorough, introspective look at its mission, objectives, and operation. The Surprise Police Department voluntarily participates in the law enforcement accreditation process, and will continue to do so into the future.
A newly completed makeover of the city’s AZ TechCelerator has transformed more than just the look of the former City Hall campus. In addition to receiving spruced up paint, flooring, signage, landscaping and furniture, the campus has added several new programs and tenants that will join the city’s business incubator program, which has occupied the space since its launch in 2010.
At the AZ TechCelerator open house event on Dec. 10, Surprise Economic Development staff revealed the following new programs will be housed at the campus:
Surprise Resource Center: The Surprise Resource Center is a Community Action Program (CAP) that occupies 1,900 sq ft of space in Building A. The program, which is funded through a partnership with Maricopa County, will help qualifying low-income residents of the Northwest Valley with utility payments, rent and housing. The center opens Monday, Dec. 14.
The Beehive Coworking Space: A program designed to provide shared facilities and support for work-at-home professionals who may not fit the usual AZ TechCelerator innovation start-up profile. Applications will be available early next year.
Global Concierge Services: A program dedicated to the success of international companies looking to expand into the U.S. market.
Entrepreneur in Residence: A dedicated professional and entrepreneur who is available for counseling and support services to AZ TechCelerator tenants and partners.
The flagship innovation and technology incubator program will continue to operate out of the campus, offering company support services, mentorships and start-up space, as well as temporary office space for large corporations expanding into Surprise and affiliate memberships. The incubator is welcoming the following new tenants:
Me On A Bike, Inc.: creating software that will be utilized for the development of an application that will allow users to archive personal information in innovative ways and recall it using various mobile or computer devices.
Kobargo Technology Partners: provides managed IT services to small and medium-sized businesses by educating and assisting clients in leveraging mobility, the cloud and networking solutions that increase efficiency and productivity.
Sassi Stones, LLC: invented a massage stone that can stay hot for two hours, eliminating the need for a stone warmer. Sassi Stones warm up on one side in just one minute and stay hot 60-90 minutes.
Existing innovation tenants include Google (formerly Athena Wireless), Deutsch Dental Arts, Smiles by Delivery and Torque Trends. Business services and partnerships at the AZ TechCelerator include To My Surprise Shuttle, ABD Printing & Signs, The Fraternal Order of Eagles and Arrington Accounting.
Graduates of the incubator program have seen great success. A recent graduate, MD24 Housecall, grew from three employees to 150 and moved into a large office space in the city. Another tenant, Athena Wireless, was acquired by Google earlier this year.
Santé of Surprise hosted a Holiday Festival on Friday, December 4. Guests who attended the holiday festivity brought canned food items to donate to the Valley View Community Food Bank. Its always an honor to help Valley View Community Food Bank as they feed thousands of our Surprise families each year. A special thank you to Santé for hosting this wonderful fundraiser and to those who help support this special cause.
14th Annual Surprise Party
The Community and Recreation Services (CRS) Department hosted the 14th Annual Surprise Party on Friday, December 4 and Saturday, December 5. Mayor Wolcott, Councilman Todd Tande, Councilman Roland Winters and I kicked-off the event with the tree lighting ceremony that was attended by thousands of Surprise residents.
Approximately 7,500 people attended the event on Friday and 13,000 on Saturday. The most popular events included the balloon glow, tree lighting, sky divers, fireworks and zip line. This event could not happen without the hard work and dedication of CRS Director Mark Coronado and his outstanding team. Thank you!
Valley Metro Joint Meeting
I participated in the Valley Metro RPTA and Valley Metro Rail Boards of Directors joint meeting on Monday, December 7 to continue our discussion pertaining to the resignation of Valley Metro CEO Steve Banta. The boards approved his resignation without a separation agreement. Although on administrative leave, Mr. Banta will stay on Valley Metro payroll until January 4 when his paid time off expires.
The boards also reviewed various human resource policies including the Ethics Policy, Travel Policy, Credit Card Policy, Accounting Policies and Procedures and the travel records submitted to the AZ Republic.
For Our City Initiative
Councilman Todd Tande and I met with City staff on Monday, December 7, to further discuss the For Our City initiative. The purpose of the For Our City initiative is to coordinate community service projects for the City of Surprise and non-profit organizations by collaborating with faith-based communities, employers, business groups, and others in our area. It is our hope that Surprise begins our own For Our City program in the very near future.
Arts & Cultural Advisory Commission Open House
I was invited to attend the Arts & Cultural Advisory Commission Student Art Open House on Monday, December 7 at City Hall. This is the first time that the Commission has had the opportunity to hang student art in the City Hall Gallery. The student gallery consists of an art collection from various charter school students and was organized by Imagine Rosefield’s principal, James Mecca. If you get a chance, please visit the gallery and check out the talent of our charter school youth!
Boards & Commissions Committee
Councilman Roland Winters, Councilwoman Rachel Villanueva and I met to interview a candidate for the Board of Trustees. The Committee will make a recommendation to the full City Council at the next regular City Council meeting on Tuesday, December 15 at 6 p.m.
