Tag Archives: Budget

March 22, 2018 • Newsletter

City Council Work Session

Autonomous Vehicle Technology Presentation

Maricopa Association of Governments Transportation Director Eric Anderson discussed planning for autonomous vehicles in the Valley. Arizona’s promise to keep the driverless car industry free of regulations has attracted dozens of companies such as Uber and Lyft to our State. There are different levels of automation. Level 5 is fully autonomous, which is where the company Waymo is now operating. While autonomous vehicles provide a unique opportunity, there certainly are many concerns we need to consider including safety, the impact on public transportation, cyber-attacks and much more.

Fiscal Year 2019 Budget Presentation

This was the fourth in a series of presentations regarding the development of the FY2019 budget. This presentation focused on the capital improvements and asset replacement funding sources, the FY2018 fund status through December 2017, Development Impact Fee key issues, and the prioritized list of capital improvements. We reviewed eight categories that identified capital projects over the next five years to include Public Safety, Parks and Recreation and Utility Funds. Each list was prioritized by city leadership and identified its current funding status as funded, planned and unfunded. Funded is defined as currently funded for FY2018, planned projects are in pipeline contingent on solidifying funding in the next five years, while unfunded is defined as a need over the next five years but a funding source has not yet been identified.

City Council Meeting

Community Development Block Grant Funding Priorities

As an entitlement city, Surprise receives a yearly allotment of Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funding from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Every year the City of Surprise must submit an Annual Action Plan. The Annual Action Plan is a concise summary of actions, activities, and the specific federal and non-federal resources that will be used each year to address the priority needs and specific goals identified by the Consolidated Plan. The Consolidated Plan is a combined plan and application to HUD for federal funds available to counties and cities under CDBG which includes all previous five years of annual action plans. Occasionally, an amendment is necessary to the Annual Action Plan and as a direct result the Consolidated Plan must also be amended.

The CDBG presentation provided information regarding the Consolidated Plan to assist the Council in deciding if proposed projects meet grant criteria while filling community needs. Upon approval by City Council, the CDBG Administration, Neighborhood Improvement and Affordable Housing Activities will be submitted to HUD as part of the Consolidated Plan Amendment 2015-2019.

According to HUD regulations, CDBG funds may be used to provide Neighborhood Improvements (including labor, supplies, materials, project management and other costs) and Economic Development activities, provided the service will serve low to moderate income persons in the City of Surprise through area benefit or serving a particular clientele like seniors, youth and families; neighborhood improvements and affordable housing opportunities

The amount of program income to be included in the Annual Action Plan Amendment 2017-2018 is $1,130,633. CDBG administration, neighborhood improvement projects and affordable housing opportunities that will be carried out as part of this plan amendment include:

Administration $113,063
Salaries, supplies, compliance needs

Neighborhood Improvement Projects $517,570
Gaines Park ballfield and possible commercial property / building demolitions within the Surprise Heritage District

Affordable Housing Opportunities $500,000
Provide assistance for development of affordable housing units in the Heritage District.

City Council Public Hearings

On Tuesday, the City Council approved a Preliminary Plat for Marley Park Phase 4 & 5. This 235-acre project is located generally north of Sweetwater Avenue between Bullard Avenue and the 65 ldn for Luke AFB, and will include a total of 776 single-family residential lots, a 29-acre high-density residential parcel to be developed in the future, and approximately 44 acres of well-amenitized open space to be owned and managed by the Homestead at Marley Park HOA. Also associated with this project are three Maps of Dedication, which were approved by Council. These include a segment of 144th Drive/145th Avenue extending from the northern boundary of Legacy Charter School to Waddell Road, a segment of Old Oak Lane extending from 145th Avenue to Bullard Avenue, and a segment of Sweetwater Avenue extending from 144th Lane to Litchfield Road.

Marley Park Preliminary Plat

The City Council also approved a Preliminary Plat for Rancho Del Rey. This 25-acre project is located generally north of the Happy Valley Road alignment in the vicinity of Rancho Mercado, and will include a total of 117 single-family residential lots and approximately five acres of amenitized open space. The intent of this project is to integrate seamlessly with Rancho Mercado when built.

Rancho Del Rey Preliminary Plat

Ottawa University Lease Agreement

City Council unanimously approved to enter a lease agreement with Ottawa University allowing the University to lease approximately 14 acres of City-owned land for a term of 65 years at a market-rate rent. It also allows an option to lease additional City land totaling approximately 23 acres and an option to purchase any real property contained in the lease if certain conditions of the agreement are met by the University. The 14 acres is located at the northwest corner of Civic Center Drive and Tierra Buena Lane. The land lease requires the development of certain university facilities including housing, competition field, and indoor activity center, as well as undergraduate degree offerings, continuous accreditation by the Higher Learning Commission and acceptance of its athletic program into an interscholastic athletics affiliation.

FY18 Financial Status Report

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

Events & Meetings

Spring Training Event

Councilmembers joined Economic Development Director Jeanine Jerkovic to welcome representatives from Jones Lang LaSalle (JLL). JLL offers commercial real estate services for Phoenix area corporations and investors. We were able to review market trends and discuss demands with the representatives to gage how Surprise can attract more businesses.

Grand Opening of Ono Hawaiian BBQ

Ono Hawaiian BBQ hosted their grand opening and ribbon cutting celebration on Friday, March 16. They are located at 13864 W. Bell Road. Ono Hawaiian BBQ is a fast-casual dining restaurant with 70 store locations throughout California and Arizona. Welcome to Surprise!

Councilmembers Nancy Hayden, Todd Tande, Roland Winters and Skip Hall with Christine Jan of Ono Hawaiian

Trimaco Groundbreaking Event

City Council came together for the groundbreaking of Trimaco on Friday, March 16. With the growing success of their business nationwide, they have outgrown their current west valley location and will be building a new 275,000 SF facility and employing over 110 people in Surprise!

Trimaco manufactures paint accessories and professional floor protection products for paint retail, auto body and construction industries worldwide.

This project represents more than just the current ground-up development, as the President of Trimaco is a long-term investor in Surprise. Mr. Vito Ancona developed Ancona Professional Plaza off Grand Avenue and now we are more than happy to welcome him into our industrial park as well!

Groundbreaking of Trimaco on Friday, March 16

Surprise VIP Tent Event

Surprise hosted businesses throughout our city at a spring training game on Friday, March 16. Each year, our Economic Development department plans the event so we can show our appreciation to them for doing business in Surprise!

Mark Coronado Hall of Fame Induction

The City of Surprise honored the legacy of Mark Coronado on Saturday, March 17 with a Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony prior to the spring training game at Surprise Stadium. You will now see a Mark Coronado legacy seat in the Stadium, in addition to renaming 8-Acre Park to “Mark Coronado Park” with a memorial plaque at the park’s entry gate. Honorary street signs along Bullard Avenue now read “Mark Coronado Way”. Mark successfully led our Community and Recreation Services Department from 2000 until his death last summer.

His impact on baseball, youth, recreation programs, parks, our city and our staff will never be forgotten. He worked tirelessly to build a better Surprise. Mark’s legacy will now continue to be a permanent part of the city.

Mark Your Calendar

Surprise Spring Egg-stravaganza

Eager egg hunters are invited to join the search for more than 50,000 candy and toy-filled plastic eggs at the City of Surprise Spring Egg-stravaganza Celebration on March 31. The event, for toddlers to 10-year-olds, will take place at Surprise Recreation Campus in the Kansas City Practice Fields, located at 15850 N Bullard Ave. Admission is free, and the event will feature face painters, balloon artists, inflatables and Mr. & Mrs. Bunny! Food and drink will be available for purchase; minimal fee for some activities.

Gates open at 7:30 a.m. and the first hunt begins at 8:20 a.m. New hunts will follow approximately every 20 minutes by age group with an open hunt at the end for those who have missed their age group.

Egg Hunt Schedule:

8:20 a.m. – 2 years and under
8:50 a.m. – 3 & 4 year olds
9:20 a.m. – 5 & 6 year olds
9:40 a.m. – 7 & 8 year olds
10:00 a.m. – 9 & 10 year olds
10:20 a.m. – all age groups

Children participating in the hunt should bring baskets or bags to hold treats and eggs. The event will conclude at 11:00 a.m. For more information, please visit www.surpriseaz.gov/specialevents or call 623.222.2000.

