Tag Archives: Capital Projects

September 7, 2017 • Newsletter

Special City Council Meeting

Public Hearing – Interviews for District 3 Council Vacancy

The Surprise City Council interviewed six applicants seeking the vacant District 3 council seat in a Special Meeting, September 5. The term expiration for the appointment will be December 31, 2018 and the remainder of the original four-year term will be placed on the next scheduled Council election in August 2018. The names of those interviewed are: Patrick Duffy; James Hodge; Randal Kidd Jr.; Kevin Loken; Gisele Norberg; and Gary “Doc” Sullivan.

Patrick Duffy is a Financial Advisor for Merrill Lynch and for the past 9 years has worked part-time as a City of Surprise Recreation Leader 3. He has lived in Surprise for eight years, two of them in D3. Duffy was a member of the Surprise Municipal Property Corporation Board and through his city service has been part of numerous Community and Recreation Services events including Spring Training support, Relay for Life events and Cal Ripken All-Star games. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Arizona State University.

James Hodge has lived in D3 for seven years and is an Assistant Manager at Discount Tire Direct. He has served as a youth baseball coach, youth flag football coach and volunteered as a score keeper for numerous city rec tournaments. He founded and operated the Sandra Lynn Foundation, a 501c3 non-profit that assisted families with funeral expenses through fundraising events.

Randal Kidd Jr.is a Transition Specialist with the Arizona State Schools for the Deaf and Blind- Phoenix Campus. He has lived in Surprise for eight years. He is Vice President of the Deaf Community of Surprise and participated in the Surprise City Academy this spring. Kidd holds an Associate of Applied Science in Information & Computing Studies from Rochester Institute of Technology and is working towards obtaining a Bachelor of Science in Urban Planning from Arizona State University (May 2018).

Kevin Loken is a District Supervisor at XPO Logistics and has lived in D3 for less than a year. He has a Master of Arts in Management from National University and a Bachelor of Arts in English from Cal-State Fullerton. His grandfather, Carlo Leone, has served on the Peoria City Council for nearly 20 years.

Gisele Norberg is a member of the Surprise Planning & Zoning Commission and has lived in D3 for nearly two years. Norberg is the owner and independent distributor of AdvoCare International. Her family’s construction business provided her with experience in commercial and residential development. Norberg ran unsuccessfully for the D3 Council seat in 2016. She graduated Magna Cum Laude from Washington State University- Vancouver with a Bachelor of Arts in Social Sciences, majoring in Political Science and minoring in Psychology.

Gary “Doc” Sullivan is a former Surprise City Councilmember (2003 – 2007), serving one of those years as Vice Mayor. He was a member of the former Surprise Economic Development Advisory Board. He has lived in Surprise for 17 years. Sullivan is retired and previously worked in sales for Cox Communications.

Public comments regarding the applicants can be submitted to the City Clerk through the close of business on Tuesday, September 12. Comments received through this outlet will be sent to Council and posted online by the end of the following business day.

You can learn more about the applicants here: https://www.surpriseaz.gov/3652/District-3-Council-Applicants

City Council Work Session

Update on City Projects

Public Works Assistant Director Karl Zook provided an update on city projects.

Bullard Avenue – Peoria Avenue to Greenway Road is scheduled for construction beginning Spring 2018. The design phase is 95% complete and includes restriping for two lanes in each direction, protected bike lanes, two new traffic signals and landscape median. This project will be grant funded with a city contribution.

Bullard Ave map point markers

Bell Road Adaptive Signal Improvements on Bell Road between Avenue of the Arts and Cotton Lane has begun. This project includes upgraded vehicle detection and new software to monitor traffic demand in real time. The software deployment is 60% complete.

Bell Road Adaptive Signal Project map view

Bell Road Pavement Preservation includes pavement preservation on Bell Road from Grand Avenue to Parkview Place. Both east and westbound lanes will be completed. The project start date is September 17 and should conclude by the end of the month.

Bell Road Pavement Preservation map view

8 Acre Park Fencing is under construction. Construction began last month and should conclude by the end of this month. This project includes 2300 feet of 8 foot tall decorative fencing with pillars to match the aesthetics of our Surprise Stadium fencing.

Eight new pickle ball courts with LED lighting are also under construction. Construction began on August 23, and the anticipated completion, pending weather delays, is the end of November. This project also includes the relocation of our volleyball courts.

Earlier this year, City Council approved improvements for Surprise Farms Park that included an additional 10 acres of open space park area. Construction on the improvements began on July 10. Sod was completed at the end of August. The green fence will be removed later this month after the turf is established.

Other updates included the Dysart Road median (estimated completion in Spring 2018), 115th Avenue and Union Hills Drive drainage improvements (currently 55% complete, project should be complete in summer 2018), Bullard Avenue water line (construction began in early July and will be complete in October) and the South Plant perimeter wall (project in design for low-bid with an estimated completion of spring 2018).

City Council Meeting

Surprise Community Outreach Grant Program Recommendations

Staff presented the Surprise Community Outreach Grant program recommendations made by the Committee on Community Outreach, Partnerships and Grants. This year, staff received 32 applications with funding requests totaling more than $261,000. City Council set aside $65,000 with this year’s budget for this program. Council discussed increasing the funding for next fiscal year.

After much discussion, the funding recommendations were approved with one modification.

Citywide Temporary Sign Policy Adoption

The City Council approved an updated Temporary Sign Policy for the city at their Tuesday Regular Meeting. The intent of the policy is to better align with the current needs of businesses and residents and temporarily waives the Surprise City Code Section 113-47, but only as to Article V, of the current code, beginning thirty days after the adoption of this resolution until it is repealed.