Taste of Surprise
The Surprise Rotary Club Taste of Surprise Committee met on Wednesday, December 9 to continue to plan the Taste of Surprise event. The event will be held on March 9, 2016 at the Riverboat, 18300 W. Bell Road. Mark your calendars! This is an annual event where attendees are treated to the local flavor of many different restaurants in Surprise as well as entertainment! Committee Chairperson Amanda Sanchez has done a fabulous job organizing this event! I am so grateful for all of her hard work and dedication to making it a success for all of Surprise.
Department of Human Service & Community Vitality Annual Holiday Party
Tis’ the season to express our gratitude for the residents of Surprise and all they do to support the needs of our community. The Department of Human Service & Community Vitality hosted their Annual Holiday Party at the AZ Traditions Ballroom. Councilman Todd Tande, Councilman Roland Winters and I attended and expressed our sincerest gratitude and happiest season’s greetings to the residents in attendance.
Meet the Elected Officials Night
The Surprise Regional Chamber of Commerce hosted “Meet the Elected Officials Night” at Marley Park on Wednesday, December 9. Several people attended the event including State Treasurer Jeff DeWit. Thank you to the Surprise Chamber and Ray Grim for putting on this nice event!
Surprise Resource Center Ribbon Cutting
I was thrilled to be part of the celebration and ribbon cutting for the Surprise Resource Center and Community Action Program (CAP) office at the AZ TechCelerator on Thursday, December 10. The addition of this Program in our City enforces our Council and City Leadership’s commitment to human services which began earlier this year with the addition of the Department of Human Service and Community Vitality. This Department has become our anchor for those less fortunate and now we can expand on the magnitude of those services with the CAP office.
AZ TechCelerator Re-Launch
City Council attended the re-launch of our very own AZ TechCelerator on Thursday, December 10. Earlier this year, City Council unanimously approved a $500,000 budget amendment for improvements to the TechCelerator as a vote of confidence in the program’s ability to continue to exceed our expectations. The community value generated from this business incubator has been enormous with over 200 jobs in Surprise created as a direct result of the innovation program, the very first in the West Valley.
Congratulations to Economic Development Director Jeanine Jerkovic, AZ TechCelerator Manager Julie Neal, and the Economic Development team for their creative genius, hard work and continued dedication to Surprise.
Mark Your Calendar
Surprise Police Explorers – Spirit Day
Several members of our Surprise Police Explorer Post 2236 are partnering with Chick-fil-A for “Spirit Day”, a Tip-a-Cop fundraising event. on Saturday, December 12 from 11 a.m. until 3 p.m. If you plan to dine at the Chick-fil-A at Surprise Market, 13725 W. Bell Road, please be sure to tip your server.
Second Sundays in the Park
Second Sundays in the Park concert series continues this Sunday, December 13 from 2 – 4 p.m. with a live performance by The Goode Time Carolers. This free family event, presented by Surprise Toyota, will take place at Surprise Community Park, 15953 N. Bullard. We hope to see you there!
Surprise Police Department – Crime Prevention Awareness Event
The Surprise Police Department is hosting their final 2015 crime prevention awareness event on December 14 from 4 – 6 p.m. at the Walmart store located at 17049 W. Bell Road. Officers from our Community Relations Unit will be educating the public about programs like “Lock-It or Lose-It”, a campaign aimed at reducing theft of property from vehicles. For more information on the campaign, please visit http://ow.ly/HLcza
Did You Know?
Surprise Dog Park Opens!
I am pleased to announce the Surprise Farms Community Park – Dog Park is officially open for visitors and their dogs. The dog park, located at 15991 N. Willow Canyon Drive opened on Wednesday, December 9. Amenities include drinking fountains, picnic tables, park benches, dog play features and a grass play area. The park consists of three divided areas; one area for dogs over 20 pounds, one area for dogs under 20 pounds and one area will be utilized as an alternative when either of the sections are closed for maintenance and healthy turf practices.
Please note this dog park will be closed on Thursdays from 6 – 10 a.m. for mowing and cleaning.
Spring Training 2016
The Spring Training schedule is now available! Get your tickets when the online pre-sale begins on December 12 or purchase them in person when the box office opens its windows on January 9. For more information, please visit http://bit.ly/1XEyd32.
Special Work Session Scheduled for December 15
A 4 p.m. Work Session will take place on December 15 prior to the City Council Special Meeting (5:30 p.m.) and Regular Meeting (6:00 p.m.).
The Work Session agenda includes the General Plan Update which proposes amendments to elements of the Surprise General Plan 2035; Council will consider and may take action on the General Plan Update during the December 15 Regular Meeting.