Did You Know?

Surprise Transit Study

Please remember the city is conducting a Transit Feasibility Study and is seeking public input to determine what forms of public transportation will be most successful in Surprise. This study will look at demographics, socioeconomic characteristics of the city, and how people travel in the Surprise area. The goal is to understand how transit can best serve Surprise residents and visitors, including what type of services will be needed and where transit will be most successful.

Public participation is needed to determine current traveling habits and top travel destinations such as schools, medical facilities, shopping and other activity areas that could be served with public transportation.

Residents are encouraged to visit www.surpriseaz.gov/transitstudy to complete the survey and to learn more about the Transit Feasibility Study, upcoming public meeting dates and more. The online survey will be available until 5 p.m. on Saturday, March 31, 2018.

The study is anticipated to conclude later this year and provide recommendations and options that can be used to develop transit strategies that support short and long-term transportation needs.

Contact Me

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

Ask a Question

March 8, 2018 • Newsletter

City Council Work Session

Recycling Trends

City staff and representatives from Waste Management provided an update on the recycling industry. The industry is facing challenges due to new import restrictions from China and an increase in recycling. China is the largest importer of recyclables in the world and the single largest consumer of recyclable materials generated in North America. The quality of our recycling (making sure we are not contaminating our bins with non-recyclable items) will impact pricing and movement, so quality is important. Suggestions to improve quality included recycling all empty bottles, cans and paper; and eliminating food and liquids as well as plastic bags from recycling containers.

Fiscal Year 2019 Budget

Finance staff completed the third in a series of presentations regarding the development of the FY19 budget. The focus of this session was on the City’s reserve polices and General Fund revenue sources. In FY2018, the City had a total of $38.6 million in reserves across all funds. Per City policy, each individual fund must maintain either a minimum dollar amount or percentage of expenses in reserve. For example, the General Fund has a two-month reserve policy (16.67%) that is broken into three components; 10% for operations, 5% for budget stabilization, and 1.67% for emergencies.

The FY2018 budget includes $124.9 million in General Fund sources which is comprised of intergovernmental revenue, charges for services, local sales tax, primary property tax, and franchise fees. Based on discussion held during this work session, the Finance Department will move forward with the preparation of the City Manager’s Recommended Budget under the assumption that the City will maintain the property tax rate of $0.7591 in FY2019.

City Council Meeting

Text Amendment Regarding Signs

Earlier last month, City Council conducted a public hearing to consider action pertaining to the approval of a text amendment to Chapter 113 of the Surprise Municipal Code regarding signs. At that time, Council directed staff to bring the matter back for further discussion and consideration on March 6, allowing staff time to revise the draft code to address Council’s concerns. On Tuesday, Council discussed the text amendment which included the amendments to A-frame signs and the future installation of billboards along Grand Avenue and Loop 303 to enhance marketing for businesses. City Council voted 5-2 to approve the text amendment with the removal of billboards. The amendments will go into effect on April 5, 2018.

To read the full updated sign code, please visit: www.surpriseaz.gov/signcode.

Heritage Farms Preliminary Plat

City Council voted 6-1 to approve the Preliminary Plat entitled Heritage Farm located at the southeast corner of 175th Avenue and Waddell Road. The proposed plat will provide 137 lots on approximately 33 acres.

Approval of Agreement Regarding White Tank Mountain Regional Park

City Council unanimously approved an agreement related to the White Tank Mountain Regional Park, which included annexation of the Park and the inclusion of the Park in the planning areas of Buckeye and Surprise and our respective general plans, subject to the approval of Maricopa County. In the future, the parties may consider joint development of trails or similar amenities, whether inside or outside the Park.

White Tank Mountain Regional Park rendering

Events & Meetings

Canyon Ridge Elementary School Tour

Young members from Canyon Ridge National Elementary Honor Society visited me to tour City Hall on Wednesday, February 28. We toured the City Council Department and the City Council Chambers where students learned updates about that City and were provided with an opportunity to ask questions about local government.

Canyon Ridge STEAM Night

Canyon Ridge School hosted their STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math) on Thursday, March 1. The community was welcome to attend the event where all grade levels showcased the STEAM curriculum including coding, astronomy, physics and rocketry. Following a tour by Principal Jill Hoppe, I attended several displays and talked to students about their respective studies, including conversations with the sixth grade class and their “Invention Convention.” The caliber of inventions from some of our youngest entrepreneurs was impressive!

Read Across America

Countryside Elementary School hosted a Read Across America event in honor of Dr. Seuss’s birthday on Friday, March 2. I was invited to read to the first grade students in Mrs. Fallon’s class. I am grateful for the opportunities to engage with our youngest residents and encourage literacy!

Councilmember Skip Hall reading to first grade students at Countryside Elementary School

Surprise Police Department Annual Appreciation Event

The Surprise Police Department held their Annual Appreciation Celebration on Friday, March 2 at Christ Church of the Valley (CCV) in Surprise. Police employees, volunteers, Councilmembers and family members enjoyed dinner and the awards ceremony. The following employees and volunteers were recognized for their selfless service and commitment to our residents and community.

Rookie of the Year Officer Christopher Smith
Supervisor of the Year Lieutenant Norman Owens
Civilian of the Year Kenneth Augusto
Detective of the Year Kristy Coats
Officer of the Year Richard (Rick) Malone
Volunteer of the Year George Busch
Citizens Patrol Member of the Year Kathryn Jonas
Distinguished Service Award Tina Jennings
Lifesaving Award Officer Christopher Smith
Lifesaving Award Officer Russell Jurn

Surprise Spring Training 5k

The city hosted its inaugural Spring Training 5K on Friday, March 2 at Surprise Stadium. A total of 284 participants ran the course. More than 100 of the participants lived outside of Surprise; 38 were from outside of Arizona; and four were from outside of the US. The race started and ended in the Stadium and highlighted our fantastic recreation campus including the Community Park, tennis complex and Ottawa University Arizona sports field. Other highlights included a fun atmosphere with music, snacks and beverages. Staff plans to make this race an annual event and grow the number of participants.

Mark Your Calendar

Surprise Clean Up Event

Calling all Surprise residents! The city will be hosting our next free residential waste drop-off for you on Saturday, March 10. This event allows residents to drop off up to 2,000 pounds of residential waste, free of charge, at the Northwest Regional Landfill, 19401 W. Deer Valley Road. The event will be held from 7 am until 1 pm. Acceptable items include lawn waste and other typical household refuse.

Please note that proof of Surprise residency is required. Additionally, hazardous waste items will not be accepted during this time. Items such as paint, batteries, tires and pool chemicals will be collected at the city’s Household Hazardous Waste event on April 14 from 8 am until 12 noon at the Public Works Maintenance Yard, 13433 W. Firefox Drive. For more information, please call our customer service line at 623.222.1900.

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 March 11 with live music performed by The Spirited Lads. The event will be held from 4 – 8 p.m. at Mark Coronado Park (formerly 8-Acre 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.

This is a great opportunity to enjoy live entertainment and unique food trucks that the whole family will love! Don’t forget a blanket or a 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.

Did You Know?

National Citizens Survey Is Online Now

If you did not receive a National Citizens Survey (NCS) by mail, you can take the survey online! You can visit http://bit.ly/surprise2018 and share your thoughts on Surprise as a place to live and work. We want your feedback on transportation, public safety, youth services and so much more! The NCS is conducted by the National Research Center of Boulder, Colorado. Survey results are anonymous. The city only receives the aggregate results.

Your feedback helps the city to identify services in which we are performing well and lets us know the areas in which we have the opportunity to improve. It also helps to identify priority projects for Surprise and indicates where limited city funding should go in order to provide the services you most desire.

For those households that did receive a paper survey by mail, please complete the paper version and mail back using the postage-paid envelope.

Our last NCS was conducted in 2015 and 90% of residents indicated they would recommend Surprise as a place to live, a rating that is “much above” surveyed cities of our size. Residents told us Safety, Mobility and the Economy were most important to them. Respondents said we need to work on improving transportation/transit options, local job choices, education and resident volunteer opportunities.