During the recession council approved a temporary sign policy in 2012 that allowed:

  • A-Frames (1 per business; cannot be located on a street, sidewalk or within visibility triangle)
  • Banners (1 per business; must be placed on building)
  • Sign Walkers (Required a no fee permit from the City and must meet insurance criteria)

That policy was repealed by council in February 2017. Following months of public comment, council agreed to once again approve A-Frame and other temporary signs under the revised Temporary Sign Policy:

  • A-Frames (Class 1 Temporary Signs): may not exceed 24 inches in height or width (placed 1 hr before event/removed 1 hr after event; 1 sign per intersection, no further than closest arterial) and must be associated with a lawful temporary event.
  • A-Frames &am; Pedestal (Class 2 Temporary Signs): portable sign may not exceed 45 inches in height and 36 inches in width commercial hours are during business hours of the advertising business; signs must be within 15’ of the customer entrance and associated with a lawful commercial use.
  • When a Class II Temporary Sign is in conjunction with a Lawful Temporary Event located within a -residential zoning district, not more than four (4) such signs shall be utilized (45 inches in height and 36 inches in width). Such signs may be placed no further than the closest arterial street and be placed between the hours of 4:00 PM Friday to 11:00 PM Sunday.
  • Banners w/ ventilation flaps only: 1 banner per building (1 sf per linear foot of building elevation; if an active construction project banner may be placed on construction site fence (30 SF)
  • Sign Walkers: operational hours 7 am – 7 pm; may not restrict pedestrian/vehicle access; 2 single-sided signs not to exceed 3 sf/ or 1 double-sided sign not to exceed 12 sf; electronic message signs are prohibited

The revised changes allow for temporary event signage, such as real estate open house signs; neighborhood events, etc…

Signage that remains prohibited under the policy includes:

  • Animated Signs, flashing/blinking/rotating signs, inflatable signs (latex or Mylar balloons), permanent banner signs/pennants, searchlights, streamers, signs that emit audible sound
  • Vehicle Signs when the vehicle is placed in a location not approved for vehicular parking or storage
  • Signs located on trees/utility poles/public benches/ or public right-of-way
  • Signs containing vulgar/ profane messages, hate speech/ language intended to incite violence
  • Signs which are located within any sight visibility triangle of any street/driveway intersection, located in a median and/or as required by the Surprise Engineering Development Standards
  • Signs not expressly permitted as being allowed under this policy, or by specific requirements in another section of Surprise Unified Development Code, are expressly prohibited

For a complete listing of the requirements under this policy please visit www.surpriseaz.gov/signcode.

Events & Meetings

West Valley Veteran Center Tour

Vice Mayor Todd Tande and I, along with city staff, attended a tour of the West Valley Veteran Center on Thursday, August 31. The Maricopa County Community College District, in partnership with Surprise and many other West Valley cities, has invested in a new West Valley resource center to help veterans and their families adjust to civilian life. The center is located at the former Visitor Center at Luke Air Force Base. This initiative will provide veterans with assistance services related to counseling, housing, education, careers and much more.

Councilman Skip Hall and Vice Mayor Todd Tande, along with city staff tour the West Valley Veteran Center

Walmart Grand Re-Opening

Walmart, located at 13770 W. Bell Road, hosted a grand re-opening on Friday, September 1 to celebrate their recent remodel. Walmart also utilized the event to raise money to support the communities affected by Hurricane Harvey!

Mark Your Calendar

Second Sundays in the Park Fall Concert

The city is kicking off its fall series of “Second Sundays in the Park” concerts on Sunday, September 10 from 2-4 p.m. This family-friendly event will take place in the center of Surprise Community Park, 15953 N. Bullard Avenue, and will feature live variety music from The Steven P. Project.

Families are encouraged to bring a picnic or purchase food from the onsite vendors and enjoy the live entertainment. For more information, please contact the City of Surprise Community & Recreation Services Office at 623.222.2000 or visit us online at www.surpriseaz.gov/specialevents.

General Obligation Bond Meeting Dates Announced

Surprise residents will consider three separate General Obligation Bond questions to fund 10 capital improvement projects in the areas of Public Safety, Traffic Congestion Mitigation and Pavement Preservation on Tuesday, November 7. The city is hosting several public meetings to help educate our residents on the bond.

Those meetings are as follows:

Tuesday, September 26 (6 p.m.): City Hall- Council Chambers, 16000 N. Civic Center Dr.

Wednesday, September 27 (6 p.m.): District 4 Community Meeting open to all residents, Community Center, 15832 N. Hollyhock St.

Thursday, October 5 (10 a.m.): District 5 Community Meeting open to all residents, Sun Village Community Association, 17300 N. Sun Village Parkway

Monday, October 9 (10:30 a.m.): District 2 Community Meeting open to all residents, Sun City Grand Cimarron Center Agua Fria Room, 17100 W Clearview Blvd

Thursday, October 12 (7 p.m.): District 5 Community Meeting, Sun Village Community Association, 17300 N. Sun Village Parkway

If you cannot attend one of the meetings, city staff will come to your neighborhood HOA, community group, or club meetings to provide facts related to the bond election. We already have several booked throughout the city’s districts! Please contact the City Manager’s Office at 623.222.1100 to schedule a date.

In addition, the city will also have educational information available at various Fire-Medical Station Open Houses (Sept. & Oct.), Fiesta Grande (Oct. 14), G.A.I.N Night (Oct. 28). The details for the events are posted on our city calendar at www.surpriseaz.gov. You can learn more about the bond projects, costs and voter registration information at www.surpriseaz.gov/decidesurprise

If any of the bond questions are approved by voters in November, the cost to residents would be administered via a secondary property tax. Currently, Surprise does not have a secondary property tax.

The last day to register to vote in the Nov. 7 election is Oct. 10 by 5 p.m. This is a Ballot-By-Mail Only Election. Ballots will be mailed to all registered voters on Oct. 11. In-person voting and ballot drop-off begins at Surprise City Hall – City Clerk’s Office, Saturday, Oct. 28 – Tuesday, Nov. 7, 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. Election Day (Nov. 7) voting hours will be extended to 6 a.m. – 7 p.m.

Bell Road & Grand Avenue ramps to be closed Sept. 18-24 for improvements

The Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) has issued a project improvement announcement for the Bell Road Bridge and Grand Avenue.

The notice is as follows:

The on- and off-ramps at the Bell Road Bridge over Grand Avenue (US 60) will be closed Sept. 18-24 for roadway improvements both on and near the overpass.