City of Surprise Integrated Water Master Plan Phase II Update
Staff completed the second phase of the update to the Integrated Water Master Plan (IWMP). With guidance from the Committee on Water Resource Planning, Terry Lowe, Water Resource Management Director, provided Mayor and Council an update on the status of the IWMP and gave each elected official a copy of the updated Water Resource section (Volume 1) of the IWMP. The goal of Phase II was to incorporate the finding of Phase I and the newly adopted Water Management Policies into Volume 1. The next step for staff is to update Volume 2 (Infrastructure) of the IWMP which is based on the direction and plan of the Water Resource section. It is intended for this project to take approximately a year, and it will be developed utilizing in-house staff.
City of Surprise Stormwater Utility
On September 1, 2015, Water Resource Management Director Terry Lowe presented to Mayor and Council the next findings of a yearlong effort to develop and establish a Stormwater Utility. The FCS Group was hired to assist staff with the development of this utility. Their scope includes the development of fiscal policies, revenue requirements, operation and maintenance requirements, analyze capital improvement needs, establish a rate structure and rate, and public outreach prior to adoption. Currently, other funds, including the General Fund, HURF fund, and Wastewater Utility are funding activities related to stormwater management. The creation of a stormwater utility is the most fair, reliable, and adequate funding mechanism to pay for stormwater management. The study identified an equivalent dwelling unit (EDU) equal to 3,420 square feet which was derived from averaging the areas of the impervious surfaces (roves, patios, and driveway) for all single family residents in Surprise. The purpose of this calculation is to establish a means to understand each parcel’s impact to the City’s stormwater management responsibilities. The study calculated a charge of $2 per month per EDU would be required to properly establish the utility, develop a fund balance, and to cover the cost of the City’s stormwater management responsibilities. These responsibilities include street maintenance, underground storm drain maintenance, and regulatory compliance as mandated by the Federal and State agencies. Staff will begin the public outreach phase of the Utility’s development which will occur of over the next few months. City Council is expected to vote on whether or not to establish the stormwater utility later this year.
City Council Meeting
Recognition of Surprise Sundancers Board Recipients
Each spring training season, the Sundancers conduct a 50/50 raffle for the sole purpose of making charitable donations. This year, approximately $20,900 was collected and given to several organizations and local nonprofit community organizations. Some of the organizations include Rachel’s Challenge, Dysart Education Foundation, WHAM, Arizona Charter Academy, West Valley Arts Council, Surprise Fire and Police Departments, El Mirage Firefighter Charities and various youth scholarships.
The Surprise Sundancers, founded in 2002, have played an instrumental role in our City. A special thank you to them for all they do for so many organizations, projects and programs!
Surprise Police Officer Receives National Award from VFW
Surprise Police Officer Wendy Klarkowski was recognized as an honored recipient of the Veterans of Foreign War Post 285’s National Law Enforcement Public Service Citation during Tuesday evening’s City Council meeting. Officer Klarkowski is currently assigned as a School Resource Officer (SRO) at Shadow Ridge High School. She became a police officer in 2010 and was selected to serve as an SRO in 2012.
Officer Klarkowski is regularly recognized for her dedication, commitment and exemplary service to our community. It’s an honor to have her in Surprise!
Bullard Avenue Community Feedback
At the end of July, the City implemented a traffic calming strategy on Bullard Avenue from Greenway Road to Peoria Avenue. Safety was the primary objective. The modifications included a reduction in the speed limit from 45 to 35 miles per hour, the reduction of travel lanes from two in each direction to one, the addition of four miles of bike lanes and three school zone with school crosswalks and the addition of a neighborhood electric vehicle lane.
The City hosted a community meeting on August 17 to allow residents the opportunity to share their experiences and opinions of the changes. More than 100 residents were in attendance. There were 55 speakers with only one in favor of the changes. Staff provided some background information at that time including factors considered, project goals and next steps.
Following the aforementioned meeting, a community survey was available for additional feedback. While the survey closed on August 30, the City received more than 1,900 responses. Again, an overwhelming percentage of input received was in opposition to the changes.
Details of the next public meeting are noted below.
AZ TechCelerator Renovation Project Update
Last April, City Council approved a budget amendment for a significant renovation project at the City-owned business incubator and accelerator program. This project was carried forward to the FY16 budget within the General Fund. Renovations include new exterior paint, landscape rehabilitation, upgraded wireless internet, a new monument sign and directional signage, as well as interior renovations and access control in buildings C and D. A re-launch is tentatively scheduled for October.
2016 Surprise Fine Art & Wine Festival
City Council approved the allocation of tourism funds, not to exceed $30,000, to the Thunderbird Artists for the Fourth Annual Surprise Fine Art & Wine Festival. The event is scheduled for January 22 through January 24, 2016.
Meetings & Events
Boys & Girls Club of Surprise Steering Committee Meeting
The Boys & Girls Club of Surprise Steering Committee met on Wednesday, September 2 to discuss the next phase of becoming a charter club. Momentum continues to build as we continue to progress and see the club into fruition.
Mark Your Calendar
Bullard Avenue Public Meeting – September 8
Residents are encouraged to attend the next public meeting regarding the Bullard Avenue changes in which survey results will be discussed. The meeting will be held on Tuesday, September 8 at 6 p.m. at Marley Park Elementary School, 15042 W. Sweetwater Avenue. I hope to see you there!