Since the 2015 survey 3,000 new jobs have been created in Surprise. In addition the Bell-Grand Intersection Improvements were completed in partnership with ADOT; Greenway Road was widened; residents passed a General Obligation Bond to fund projects in Public Safety, Transportation and Pavement Preservation; and our Human Service and Community Vitality Department continues to grow volunteer opportunities, most recently hosting nearly 400 volunteers during the city’s 2nd Annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Celebration of Service.

On the education front, Ottawa University opened a campus at City Center; West-MEC’s new northwest valley campus opened last summer and Highland Prep began classes last fall.

The last day to take the survey is March 19!

Surprise Baseball Bat Contest Winners

The Surprise Arts & Cultural Advisory Commission sponsored their annual baseball bat decorating contest for students in fifth through eighth grade earlier this year. The theme for this year’s context was science and exploration. Commission Chair Susan de Jong acknowledged the winners at the City Council meeting held on March 6. The winners included grand prize winner Christian Do, 1st prize winner Sydney Do, 2nd prize winner Tiffany Seich and 3rd prize winner Ryan Henderson.

Congratulations to our winners on their creative artwork!

City begins FY19 budget discussions

The City of Surprise Fiscal Year 2019 budget-building process kicked off at the City Council’s Work Session, 4 p.m., Tuesday, February 6.

This was the first in a series of presentations regarding the overall development of the budget. The first presentation provided a general overview of the city’s budget, including revenue sources, city funds and expenditures.

The presentation also highlighted outside issues that influence the outcomes of the budget process. View presentation.

Future Council Work Sessions and Regular Meetings will include additional presentations related to budget development, including topics on Capital Improvement Projects and continued operating budget discussions. The Recommended Budget is scheduled for release in April, followed by months of Council and public review that will result in the adoption of a balanced FY2019 budget in June. FY2019 begins July 1, 2018.

Council agendas are posted online at http://agenda.surpriseaz.gov at least two business days before the meeting. City Council meets the first and third Tuesdays of each month. Work Sessions are at 4 p.m. and Regular Meetings begin at 6 p.m. All meetings are carried live on Surprise TV for cable customers and streamed online at www.surpriseaz.gov/surpriseTV.

Council oks FY18 budget that maintains services & property tax rate

The Surprise City Council approved a $275.8 million Fiscal Year 2018 Budget, at a Special Meeting Tuesday night.

The budget maintains existing city services and identifies creative options to maximize some resources.

That includes securing outside revenue sources and reallocating the operating budget to provide new positions that address public safety, water and inspection demands.  Two public safety grants (SAFER Grant and COPS Hiring Program) will partially fund a five-member Fire-Medical Peak Time Response Unit and two police officers, focused on community policing, through 2019.

This budget maintains the city’s current property tax rate of $0.7591 per $100 of assessed property valuation. Due to new construction and higher property valuations, as assessed by Maricopa County that would generate approximately $380,100 in new money. The primary property tax levy is set to support the uses of the General Fund and provides a more diversified revenue system that protects city services.

The budget also dedicates $49.8 million to support the city’s Capital Improvement Plan (CIP), which is used to maintain, preserve, and/or replace city infrastructure. This includes funding for pavement preservation of city streets, vehicle replacement and aging communications, information technology, recreation and utility infrastructure.

There are also a number of financial policy revisions regarding the level at which Council adopts the budget, who can amend the budget, minimum fund balances for the new Stormwater and Workers’ Compensation funds, and clearer definition of the reserves and their potential uses in the General Fund to strengthen the city’s financial position.

Council will vote to set the property tax levy and revise the financial policies at their June 20 Council Meeting.

The FY18 Budget will be available at www.surpriseaz.gov/budget.

May 4, 2017 • Newsletter

City Council Work Session

Potential Renaming of Surprise Farms Park to Dick McComb City Park

Last year, the city lost a true icon…Mr. Dick McComb. Mr. McComb was hired as the Surprise Town Manager in November of 1990 and served through June 2000. He was instrumental in so many of our city’s successes. Mr. McComb is the longest tenure Town or City Manager for Surprise to date. After a few years of retirement, Mr. McComb went on to serve as Executive Director of Sun Village from February 1, 2007 through 2013. The communities of Arizona Traditions and Surprise Farms were developed in Surprise because of the relationships he built.

In recognition of his insurmountable achievements and in his loving memory, we had a discussion at the May 2 Work Session about the potential of renaming of Surprise Farms Park to Dick McComb City Park. All Council Members expressed that they were in favor of the renaming and gave consensus for the City Manager to direct staff to research how other cities address the naming of buildings, parks, etc. Once the research is completed, the policy and potential renaming of the park will be brought back to Council for consideration and possible action.

Library Feasibility Study Discussion

The City of Surprise is currently conducting a Library Feasibility Study. Surprise currently has two libraries, Northwest Regional Library (located on Bullard, near the Surprise Stadium) and Hollyhock Library (located in the Original Town Site). The city has an intergovernmental agreement with Maricopa County Library District to operate those facilities.

Orcutt Winslow, an architecture and planning firm, has been hired as the consultant to complete the study. The results of the study will guide future library operations, library renovation projects, and potential new library/libraries in the future. The results of the study will be completed in August and will be presented at a City Council meeting late August or early September.

Orcutt Winslow will be hosting several focus group meetings with stakeholders, city staff, teens, and Maricopa County library staff, as well as a community meeting, to obtain information for the study. There will be a survey on the city’s website that we would like all residents to take beginning May 8. I also invite you to attend the community meeting on May 11 in the Surprise Room of the Northwest Regional Library at 7 p.m. to provide your input on Surprise libraries today and your vision for the future.

City Council Meeting

New Surprise Youth Council Members Sworn In

Fifteen new members of the Surprise Youth Council will be joining fourteen returning members, creating our largest youth council yet. The new members are a diverse group and a direct result of deliberate recruitment efforts aimed at broadening our scope, diversity and reach.

Please join me in congratulating and welcoming our newest member members:

Tyrah Davis, TommiAnn DiCapo, Thalia Flores, Isabelle Hunsaker, Illona Illya, Gideon Kariuki, Joshua Laguit, Kaylena Madrid, Daryian Matthews, Cristian Moga, Elona Ogbaudu, Zoey Plytas, Andrea Soliz, Jade Stanton, Emilie Weston

New SYC members

Paradise Acres Rezoning

For many years, the residents of the 75-acre rural residential neighborhood located on Reems Road just south of Bell Road, commonly known as Paradise Acres, have struggled with developers, speculators, and even the City to maintain their rural lifestyle. Staff, as directed by City Council, set out to provide a solution that will benefit and appease all parties involved. The City Council approved a Rezone for approximately 16 acres of the 75-acre Paradise Acres area from Rural Residential and Medium Density Residential to Neighborhood Commercial with a PUD Overlay defining allowable land uses and dimensional standards. The Rezone with PUD Overlay demonstrates an opportunity for limited commercial development along Reems Road in accordance with the Surprise Unified Development Code and the General Plan. This solution should address concerns shared by all parties.

Preliminary Plat Approval for Altamira

Altamira is a new Master Planned Community consisting of 178 acres that will be located west of the Reems Road alignment and north of Pinnacle Peak Road. This new residential community will include 178 single-family residential lots consisting of three lot sizes on five development parcels, together with abundant neighborhood amenities including 59 acres of open space. City Council unanimously approved the Preliminary Plat for Altamira following the Planning Commission’s recommendation. It is envisioned that the developer will submit their Final Plat and engineering drawings in the near future.

Tentative FY18 Budget Adoption

City Council adopted the tentative budget for the upcoming fiscal year (FY) 2018 in the amount of $336.9 million. This includes $276.2 million of expenses and $60.7 million of transfers between different funds within the City. This represents an increase of $0.4 million from the City Manager’s recommended budget presented on April 18.

Operating expenses account for $162 million or 48% of the total budget. This includes a Peak Time Response Unit to strengthen Fire response times and two community policing officers, both programs partially funded by grants. A third ambulance will be brought into service funded through transport revenues. Capital Improvement expenses total $49.7 million, a large portion of which is dedicated to maintaining or replacing infrastructure and equipment.