The Bell/Grand ramps will be closed from 1 a.m. Monday (Sept. 18) to 5 p.m. Sunday (Sept. 24), according to the Arizona Department of Transportation. Drivers can use detour routes along Dysart and Litchfield roads to make connections between Bell Road and Grand Avenue. Bell Road will remain open for traffic traveling over the bridge.

During the week, crews will be removing the median island along westbound Grand Avenue near the Bell Grande Drive intersection. The change is designed to provide improved guidance for drivers making left turns onto Bell Grande Drive while clearly separating that traffic from vehicles using the westbound off-ramp at the Bell Road overpass. Drivers should use caution in the work zone and expect restrictions along westbound US 60 and left-turn closures at the Bell Grande Drive intersection.

Crews also will add sections of what are known as mountable, rounded curbs near the ends of the existing barrier walls separating the on- and off-ramps near the crosswalks on the Bell Road overpass. As an additional safety measure, yellow flexible safety posts will be placed near the ends of the ramp barrier walls. The changes are designed to help drivers with turning angles between Bell Road and the ramps.

The ramps first opened to traffic in February as part of ADOT’s $42 million project to build a new interchange connecting Bell Road and Grand Avenue. The improvements are the result of feedback from local drivers as well as staff at ADOT and the city of Surprise.

Did You Know?

Civic Center Drive Almost Complete

I am pleased to inform you that the much anticipated construction of Civic Center Drive from Bell Road to Paradise is almost complete. Despite the inclement summer storms, the project remains on track and we anticipate the opening of the road on September 13. The project includes one travel lane in each direction with a center median. At this time, there will not be any landscaping, streetlights or sidewalk included.

Civic Center Dr.

Hollyhock Library Extends Hours Due to Generous Nonprofit Donation

The city and Maricopa County Library District are excited to offer extended operating hours for the Hollyhock Library, located at 15844 N Hollyhock Street. In response to the recommendations provided through the recent library feasibility study, beginning Sept. 25 the Hollyhock Library will modify operating hours Tuesdays and Thursdays,1 – 7 p.m. The Hollyhock Library will offer extended hours on Saturdays from 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. beginning October 14.

The Surprise City Council would like to recognize the generosity of the non-profit independent organization, Friends of the Surprise Libraries. Since 2003, Friends of the Surprise Libraries has donated $185,000 in support of literacy and programs offered at the Northwest Regional Library and Hollyhock Library. Extended hours of operation will offer residents and local student’s access to study areas, computing stations and library resources.

Contact Me

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

Ask a Question

April 7, 2016 • Newsletter

Bell Road/Grand Avenue Update


The City, Surprise Regional Chamber of Commerce, and local businesses have partnered to give you even more reasons to ShopSurprise during the Bell Road full closure. Launching ahead of schedule, the Bell & Grand ShopSurprise campaign is helping to promote businesses in the Bell Road construction area by offering daily deals for shoppers so they continue to spend money in their hometown.

Businesses on all sides of the Bell Road and Grand Avenue intersection are open and have created incentives so that you ShopSurprise!

Daily deals are available now and opting-in for deals is simple. There are multiple ways for you to participate; just pick the one, or two, that are right for you:

  • Visit shopsurpriseaz.com to view the daily deals online;
  • Text ‘ShopSurprise’ (one word) to 40518 to have daily deals sent to your phone;
  • Like the Shop Surprise, Arizona Facebook page and have the deals appear in your timeline; or
  • Follow @ShopSurpriseAZ on Twitter to have deals tweeted to you daily.

A Construction Business Access Map is also available online to help you find the best ways to enter the shopping, dining and service centers to claim your deals.

The Bell & Grand ShopSurprise daily deals are only available during the Bell Road full closure. The Chamber will consider a more comprehensive, citywide campaign in the future.

For more information about the Bell & Grand ShopSurprise campaign, contact the Surprise Regional Chamber of Commerce at 623.583.0692. To learn more about the Bell Road and Grand Avenue Interchange project, visit surpriseaz.gov/bellandgrand.

City Council Work Session

Community Development Block Grant Annual Action Plan

As an entitlement city, Surprise received a yearly allotment of Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funding from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). CDBG administration and neighborhood improvement activities are administered by city departments. These projects address neighborhood infrastructure improvement needs identified in the city’s Consolidated Plan 2015-2019. CDBG funds will be utilized to implement projects that will improve the safety and quality of life of the residents within the Original Town Site area of Surprise since it meets three national objectives (benefits low to moderate income persons, provides area benefit, limited clientele).

The funding amount for 2016-2017 is $585,139. The public hearing and recommendation for funding to the City Council is scheduled for the Regular City Council meeting on April 19.

Review of Capital Projects and Potential Capital Funding

Budget Manager Jared Askelson provided a review of the FY2017 capital projects which were part of a recommendation by the Capital Improvement Exploratory Committee last year. Some of the projects include a permanent fire station, a new property and evidence facility, and the implementation of the Parks Master Plan which includes, but is not limited to, a field house, a competitive aquatic facility, a new community park, pickleball courts and 8-Acre Park improvements.

City Manager Bob Wingenroth discussed the possibility for another bond opportunity for November 2016. The bond amount discussed was $60 million (25%) of current capacity with a 20 year term. City Council requested input from the community prior to further discussion.

City Council Meeting

Austin Ranch West Parcel 1 & 4

After much discussion and an Executive Session, City Council approved, subject to alternative approval directions, the final plat entitled “Austin Ranch West Parcel 4” and “Austin Ranch West Parcel 1”, a 36.55 acre, 138 lot, single family subdivision generally located on the northern side of West Deer Valley Road, 2.4 miles west of Grand Avenue and a 114.28 acre, 420 lot, single family subdivision located on the northern side of West Deer Valley Road, 1.6 miles west of Grand Avenue. This is the first and second phase of a multi-phased project known as Austin Ranch Planned Area Development (PAD) that was approved by the Mayor and City Council on May 13, 2004.