Fall Youth Sports Registration
Registration for fall youth sports, including girls’ volleyball, Babe Ruth softball and Cal Ripken tee-ball and baseball will begin next week. Registration will be offered from September 8 through September 25, with a special Saturday registration on September 26 from 8 until 11 a.m. at the Community and Recreation Services office located at 15960 N. Bullard Avenue. Office hours are Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. You can also register online at www.surpriseaz.gov/recreation.
Fall Clean-up Event
The Surprise Fall Clean-up Event is scheduled for Saturday, September 12 from 7 a.m. until 1 p.m. This event allows residents the opportunity to drop off up to 2,000 pounds of residential waste free-of-charge at the Northwest Regional Landfill located at 19401 W. Deer Valley Road. Acceptable items include lawn waste and other typical household refuge.
Please note hazardous waste items will not be accepted at this time. The City has scheduled a household hazardous waste event for October 10 from 8 a.m. until 12 noon at the Public Works Maintenance Yard, 13433 W. Firefox Drive.
Due to the 115th Avenue drainage improvement project, weekend road closures have been scheduled beginning Friday, September 11 at 9 p.m. through 6 a.m. on Monday, September 14.
115th Avenue north and southbound lanes from Beardsley Road to Union Hills Drive
115th Avenue northbound lanes will be closed north of Avenue of the Arts
Please note the same restrictions will be in place the following weekend from 9 p.m. on Friday, September 18 through 6 a.m. on Monday, September 21. Please consider alternative routes such as 99th Avenue during these closures. For the most current information on traffic restrictions, visit the traffic restriction webpage at http://ow.ly/RKXZJ.
Farmer’s Market is Coming to Surprise!
Pitchfork Farmer’s Market is coming to the AZ TechCelerator, located at 12425 W. Bell Road, beginning on Saturday, October 10 from 8 a.m. until 1 p.m. and each Saturday thereafter.
Earlier last month, Surprise Police Officer Wendy Klarkowski learned about a severe water bottle shortage occurring at the St. Mary’s Food Bank. Extreme temperatures and a water contamination situation on the Navajo Reservation had led to the current shortage. Upon learning of the shortage, Officer Klarkowski, members of the SRO Coin Challenge and Student Council at Shadow Ridge High School created “Project Hydrate”.
When Project Hydrate began, the group set a goal to collect 5,000 bottles of water and set a deadline for collection of August 31. The group recently announced they’ve collected over 15,000 bottles of water, therefore tripling their original goal. Their success is due in part to three major donations, coming from parents of Shadow Ridge students who work for Walmart (1,920 bottles), Target (3,744 bottles) and an anonymous local company who donated 3,864 bottles.
I truly admire how the community came together for a fantastic cause!
If you are looking for an opportunity to better our community, we invite you to participate in the Pride Community Clean-up event on October 10. In true demonstration of civic pride, this community-wide event will have volunteers cleaning neighborhoods across the city, from repairing and painting neighborhood fences to landscaping.
All volunteers are asked to meet in the parking lot of the Surprise Senior Center, 15832 N. Hollyhock Street, at 7:30 am to receive assignments. The entire group will return to the Senior Center parking lot for lunch at 11:30 a.m. If you are interested, please contact Muriel Gutierrez at 623.222.3241 or email@example.com.
City staff hosted a public community meeting on the traffic changes along Bullard Avenue. At the start of the school year a few weeks ago, the City added three new crosswalks on Bullard Avenue to provide safe access for the students attending the five schools within that area. With the new crosswalks in place, the speed limit was reduced from 45 mph to 35 mph and a second lane for traffic in each direction was eliminated. A bike lane was also added, as was a golf cart lane to help provide a safety buffer between the traffic lane and bike lane.
Residents are encouraged to share their thoughts about the recent changes in an online survey which is linked off of the homepage at www.surpriseaz.gov. The survey closes on Sunday, August 30 at midnight. Survey results and possible solutions addressing the concerns will be presented to the City Council at the next regular City Council meeting on Tuesday, September 1 at 6 p.m. Staff will also share the feedback in a second public meeting on Tuesday, September 8 at Marley Park Elementary School, 15042 W. Sweetwater, at 6 p.m.
League of Arizona Cities and Towns Conference
Last week, City Council attended the 2015 League of Arizona Cities and Towns Conference in Tucson. This conference is always well attended by State legislators, elected officials and staff and provides us with networking opportunities that we may not ordinarily be given.
The League provides cities and towns with important services and tools while it focuses on representing the interests of the 91 incorporated cities and towns in Arizona before the legislature. They also provide members with legal and technical assistance.
Besides attending the Resolutions Committee meeting, I partook in sessions on: Forest Health and its impact in our State; how we can better help our veteran population; emergency preparedness; community based entrepreneurship; and water issues, including the crisis in California and how we can lessen the impact of drought in Arizona.