The FY2018 tentative budget also includes $56.6 million in contingency that is set aside for future planned or potentially unforeseen purposes. In addition to the budgeted amounts, the City will have $37.2 million held in reserve. The budget is balanced, meaning that the sources of funds is greater than or equal to the uses of funds for FY2018. This is the first step in adopting the fiscal year budget and sets the maximum expenditure limit for the upcoming fiscal year that starts on July 1. The Council will look to finalize the process by adopting the final budget on June 6 and the property tax levy on June 20.

Events & Meetings

Kingswood Parke Block Party

District 5 HOA Kingswood Parke hosted their annual Spring Fling Block Party on Saturday, April 29. Almost 200 residents attended the fun event. Thank you to Kingswood Parke for the invite and opportunity to engage with you!

Mark Your Calendar

Surprise Safety Day

Join us for Surprise Safety Day on Saturday, May 6! It’s a fun, interactive and educational event focused on the city’s public safety services, water safety and more! The event will be held from 8-11 a.m. at the Surprise Aquatic Center, 15831 N Bullard Avenue, and will showcase emergency vehicles and equipment and feature interactive exhibits and live demonstrations on water safety, CPR and the city’s public safety services.

The Surprise Aquatic Center will be conducting free swim lesson assessments and swim team tryouts during the event. Participants are encouraged to bring a bathing suit and towel; the pool is heated.

Surprise Safety Day is hosted by the Surprise Aquatic Center in partnership with the Surprise Police and Fire-Medical departments and is presented by Banner Del E. Webb Medical Center. For more information about Safety Day, swim lesson assessments or swim team tryouts, please contact the Community and Recreation Services office at 623.222.2000.

Surprise Talent Show

Come see our local stars shine at the Surprise Talent Show on Friday, May 12! The performance begins at 6 p.m. at the Valley Vista Performing Arts Center, located at 15550 N. Parkview Place.

Tickets can be purchased in advance for $3 at the Community and Recreation Services office, 15960 N. Bullard Avenue, or at the door for $5.

Performances will include a variety of acts within three talent categories: youth, teens and adults. For more information, please visit www.surpriseaz.gov/specialevents or call 623.222.2000.

Did You Know?

Valley Metro Shares Dial-A-Ride Transition

Surprise Dial-a-Ride customers have more information about the July 1, 2017 Northwest Valley service model changes now that Valley Metro has released new ADA Paratransit Frequently Asked Questions and a customer outreach timeline.

Valley Metro, in partnership with Surprise, is contacting current Dial-a-Ride customers directly to inform them of the upcoming changes:

Riders in Surprise will receive an initial letter from Valley Metro introducing them to the new services the second week of May.

The city and Valley Metro staff will host a public meeting late May to discuss the changes and answer questions.

Surprise Dial-a-Ride customers will receive a second letter with additional information, including an updated Ride Guide, in mid-June.

Beginning July 1 Valley Metro’s contracted service provider Transdev will operate shared “Paratransit” and senior bus transportation services for Surprise and Northwest Valley customers; Valley Metro is also transitioning the Surprise taxi service model from Dial-a-Ride to RideChoice.

In addition to a new fleet that features mini-vans and cutaway vans, the vehicles will have paint schemes that incorporate the Valley Metro logo to make them more recognizable.

Information about the service model changes will continue to be shared at www.surpriseaz.gov/transportation as it becomes available.

Residence Inn Wins Hotel of The Year

The Residence Inn by Marriott in Surprise recently received the prestigious Hotel of the Year award for the second year in a row at the 2017 General Managers Conference in New Orleans. Receiving a total of three awards, the Residence Inn Surprise is thrilled to share this remarkable achievement with the Marriott International and Residence Inn community, as well as all of Surprise.

In addition to the Hotel of the Year, the Residence Inn Surprise also won the prestigious Diamond Hotel Award and the enthusiastic breakfast staff received a Best Service Award.

Congratulations to General Manager Samantha Callahan, Director of Sales Dawn Crider and their great team!

Contact Me

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

Ask a Question

April 20, 2017 • Newsletter

City Council Work Session

Dial-A-Ride Changes

City staff presented Valley Metro’s Northwest Valley public transportation service model changes at Tuesday’s meeting. Beginning July 1, Valley Metro will discontinue the current Northwest Valley Dial-a-Ride service model to provide more service options and standardized regional transportation for seniors, Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) eligible, and income-qualified riders. Three transportation options will be available to customers when the new model begins July 1: the Senior Bus, Paratransit Shared Ride and RideChoice Taxi Service.

Seniors who frequently visit the Surprise Senior Center, on average 3-5 days per week, can catch a ride on the city’s shared route Senior Bus. The Senior Bus will follow a dedicated route to the Senior Center and provide door-to-door pick-up and drop-off service; fare for the bus will remain $2 per one-way trip. The bus will be available Monday through Friday, 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., excluding city holidays.

Paratransit Shared Ride is recommended for ADA certified customers, seniors and income-qualified general public who schedule rides for local medical and works trips greater than 7 miles and, generally, outside the city of Surprise. ADA certified riders may also use the service for medical and work trips anywhere within Maricopa County up to ¾ miles of bus service. Multiple vehicle options will be available for customers when booking their trips; the service contractor will schedule vehicles accordingly based on customer needs.

Customers booking Paratransit Shared Ride are required to schedule trips 1-14 days in advance; same day booking is not available. The service will operate daily 5:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.; trip fares are $4 each way.

Similar to the current Dial-a-Ride program, RideChoice Taxi Service provides 24 hours per day, 365 days per year service for riders with the ability to self-book and choose from multiple service providers. Riders will be allotted 16 trips per month however customers needing more trips are able to work with city staff to review monthly trip allowances on an individual basis.

RideChoice trips are managed on a RideChoice card that must be renewed each month; unused trips do not carry over. Customers can choose to load money to the RideChoice card to pay for trips however cash and credit cards are still accepted. RideChoice accounts can be self-managed online and by smart phone. Fares are $3 per one-way trip for riders. Riders will be responsible for any fare amounts that exceed $21 (city’s match is up to $18 per trip).

Valley Metro will contact current Northwest Valley Dial-a-Ride customers directly to educate them on the changes to the program and the new options. In addition, Surprise staff and representatives from Valley Metro will schedule a public meeting at the Surprise Senior Center, 15832 N Hollyhock Street, in May to discuss the service models and answer questions.

Surprise will continue to share information about changes to Valley Metro’s Northwest Valley service model at www.surpriseaz.gov/transportation as it becomes available.

City Manager’s FY18 Recommended Budget Discussion

City Manager Bob Wingenroth presented a $336.5 million Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 Recommended Budget to City Council. The Recommended Budget maintains existing city services and identifies creative options to maximize some resources. That includes securing outside revenue sources and reallocating the operating budget to provide new positions that address public safety, water and inspection demands. Two public safety grants (SAFER Grant and COPS Hiring Program) will partially fund a five-member Fire-Medical Peak Time Response Unit and two police officers, focused on community policing, through 2019. The Recommended Budget also includes $49.8 million to support the Capital Improvement Plan (CIP), which is used to maintain, preserve, and/or replace city infrastructure. This includes funding for pavement preservation of city streets, vehicle replacement and aging communications, information technology, recreation and utility infrastructure.

There are also two recommended financial policy revisions regarding the Minimum Fund Balance Policy for the General fund and the Stormwater and Workers’ Compensation funds that will provide clearer definition for the reserves to strengthen the city’s financial position.

The FY18 Recommended Budget is available at www.surpriseaz.gov/budget. Council is scheduled to vote on the final budget in June.

City Council Meeting

Reappointment of Public Safety Personnel Retirement System Board Members

City Council unanimously approved the re-appointment of Kenneth Broadfoot as the citizen member and Jim Hayden as Chairman of the Public Safety Retirement System Local Board, both serving a four year term expiring April 18, 2021.

Events & Meetings

Good Friday Breakfast

I joined hundreds of other leaders in the West Valley for the Good Friday Breakfast on Friday, April 14 at the WigWam. Speakers included Adam Agee, lead singer from Audio Adrenaline and Pastor Greg Laurie from Harvest Christian Fellowship, one of the largest churches in the United States. Pastor Laurie will also be leading Harvest America in Phoenix on June 11 at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale.