Stormwater Utility Discussion

City Council unanimously approved the adoption of the “Notice of Intent” declaring the City’s intent to adopt a Stormwater Utility Rate and setting the public hearing on May 17, 2016 at 6 pm in the City Hall Council Chambers.

Revenue Projections and Expenditure Recommendations

Jared Askelson discussed General Fund sources for fiscal year 2016 which is currently at $96.9 million which is .5% less than what was estimated due to a decrease in local sales tax and transfers in. Our Finance Department is expecting revenue reduction of approximately $900,000 due to Bell/Grand Intersection construction. There is no change in projections for property taxes. General Fund sources for fiscal year 2017 is projected to be $101.6 million due to an increase in local sales tax since there will be additional car dealerships, an increase in State Shared revenue, Franchise Fees, Transfers in and property tax due to increase in population. General Fund Uses for FY2016 is $96.9 million which is 2.1% less than what was estimated.

Next week, the City Council will receive the City Manager’s Recommended Budget for FY2017. Public Safety needs have been discussed in previous Council meetings. In order to properly fund those needs, there is a $2.4 million need. Four revenue options were reviewed. Final decisions have not been made at this time. The recommended budget review will take place at the Regular City Council meeting on April 19 in the City Council Chamber at 6 pm.

IGA for Safe Route to School Grant

The City of Surprise in partnership with five elementary schools and the Dysart Unified School District were awarded three Transportation Alternative Non-Infrastructure grants. These grants will help develop a Safe Routes to school Action Plan for Marley Park, Rancho Gabriela, Parkview, Countryside and Ashton Ranch Elementary Schools. It also provides funding for the procurement of Crosswalk Safety Equipment.

City Council unanimously approved the Intergovernmental Agreement to accept and utilize the funds.

City-wide Temporary Sign Policy

In order to assist businesses while the City updates the City Sign Code, City staff has developed the City-wide Temporary Sign Policy. The new Temporary Sign policy includes some of the signage as allowed in the previous Temporary Sign policy and also removes the requirement for the Temporary Use Permit to utilize a sign walker. The temporary policy was approved with a 5-2 vote.

Regular Council Meeting CHANGE

City Council unanimously approved a date change for the Regular City Council meeting originally scheduled for Tuesday, May 3 to Wednesday, May 4, 2016 due to the grand opening ceremony of IRIS USA.

Events & Meetings

City Café Express Gallery Grand Opening

The Arts and Cultural Advisory Commission hosted a grand opening ceremony for the City Café Express featuring the artwork of John W. Clark art on Wednesday, March 30. Mayor Wolcott, Vice Mayor Biundo and I all attended the fantastic event and admired the Air Force artwork of John W. Clark.

Sierra Verde HOA Meeting

Surprise Police Chief Terry Young, Community Policing Officer Tim Klarkowski and I attended the Sierra Verde HOA meeting on Wednesday, March 30. We discussed preventative measures, crime stats and participated in a Q&A with the residents in attendance.

The Orchards Block Party

I attended the Orchards HOA block party on Friday, April 1. I thoroughly enjoy attending these events and engaging with my constituents!

Surprise Literacy Challenge Pizza Parties

As part of the grand finale for the Surprise Literacy Challenge, I attended two pizza parties for the 4th and 5th grade winning classes this week. The 5th grade winners, Ms. Frazier’s class from West Point Elementary, read an average of 683 minutes per student for an approximate total of 19,124! They received their pizza party on Monday, April 4. The 4th grade winners, Ms. Gore’s class from Arizona Charter, received their pizza party on Wednesday, April 6. Ms. Gore’s students read an average of 866 minutes per student for an approximate total of 21,640 minutes over the course of the challenge.

HOA Summit

The City of Surprise hosted an HOA Summit on Wednesday, April 6. Various City Directors, including those from Public Works, Human Service & Community Vitality and the Chief of Police provided updates and were available to answer questions. More than 60 residents attended. Thank you to everyone, including the staff that participated!

Mark Your Calendars

Job Fair Coming to Surprise

The City of Surprise and Arizona@Work are teaming up to present both a job seeker workshop and a job fair! The workshop will be held on Friday, April 15 from 9 a.m. until 12 noon at the Communiversity@Surprise, 15950 N. Civic Center Parkway. The workshop will include tips on resume building, interviewing, social media networking and much more.

The job fair will take place on Tuesday, April 19 from 9 am until 1 pm at the same location. This fair will have more than a dozen employers from Surprise and our neighboring cities. The employers scheduled to attend represent a variety of industries including healthcare, real estate, banking, automotive and much more. For more information, please contact Julie Neal at 623.222.3322.

Did You Know?

ADOT’s National Household Travel Survey

The Arizona Department of Transportation and Federal Highway Administration are asking households, most of them outside of metro Phoenix and Tucson, to participate in the National Household Travel Survey. Up to 30,000 households, chosen at random, will be contacted via letter over the next year. This survey is conducted every five to seven years and provides an essential snapshot of transportation behaviors and trends.

ADOT has created an online survey which is available at azdot.gov/NHTS. Information gathered by your participation in this survey will also help create a more valuable transportation system for all.

Contact Me

Shop Bell & Grand local

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

Ask a Question

March 17, 2016 • Newsletter

Bell Road/Grand Avenue Update

Loop 303 Bridge Work to Close Stretch of Grand Avenue

While this closure is not part of the Bell Road/Grand Avenue interchange project, I wanted to be sure you were notified of the closure this weekend. Grand Avenue will be closed from 9 p.m. on Friday, March 18, to 7 p.m. on Sunday, March 20, between R.H. Johnson Boulevard/Sunrise Boulevard and Loop 303 to accommodate freeway bridge work, according to the Arizona Department of Transportation.

Motorists should plan ahead and consider alternate routes while this closure is in effect.

Crews will be painting the bridge and installing sound panels and signage at the Loop 303/Grand Avenue interchange as part of a $46 million ADOT project scheduled for completion this summer.

The primary detour for Grand Avenue traffic will be along Loop 303 and Bell Road. Southbound Loop 303 drivers in the Peoria area can connect with Grand Avenue via southbound El Mirage Road and westbound Bell Road.