Veterans Mentoring and Entrepreneurship Seminar
The Surprise Regional Chamber of Commerce hosted a free Veterans Mentoring/Entrepreneurship seminar at the Parkwood Assisted Living facility on Tuesday, August 25. The seminar began with a SCORE presentation on the ABC’s of starting a business, followed by a panel discussion by Veteran business owners who spoke about their personal experiences.
After the event, there were several mentors available to speak with Veterans covering numerous topics including legal, business coaching, insurance, accounting, advertising, operational logistics and social media.
WESTMARC Water & Energy Committee
I attended the WESTMARC Water & Energy Committee meeting on Wednesday, August 26. Mitch Haws, U.S. Bureau of Reclamation Study Manager, gave a briefing on the WESTCAPS West Salt River Valley Basin Study. Mr. Haws discussed the laws and funding mechanisms supporting the study, the current status of the study – including four mandatory study elements, the purpose of the study and the study task team leaders. He talked about the Climate Change modeling and scenarios, the Recharge Screening Analysis, the Economic Analysis and the next steps. Two task team leaders gave briefs on their team tasks, Christine Nuñez, City of Surprise Environmental Manager, presented on the supply portion of the study, and Jake Lenderking, EPCOR Water Resource Manager, on the demand portion of the study. Mr. Haws also gave an overview of the WESTCAPS organization, its members, study partners, study advisors and some of the organizations past key accomplishments.
Following Mr. Haws, Mr. Guy Carpenter of Carollo Engineers and also the National WateReuse Association’s Board of Director’s First Vice President, discussed Direct Potable Water Reuse also known as DPR. He talked about the current technologies, the pros and cons, the cost implications, the current water laws on the use of DPR, as well as the public’s negative perception and misconceptions about DPR. Mr. Carpenter gave a synopsis on the WateReuse Research Foundation report on Examining the Criteria for Direct Potable Water Reuse that included removal of viruses, bacteria and protozoa in water being a priority over the public concern of endocrine disruptors. Also, Mr. Carpenter gave the group an overview of the Big Spring DPR facility in Texas which is currently the only DPR in operation in the nation.
Sierra Verde Community Meeting
Police Chief Terry Young and I attended the Sierra Verde Community meeting on Wednesday, August 26. The meeting was very productive. Officer Tim Klarkowski discussed crime statistics stating there has been a 4 ½ percent decrease in crime within the HOA. Based on discussions, police will be enforcing the area monitoring for speed.
Councilman Jim Biundo and I took a tour of the AZ Techcelerator with Julie Neal, Economic Development Coordinator. Earlier this year, the City Council approved funds to be utilized towards improvements for the space. The work should be completed by early October.
Mark Your Calendar
Surprise Senior Idol
The 10th Annual Surprise Senior Idol Show and Contest will be held on Wednesday, October 14 at 1 pm at Valley Vista High School’s Performing Arts Center, 15550 N. Parkview Place. The contest is open to non-professional entertainers, 50 years of age or older. Past winners are not eligible for competition but are allowed to participate in the show. Performances are limited to three minutes. Prizes will be awarded.
Contestant registration forms can be acquired at the Surprise Senior Center, located at 15832 N. Hollyhock Street, or by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. All forms are due no later than Friday, September 25 at 3 p.m. Tickets will go on sale Tuesday, September 1.
Did You Know?
Arizona Charter Academy Recognition
Please join me in congratulating Arizona Charter Academy (ACA) as they’ve just been named one of Arizona’s top companies to work for. This is the second year that ACA has won the award.
The City would like to thank the residents and staff members who participated in its Back to School Supply Drive! Thanks to everyone’s generosity, we were able to donate an estimated $1,500 worth of school supplies to several local elementary schools.
Community Development Block Grant Update
The City of Surprise receives a yearly allotment of Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funding from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). The City has the ability to designate up to 85% of the grant award to fund-eligible administrative, housing and public improvement services with the intent of serving low to moderate income residents.
The Consolidated Plan is mandated, per the grant guidelines, by HUD. This identifies funding for CDBG and other programs. It includes a five year strategic plan consisting of priorities and needs. We will be entering year one of the plan (Annual Action Plan 2015-16) beginning July 1st with our new fiscal year. The Annual Action Plan will contain specific projects. To qualify, 51% of the residents in the area must be in the low to moderate income brackets. The only area in Surprise that qualifies based on this requirement is the Original Town Site (OTS).
Last fall, surveys were conducted and those survey findings were shared with the Planning & Zoning Commission in December 2014. Priorities included youth/senior/veteran services, recreation programs, improved lighting, neighborhood clean-up and job training. Non-profit organization applications to receive funding were due in January 2015 and Planning & Zoning Commission hearings were held in February and March 2015. With City Council’s approval, the recommendations will be submitted to HUD by May 15, 2015.
Public Service Awardee recommendations included summer youth employment ($16,897), ABIL- Arizona Bridge to Independent Living ($15,580), Arizona Charter Academy ($12,539), St. Mary’s Food Bank ($11,480), Benevilla ($10,000), Tumble Weed ($8,200), Central AZ Shelter Services ($5,000) and Aid to Adoption of Special Kids ($3,000).
