The Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) continues to issue project updates for the Bell Road/Grand Avenue bridge project. Please note that the project has entered the third and final stage through late February 2017.
Work continues on the following:
Reconstructing eastbound Grand Avenue. Paving anticipated to begin this week.
Installing curb and sidewalk along eastbound Grand Avenue
Spreading landscape rock along westbound Grand Avenue
City, County, and State law enforcement will be patrolling the area. Please obey all traffic signage and posted speed limits.
For more information or if you have questions: ADOT’s project hotline (855) 712-8530, press option #1 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
City Council Meeting
Mayor and Councilmembers Take Oath of Office
City Clerk Sherry Aguilar administered the Oath of Office for Mayor Sharon Wolcott, Councilmember Jim Hayden (District 2), Councilmember John Williams (District 3) and Councilmember Ken Remley (District 4), all of whom were elected in the August 2016 Primary Election. Each official was sworn to a four-year term. Congratulations to all!
Reporting Authority of City Attorney
After a healthy discussion, City Council voted to repeal Ordinance #2015-24 with respect to the reporting authority of the City Attorney. In June 2015, the majority of City Council voted to change the reporting structure of the City Attorney from the City Council to the City Manager. With the repeal, the City Council will resume the reporting authority of the City Attorney.
Neighborhood Grant Program Recommendations
The Surprise Neighborhood Grant Program was designed to increase community engagement, resident interest and involvement within the city. The Committee on Community Outreach, Partnerships and Grants recently reviewed the second round of applications and made funding recommendations to the full City Council. The Committee made the recommendations to approve an application for Benevilla for their Surprise Community Garden in the amount of $1,485 and an application from WHAM for their Recycled Arts Festival in the amount of $3,975. City Council unanimously approved the specified awards. The first round of awards went to Marley Park HOA for their Veterans Commemorative Plaza ($3,000) and Sanalina HOA for water conservation efforts and playground equipment ($3,000).
Worker’s Compensation Internal Service Fund
The City is now poised to transition to a self-insured and self-administered worker’s compensation program. The transition will require the recruitment and hiring of one full-time position. The total program implementation cost is $800,000 but the city will realize substantial savings by offsetting policy premiums by increasing risk tolerance. With the implantation, we will save $2.1 million dollars over the next three fiscal years.
Events & Meetings
Sierra Verde Self Storage Citizen Outreach Meeting
The city hosted a Citizen Outreach meeting at the Residence Inn on Wednesday, December 28. The meeting was held to obtain residents’ input on a proposed storage facility that would be located on 5.24 acres north of the Fry’s development along Litchfield Road. I attended the meeting to listen to resident feedback in advance of consideration by the City Council.
Mark Your Calendar
Lunchtime Theatre “Sound of Music”
West Valley Arts Council, Theater Works, West Valley Symphony and Phoenix Opera have partnered for the Lunchtime Theatre series. On January 12, 2017, the performance of Sound of Music is scheduled at 11:30 am and again at 1:30 am at the Arts HQ (16126 N. Civic Center Plaza). Attendees are welcome to bring their own lunch or they can pre-order one from the City Café.
Veteran Job Club
The next meeting of the Veteran Job Club is scheduled for January 12, 2017 at 6 p.m. at the Surprise Resource Center located at the AZ TechCelerator, 12425 W. Bell Road, Suite 124. The Veteran Job Club provides veterans, active military and their family members with industry and career pathway knowledge to help them gain the skills they need for job employment or to pursue a new career.
Surprise Police host Shred-a-Thon and Drug Take Back
The Surprise Police Department will host a Shred-a-Thon and Drug Take Back Event on Saturday, January 21, 2017 from 7 until 10 am. This event will be held at the Surprise Public Safety Building located at 14250 West Statler Plaza.
During the event, the public will be able to bring up to 3 boxes of documents, per vehicle, to be shredded. Additionally, unused prescription and over-the-counter medications can be brought and dropped off for destruction. There is no cost for the shredding of documents or destruction of medications.
Please note that we are unable to accept sharps (to include insulin syringes/needles) or inhalers of any kind. Additionally, the shredding event will continue until 10am or until the shred trucks have been filled up.
Did You Know?
Surprise Service Event
In honor of the life and work of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., the city of Surprise, in partnership with APS and the Northwest Black History Committee, is hosting a day of celebration and service on Saturday, January 14, 2017. A program celebrating Dr. King’s life will begin at 9 a.m. in the outside courtyard at Surprise City Hall, located at 16000 N Civic Center Plaza. It will feature a keynote address by Colonel Richard Toliver, retired USAF, author and renowned speaker with ties to the King family. Emceeing the program will be Steve Irvin, Emmy award-winning journalist and anchor of ABC15 News. Come early, and enjoy a free breakfast at 8:30 a.m. Breakfast is limited to the first 500 attendees.
Following the program, at 9:45 a.m., volunteers will be sent out into the community to complete service projects that include food sorting, painting, landscaping, trash collection and more. Projects will last approximately 1-4 hours. There is still plenty of time to sign up and serve!
How to get involved:
Individuals/Families – Join us for the breakfast, the program and the day of service! If you can only attend the service project portion of the day, please arrive at 9:45 a.m. to receive an assignment. Advanced registration is not required.