North- and southbound traffic on Loop 303 won’t be affected by the Grand Avenue closure. To stay up to date with the latest highway conditions around the state, visit the ADOT Traveler Information System at www.az511.gov or call 511. For more information, please contact Gaby Kemp at 928.699.8983.

Interchange Construction Update

For continued updates on the Bell Road/Grand Avenue interchange project, please visit the project website at www.azdot.gov/bellandgrand. You can also call ADOT’s project hotline at 855.712.8530 (press option 1).

City Council Work Session

FY2017 Review of Capital Projects

Finance Department staff continued FY17 budget presentations during the City Council Work Session and City Council Meeting. They delivered a presentation regarding the operating budget related to non-public safety programs and potential funding options, as well as a presentation on funding sources for transportation and general government capital improvement projects. Videos of the presentations can be found at www.surpriseaz.gov/budget.

During the presentation, Budget Manager Jared Askelson identified a $12.0 million need for maintaining assets and infrastructure in FY17, which is the highest priority for the upcoming fiscal year. Also discussed were the top priority projects within the Transportation and General Government categories. Below are some of the city’s top projects in those areas.

The potential funding options for the public safety program increases that were previously discussed were also presented to Council.

After a healthy discussion about the options, conversations will continue at future Council meetings.

City Transportation Projects

The Public Works Department provided a year-to-date update on the Capital Improvement Program. Discussion focused on the status of our current FY16 transportation improvement projects, the project delivery process, and the current capital budget status.Along with the detailed transportation project update, the Public Works Department also highlighted a few lower profile projects and their status.

Non-transportation projects discussed included the rehab of the Greenway sewer lift station ($325,000), Park N Ride enhancements that were funded by Proposition 400 ($108,000), Surprise Stadium Campus, and Civic Center Reclaimed Water Conversion (Project budgeted at $208,000).

With regards to the 2016 transportation projects, the Waddell Road median project was completed late last month but the landscaping portion began this month and is expected to last through June. Cactus Road (Marley Park) project began in January and concluded this week. Litchfield Road (additional northbound lane) began in February and should wrap up in late May. Greenway Road improvements also began in January and the project is expected to last through June 2016. Cactus Road (175th – Cotton Lane) work is expected to begin next month. Peoria Avenue (two eastbound lanes) will begin in April and is expected to conclude in late August.

City Council Meeting

Neighborhood Grant Program – Recommendation For Funding

The City Council designated $10,000 from the FY2016 Surprise Community Outreach Program budget for the Neighborhood Grant Program. The Committee on Community Outreach, Partnerships and Grants reviewed the applications that were due on February 26.

The Committee held a public meeting on March 2 to review the five applications received. Applicants were invited to the March 2 committee meeting to present their project to the committee. Four of the five applicants made presentations.

The recommendations were as follows: Marley Park (Veteran’s Commemorative Plaza) – $2,000; WHAM (Recycled Arts Festival) – $2,000; Sanalina HOA (Water Conservation Project) – $4,000; OTS (Numbers on homes without addresses) – $2,000. The Committee’s recommendations were unanimously accepted by the City Council.

Personnel Appeals Board Appointment

City Council unanimously approved the appointment of Ira McCullough to the Personnel Appeals Board with a term expiration of September 11, 2016. Congratulations, Ira and thank you for contributing your time to our City!

Ira McCullough being sworn into the Personnel Appeals Board

Bell and Grand Temporary Sign Policy

Once the proposed timeline for the Bell Road/Grand Avenue interchange project was announced, the city began to work diligently to determine ways we could assist businesses through the construction. Allowing businesses that will be impacted by this project to increase signage was a common sense solution. Signage in the revised policy includes: A-frames, banners, sign walkers and off site directional signs. Additionally, the policy removes the requirements for Temporary Use Permits in the area for special events that could be held to draw shoppers and diners during the Bell Road closure.

Resolution 2016-42 (Temporary Sign and Temporary Use Permit Policy) was unanimously approved.

City of Surprise Stormwater Utility

Stormwater management in Surprise may soon have a dedicated funding source following City Council’s action Tuesday night to move forward with the code amendment and ordinance approval for a Stormwater Utility.

Beginning as early as November, single residential homes could see $2 added to the monthly water/wastewater bill. The proposed rate was determined by calculating the costs to maintain the city’s infrastructure, meet regulatory requirements, and implement capital improvement projects, and then dividing that cost by the number of equivalent dwelling units (EDU) in the city. One EDU is equivalent to the average amount of impervious surface areas (roofs, patios, driveways, sidewalks) on Surprise’s single family residences.

The effective date of the Utility would occur after the 60 day Notice of Intention and public hearing period. The implementation timeline of the proposed Utility is as follows:

  • April 5 – Provide notice to adopt Stormwater rates and set date of Public Hearing; city will adopt the Notice of Intention and file the Rate Study with the clerk’s office
  • April 11 – 15 – Notice of Intention published on the city’s website and in newspapers
  • May 17 – City will host a Public Hearing and adopt the rates
  • November 1 – Stormwater Utility goes into effect in conjunction with the city taking over the utility billing

Funds collected from the Stormwater Utility will enable the city to cover the costs to maintain storm water related infrastructure such as curbs and gutters, pipes and catch basins, comply with regulatory requirements, and develop projects to protect and prevent problems often caused by stormwater such as flooding, which causes polluted standing water that attracts disease-bearing pests and transportation issues, such as sinkholes and premature pavement loss.

Currently, all stormwater activities, including regulatory compliance, asset management, and capital improvement, are funded by the wastewater fund, general fund and the Highway User Revenue Fund (HURF). The Stormwater Utility will relieve burden from those funds and will be responsible for revenue generation, operational costs and Capital Improvement Project development and management.

Other Arizona cities with dedicated stormwater management fees include Mesa, Peoria, Oro Valley, Tucson, Flagstaff and Scottsdale. A detailed Rate Study outlining the research and projected expenditures can be found at www.surpriseaz.gov/stormwater. For questions about the Stormwater Utility, view the Frequently Asked Questions or call 623.222.6000.