Water Funding Policy
Water Resource Management Director Terry Lowe presented the fourth strategic water policy, the Water Funding Policy, for review and comment. This policy brings together the first three policies, focusing the City’s position on how Surprise will invest in its water future. This specific policy identifies the different investments the City will make in water, including the expansion of its CAP allocations, the acquisition of physical water and water systems, and the purchasing of water credits. The policy then identifies who the benefiting parties of these investments are, such as Surprise residents as a whole or the Surprise water service area customers. Furthermore, the policy identifies possible funding options that would be the best match for the City to utilize in order to acquire these investments given the benefited areas. All four strategic water policies (Conservation, Use of Reclaimed, Acquisition, and Funding) will be brought before the Surprise City Council for approval at the City Council meeting scheduled for May 6.
Zoning Text Amendment – Donation Bins
Due to citizen concerns about the increasing number of donation bins located within the City and the lack of any regulations concerning said bins, City staff proposed a zoning text amendment to regulate bins for the entire City. The proposed amendment will allow for regulations. This amendment will require these facilities to register the bins with Temporary Use Permits (TUP) that would require a notarized signature of the property owner or designated representative and it would have to be applied for annually. The bins are limited to commercial, business park, industrial, and public facility zoning districts. The amendment would also regulate the location, size, maintenance, and identification of the bins. These parameters are determined by the size of the property or commercial center. A Citizen Review Meeting has been held. Council will vote on the amendment at the next Council meeting.
FY2016 Budget Discussion
The fiscal year 2016 budget process continued with an update of ongoing revenues and expenses, and discussion on budget recommendations regarding staffing, asset and vehicle replacement, pavement preservation, and fund balance reserve policy. While the ongoing surplus estimate for FY2015 of $3.5 million remains unchanged from previous discussions, the projected ongoing surplus for FY2016 increased by $0.5 million to $1.3 million.
A plan was discussed to utilize this surplus to maintain transit and library services as well as shore up public safety and other general government services. There was also discussion about increasing funding levels to maintain the City’s infrastructure. Vehicle replacement funding will nearly double to $1.9 million; critical maintenance and replacement needs across City facilities will be funded at $1.7 million, and pavement preservation funding will increase 50% to $3.0 million. A plan to increase the fund balance reserve by $1.2 million was also discussed. Much of this serves as a sneak preview of the Recommended Budget that will be presented by the City manager at the City Council Meeting on April 21.
City Council Meeting
Surprise Literacy Challenge Awards
On behalf of Vice Mayor John Williams and I, I was able to acknowledge the 4th and 5th grade winning classes of the Surprise Literacy Challenge at the Council Meeting. The top overall 4th grade classroom from Rancho Gabriela Elementary School, taught by Mrs. Wendy Housari, received their trophy as well as the top overall 5th grade class from Parkview Elementary School, taught by Ms. Marcia Guest. Congratulations!
Greg Pereira, Director at the Communiversity at Surprise and the Lifelong Learning Center at Rio Salado College, provided an update on the Communiversity. The Communiversity consists of six academic partners including the Glendale Community College, Northern Arizona University, Phoenix College, Ottawa University, The College of St. Scholastica and Rio Salado College. Over 130 courses are provided each year. Over 5,000 students have been served since 2009. The Communiversity offers certificate programs as well as Associate to Master’s Degrees.
The City Council approved a $500,000 renovation for the AZ TechCelerator which will help enhance the space, allow for the creation of two business programs and attract a new pipeline of start-up innovation companies. Renovation funding will come from the operating contingency within the general fund.
Since its launch in 2010, the TechCelerator has occupied the former City Hall space on Bell Road. The four campus building, owned and operated by the City, has been successful in providing innovative start-up companies with affordable space, tools and resources needed to grow their businesses. Following the upgrades, the Economic Development team will launch two new start-up business programs at this campus. The first program, Beehive, will provide home-based businesses the opportunity to operate in a professional setting for a low monthly cost. The second initiative is a soft-landing program for international businesses that would also offer affordable office space, as well as assistance navigating issues like international patents, work visas and other issues that are unique to foreign companies.
The City of Surprise receives approximately $36 million annually in state shared revenues. This revenue is distributed to all cities in Arizona based on population which is set based on the federal census that is completed every decade. Cities have the option to update the population with a mid-decade census that is completed by the Census Bureau and paid for by each individual city. Five cities, Buckeye, Gilbert, Goodyear, Peoria, and Queen Creek, have entered into agreements with the Census Bureau to undertake a mid-decade census on their behalf. A sixth city, Chandler, has also expressed interest in completing a mid-decade census. The City would stand to lose approximately $0.7 million per year of its portion of state shared revenues if these six cities were to complete a mid-decade census without Surprise. If Surprise were to join these cities, its portion of state shared revenues would increase by $1.1 million per year, a net difference of $1.8 million. The results of the mid-decade census would be in effect for 5 years for a total net impact of $9.0 million. The City has received an estimate from the Census Bureau that it will cost $2.7 million to complete a mid-decade census. That investment would be re-paid in 1.5 years and result in a total net gain of $6.3 million over a five year period. For these reasons, the City of Surprise will be going forward with a mid-decade census that is set to begin on October 1st of the calendar year.