Groups – If you plan on bringing your group/club/congregation and would like to participate in the service projects, please RSVP your group name and estimated number of people to Ervin Cutwright at Ervin.Cutwright@surpriseaz.gov.
Sponsorships – If your business or organization would like to help sponsor the event, please contact Christina Ramirez at Christina.Ramirez@surpriseaz.gov to hear about opportunities available.
The West Valley Pops band performs free concerts in Surprise, throughout the West Valley and at Valley Vista Performing Arts Center. At their concerts, they collect canned food items which are distributed by West Valley food banks to those in need.
Staff has had a preliminary discussion with the West Valley Pops Band regarding a potential sponsorship opportunity. If approved, the West Valley Pops Band will change their name to the Surprise Pops Band. The annual sponsorship is estimated at $1,500 and would be managed through the City Manager’s budget via general funds.
General Plan 2035 – Open Space Character/Wildlife Corridor Discussion
Staff discussed the proposed Major Amendment to the Surprise General Plan 2035. The City Council was presented with further information related to the Wildlife Corridors, the Open Space Character Area, and the difference between the original staff recommendation and the Planning and Zoning Commission’s recommendation to City Council. The Council invited the public to speak, and City Council engaged in questions and discussions.
The City Council then held a Public Hearing to further engage discussion and listen to members of the public that elected to speak. As the discussion progressed, City Council voted to continue this item to a special meeting on Saturday December 19 at 9 a.m.
City Council Meeting
Verdugo Land Development, LLC requested a Minor General Plan Amendment and a Rezone/Major Amendment to the Verdugo PAD, together with a Preliminary Plat for a property located generally east of 163rd Avenue and south of the San Ysidro Road alignment.
The Surprise General Plan 2035 shows the area in question as Suburban Residential with a density range of between one and three dwelling units per acre (1-3 DU/Ac). At 29.64 acres, this would generate between 29 and 88 dwelling units. The proposed Minor Amendment to the General Plan, however, would generate between 148 and 237 dwelling units for the same land mass, which falls within the parameters of a Minor Amendment. The subject property lies within the currently approved Verdugo PAD, which calls for Suburban Residential, Commercial and Employment for this specific property, the latter two being contrary to the General Plan as currently approved. The related Major PAD Amendment seeks to change the zoning for a significant portion of the Verdugo project, which includes the transfer of approximately 15 acres of Medium Density Residential, and the deletion of approximately 12 acres of High Density Residential, in lieu of the approximately 29 acres of Medium Density Residential proposed for the subject site. If the related PAD Amendment is approved, there will be a net decrease of 12 dwelling units for the overall Verdugo PAD. The subject Minor General Plan Amendment will allow the Rezone/Major PAD Amendment to proceed.
Staff believes the proposed rezone, in conjunction with the related Preliminary Plat, is an overall improvement to the PAD and advances the goals and policies as established in both the currently approved General Plan as well as the proposed update to the Land Use Element of the General Plan. The Minor General Plan Amendment and the Rezone/PAD Amendment passed unanimously.
New Appointments for Boards & Commissions
City Council unanimously approved the appointment of Andrew Orlikoff to fill a vacancy on the Board of Trustees with a term expiration of June 30, 2017 and the appointment of Merrill Edelstein to fill a vacancy on the Arts & Cultural Advisory Commission with a term expiration of June 30, 2019. City Clerk Sherry Aguilar issued the Oath of Office. Congratulations, Andrew and Merrill!
Surprise Parks & Recreation Master Plan
Community and Recreation Services (CRS) and Community Development staff collaborated with Jay Hicks, Master Plan Consultant to prepare an update to the Parks and Recreation Master Plan. The consultant prepared current facility and program inventory, benchmarking locally and nationally, summarized potential deficiencies according to planning area and projected populations, identified potential construction costs for our current 20 year CIP plan and conducted a public survey. Staff reviewed progress, survey results and resulting conceptual themes in January 2015. Several workshops were held with the CRS Advisory Commission that included goals, policy and objective development, as well as general design guidelines and principles.
The goals of the Master Plan include improving the residential quality of life by reinvesting in our existing parks; promoting active recreation, sports and sports tourism; providing a connected park experience and pursuing opportunities to create and acquire new parks and open space. The goal, by 2030, is to have a total of 1,200 acres of new public parks which includes one new 200-acre city park, six new 25-acre community parks and 847 acres of open space. The final draft was approved by CRS Advisory Commission on November 23, 2015. This update to the plan aligns with the General Plan update. City Council unanimously approved the Surprise Parks & Recreation Master Plan Update.
Events & Meetings
Adaptive Holiday Party
Councilman Todd Tande, Councilman Roland Winters and I attended the Adaptive Holiday Party at DreamCatcher Park and provided a welcome for the guests on Friday, December 11.
Second Saturday – December 2015
I volunteered at Radiant Church’s Second Saturday on Saturday, December 12. The event took place on the Radiant Church campus on Reems Road. Over 600 volunteers helped serve more than 2,500 kids gifts they can enjoy this Christmas season. I am grateful to be part of this life changing event for children and their families in our community each year. The generosity of the Radiant community was very touching and embodies what life is really about. Thank you!