Milam Glass Groundbreaking

Vice Mayor Todd Tande, Councilman Ken Remley and I attended the groundbreaking ceremony for Milam Glass on Monday, April 17. Milam Glass is developing a 22,000 square foot facility in the city’s industrial district, which will become their new company headquarters and employ approximately 50 people. The company has been in business since 1969. It started as a three-man residential glass company, and by 1977, it had become a storefront business and a leader in the commercial glass industry.

Council Conversation Taping

On Tuesday, April 18, I taped a new Council Conversation on water which will be aired on Surprise TV beginning next week. As part of the conversation, I interviewed Water Resource Management Director Terry Lowe and Director of the Kyl Center for Water Policy at Morrison Institute at ASU, Sarah Porter. April is Water Awareness Month for the Arizona Department of Water Resources. Watch the episode…

Council Conversation

Mark Your Calendar

WHAM Recycle Arts Festival

WHAM Art Association is hosting their Recycle Arts Fest: Exhibit & Fashion Show on Saturday, April 22 at WHAM Community Art Center, 16560 N. Dysart Road. The free neighborhood event is scheduled from 4 – 9 p.m. and will include a Recycle Arts Exhibit and Eco Styles Fashion Show, a creative art display that underscores the possibilities of working with reusable post-consumer materials.

Artists of all ages and talents are invited to participate. Enjoy food, music, free activities for kids and the spirit of community and collaboration at the Recycle Arts Fest– where creative expression goes green! If you are interested in becoming involved with the 2017 Recycle Arts Fest send an email to whamartassociation@wham-art.org.

Surprise Police Explorers Fundraising Event

The Surprise Police Explorer Post #2236 is partnering with a local business, Chipotle, for an upcoming fund raising event. The event will be held at Chipotle, 13869 West Bell Road in Surprise, on Friday, April 28 from 5 – 9 p.m.

Please remember to bring in a copy of the flyer (view flyer) or show a copy of the flyer on your smart phone or other electronic device in order to help the Explorers raise money (50% of the proceeds will be donated to the Surprise Police Explorers).

Chipotle is located on the southeast corner of Litchfield Road and Bell Road in Surprise.

Movie Night at Surprise Stadium

The City of Surprise presents Movie Night at Surprise Stadium featuring The Secret Life of Pets – rated PG on Saturday, April 29. This event is sponsored by Coulter Nissan, and admission is free. Bring your blankets and pillows, stretch out on the stadium grass and enjoy! Gates will open at 6 p.m. The movie will begin at 7 p.m.

The stadium food and beverage policy is in effect. Ice chests and lawn chairs are not permitted. For more information, please contact City of Surprise Community and Recreation Services at 623.222.2000 or visit www.surpriseaz.gov/specialevents.

Did You Know?

Surprise Sundancers Award Scholarships to West Valley Students

Surprise Sundancers, the official Surprise Recreation Campus Spring Training volunteer organization, with the support of the Arizona Community Foundation, awarded $135,000 in scholarships to west valley students.

The scholarship recipients were awarded the following:

10 applicants each receiving $5,000
19 applicants each receiving $2,500
25 applicants each receiving $1,500

The Surprise Sundancers provide scholarships to graduating students from high schools in Surprise, El Mirage, Youngtown or Wickenburg. Applicants must demonstrate high engagement in the community, be a participating student athlete, and have a minimum 3.0 cumulative GPA.

The Surprise Sundancers will present the scholarship funds to the technical school or college on behalf of the student.

The Sundancers are a registered 501(c)3 non-profit organization with over 800 members. They provide volunteer services during Spring Training and other city special events. Each spring training season, the Surprise Sundancers host an annual Charity Game in which all proceeds collected from tickets sales, merchandise, 50/50 raffle, concessions and programs are contributed to the Surprise Sundancers Scholarship Program as well as Surprise/Northwest Valley youth related programs and projects.

To learn more about the Surprise Sundancers, visit www.surprisesundancers.org or call 623.222.2000 for more information.

Contact Me

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

Ask a Question

FY18 Recommended Budget released

City Manager Bob Wingenroth presented a $336.5 million Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 Recommended Budget to City Council at Tuesday’s Work Session.

The Recommended Budget maintains existing city services and identifies creative options to maximize some resources.

That includes securing outside revenue sources and reallocating the operating budget to provide new positions that address public safety, water and inspection demands. Two public safety grants (SAFER Grant and COPS Hiring Program) will partially fund a five-member Fire-Medical Peak Time Response Unit and two police officers, focused on community policing, through 2019.

The Recommended Budget also includes $49.8 million to support the Capital Improvement Plan (CIP), which is used to maintain, preserve, and/or replace city infrastructure. This includes funding for pavement preservation of city streets, vehicle replacement and aging communications, information technology, recreation and utility infrastructure.

There are also two recommended financial policy revisions regarding the Minimum Fund Balance Policy for the General fund and the Stormwater and Workers’ Compensation funds that will provide clearer definition for the reserves to strengthen the city’s financial position.

The FY18 Recommended Budget will be available at www.surpriseaz.gov/budget.

Council is scheduled to vote on the final budget in June.

March 23, 2017 • Newsletter

City Council Work Session

Luke Air Force Base Activity Update

Brigadier General Brook Leonard provided an update on the activities at Luke AFB. The presentation began with the heritage of the base and how it received the name. Luke AFB is named after 2nd Lieutenant Frank Luke Jr who was a Phoenix native, a Fighter Ace and a Medal of Honor Recipient.

Thunderbolt Nation is comprised of four different locations including Luke AFB. There are over 5,600 people that make up the 56th Fighter Wing. Approximately 10,000 people are on and off Luke AFB each day. Lockheed Martin employs 400 people as part of the F-35 program. Between the 56th Fighter Wing and the 944th Fighter Wing, they make up 66% of the world’s F-35 pilots, 97% of the United States Air Force (USAF) F-16 pilots and 100% of the USAF F-15 pilots.

Other items of discussion included the Barry M. Goldwater Range, recent contributions and wins including the Luke Valley Leadership and Development Center, mission assurance programs and the significant economic impact of Luke AFB.

Fiscal Year 2018 Budget

The Council had its fourth work session related to the upcoming FY2018 budget on Tuesday afternoon. The focus was capital improvements, including the projects, their priorities, and sources available to fund them.

The sources used to fund capital improvements were discussed first. For FY2017, the sources included $4.7 million in revenue, $14.2 million in fund balance, and $34.1 million in transfers from operating funds for a total of $53.0 million. The revenues are made up largely of construction sales tax, which is a volatile source that historically has seen various increases and declines in collection dependent on the development within the City. Fund balance is predominately used to fund projects from the prior fiscal year and does not represent a viable source for new projects. The transfers from the operating funds were largely one time in nature and are dependent on future operational savings.

The projects were then broken down into seven categories and prioritized within each. The categories included Public Safety, Transportation, Parks and Recreation, General Government, Water, Wastewater, and Stormwater. The projects were prioritized based on current planning documents, expected development within the City, and staff input. The Water, Wastewater, and Stormwater categories are all supported largely by the City-run utilities associated with them. The decision to fund these projects will be tied to discussions about future anticipated rates. While the Public Safety, Transportation, Parks and Recreation, and General Government categories do include some specific funding sources, they are all dependent on construction sales tax received in the General Capital Fund and operational savings within the General Fund. Discussions on these categories included utilizing the current Public Safety Master Plan and upcoming Development Impact Fee processes to refine the need, location, and timing of projects; identifying projects that could be phased to allow “biting off” smaller sections for funding; planning of projects to leverage partnership opportunities; and focusing on ways to improve and properly maintain the current facilities to maximize their value to the community.

The budget discussions will continue with the presentation of the City Manager’s Recommended Budget on April 18 and culminate in the June adoption of the FY2018 budget that will become effective July 1, 2017.

To watch this and other past budget presentations, visit www.surpriseaz.gov/budget.

City Council Meeting

Lions Club Proclamation

In honor of the 100th anniversary of the Lions Clubs International, Mayor Sharon Wolcott recognized the Sun Village and Surprise Lions Clubs with a Lions Clubs Centennial Celebration Proclamation. Lions Clubs is the world’s largest service club organization with 1.4 million members in 46,000 clubs in more than 200 countries and geographical areas. The clubs are comprised of volunteers who dedicate their time to the betterment of our communities and aiding those in need. We appreciate what the organization continues to do locally! Thank you!