FY2016 Budget Amendment

Economic Development Director Jeanine Jerkovic requested consideration for an FY16 budget amendment in the amount of $50,000 from the Economic Development contingency fund to Economic Development operations fund to cover costs related to new and increased programming in facilitation of strategic business retention and marketing activities for the Bell Road/Grand Avenue intersection.

Staff has partnered with the Surprise Regional Chamber of Commerce in developing a new digital marketing campaign for the businesses that will be affected by the construction. Several events and promotional activities are planned. The amendment was passed unanimously.

Meetings & Events

Taste of Surprise

I participated in the Taste of Surprise as a Surprise Rotarian, on Wednesday, March 9. The event was held at Riverboat Bingo and more than 400 people attended. Thank you to all of you who came out to help support our community organizations, and thank you to Amanda Sanchez, the committee chair!

Arizona Town Hall

I was honored to provide a welcome and attend the Arizona Town Hall – Keeping Arizona’s Water Glass Full event at the Communiversity on Tuesday, March 15. Guest speakers included Sarah Porter – Director of Kyle Institute for Water Policy, William Garfield – President of Arizona Water Company, David Iwanski – Executive Director of Arizona Water Association and Avondale Councilman, and Eric Orsborn – Vice Mayor of Buckeye.

This town hall was a follow up to the 107th Arizona Town Hall, which gathered in November for two days to develop recommendations for our State’s future water needs. The consensus items were:

• Move forward with Arizona’s strategic vision for water supply sustainability

• Create and fund mechanisms to finance water supply and new infrastructure

• Appropriately fund and staff the AZ Department of Water Resources (ADWR)

• Education and Public Awareness

• Conservation and Augmentation

• Legal Reform

• The Role of Individuals (educate ourselves and others, advocate, etc.)

Former Governor Jan Brewer and Governor Doug Ducey have helped begin the process through the development of Arizona’s Strategic Vision for Water Supply Sustainability which provides comprehensive water supply and demand analysis for Arizona and helps identify solutions for urban and rural areas.

For additional information, view the report from the Arizona Town Hall.

Surprise Councilman Skip Hall speaks at the 2016 Arizona Town Hall

Site Selector Visit

Mayor Wolcott, Councilman Winters, Economic Development staff and I attended a game at Surprise Stadium and networked with Greater Phoenix Economic Council (GPEC) and various site selectors on Wednesday, March 16.

Orchards Annual HOA Meeting

Representatives from Surprise public works, Surprise Police, Arizona Department of Transportation and I attended the Orchards Annual HOA meeting on Wednesday, March 16. Topics of discussion included updates on the upcoming Bell Road/Grand Avenue interchange project, City transportation projects, review of area crime statistics and crime prevention strategies.

Mountain Vista Ranch Annual HOA Meeting

Mountain Vista Ranch HOA held their annual meeting on Wednesday, March 16. Topics of discussion included the upcoming Bell Road/Grand Avenue interchange project and pavement preservation. Approximately 30 residents were in attendance.

Mark Your Calendars

Arizona Supreme Court coming to Surprise!

On Tuesday, March 29, the public is invited to attend oral arguments at Valley Vista High School’s Performing Arts Center, located at 15550 North Parkview Place. Arguments will begin promptly at 9:30 a.m. This is a rare opportunity to witness the judicial branch of government at work and watch attorneys present real cases to the state’s highest court.

Arizona’s five Supreme Court Justices believe strongly that this outreach enriches the students’ educational experience and gives the community an opportunity to experience the workings of the State’s highest appeals court.

The justices have identified two cases to be presented that day, and attorneys representing each side will be given 20 minutes to present their cases. The justices will take questions from the audience, as long as those questions do not pertain to the case or cases they just heard. The event will end at noon.

Select student groups from public and charter high schools in Surprise have been invited to attend. All guests attending the arguments will need to arrive by no later than 9:00 a.m. in order to go through security screening. Seating is limited.

Click to view the parking map

Students and members of the public may take photos during the Q&A session only. Photos should not be taken during oral arguments. News media are welcome, but should make arrangements in advance with the Arizona Supreme Court’s Director of Communications, Heather Murphy, at 602.452.3656 or hmurphy@courts.az.gov. For more information about the justices or court system in Arizona, please go to www.azcourts.gov.

HOA Summit

The City of Surprise is proud to host the next HOA Summit on Wednesday, April 6. You won’t want to miss this opportunity to hear the latest news from the City Manager and various City Directors, including those from Public Works, Human Service & Community Vitality and the Chief of Police. You will also have a chance to share your opportunities, issues, concerns and solutions with your Surprise neighbors.

HOA board members and management company representatives are encouraged to attend, as are HOA community members. The HOA Summit will be held in the Community Room of the Surprise City Hall, 16000 N. Civic Center Plaza. The summit will begin at 5:30 p.m. and conclude around 8 p.m. A light meal will be served.

For 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?

Newsletter Distribution

The distribution of my newsletters has changed. I am now sending them at 5 pm on Thursdays!

Surprise Literacy Challenge Winners!

Thirteen schools and 124 classrooms from across Surprise accepted a five-month reading challenge back in October, and now, the results of the 3rd Annual Surprise Literacy Challenge are in!

The Challenge, created by Councilmembers John Williams and Skip Hall, asked students in 4th-6th grade to track the number of hours they read outside the classroom. Teachers then reported those numbers back to the city.

Here are the winners in each grade:

4th Grade
Ms. Gore’s class – Arizona Charter Academy

5th Grade
Ms. Frazier’s class – West Point Elementary

6th Grade
Ms. Daniel’s class – Paradise Education Center

The top 4th and 5th grade classroom will be treated to a pizza party. They will also receive a trophy for their room and individual medals for each student. The winning 6th grade class will accept their accolades on the field at the March 25 Spring Training game at Surprise Stadium.

The city congratulates these winning readers!

Social Media

You can now follow me on Facebook and on Twitter @skiphall2! I look forward to hearing from you!