Committee on Water Resource Planning Meeting
The Committee on Water Resource Planning, on which I serve as Chair, met on Monday, December 14. Due to technical difficulties, the Committee elected to defer the water portfolio update discussion to our next meeting. The Water Resource Management Director made a presentation to the Committee on the Water Infrastructure Finance Authority (WIFA) of Arizona. The Committee elected to move this item forward to City Council in January for recommendation to begin the WIFA process in order to utilize this funding vehicle for water related projects. Water Resource Management staff provided an update to the committee on proposed conservation programs and capital improvement projects which will be placed in the proposed FY17 budget for Council review.
Surprise Regional Chamber of Commerce Breakfast Meeting
Councilman Jim Biundo, Councilman Todd Tande and I attended the Surprise Regional Chamber of Commerce monthly breakfast meeting. Our very own Community Development Director Eric Fitzer was the guest speaker. Mr. Fitzer elaborated on our sign code as the City of Surprise has begun the process to amend the City of Surprise Sign Code.
Over the next few months, staff will be conducting stakeholder meetings and work sessions with the City Council. City staff has broken these work sessions into three signage types: Wall and Window Signage; Monument Signs and the Comprehensive Sign Program; and Temporary and Off-Site Signs. Staff has been able to reach out to 28 stakeholders who compose the sign industry, Surprise Regional Chamber, and the real estate and development communities’ interests and welcomes the opportunity to add additional stakeholders to the list. The sign code is a set of requirements, standards and guidelines to help govern outdoor advertising and signage within the City of Surprise and as such, they are very important to the aesthetic nature of the community as well as businesses and residents.
The Surprise Chamber announced a new Chamber program, a business-exclusive leads group. This new group will meet every Wednesday morning at 7:15 a.m. in the Chamber conference room, located at the Chamber Conference Center at 16126 N. Civic Center in Surprise.
Reception for City Attorney
Surprise City Manager Bob Wingenroth hosted a reception on Tuesday, December 15 in honor of Robert Wingo who recently accepted the permanent position of City Attorney. Wingo joined Surprise in December 2013 as the Deputy City Attorney and became Chief Deputy in April 2014. He most recently served as the Interim City Attorney, following the resignation of the previous City Attorney in late October 2015.
“Robert is an outstanding attorney, but more importantly, an outstanding person. He has a heart of service and great strength of character,” says City Manager Wingenroth. “He is a humble leader, and a strong advocate for democracy, transparency, and the law.”
Wingo has 11 years of legal experience including prior service as the City Attorney for Page, Arizona (March 2012 – December 2013). He served as Page’s Assistant City Attorney five years prior to being named City Attorney for that community.
He holds a B.A. summa cum laude in Anthropology from Northern Arizona University and received his law degree from the University of Oklahoma College of Law.
The City Attorney is the chief legal adviser to the Council and City departments and represents the Surprise in all legal proceedings. The attorney also administers the City’s legal department, which includes city prosecutors and a civil division.
Legacy Traditional School Spelling Bee
I was asked to judge a spelling bee for Legacy Traditional School in Surprise on Thursday, December 17. Congratulations to the winners on their success in the first ever Legacy Traditional School Surprise Campus Spelling Bee! The winners were: First Place- Skylar D. and Runner Up- Parker K. Congrats to all 25 finalists from 3rd-8th grade!
Valley Metro RPTA Meeting
The Valley Metro RPTA Board met on Thursday, December 17. Several items were discussed and decided upon including the approval of Eric Anderson as the short-term Interim CEO until January 31, 2016. A longer-term Interim CEO is being considered from interested applicants.
All travel will be approved by the CEO and a report will be provided to the Board on a monthly basis. Furthermore, the General Counsel and Chief Financial Officer (CFO) will report directly to the Board.
Employee Appreciation Holiday Luncheon
The Employee Appreciation Committee hosted a luncheon for all employees on Thursday, December 17. City Manager Bob Wingenroth acknowledged several deserving employees for going above and beyond, and City Directors served food to the staff.
Mark Your Calendar
Cactus Road Sidewalk Ramp Project
A project to replace sidewalk ramps at 19 locations along Cactus Road will begin on Monday, December 21. There will be daytime lane restrictions between 7 am and 4 pm through January 5 as crews work from east to west along Cactus Road from 141st Avenue to 151st Avenue, including locations at the Bullard and Cactus intersections.
Lunchtime Theater in Surprise Continues
Lunchtime Theater continues in Surprise in 2016 with three more shows! Lunchtime theatre is presented through a collaboration between the City of Surprise, the West Valley Arts Council, Theater Works and the West Valley Symphony. The remaining three lunchtime performances will be held in the beautiful 2,500 square foot Arts HQ gallery. Performances include:
January 13, 2016: “Jam Session with Maestro Kellogg and Friends” – West Valley Symphony. View event
January 28, 2016: “I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change” – Theater Works presents a musical about the contemporary conundrum of “the relationship”. View event
March 3, 2016: “City of Angels” – Theater Works presents a musical homage to the classic film. View event
All performances begin at Noon at the Arts HQ, 16126 N. Civic Center Plaza, Surprise, AZ. Tickets are $9 for each performance. To order tickets, please call the West Valley Arts Council at 623.935.6384 or Susan de Jong at 623.214.7537. Each performance will be 45-50 minutes long.