Friends of the Libraries Annual Spring Contest

Friends of the Surprise Libraries has been supporting art and literacy since 2006 with their annual book mark contest! As in years past, 6th, 7th & 8th grade students from local public, charter and home schools within the Greater Surprise area participated. The students created their bookmarks and submitted them to a panel of judges. This year, Friends of the Surprise Libraries partnered with the City of Surprise Arts & Cultural Advisory Commission to judge the entries and to present the awards at the City Council meeting. The judges, including members of the Commission, local managers from Wells Fargo Bank and volunteers from Friends of the Surprise Libraries, selected six award winners from more than 250 entries. Also new this year – all of the bookmark entries will be displayed in the Northwest Regional Library in Surprise beginning today in the children’s area. The public is welcome to come in and view the entries.

From left to right the winners are Christie Zhang, Elizabeth Lysy, Erika Arevalo, Destiny Lambert, Jacqueline Lozano and Abygail Tracey.
From left to right the winners are Christie Zhang, Elizabeth Lysy, Erika Arevalo, Destiny Lambert, Jacqueline Lozano and Abygail Tracey.

Minor General Plan Amendment to the General Plan 2035 & CampCorp Rezoning

The two projects known as the Sun City West General Plan Amendment and CampCorp rezoning work together to provide a means for businesses in an isolated part of the city to expand and provide employment opportunities for the residents of Surprise.

These nearly 76 acres of land are located generally north of the northeast corner of Grand Avenue and Bell Road. When this area was annexed in 1996, many of the facilities in the area were operating as manufacturing facilities for a home building complex. Due to robust home sales and the build out of the community, most of the facilities ceased operations and other industrial uses moved in. In the case of CampCorp, the use of manufacturing building product never ceased.

The General Plan Map revision changes the Character Area for this land from Commerce and Office to Employment. This change allows existing business in this area, now considered legal nonconforming (grandfathered), to be legal conforming. This status allows these businesses to expand their business model and utilize the parcels to their full potential.

CampCorp is the first rezone, of about 25 acres, from Regional Commercial to General Industrial. This rezone will allow expansion as well as utilizing the existing railroad spur at this site to bring raw material into the facility for processing while reducing truck traffic on Bell Road. CampCorp Plans for this parcel include expanding from simply commercial and industrial structures to the residential construction market.

Both items were unanimously approved by City Council.

Mark Your Calendar

Public Meetings on Proposed Sign Code Changes

The city is in the process of updating its Sign Code and wants your input! The proposed code aims to balance business needs with aesthetics, while meeting the requirements of law.

There is one public meeting remaining where you can learn more and give your feedback on the proposed changes:

March 29
6-7 p.m. Surprise Regional Library, 16089 N. Bullard Avenue

The code changes will also be presented to the Surprise City Council at their Regular Meeting on March 7 at 6 p.m. in the Surprise City Hall – City Council Chambers.

To learn more, view the proposed sign code text or submit online comments, please visit: www.surpriseaz.gov/signcode.

Surprise Pops Band Concert

The Surprise Pops Band will present “A Touch of Class” featuring light classics at their next performance on Sunday, April 2. The concert will begin at 3 p.m. at the Valley Vista Performing Arts Center, 15550 N. Parkview Place.

Attendees are asked to bring a non-perishable food item donation to benefit the Valley View Community Food Bank.

Match Your Skills for Meaningful Volunteer Opportunities

If you’re looking for meaningful ways to use your talents to make a difference, please considering attending an upcoming free Experience Matters information session on April 12.

Experience Matters is an organization that connects talented, experienced people with nonprofits. Experience Matters Talent Engagement Manager Cathy Gaudio will provide information on the organization and help you match your passion and skills with compelling new volunteer or stipend paid opportunities designed specifically for experienced adults.

The session will be held Wednesday, April 12, 10-11:30 a.m. at Surprise City Hall – Conference Room 150, 16000 N. Civic Center Plaza. For more information or to register, contact Ruby Sitea at 623.222.3242 or ruby.sitea@surpriseaz.gov. Please register early since space is limited.

Did You Know?

Free Block Party Trailer Rentals Available

Surprise offers free rentals of its Block Party Trailer, and we’ll even deliver it to you! The block party trailer includes chairs, tables, coolers, canopy tents, sports equipment, name tags, garbage bags, a PA-stereo system, lighting and a generator.

You can add some extra excitement by requesting a Block Party Kit! The kit includes flyers and posters to help spread the word about your party and a $75 reimbursement to a local grocery store to assist with refreshment costs. Plus, the city will cover up to $125 towards the cost of renting a bouncy house! For more information, please call Neighborhood Services at (623)222-3241 to request an application.

Contact Me

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

Ask a Question

March 9, 2017 • Newsletter

City Council Work Session

Continued FY18 Budget Discussion

City Council heard the third presentation in a series of discussions on the upcoming FY2018 budget. The focus of this particular discussion was the enterprise utility funds and the Highway User Revenue Fund (HURF). The enterprise utilities include the Solid Waste, Stormwater, Wastewater, and Water services. Rates are set for each of those funds to recover the costs of the services provided.

The Solid Waste utility revenues are currently 3 percent or $0.1M ahead of the FY2017 budget. In the upcoming fiscal year, there will be a focus on vehicle and equipment replacement, renegotiation of the landfill services contract, and reviewing the efficiency of bulk trash scheduling.

The Stormwater utility is new in the current fiscal year with estimated year end revenues of $1.3M. Establishing its reserve and starting the construction of stormwater related infrastructure are the priorities for this utility.

The Wastewater utility revenues are currently 5 percent or $0.4M above FY2017 budgeted amounts. FY2018 will see an evaluation of current debt to identify potential refinancing opportunities; a review of current capacity, most specifically the recharging of treated water; and an update of the development impact fees.

The Water utility revenues are currently 15 percent or $0.9M above the budget through six months. Like the Wastewater utility, an update of the development impact fees is on the horizon, along with capital projects enhancing system interconnectivity and expanding arsenic treatment capacity. Management of the water portfolio, specifically the expansion of water rights, is also an important priority for the upcoming year. For FY2018, the Water utility is scheduled for an 8.25 percent rate increase adopted by Council in June of 2014.

HURF receives the majority of its revenue from gasoline tax collected by the state and distributed to the cities. The revenues are currently 3 percent or $0.1M above its budgeted amount. Key issues for HURF in the upcoming budget year include replacement of equipment and vehicles, as well as the continued maintenance of our streets through the pavement preservation program.

The budget discussions will continue over the next few Council meetings resulting in the June adoption of the FY2018 budget that will become effective July 1, 2017.

If you missed the live presentation, visit www.surpriseaz.gov/budget to watch it. All of the budget presentations are posted to the website following the City Council Work Session or Regular Meeting at which they are presented.

Surprise Public Art Policies and Procedures Guide

Members of the Arts & Cultural Commission elaborated on the Public Art Policies and Procedures Guide that was originally introduced at a City Council Work Session last month. The purpose of the guide is to establish a process for the selection, acquisition, placement and maintenance of works of public art, including policies for public art management, acceptance of donations and deaccession procedures.

City Council Meeting

Boards & Commissions Appointments

City Council unanimously approved three appointments that included Dustin Gardy (Arts & Cultural Advisory Commission), Robert Monahan (Disability Advisory Commission) and Ken Wright (Municipal Property Corporation Board). Congratulations!

Budget Amendment for Fencing at 8-Acre Park

The 8-Acre Park is the multi-purpose field located North of Surprise Stadium on Bullard Avenue. This field is used extensively throughout the year for youth sports such as soccer, flag football, tee-ball, baseball and softball practices. In addition, the area is utilized for City special events such as the annual Surprise Party.

Community and Recreation Services requested a FY17 budget amendment by reallocating appropriations and an actual transfer of $300,000 within the General Fund to the General Capital Projects Fund to facilitate the construction of fencing around the park for several pertinent reasons. The fence would provide a safety barrier for users of the field from Bullard Ave and Paradise Lane; allow for a greater span of control during special events; and would create a venue for ticketed events throughout the year. The fence would also allow maintenance staff to close the area during times of maintenance or over-seeding. 8-Acre Park would remain open to the public when the field is not being used for programming or closed for maintenance.