Contact Me

Shop Surprise

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

Ask a Question

March 4, 2016 • Newsletter

Bell Road/Grand Avenue Update

Weekly Update – Week of March 7, 2016

The Grand Avenue/Bell Road Interchange Project is using the design-build contracting method, which provides flexibility while the contractor’s designers work side-by-side with the construction team to deliver an improved connection between the two roadways. The project is scheduled to be completed over the next 14 months (in spring 2017).

Utility relocation work in the area, mostly during overnight hours, is already under way. In order to reduce the project’s length and lessen the overall impacts of construction, ADOT has worked with the city of Surprise and local businesses to schedule a full closure of Bell Road near Grand Avenue. The full closure will allow Bell Road to be reconstructed as an overpass traveling over Grand Avenue and the parallel railroad tracks, providing a significant improvement for traffic flow.

The preliminary activities below are preparing the team for the April 1 Bell Road closure.

Schedule of On-site Activities*

  • Underground utility surveying on eastbound Grand Avenue overnight between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m.
  • Excavation and installation of drainage pipes on the east side of Grand Avenue within the right-of-way. No impact to traffic.
  • Excavation for utilities trench. No impact to traffic.
  • Surveying limits for new 134th Avenue.

What to Expect > Traffic Restrictions*

  • Business access remains available from both Bell Road and Grand Avenue.
  • Eastbound and westbound Grand Avenue left turn lane restrictions overnight for underground utility surveying and traffic signal head changes between Towne Center and Bell Grande drives:
    • Eastbound and westbound Grand Avenue reduced to one lane for traffic signal change
    • No right turn from eastbound Grand Avenue to westbound Bell Road
    • Single left turn lane from westbound Grand Avenue to westbound Bell Road and from eastbound Grand Avenue to eastbound Bell Road
    • Right curb lane closure on eastbound Bell Road approaching Grand Avenue

*schedule subject to change based on design schedule, weather, or unforeseen conditions

Stay Informed – Keep In Touch

For more information or if you have questions:

ADOT’s project hotline: (855) 712-8530, press option #1
Project email: bellandgrandinfo@azdot.gov
Project website: www.azdot.gov/bellandgrand
Media inquiries: (800) 949-8057; email: news@azdot.gov

City Council Work Session

Temporary Sign Policy – Bell/Grand Interchange Project

The City of Surprise, in order to assist businesses through the construction of the Bell and Grand project, is looking to allow increased signage for businesses which may be impacted by the project. Signage included in the policy consists of: A-frames, banners, sign walkers and off site directional signs. The policy would also remove the requirements for Temporary Use Permits in the area for special events.

Stormwater Utility

Water Resource Management Director Terry Lowe presented an update to Mayor and Council on the development of the proposed Stormwater Utility. This presentation was intended to be the last workshop session to solicit Council input and feedback prior to staff seeking approval on March 15 to begin the adoption of the Utility and its rate.

In response to the storm events of 2014, Council asked staff to investigate options to deal with problems Surprise faces after severe storm events. The formation of a Stormwater Utility was chosen as the most fair and equitable way to develop and devote resources dedicated to Stormwater related activities. Staff commissioned a study to evaluate the different methods by which Stormwater Utilities are administered. The impervious surface area method proved to be the most consistent and fair approach, where customers were charged a fee based on the amount of impervious surface area that is on their property.

An equivalent dwelling unit (EDU) is established based on the average impervious surface area for all single family residents in Surprise. This EDU value (3,420 sq. ft.) is then used to calculate the commercial customer fee based on the size of the impervious surface area on the parcel. For example, a commercial property with 100,000 sq. ft. of impervious surface area is equal to 100,000/3,420 or 29.24 EDUs. Based on the forecasted costs necessary to fund necessary stormwater activities, such as infrastructure maintenance, regulatory compliance, and capital improvement, the value of an EDU is determined to be equal to $2/month. Therefore, every home in Surprise will be charged $2/month and every business will be charged their calculated EDU equivalent. In the previous example, the business with 100,000 sq. ft. of impervious surface area will be charged $2 x 29.23 EDUs or $58/month.

Review of Capital Projects

Budget Manager Jared Askelson continued discussion regarding the FY2017 capital budget. The conversation focused on asset maintenance and replacement including vehicles and pavement preservation. Links to videos of this and past budget presentations are available at www.surprise az.gov/budget.

City Council Meeting

Bell Road/Grand Avenue Project Phasing & Project Update

ADOT Assistant Communications Director Brock Barnhart provided Council with detailed phasing of the Bell Road/Grand Avenue interchange project. Phase I of the project, which included the reduction of two lanes on Grand Avenue in each direction as well as the removal of the median between Litchfield and Dysart Roads, has been complete. This past week, Phase II began and is expected to last through April 1, 2016.

Phase 2 includes road construction at 134th Avenue. Grand Avenue westbound construction will begin between Litchfield and Dysart Roads and Grand Avenue eastbound and westbound traffic will shift to share eastbound lanes. Business access along Grand Avenue to/from Surprise Towne Center and Surprise Marketplace will be maintained through this phase.

Phase 3A will begin with the full closure of Bell Road between West Point Parkway and 134th Drive on April 1, 2016. This phase is expected to last to early June. This phase will also include the relocation of 134th Drive and Bell Road to 134th Avenue and Bell Road. Grand Avenue will continue to be reduced to two lanes in each direction with Grand Avenue westbound construction occurring between Litchfield and Dysart Roads.

Phase 3B will begin in early June 2016 and it is expected to conclude in early November 2016. Grand Avenue eastbound construction will begin between Litchfield and Dysart Roads and Grand Avenue eastbound and westbound traffic will shift to share the westbound lanes. Bell Road will still be closed at this point; however, business access along Grand Avenue to/from Surprise Towne Center and Surprise Marketplace will be maintained with signalized intersections for entering and exiting. Business access from Bell Road to/from Surprise Towne Center and Surprise Marketplace will be maintained via Litchfield Road, West Point Parkway, 134th Drive and Dysart Road.