Attendees are welcome to bring a lunch or pre-order from the City Café @ Surprise. To place a lunch order, please contact the City Café @ Surprise at 623.222.8900. Lunch orders from the City Café @ Surprise will be delivered to the Arts HQ before the performance.
World Series Day
Surprise Stadium will be recognizing the Kansas City Royals for the 2015 World Series win at the 1:05 pm game scheduled for Saturday, March 5!
Did You Know?
Surprise City Manager Receives Patriot Award
Surprise City Manager Bob Wingenroth was presented with a U.S. Department of Defense award Tuesday evening for his efforts to support veteran initiatives. Wingenroth received the Patriot Award from the Department’s Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR) office. This award recognizes supervisors and bosses nominated by a Guardsman or Reservist employee for support of military services. The nomination was submitted by Staff Sergeant Timothy Suan, A U.S. Air Force Reservist and City of Surprise Intern. Congratulations Bob!
Major Rehab Funds Available
The City is currently accepting applications from income-qualified resident homeowners to participate in the Major Housing Rehabilitation Program. Eligible repairs include plumbing, mechanical, electrical, heating, cooling and accessibility. The program is funded through the federal HOME Investment and Partnerships Grant (HOME).
Projects are selected on a first-come, first-served basis, with special consideration given to projects that address health and safety issues. Funds are limited. For more information, please contact Jason Hughes at 623.222.3239.
Fall Tennis Tournaments
Surprise Tennis and Racquet Complex has had a very busy fall hosting several tournaments over the last few months. Approximately 1,800 players from various USTA leagues participated. For more information on future tournaments, you can visit our website or USTA’s website at www.usta.com.
Work to improve Greenway & Dysart intersection begins Sunday
Work to improve the intersection of Dysart and Greenway Roads will begin Sunday, Dec. 20. The project will improve ride quality in the east and west directions and enhance pedestrian accessibility.
Work is expected to be completed by Jan. 24, 2016, pending there are no weather-related delays.
There will be phased lane restrictions during the project. There is a planned full closure of the intersection starting the evening of Friday, Jan. 15 and running through the evening of Sunday, Jan. 17 to complete the paving phase of the project. Detour routes will be posted to assist in navigating around the closure.
If you have any questions regarding this project, please call the Public Works Department at 623.222.6000.
Daytime road closures scheduled Dec. 21 & 22
Asphalt repairs in Surprise, west of the Loop 303, will occur on December 21 and 22; the daytime road closures will impact the following roadways:
Southbound Verde Vista Drive, south of Greenway Road, will be closed December 21 from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Southbound 175th Avenue, south of Bell Road, will be closed December 22 from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Motorists are encouraged to plan ahead and consider alternate routes during the closures.
Happy Holidays – From My Family to Yours!
At this time of year, I reflect upon how extremely grateful I am to work with truly wonderful people like you, the residents of Surprise, and my colleagues at City Hall including my fellow Council Members. I sincerely wish you a season of health, happiness and prosperity as you embark upon the new year. Best wishes to all of you in 2016, and God bless!
Please be advised that City Hall will be closed on Friday, December 25 and Friday, January 1 in honor of the upcoming holidays.
This will be the last newsletter for 2015. My newsletter will resume the week of January 4, 2016. Thank you!
Surprise Regional Chamber of Commerce Membership Agreement
City Council reviewed the new draft membership agreement from the Chamber of Commerce, under the leadership of President Melissa Holdaway and CEO Raul Sada. The agreement will be brought forward for Council consideration and action in December.
Surprise City Code Chapter 54 Revision Discussion
Surprise Police Lieutenant Harold Brady presented on recommended changes to the City’s Large Vehicle Parking City Codes. Some of the suggested changes include adding a definition for “curb return” to utilize in defining where large vehicles should park relative to intersections; amending the definition of “truck” to capture the scope of vehicles that can safely park within residential zones; the addition of verbiage to include a large vehicle can only be parked on a residential street if it leaves 20′ of roadway available for traffic; and, adding wording to clarify that, while parked on the street, recreational vehicles cannot be slept in or lived in.
Surprise Neighborhood Grant Pilot Program
Earlier this year, Neighborhood Association Committees were discussed. At that time, City Council designated $10,000 for the purpose of establishing a Neighborhood Grant Pilot Program. The purpose of the program is to increase community engagement, interest and involvement within the City.
The proposed program would allow neighborhoods the opportunity for monetary assistance for funding community events, neighborhood functions or even some improvements. The outlet would provide neighborhoods the opportunity to request assistance with the goal of building community engagement and stronger relationships with the City. The program will be discussed with the Committee on Community Outreach, Grants and Partnerships and presented to the City Council at a later date.
City Council Meeting
Parkview Elementary School
In a continued effort to recognize students, our schools and their importance to our community, fifth grade students from Ms. Swenson’s class at Parkview Elementary School led the pledge. A few students were afforded the chance to speak to Council about their school and classmates. Parkview Elementary School is located in District 5 and led by Dr. Roz Fisher and Assistant Principal Robin Hollowell.