8 Acres Park fence project

The fence installation will consist of wrought iron fencing, brick pillars with lights and rolling gates to match existing stadium fencing. The fencing would be 2,300 linear feet of 8′ high ornamental fencing with six 20′ x 8′ rolling gates, one 40′ x 8′ iron double roll gate and one 8′ x 8′ double drive gate for accessibility. The resolution for the budget amendment utilizing savings was unanimously approved.

Discussion of Proposed Text Amendment of Surprise Municipal Code on Signs

The city’s Community Development Department is currently working to re-write our sign code. The goal is to balance business needs with community aesthetics, while complying with recent court decisions regarding free speech. Some of the highlights of the draft code include:

  • A content-neutral approach to sign regulation
  • A provision that serves to replace all previous sign codes while leaving intact any currently approved through the Comprehensive Sign Program
  • Robust definitions with illustrations and graphics
  • Clear articulation of permitted and prohibited signs
  • More opportunities for permanent business signage through increased wall and monument sign area
  • A provision for vertical (blade) signage in certain circumstances
  • Increased community aesthetics through a reduction in certain types of temporary signage
  • Limited use of Electronic Messaging Centers
  • A provision that will allow unique and creative designs through a Council-approved Comprehensive Sign Program

The draft code has been released to the public for review and comment, and outreach meetings have been scheduled as follows:

March 15
6-7 p.m. Surprise City Hall – Community Room, 16000 N. Civic Center Plaza

March 22
6-7 p.m. Surprise City Hall – Community Room, 16000 N. Civic Center Plaza

March 29
6-7 p.m. Surprise Regional Library, 16089 N. Bullard Avenue

More information is available on our website at www.surpriseaz.gov/signcode. You are encouraged to attend any of these meetings and to contact staff for more information or to submit comments.

Events & Meetings

Read Across America Day

I was invited to participate in Read Across America Day at Countryside Elementary School on March 2. Read Across America Day celebrates Dr. Seuss’ birthday and the joys of reading. I was honored to read a Dr. Seuss book to the second grade students of Ms. Igoe’s class.

Councilman Skip Hall reading to students

Arts & Cultural Advisory Commission Meeting

The Arts & Cultural Advisory Commission met on Monday, March 6 to discuss the Public Art Master Plan timeline which is scheduled for completion in July 2018. In addition, the winner of the baseball bat contest was chosen.

Youth Services Update

Youth Services Administrator Mike Cassidy and I met earlier this week to discuss the status of youth services. It is the goal of the City Manager’s department to ensure that we are: reaching a diverse group of youth within our community; engaging the disengaged; making 20 Surprise Youth Council Members feel like the outreach is significantly more; facilitating academic, technical and interpersonal skill-building so we are positioning Surprise for the future.

Mark Your Calendar

Second Sundays in the Park – March 12

The city continues its Second Sundays in the Park concert series this Sunday, March 12 with Celtic music performed by “Kilted Spirit” from 4 until 6 p.m. in the center of Surprise Community Park. The event is free. Surprise Community Park is located at 15953 N. Bullard Avenue.

Community Pride Day

Looking for an opportunity to better your community? The city invites all residents to participate in our Community Pride Day Cleanup Event. This event will have volunteers helping with landscaping projects and trash removal.

Volunteers are asked to meet at the city park located on 183rd Avenue, south of Enoch Drive (24303 N. 183rd Avenue) at 8 a.m. on Saturday, April 8 to receive cleanup assignments. Volunteers will meet back at the park for lunch at 11:30 a.m. and the event will conclude at noon. If you are interested in volunteering, please contact Jason Hughes at 623.222.3239.

Did You Know?

Southwest Gas Rate Case Update

Southwest Gas has recently filed a base rate adjustment request with the Arizona Corporation Commission (ACC). The Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) issued his recommended opinion and order approving the proposed settlement agreement which was signed by, among others: Arizona Corporation Commission staff, the Residential Utility Consumer Office, the Arizona Community Action Association, Property Owners and Residents Association of Sun City West. The ACC is expected to vote on the order during either their March or April open meeting. The recommended order can be modified by the Commissioners.

The recommended order adopts a $16 million revenue increase –the average residential customer will experience a 1.09% (or $0.40/month) increase. The recommended order adopts the Company’s proposed expansion of its Customer Owned Yard Line (COYL) program and Vintage Steel Pipe (VSP) Replacement Program. The COYL expansion will allow the Company to include a more proactive, systematic approach to replacing COYLS, whether or not they are leaking. The VSP program will facilitate the accelerated replacement of VSP (specifically, pre-1970s VSP). The agreed-upon VSP replacement program will enhance public safety by facilitating a proactive approach to the replacement of aging infrastructure, but will also offer rate impact protections to customers by including a reasonable cap on the annual rate adjustment that they will experience.

The recommended order adopts a modification to the Company’s decoupling mechanism to remove the monthly weather adjustment provision. Additionally, the mechanism will be renamed the Delivery Charge Adjustment Provision. For low income customers, the Low Income Ratepayer Assistance (LIRA) program eligibility is increasing to 200% of Federal Poverty Income Guidelines.

If you are not in favor of the recommended order, now is your time to notify the Commissioners. You can find their information at www.azcc.gov.

Contact Me

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

Ask a Question

February 23, 2017 • Newsletter

City Council Work Session

Budget Discussion For Fiscal Year 2018

On February 21, the Council had its second in a series of work sessions on the upcoming FY2018 budget. The focus was on the sources of funds for the General Fund. The General Fund’s unassigned fund balance is $2.5 million higher than estimated due to greater revenues and lower expenditures than expected for last fiscal year. These funds can be used for one time uses such as capital projects. Revenues for the current fiscal year are also currently 4% or $1.8 million above budgeted amounts. Impacts to local sales tax collections within the Bell Road and Grand Avenue Interchange Improvement project area are smaller than anticipated. These impacts are further offset by greater collections in other areas of the City.

Also reviewed were the city’s reserves which total $35.2 million for the current fiscal year. A revision to establish separate Operating, Budget Stabilization, and Emergency reserves within the General Fund was discussed. This will help to clarify the purpose of the General Fund reserves, identify when they can be used, and establish timelines to replenish them when they are used.

The budget discussions will continue over the next few Council meetings resulting in the June adoption of the FY2018 budget that will become effective July 1.

Discussion of Adoption of Public Art Plan

Arts & Cultural Advisory Commission Chair Susan DeJong provided an overview of the proposed Public Art Plan. The purpose of the plan is to identify and refine how art is integrated into City Hall. Commission members have worked in partnership with Consultant Architekton. The Commission would like to utilize some of this fiscal year’s funding to cover some of the priority projects. The goal is to proceed with the highest impact projects for the lowest cost.

City Council Meeting

Major Amendment to the Sycamore Farms PAD

Sustainability Engineering Group, on behalf Taylor Trust Farms LLC, sought approval of an amendment to the zoning of the Sycamore Farms PAD to modify land uses and to adjust certain commercial development standards. These proposed amendments demonstrated intent to develop the site to better represent the current needs of the residential and commercial development community that has transformed since the adoption of the Sycamore Farms PAD 16 years ago. The amendment passed unanimously.

Sycamore Farms PAD Map

Approval of Annexation

Staff requested the approval of an annexation of a 3.34 acre portion of Peoria Avenue, located between Sarival Avenue and Reems Road. Based on a previous Intergovernmental Agreement, Maricopa County expanded and constructed this proposed annexation section of Right-of-Way on the south side of Peoria Avenue between Reems Road and Sarival Avenue. This annexation will transfer ownership and maintenance to the City of Surprise and provide a safe transportation option and improve connectivity. The recommendation passed unanimously.

Council repeals City-wide Temporary Sign Policy; and Bell and Grand Temporary Sign and Use Permit Policy

The city of Surprise has a history of responding to business needs. During the last economic recession, City Council adopted a citywide temporary signage policy, in 2009, to temporarily allow for a-frame signs, building banners and ease restrictions for sign walkers.

Council extended it for one year in 2012 and agreed to keep it in place during the Bell-Grand Construction Project in 2016.

Eight years later with an improving economy, Council approved removing the temporary policy, at their February 21 Regular Meeting. This move is aimed at eliminating the clutter of too many temporary signs that have popped up along city sidewalks and other locations throughout the city.

Businesses citywide have until April 22, 2017 (60 days following Council action) to comply with the original signage policy.