Phase 3C is scheduled to begin in early November 2016 and last through February 2017. Bell Road will be open to traffic. Grand Avenue eastbound construction will continue and eastbound and westbound traffic will shift to share the westbound lanes. Business access along Grand Avenue to/from Surprise Towne Center and Surprise Marketplace will be maintained with signalized intersections and right-turn entering and exiting.

Review of Operating Programs

The upcoming fiscal year 2017 was a topic of Council discussion this week as we move closer to the July 1 start date. Topics included maintaining our current infrastructure and expanding public safety services in the upcoming year. City Council reviewed a plan to dedicate $12 million of capital funding to pavement preservation, vehicle, equipment, and other infrastructure maintenance and replacement. Maintaining our current infrastructure was identified as the highest capital priority for the upcoming year which will allow the city to continue providing services at levels that residents have come to expect. The funding for the plan will come from various funding sources to include sales taxes dedicated for capital purposes and savings in various operating funds.

The discussion regarding public safety needs included a plan to add 23 public safety employees across Police, Fire-Medical, City Prosecution, and City Court. The plan has an estimated total cost of $2.8 million; however, it was discussed that the plan’s cost could be reduced to a $2.4 million annual cost through staging the timing of recruitments to better coincide with training and recruitment. From there, the conversation moved to identifying funding for this plan. Options on the table included multiple property tax and sales tax variations. Council will continue to discuss options over the next few meetings culminating with the adoption of the FY2017 budget on June 7.

Administration of Public Utilities Billing

Following a year’s worth of continued issues by the city’s contracted billing services provider American Water, the City Council unanimously voted Tuesday evening, to not appropriate the full contract with the company in the next fiscal year. The city and American Water will work together over the next seven to eight months to transition to the new billing arrangement. Over that time, the city will hire up to 15 new positions to include customer service and billing representatives and utilize new internal billing software. The ongoing costs for the city to provide this billing service is approximately $1.73 million annually, similar to the $1.8 million currently paid to contract the service annually.

Approximately 45,000 customers will receive new bills from the City of Surprise beginning in December that display November usage and costs. Additional transition details will be provided to customers prior to the change-over, including the creation of a dedicated customer service number. For now customers are reminded to call American Water with current billing questions at 888-300-3569.

Events & Meetings

Monheit Frich Group PLC Grand Opening

I attended the grand opening for a new business in the city, Monheit Frich Group PLC. They are located near the AZ TechCelerator. Welcome to Surprise!

Surprise Chamber of Commerce Annual Legacy Awards

Vice Mayor Jim Biundo, Councilmembers Roland Winters Jr. and Todd Tande and I attended the Surprise Chamber of Commerce Annual Legacy Awards on Friday, February 26. Mutual Bank of Omaha won the award for small business and First Bank won the award for large business. Sun Health received the award for large non-profit and Surprise Rotary received the award for small non-profit. Congratulations to all the winners!

Amanda Garcia and August Heiss with the Rotary Club of Surprise
Amanda Garcia and August Heiss with the Rotary Club of Surprise.

West Valley Veterans Center

Vice President of Veterans Initiatives for Maricopa Community Colleges Steve Yamamori met with Vice Mayor Biundo, Councilman Winters and I to discuss a project that will assist veterans in finding direction after serving our military. Mayors in the West Valley had been consulted this fall as part of this fantastic regional effort. The proposed center is part of the Veterans Success Project.

Read Across America

I was honored to read to two classes at Countryside Elementary School on Wednesday, March 2 as part of Read Across America Week which celebrates Dr. Seuss’s birthday.

Councilman Hall read to Countryside Elementary School for Read Across America

Surprise Stadium Clubhouse Ribbon Cutting

City Council attended the ribbon cutting to celebrate the recent renovations of the Surprise Stadium clubhouses. A special thank you to Mark Coronado and his team for all of their hard work and dedication to this completed project which also extended the term to the Kansas City Royals and Texas Rangers contracts through 2030.

City Council and guests cut ribbon at the opening of the new Surprise Stadium Clubhouse

Mark Your Calendar

Valley Metro Meeting

Valley Metro is hosting a community meeting at the Surprise Senior Center, 15832 N. Hollyhock Street, on March 9 from 9-11 a.m. to share information about bus and light rail services available to residents in the Northwest Valley. Information will be provided on Dial-a-Ride, the door-to-door transportation service for qualified seniors, people with disabilities and other residents.

Valley Metro staff will be present to assist residents with Dial-a-Ride applications, discuss other available transportation programs and to answer any questions or concerns about using public transportation in the Northwest Valley.

Spring Household Hazardous Waste Event

The date to dispose your household hazardous waste has been changed by two weeks. The spring 2016 Household Hazardous Waste Collection event is now scheduled for Saturday, March 26 at the Public Works Maintenance Yard, 13433 W. Foxfire Drive from 8 am until 12 noon, to avoid potential traffic conflicts that may arise due to the full closure of Bell Road (between West Point Parkway west and 134th Avenue east) on April 1.

The City offers the Household Hazardous Waste event twice a year so Surprise residents may properly dispose of items that contain chemicals which may be harmful to the environment. The event is free and for Surprise residents only. Please bring a driver’s license and a utility bill to show proof of a Surprise residential address. For more information including a list of acceptable items, please visit www.surpriseaz.gov/HHWevent or call 623.222.6000.

Encore Public Art Bus Tour

Due to the overwhelming success of the inaugural Surprise Public Art Bus Tour, the Surprise Arts and Cultural Advisory Commission has organized a second tour! Join the Arts Commission on Tuesday, March 22, and experience the art of Surprise.

Participants will visit locations and exhibits such as the WHAM Art Gallery, Arts HQ, the Joe Tyler Learning Tree, and many more. The bus departs Surprise City Hall, 16000 N. Civic Center Plaza, at 8:30 a.m. and will return at noon.

For questions about the tour or to reserve a seat, contact Susan de Jong, 623.214.7537. The deadline to reserve a spot is Tuesday, March 15.

Did You Know?

Social Media

You can now follow me on Facebook and on Twitter @skiphall2! I look forward to hearing from you!

Contact Me

Shop Surprise

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

Ask a Question