1936 Ramola Plat Resolution
Staff, in an effort to improve safety and connectivity in the community, attempted to obtain Rights-of-Way donations for Cactus Road between Cotton Lane and 175th Avenue. The request was made because this section of Cactus Road is unpaved. The City has budgeted $500,000 to pave two lanes within this section. Staff has been able to obtain Rights-of-Way donations from all but two property owners; which have been unwilling to grant such right-of-way. Through research, staff has determined that Right-of-Way does exist on Cactus Road per the 1936 Ramola Plat so staff requested that the City Council recognize the 1936 Ramola Plat so that the City may annex the public roadway pursuant to A.R.S. Section 9-471(N) which allows for an alternative annexation method for county roadways. City Council unanimously approved the request.
City Attorney General Release Agreement
After a brief Executive Session, City Council voted unanimously to take no action on the General Release Agreement proposed by the former City Attorney Misty Leslie.
City Attorney Reporting Authority Municipal Code Amendment
The City Council approved, with a 4-3 vote, action on Ordinance 2015-24, an ordinance approving amendments to Chapters 2 and 3 of the Surprise Municipal Code relating to the reporting authority of the City Attorney. The action moves the City Attorney under the City Manager’s direction. Per previous discussions, the appointed officials of the City will now consist of the City Manager, City Clerk and the City Court judge.
Events & Meetings
3rd Annual Local Colorado River Conference
Water Resource Portfolio Manager Fred Stevens and I attended the 3rd Annual Local Colorado River Conference. Represented at the Conference were the US Bureau of Reclamation, Arizona Department of Water Resources, Central Arizona Project (CAP), and the Arizona Water Banking Authority. We covered the history behind the Law of the River.
Challenges on the Colorado River were also discussed including the probability of shortages. According to the US Bureau of Reclamation models, there is a 0% probability in 2016, 18% probability in 2017, 52% in 2018, 65% in 2019 and 57% in 2020. On a Tier One shortage (Lake Mead below 1075 feet), Arizona would be impacted with a reduction of 320,000 acre feet, all in agriculture. The current models show that cities could be impacted in 2026.
Governor Ducey’s Arizona Water Initiative from October 2015 addresses these issues. The first track is to prioritize and evaluate all of the 22 planning areas identified in the Arizona Department of Water Resources Strategic Vision. Arizona Department of Water Resources will work closely with planning areas to identify issues that are resulting in demand and supply imbalances and to develop strategic goals that are likely to be successful in addressing them. The second track will involve establishing a team appointed by the Governor to investigate long term augmentation strategies in addition to conversation, funding and infrastructure needs. The team will be led by the Arizona Department Water Resources Director Thomas Buschatzke.
Veteran’s SMART Memory Research Program Event
On Monday, November 2, I attended a special event for veterans, the SMART Memory Research Program. The program is part of a research study for veterans that are targeting the early onset of Dementia/Alzheimer’s from TBI (Traumatic Brain Injury) and PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder). Dr. John W. Denboer, Clinical Neuropsychologist, was the guest speaker.
A special thank you to Debbie Lee with America’s Mighty Warriors for initiating the event and for covering the cost of the workbooks for the program.
Arts & Cultural Commission Meeting
The Arts & Cultural Commission met on Monday, November 2 to review their annual budget and make adjustments to accommodate the City Hall art display plan. They also discussed any potential aesthetics on the Bell/Grand Avenue intersection project. The Commission will soon begin to work on their annual mini bat design contest in partnership with the Community & Recreation Services Department.
Mark Your Calendar
Second Sunday in the Park
The City of Surprise continues its Second Sundays in the Park series this Sunday, Nov. 8. Shake, rattle, and roll from 2-4p.m. as the “8 Tracks” perform jukebox hits from the 50’s and 60’s in the center of Surprise Community Park.
This free family event, presented by Surprise Toyota, is a great opportunity to picnic and enjoy a beautiful day outdoors while listening to live musical entertainment. Surprise Community Park is located at 15953 N. Bullard Avenue.
Inaugural Surprise Veterans Day Parade
The City cordially invites you to join us in honoring our service men and women at the inaugural City of Surprise Veterans Day Parade and pancake breakfast on November 11. The breakfast, catered by The Links Neighborhood Grill, kicks off at 7:30 a.m. at Surprise Recreation Campus and will feature pancakes, sausage, and breakfast refreshments. Tickets are $4 per plate and available for purchase at the Surprise Community and Recreation Services office, located at 15960 N. Bullard Avenue. Office hours are Monday through Friday, 8 am-5 pm. Reserved parade viewing is included with the purchase of a breakfast ticket.
The parade begins at 9:30 a.m. and will be routed along Bullard Avenue between Paradise Lane and Tierra Buena Lane. It will feature more than 75 community entries honoring the men and women in uniform who have selflessly served our country.
Parking will be available for parade attendees at the Surprise Recreation Campus, located at 15960 N. Bullard Avenue. Please note in preparation for parade, Paradise Lane between Bullard Avenue and Statler Avenue will be closed at 6:30 a.m. and Bullard Avenue between Paradise Lane and Tierra Buena Lane will be closed at 9 a.m.
Arts & Cultural Advisory Commission Art Encounter
The Arts and Cultural Advisory Commission invites the public to an Art Encounter at Surprise City Hall to explore the architecture of the building through a creative lens and explore the areas of city history and government. This free public event will be held Thursday, November 12. The encounter begins at 5 p.m. in the Mayor’s Atrium of Surprise City Hall, 16000 N. Civic Center Plaza, and guests will then be escorted to other locations throughout the building.