Zoning Text Amendment pertaining to Assisted Living Facilities
Planner II Robert Kuhfuss requested Council approval on the proposed Zoning Text Amendment pertaining to Assisted living Facility (ORD 2015-07). After much review of the industry standards and the HOA Concerns expressed through the stakeholder process, he reiterated the Planning & Zoning Commission’s recommendations to delete the 120-day rule and other questions posed by City Council during a past work session. The Council unanimously voted to approve the amendment.
Events & Meetings
Surprise Citizen Corp
On April 2, I attended the newly revised Surprise Citizens Corps Council (SCCC). CJ Anderson, who has 37 years of risk management experience, attended the meeting and spoke to the SCCC to provide guidance on how to establish goals for the coming year so the SCCC can actively offer disaster preparedness programs to benefit the community. She is currently the President of the Arizona Regional Citizens Corp and President/CEO of Empty Bowl Pet Food Pantry Disaster Service, and she has offered to help guide the SCCC as we move forward toward initiating our own City organization.
The SCCC is looking for active community volunteers who want to help work with government organizations like FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) and ready.gov which offers emergency preparedness guidance from the US Department of Homeland Security. For more information, please contact Fire Captain Renee Hamblin at 623.222.5000.
CRS Spring Eggstravaganza
The Annual Spring Eggstravaganza this year was another fantastic success thanks to the efforts of the families that attended, the volunteers that helped and our wonderful team of employees at CRS. Community and Recreation Services Director Mark Coronado estimates there were over 14,000 people in attendance. The Easter egg hunters were treated to 250 pounds of eggs and candy. The event was held on Saturday, April 4. It is always a pleasure to attend.
Linda Rodriguez, Surprise City Court Administrator, celebrated her 25 years of service with the City on Tuesday, April 7. Congratulations, Linda, for all you’ve done and all you continue to do for our City!
Celebrate Arizona Northwest Valley
Councilman Jim Biundo, Councilman Roland Winters and I attended the “Celebrate Arizona Northwest Valley” event on Wednesday, April 8. Several business, civic and community leaders were there, as well as other elected officials from Glendale, Peoria, Sun City, Sun City West, Youngtown, El Mirage and Wickenburg. This event began three years ago as a way to continue dialogue to find new ways to work together to make Arizona a better place to live and work.
Did You Know?
Your Input is Requested
Residents can now provide online input regarding potential capital improvement projects that are currently under review by the City’s Capital Improvement Funding Exploratory Committee. This Committee is charged, in part, with determining which projects should be included if the City considers a future bond initiative as a funding source. They have asked for you to get involved by sharing your thoughts on what matters most to you.
This Committee is looking at potential project lists during this process. You can review the same lists online at www.surpriseaz.gov/cife and provide comments. All comments will be shared by the Committee. Additionally, please feel free to attend the meetings or watch them live on Surprise 11 or at www.surpriseaz.gov/surprise11. Future meeting dates will be posted on the City’s online calendar.
Surprise Police join Nextdoor.com
Last week, the Surprise Police Department joined Nextdoor.com. Nextdoor.com is a free, private social network specifically designed for neighborhoods to build stronger and safer communities. It also allows for police to communicate online with the neighborhoods they serve. Currently, there are 58 local neighborhoods involved with over 3,000 registered members in Surprise. If you haven’t joined yet, you may want to consider it!
Mark your Calendars
Household Hazardous Waste Collection
The next household hazardous waste collection event will take place on Saturday, April 11. This event is free and for Surprise residents only. Proof of residency is required. The drop-off location is the Public Works Maintenance Yard at 13433 W. Foxfire Drive (from Bell Road, turn north on Dysart and follow signs to the entrance off Foxfire). The hours of drop-off are 8 a.m. until 12 noon.
For more information or a list of acceptable items, please visit our calendar section of www.surpriseaz.gov or call 623.222.6000.
The City of Surprise presents Movie Night at the Surprise Stadium on Saturday, April 11, featuring “The Boxtrolls” (rated PG). This event is sponsored by Coulter Nissan and the admission is free. Gates open at 6 p.m. and the movie will begin at 6:30 pm. Ice chests and lawn chairs are not permitted so bring your blankets!
Second Sunday in the Park
Come out and join the music at the next Second Sunday in the Park this Sunday, April 12. The free event will occur at the Surprise Community Park, 15953 N. Bullard Avenue, from 2 until 4 pm.
Surprise Swap Meet
The Surprise Swap meet is next Saturday, April 18 from 8 am until 1 pm at the Surprise Aquatic Center Parking Lot!
HOA Summit The City hosted the first HOA Summit of the year at the Surprise Stadium on Thursday, March 26. Seventy-one people were registered for the Summit representing 25 different HOAs. City Directors from several departments were on hand to provide updates. The departments represented were Code Enforcement, Community Development, Water Resource Management, Public Works, Economic Development, Communications and the Department of Human Service and Community Vitality. Important information was shared and several general questions were asked and answered.