Under the original policy:

  • A-frames are not permitted.
  • Building banners are only allowed twice per year, for 30 days.
  • In the event of a Grand Opening, the building banner is permitted for a 60-day period.

The city also realized that closing Bell Road for seven months during the Bell-Grand intersection work would impact area businesses, so Council adopted a temporary Bell-Grand Signage Policy, for businesses surrounding the construction zone that allowed for more temporary signage during construction and waived temporary use permit fees.

Now that the work is complete, Council has voted to repeal this policy as well. Bell-Grand businesses have until April 22, 2017 to comply with the original signage policies as listed previously. In addition, Bell-Grand area businesses will once again be required to obtain a building permit for directional signage and special events may also require a Temporary Use Permit. These two items were temporarily lifted under the temporary Bell-Grand policy.

The ultimate goal is to remove clutter from our city streets and sidewalks and create an atmosphere that aims to make business signage more impactful.

The Sign Code is available online at:


Questions? Call Community Development at 623.222.3000.

Purchase of Real Property in Original Town Site

The City Council has identified the Surprise Heritage District as an important area to the City’s heritage and as such to expand current city services in the area. The City owns the majority of property surrounding the site and thus has identified the Do Norma property as a property to acquire as an investment for City services in the future. The Council unanimously agreed to purchase the 5.84 acres.

Budget Amendment for Pickleball Courts and Shade Structures

In February 2015, City Council formed a Capital Improvement Funding Exploratory Committee to review potential use of general obligation bonds to fund specific capital improvements. Construction of eight additional lighted Pickleball Courts was included in the review of the committee and the courts were supported by the Community and Recreation Services Advisory Commission. It was later decided to remove the courts from the bond package and look for other sources to fund this $500,000 project.

Construction of the additional courts adjacent to the existing courts will require the relocation of the sand volleyball courts at Community Park. Conservative estimated project completion would be August 2017.

Separately, over the years City Council approved the construction of a wide variety of Park and Recreation facilities including sports fields and courts, playgrounds, water features, dog parks, and open space. These facilities are a gathering place for all ages. During much of the year, the heat from the shade makes it difficult to fully enjoy our facilities. Equipment is hot to the touch, flooring too hot for bare feet, and without shade of any kind, there is no way to find respite other than leaving the facility and heading inside.

Shade structures may be constructed throughout the city at a cost of approximately $20,000 for a 30’x30′ and $40,000 for a 40’x40′. Staff will specifically analyze the needs citywide and recommend the best mix of structures to maximize the benefit from a $200,000 investment in shade. City Council unanimously approved the budget amendment to proceed.

Events & Meetings

Valley Metro RPTA Monthly Meeting

The Valley Metro RPTA Board unanimously voted to officially make an offer for an Internal Audit Manager.

Surprise Becomes a College Town!

Ottawa University and the City of Surprise announced on Friday, February 17 that Ottawa University Arizona (OUAZ), a new residential university campus, will be opening Fall 2017 in Surprise, expanding upon the university’s 40-year presence in our state, making Surprise a university town, and bringing intercollegiate athletic programs to the West Valley.

OUAZ Surprise, 15950 N. Civic Center Plaza, will offer a full complement of academic, athletic and student activity programs including multiple undergraduate and graduate degree programs. The university will be home to 19 varsity men’s and women’s sports teams, and will be working toward a National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) designation. Upon award of the designation, OUAZ would be one of only four NAIA programs in Arizona.

Ottawa University President Kevin C. Eichner announced the university aims to enroll 250 students for its first semester of classes at the new campus, with a target of up to 3,000 residential students over 10 years, adding to its current 8,300 alumni roll in the Arizona market.

Ottawa University is a private, non-profit, Christian university that was founded in Ottawa, Kansas in 1865. The future 35-acre campus will be embedded within the Surprise City Center, integrating with the existing 250-acre City of Surprise Civic Center and Recreation campus. The school will also launch out of existing space within the Communiversity at the Civic Center, allowing students to avail themselves to the surrounding city amenities, including the Surprise Aquatic Center, Dream Catcher Park, the Surprise Tennis & Racquet Complex, and Surprise Stadium, as well as robust shopping and dining amenities.

Ottawa University Dedication
City Council Members with Dr. Kevin Eichner and Dr. Dennis Tyne

Surprise Fine Art & Wine Festival

Despite the inclement weather, the Surprise Fine Art & Wine Festival took place this past weekend. Although there were a few cancellations, 67 artists participated. There were six wineries and a distillery as well as three musicians. There were approximately 1700 patrons on Friday and a few hundred the remainder of the days.

State of the City Address

In her message to residents, businesses, partners and volunteers on Wednesday, February 22, Mayor Sharon Wolcott demonstrated that when we work together in the spirit of community pride we enhance quality of life for all ages and establish a solid foundation for future generations. She cited examples of success in transportation, including the on-time completion of the Bell-Grand intersection improvements; public safety; job growth; and social-service support that have all improved quality of life in Surprise.

As part of the Surprise International initiative, Mayor Wolcott announced the creation of a cross-border task force to study innovations in the $100 billion health tourism industry and to explore whether Surprise can play a role in “setting a new standard in medical tourism delivery.” The task force will be comprised of Canadian and Arizonan industry partners, and will be co-chaired by Surprise Economic Development Director Jeanine Jerkovic.

She reminded the audience that Surprise remains a growing community and that will increase the demands in maintaining a safe and vibrant city and cited the continued need to support transportation improvements, educational opportunities and securing space for future public safety locations, parks and open space.

Watch the video of the speech or read the transcript at www.surpriseaz.gov/sotc.

Mark Your Calendar

Mayor’s Welcome Back Lunch

Mayor Wolcott will be hosting the 15th Annual Mayor’s Welcome Back Luncheon to celebrate the return of the Kansas City Royals and the Texas Rangers on Thursday, March 2 from 11 am – 1 pm. The event will take place at Surprise Stadium – Sanderson Ford 1st Base Concourse, located at 15930 N. Bullard Avenue.

Event admission will include a catered lunch provided by State 48 Brewery; 1 plaza level ticket to the Colorado Rockies vs. Kansas City Royals scheduled game; and a 15th anniversary commemorative gift. Guests will also have the opportunity to hear about the upcoming season from team staff. For more information, please contact the Community and Recreation Services office at 623.222.2000.

Surprise Police Explorers Host “Tip A Cop” Event

The Surprise Police Department Police Explorer Post 2236 will join forces with the staff at the local Outback Steakhouse Restaurant, located at 14225 W. Grand Avenue, in order to raise donations in support of the their growing program. The event will be held on Saturday, March 4 from 4 – 8 pm.

The explorers are inviting the public to join them at the event and help support their fund raising efforts during this “Tip-a-Cop” event. So, come meet some of the Explorers and enjoy some of your favorite food. Remember to bring your change to tip your “server” and make a donation/contribution to help the Explorers raise funds to support their growing program.

Click here to learn more information about Surprise Police Explorer Post 2236: http://ow.ly/VqYMc

Did You Know?

15th Annual Spring Training Season Starts This Weekend!

We are thrilled to kick off the 15th Annual Spring Training Season in Surprise! If you haven’t secured your tickets for the Kansas City Royals or Texas Rangers games, it’s not too late! The first game begins on February 25, at 1:05 pm, with a hometown match-up between the Royals and Rangers to support our local youth sports programs!

This season, there is something for everyone! Here are a few of the fun promotional event dates:

February 26 – KC Royals Surprise Recreation Campus Hall of Fame Inductees
March 2 – KC Royals Mascot “Slugger” visits Surprise Stadium
March 5 – Texas Rangers Surprise Recreation Campus Hall of Fame Inductees
March 12 – Ronald McDonald visits Surprise Stadium
March 25 – Budweiser Clydesdales visit Surprise Stadium

With craft brew all the rage these days… For $30 you have access to the Four Peaks Pavilion in right field, a catered meal and a beverage! Other options include the Boulevard Craft Brew tent and our local State 48 craft brew stand! New on the food menu includes grilled corn on the cob and the Triple Play- a hot dog inside a hamburger, wrapped in bacon!

For a complete game schedule and more, visit www.surprisespringtraining.com or call 623.222.2222.

Contact Me

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

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