Attendees will hear from the Surprise City Manager, City Clerk, and members of both the City Council and the Arts and Cultural Advisory Commission as they experience the following:
A walking tour of Surprise City Hall’s architectural interest points
The telling of the history of Surprise
A description of how local government works
An explanation of city management operations
Surprise Farms and Veramonte Parks Ribbon Cuttings
The Surprise City Council, the Recreation Advisory Commission and the Community and Recreation Services Department invite you to attend the Surprise Ribbon Cutting Celebration for Surprise Farms and Veramonte Community Parks on Saturday, November 14.
The celebration will begin at 9 a.m. with a ribbon cutting at Veramonte Community Park located at 12741 N. 140th Ave. The park will feature restrooms, a splash pad, a parking lot and other park amenities.
The Surprise Farms Community Park ribbon cutting ceremony will start at 10 a.m. The Community Park is located on the southeast corner of 175th Avenue and Surprise Farms Loop South and will feature a playground, splash pad, basketball court, skate park, restrooms and other park amenities.
There will be bus transportation available to the public for both ribbon cutting ceremonies. The bus will depart from the Surprise Recreation Campus – Surprise Stadium, located at 15960 N. Bullard Avenue, at 8:45 a.m. To reserve a seat on the bus, please contact Stacy Cieszynski at 623.222.2268 by November 9. Space is limited to the first 60 residents/participants. Subject to availability.
Did You Know?
Grand Avenue Overnight Closures
Several overnight closures are scheduled for Grand Avenue (U.S. 60) beginning Tuesday, November 10, so that the Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) may continue construction on the Loop 303 bridge.
Grand Avenue will be closed overnight in both directions between RH Johnson Boulevard/Sunrise Boulevard and Loop 303 on Tuesday, November 10, Wednesday, November 11 and Thursday, November 12; the closures are scheduled to begin at 9 p.m. and conclude at 5 a.m. the following mornings.
The weekend closure of Grand Avenue between Loop 303 and RH Johnson Boulevard/Sunrise Boulevard will begin at 9 p.m. Friday, November 13 and conclude at 5 a.m. Monday, November 15.
The work is part of the ongoing $46 million project to improve the Loop 303/Grand Avenue traffic interchange. The project is scheduled for completion in summer 2016. For more information, please call 855.712.8530, or email email@example.com.
City Ambulance Service Launches
The City began running its first city-owned and operated ambulance this week. After receiving approval of its Certificate of Necessity application this past summer, the Surprise Fire-Medical Department purchased a paramedic ambulance that is now running out of Fire Station 305, at Greenway Road and Parkview Place. The Department now has responsibility for the oversight of all ambulance service within the city and, as the fleet grows, Surprise Fire-Medical will also become the primary provider of emergency transport.
This set-up will allow Rural Metro to continue its long-standing partnership with the city by providing hospital-to-hospital transport, care facility transport and back-up emergency transport.
City Council met on Tuesday, October 27 at a Special Council Meeting to consider and take action on appointing an Interim City Attorney given Misty Leslie’s resignation last week. Deputy City Attorney Robert Wingo has been named the City’s Interim City Attorney. Mr. Wingo joined the City in December 2013 as the Deputy City Attorney and was named Chief Deputy in April 2014. He has 11 years of legal experience including prior service as the City Attorney for Page, Arizona. He holds a B.S. summa cum laude in Anthropology from Northern Arizona University and received his law degree from the University of Oklahoma College of Law.
Please join me in thanking Misty for her service to the City. I wish her the best of luck in her new endeavor.
Events & Meetings
Surprise Police Officer Jim Reznik Retires
I was honored to attend the Surprise Police Department Retirement Open House for Officer Jim Reznik. Officer Reznik retired on October 22, 2015 with 28 years of service to our fine City.
Officer Reznik began employment with the Surprise Marshal’s Office on September 23, 1987. Throughout his career, Jim was assigned to the Field Operations Division and the Criminal Investigations Division. He was also assigned to the DEA Task Force from 2002 until 2011. Jim’s achievements included Field Training Officer, Narcotics Investigator, Gang Training and Master Police Officer.
Thank you, Jim, for all your years of service protecting Surprise and making a difference in the lives of so many of our beloved residents.
Surprise Invitational Art Exhibit Opens at Arts HQ
The West Valley Arts HQ Gallery hosted an opening reception for the Surprise Invitational Art Exhibit on Thursday, October 22. Councilman Roland Winters and I attended the event with several residents and fellow art enthusiasts. There are over 80 pieces on display. The exhibit can be seen through December 11, 2016. West Valley Arts HQ is located at 16126 N. Civic Center Plaza.
On Friday, October 23, I attended Benevilla’s Harvest Festival at the Surprise Community Garden. This annual event was full of residents enjoying music, food, crafts and much more. I’d like to extend a special thank you to the Surprise Police and Fire-Medical Departments for their work at this event!
The Surprise Community Garden is a Community For All Ages program led by Benevilla in partnership with the City of Surprise and Rio Salado College.
Sierra Verde Community Event
Mayor Wolcott, Councilwoman Rachel Villanueva and I attended the Sierra Verde Movie Night on Saturday, October 24 at their local community park. Many residents were in attendance for the event which was sponsored by Stillwater Landscape Management.