Surprise Literacy Challenge Recognition The sixth grade class that won the Surprise Literacy Challenge was recognized at the Surprise Stadium on Thursday, March 26 immediately before the Spring Training game. Mrs. Schneider’s class, from Paradise Education Center, were the recipients of the trophy and recognition. Congratulations!
Business Appreciation Day @ the Ballpark I attended Business Appreciation Day at the Surprise Stadium on Friday, March 27 with staff from the City’s Economic Development Department. Several local businesses attended and were thanked for their contributions to our City.
Bike Rodeo The Surprise Police Department, in partnership with the Surprise Fire-Medical Department and Surprise Build-A-Bike, hosted a bicycle safety rodeo at the Surprise Campus of Christ’s Church of the Valley. This important event allowed children of all ages to have their bicycle safety helmets checked for proper fit, learn about bike safety and practice new bicycle skills with police bicycle operators. Children who did not have a helmet or had an ill-fitting helmet were provided with a new, proper fitting helmet free of charge. In total 82 children participated in the event and 76 helmets were distributed. We could not have these events without the efforts of the aforementioned departments. Thank you for all you do to keep all residents in Surprise safe!
Surprise Community Center Open House The City’s newly established Human Service & Community Vitality Department hosted its first Open House at the Surprise Community Center this past Saturday to showcase current programs and celebrate small facility improvements. Several Council Members and I were present along with more than 110 people. Approximately 50% were first time visitors! Visitors toured the facility’s exercise room, outdoor seating areas, cafeteria, computer room, reading room, puzzle room and other multi-purpose areas.
The Community Development Department provided information on the Heritage District Overlay and the City Clerk’s Office was available to discuss voter engagement and voter registration.
Survey poster boards were on display to capture community input on programs, services and project ideas for the new Department. In addition, a barbeque with music, games and multi-generational interactions were enjoyed by all!
Boy Scout Pinewood Derby 2015 The City Manager’s office and the Community Recreation Services Department jointly hosted 200 people for the Boy Scouts Pinewood Derby Tournament in the Villanueva Gym on Saturday, March 28.
ASU Sustainability Meeting On March 30, Mayor Wolcott, Councilman Tande and I met with City staff and officials from ASU Global Institute of Sustainability to discuss possible future partnerships.
AZ TechCelerator City staff and I met on Monday, March 30 to discuss the TechCelerator. The TechCelerator opened in January 2010 and consists of 4 buildings totaling 58,800 square feet. Ten clients, 12 active mentors and 3 on-site service providers are currently supporting the space. In the last few years, there have been several business success stories including MD24 and Athena Wireless.
Boys & Girls Club Steering Committee Members of the Boys & Girls Club Steering Committee met on Wednesday, April 1. Teri Halliday, Regional Director of the Boys & Girls Club of America, was present to provide a presentation on the history of the Club. Updates were also provided by the Subcommittees.
Arizona Town Hall Councilman Jim Biundo, Councilman Todd Tande and I attended the Arizona Town Hall – Arizona’s Economy, A Community Outreach Program on Wednesday, April 1. Several municipalities and economic development leaders were present. An overview on Arizona’s current economic status was discussed as well as the link between the economy and education. Perspectives from the legislative front, recommendations and priorities were summarized as well.
Did You Know?
The City has launched a new “Shop Surprise, Shape Surprise” campaign to show how shopping locally helps shape the community.
Local sales tax makes up nearly 40% of the City’s General Fund revenues. This means by keeping sales tax dollars at home, residents are helping to pay for city services that they count on such as police, fire, park operations and street repairs. For more information, please visit www.surpriseaz.gov/shopsurprise.
Mark Your Calendars
Spring Eggstravaganza Eager egg hunters, from toddlers to 8 year olds, are invited to join the search for more than 50,000 candy and toy-filled plastic eggs as part of the Surprise Spring Eggstravaganza on Saturday, April 4. The celebration will be held on the Kansas City Royals practice fields at the Surprise Recreation Campus, located at 15850 N. Bullard.
Gates will open at 9:30 am. The first hunt will begin at 10 am with the 2 year olds and under group. New hunts will follow approximately every 20 minutes. Children should bring their baskets or bags to hold their treats.
The event will also include a visit from the Easter bunny, clowns, face painters, magicians and an interactive kid zone with slides and obstacle courses. There will be a minimal charge from some activities.
Household Hazardous Waste Collection The next household hazardous waste collection event will take place on Saturday, April 11. This event is free and for Surprise residents only. Proof of residency is required. The drop-off location is the Public Works Maintenance Yard at 13433 W. Foxfire Drive (from Bell Road, turn north on Dysart and follow signs to the entrance off Foxfire). The hours of drop-off are 8 a.m. until 12 noon.
For more information or a list of acceptable items, please visit our calendar section of www.surpriseaz.gov or call 623.222.6000.