Rio Salado RISE International Presentations
Councilmen Jim Biundo and Roland Winters and I were honored to watch presentations from international students as part of the RISE program at Rio Salado College on Monday, October 26. Immigrants from Laos, Belarus, Mexico and Tonga were eager to share their stories about why they chose Surprise, their thoughts on America and much more. More than 80 people were in attendance.
RISE is a grassroots community based educational organization created for and by seniors to afford them the opportunity for stimulation, enlightenment and interaction amongst peers in an environment which encourages lifelong learning.
Sierra Verde Community Meeting
Sierra Verde held their HOA meeting on Wednesday, October 28. The budget for 2016 was approved, and an update was provided on the fall tree pruning and removals.
Mark Your Calendar
Transportation Update Meeting
Staff has scheduled a community meeting on Thursday, November 5 in the Mayor’s Atrium of City Hall from 5-7 pm so that City can communicate information regarding current and future transportation Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) projects with residents. The City has compiled a list of 10 significant projects that are either in design review, have been recently approved or are currently under construction, and will have information tables for each project at this meeting.
One project nearing completion is the Bell Road Sidewalk Project, which is 80 percent complete and on track to conclude in mid-November.
Pavement Preservation Work – Traffic Restrictions
The City is in the process of performing pavement preservation work on Reems Road between Greenway and Waddell Roads resulting in traffic restrictions.
Traffic will be restricted to one lane in each direction from 6 am until 6 pm on November 2 and November 3. Turn lanes will be maintained as long as possible until they are within work limits.
Did You Know?
General Election Day
As a friendly reminder, there will be NO voting at Surprise City Hall on Election Day, November 3. All voters waiting to vote until Election Day must go to their designated polling locations to vote in person and to drop off ballots.
Polls will be open from 6 am until 7 pm on Election Day only. Please call the Maricopa County Elections Department at 602.506.1511 for more information or please feel free to visit www.recorder.maricopa.gov to search for your polling location.
Surprise Dial-A-Ride Update
Surprise Dial-A-Ride is now offering service on holidays! Holiday service will be capped at 30 one-way trips per day.
Dial-A-Ride’s regular hours of operation are Monday through Saturday, 5 a.m. to 8 p.m. Regular weekday cap limits are 140 one-way trips, and Saturdays have a cap of 30 one-way trips.
As a reminder, Dial-A-Ride offers advanced reservations. Certified ADA, seniors and others with disabilities can schedule advance reservations up to 14 days prior to the trip. To make an appointment for Dial-A-Ride service, please call 602.266.8723.
Surprise Planner II Joshua Mike and Kevin Kugler of Baker International presented an update on the land use portion of the General Plan element. The focus of the discussion was on the character approach versus traditional prescriptive general plan land use. The character area is a more modern approach that is currently utilized by some communities. There are fewer land use categories to define the character but included in these character areas are development types which organize the relationship of land uses. It is typically more flexible and quantitative and combines concepts of land use with building form to help guide the development in each character area.
The end of 60 day review period for the General Plan Update is November 17. Followed by a November 19 Planning and Zoning Commission meeting. The Planning and Zoning Commission will make a recommendation on December 3 with City Council action on December 15. For more information, please see the City of Surprise website at http://www.surpriseaz.gov/generalplan.
City Transportation Projects Update
Staff provided an update on several city CIP projects scheduled to occur this fall.
Waddell Road Median (Litchfield Road to 1200 feet west): Construction is expected to begin in January 2016. Request for bids will open in November.
Landscaping Median (various locations):The project currently focuses on completing medians in the following locations:
Reems Road – Peoria to Cactus (1 mile)
Bullard Avenue – Peoria to Cholla (1/2 mile)
Waddell Road – 175th to Citrus (1/2 mile)
Sarival Road – Bell to Northwest Ranch Parkway (900 feet)
The construction at Cactus Road (south side) from Litchfield Road to rail road tracks and Litchfield Road (east side) from Cactus Road to Desert Cove Road is expected to begin in the March/April 2016 timeframe.
The Bell Road sidewalk project is currently 80% complete and is expected to be complete by mid-November.
The Greenway Road widening project (Bullard Avenue to Litchfield Road) is anticipated to be bid and awarded in December 2015 and completed in Spring 2016. The project also includes intersection dip improvements at Dysart and Litchfield Roads.
City Council Meeting
Surprise Municipal Code Amendment – City Attorney
In June 2015, City Council discussed a possible code change to move the City Attorney’s line of reporting from City Council to the City Manager. The City Council was previously provided with the amended ordinance and a lengthy discussion occurred to clarify the opinion. Further discussion led to the request for a second opinion.
Bell/Grand Corridor Project Discussion
Several representatives from Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) and Maricopa Association of Governments (MAG) presented the background of the proposed Bell/Grand corridor project as City Council pondered whether or not to move forward with it. Included in the discussion was the approximate cost of the project, the timeline of the project, safety and traffic flow concerns, economic impact and the health of the community overall if the project continues. After a lengthy discussion, followed by numerous questions, City Council decided to proceed with the project, by a 5-2 vote, which entails up to a 7-month full closure of Bell Road, from Dysart Road to West Point Parkway.
It is my intent to stay actively involved with the businesses and residents affected and to help eliminate as much disruption as possible. Economic Development staff has been asked to prepare a business assistance plan to help the businesses impacted by the future construction. Work on Bell Road is not anticipated until after spring training. For additional information, I encourage you to watch the City Council meeting online at www.surpriseaz.gov/surprise11 or on cable channel 11.
Surprise Community Outreach Program Recommendations
The Committee on Community Outreach, Partnerships and Grants received approval on the funding recommendations for the Surprise Community Outreach Program for fiscal year 2016. This year, the Committee received 14 applications totaling $117,175. The following agencies were unanimously approved for funding:
St. Vincent de Paul ($10,000), Northwest Valley Connect ($8,000), Dysart Education Foundation ($8,800), Homeless Youth Connection ($3,200), West Valley Arts Council ($5,000) and West Valley Symphony ($5,000)
Events & Meetings
Roy Villanueva Community & Recreation Complex Plaque Unveiling
Mayor Wolcott, Councilman Jim Biundo, Councilman Roland Winters and I joined Councilwoman Rachel Villanueva and her family for the Roy Villanueva Community & Recreation Complex plaque unveiling on Saturday, October 17 prior to the Surprise Fiesta Grande. More than 100 people were in attendance for this event honoring Mr. Villanueva who spent so many years diligently working for our fine city.
Surprise Fiesta Grande
The Surprise Fiesta Grande was held on Saturday, October 17. Despite the brief rainfall, the event was a success! Approximately 10,000 people attended the event as well as 30 business vendors and 10 food vendors. It is our hope the Fiesta becomes a welcome tradition for our City as it honors our heritage and celebrates our diversity. Thank you to Mark Coronado, Director of Community & Recreation Services, and his team for their hard work preparing for the event.
Surprise Police Department Promotional Ceremony
Several Council Members and I attended a Surprise Police Department Promotional Ceremony in the City Council Chamber. Those promoted were Assistant Chief Geoffrey Leggett, Commander John Heffelfinger, Lieutenant Jeremy Robertson, Lieutenant Theresa Clark, Sergeant Ian Murton, Sergeant Severin Hall and Sergeant Robert Gabrych. Congratulations to all of you and best of luck to you in your positions!
Surprise HOA Academy
I attended the Surprise HOA Academy on Monday, October 19. There were 47 residents in attendance. The goal of the HOA Academy is to provide expert information for West Valley HOA Board Members, management company staff and homeowners.
Surprise Regional Chamber of Commerce Monthly Breakfast
Councilman Jim Biundo and I attended the Surprise Regional Chamber of Commerce monthly breakfast meeting on Tuesday, October 20. There was a round table discussion on recommended improvements to bring more value to Chamber members. Future event ideas were also discussed.
Homeless Youth Connection Breakfast Meeting
Homeless Youth Connection (HYC) held their “Empowering Youth” breakfast on Thursday, October 22 at Tuscany Falls Golf Resort. Homeless Youth Connection offers the Empowering Youth for the Future (EYFTF) program to provide homeless youth the resources they need to stay in school and graduate. Funding for the program provides basic needs, case management, housing and life skills.
HYC serves homeless youth from 13 to 19 years of age. Youth must be free of substance abuse and are without a stable home and homeless through no fault or choice of their own. Each youth is identified by their school as homeless under the McKinney-Vento Act. The youth that are served are part of several school districts, including Dysart, in the West Valley.
Valley Metro RPTA Meeting
On Thursday, October 22, I attended the Valley Metro RPTA Board meeting. There will be a slight change with the Surprise Dial-A-Ride service. Surprise Dial-A-Ride is now offering service on holidays. The holiday service will be capped to 30 one-way trips per day.
Dial-A-Ride’s regular hours of operation are Monday through Thursday, 5 am to 8 pm. Regular weekday cap limits are 140 one-way trips, and Saturdays have a cap of 30 one-way trips.
Mark Your Calendar
Preventing Medical & Tax Identity Theft
Financial consequences of medical or tax identity theft can be devastating. You can help protect yourself by getting informed at a free class. The Preventing Medical and Tax Identity Theft class will be taught by Linda Vitale, tax professional, newspaper columnist, author and educator and it will cover the reasoning for how identity theft happens and how to protect yourself.
The class will be held on Wednesday, November 4 from 10 am until 11:30 am at the Surprise City Hall, Room 150, 16000 N. Civic Center Plaza. For more information, please call Ruby Sitea at 623.222.3242.
Did You Know?
Stormwater Utility Public Meetings
Surprise will be hosting four public meetings to inform residents about the proposed Stormwater Utility and to gather input on stormwater management in the city. If adopted, a utility designated for stormwater management would enable the city to cover the costs of public health and safety concerns often caused by stormwater such as flooding, which causes polluted standing water that attracts pests, and transportation issues such as sinkholes and premature pavement loss.
Residents are encouraged to attend the public meetings to learn more. For the residential customer, the proposed rate is approximately a $2 line item added to your current monthly water/wastewater bill. The first public meeting will be held November 18 at Sierra Montana Recreation Center, 14861 N. Spring Lane from 6 until 7:30 pm. For information on additional meetings, please call 623.222.6000 or visit www.surpriseaz.gov/stormwater.