Tag Archives: Financial Status Report

June 21, 2018 • Newsletter

City Council Work Session

Sports & Tourism Department Update

Sports & Tourism Director Kendra Pettis provided an update including spring training and department initiatives. With the new fiscal year, there are plans to evaluate and analyze this past year’s business, establish tracking and baselines, creating comprehensive marketing and sales plans and much more.

We had another successful spring training season this year, 2018 was third highest gross revenue in Spring Training history, bringing in more than $6.7 million. This year, 190,043 people attended the games at Surprise Stadium. In addition, several different level baseball tournaments, various tennis and pickleball tournaments and special events were hosted in Surprise that generated significant hotel nights and tourism opportunities.

Distracted Driving Ordinance Discussion

Earlier this year, I asked the Surprise Police Department to present a proposed amendment to Chapter 54, Article I to add a new section of the Surprise Municipal Code relative to the use of handheld mobile devices or portable electronic devices while driving. Prohibiting the use of these items while driving would discourage distracted driving, thereby making the roadways safer for all of us on the roads.

Confinement of Animals Discussion

Surprise Police Department presented on a proposed amendment of the Surprise Municipal Code relative to the safe and sanitary confinement of animals. The ordinance would penalize unsafe and unhealthy practices as well as highlight conditions such as temperature, access to food and water, and tethering, which impact animal health and safety.

Confinement should not endanger the health or wellbeing of the animal. The animal requires access to food and water, protection from inclement weather including heat and cold, and an area that is sanitary.

City Council Meeting

Boards & Commission Appointments

City Council unanimously approved the appointments of John Williams to fill the resident vacancy on the Tourism Advisory Commission with a term expiration of June 30, 2021 and Glenn Stark to fill the remainder of a term due to the vacancy of the Chamber of Commerce seat on the Tourism Advisory Commission.

Urban Camping Ordinance

A new urban camping ordinance was approved. The purpose behind the ordinance is to maintain streets, parks and other public and private areas within the city in a clean, sanitary and accessible condition and to adequately protect the health, safety and public welfare of the community, while recognizing that, subject to reasonable conditions, camping and camp facilities associated with special events can be beneficial to the cultural and educational climate in the city. This ordinance has a services first approach to anyone in violation of the ordinance. Individuals experiencing homelessness and who are seeking services can get connected by calling 211, or accessing the city’s Community Resource Guide found here: https://www.surpriseaz.gov/DocumentCenter/View/40011/Community-Resource-Guide?bidId.

Anyone seeking eviction prevention, utility and employment assistance can visit the Surprise Resource Center, located at 12425 W. Bell Rd, Bldg. A, Ste. #124 at the AZ TechCelerator Campus, or call 623-222-1600. The ordinance is scheduled to go into effect 30 days after council action.

General Obligation Bond Update

City staff provided City Council with a Decide Surprise General Obligation Bond projects and financial update at Tuesday night’s Regular Meeting. On April, 18, 2018 the city issued the first General Obligation Bond sale resulting in $37 million of principal outstanding. Piper Jaffray submitted the winning bid which resulted in a bond yield of 2.97%- lower than the original 4% estimate.

Design work is underway for:

  • Fire Stations 304 & 308
  • Public Works Operations Facility
  • Traffic Congestion Mitigation Projects along Waddell, Litchfield & Greenway Roads

Land acquisition for the fire stations and Public Works Operations Facility is underway and the groundbreaking for the Public Works structure will commence by the end of this calendar year.

The following areas have been selected for Pavement Preservation Treatments in Fiscal Year 2019:

  • Reems Road/Bell Road Intersection
  • Reems Road from Bell Road to Grand Avenue
  • Cactus Road from Bullard Avenue to Reems Road
  • Greenway Road from Bullard Avenue to Reems Road
  • Waddell Road/Litchfield Road Intersection
  • Waddell Road from Dysart Road to Litchfield Road
  • Waddell Road from Bullard Avenue to Reems Road
  • Reems Road /Cactus Road Intersection
  • Reems Road from Cactus Road to Waddell Road
  • Dysart Road from Greenway Road to Bell Road

Improvement work on Litchfield and Waddell roads begins in the summer of 2019. Greenway improvements will begin about nine months following the completion of Waddell.

The selection of a design-build team for the Public Safety Evidence & Readiness Center is scheduled for December 2018. The Police Training Facility design selection is expected in June 2020.

The secondary property tax assessment to fund the bond projects begins July 1, 2018. The secondary property tax rate is $0.42 per $100 of assessed property valuation. To review the scope of the projects, construction timeline, costs and more visit www.surpriseaz.gov/decidesurprise.

Tourism Five Year Strategic Plan (2018-2023)

In April of 2017, the Tourism Advisory Commission began the process of updating the 2010 Tourism Strategic Plan. The Commission worked with the Sports and Tourism department, Community and Recreation Services Department and a facilitator on two developmental planning work sessions in April and November of 2017.

With the consistent growth of the city, the Tourism Advisory Commission has a goal of increasing prospective awareness of Surprise tourism and enhancing the quality of life for residents through increased tourism-based development and partnership opportunities. Through a process of discovery and collaboration, the Commission identified four key focus areas for this strategic plan including events and entertainment, marketing, partnership and facility development; and funding.

The Tourism Five Year Strategic Plan (2018-2023) was approved by Council at Tuesday’s meeting. Read the plan at www.surpriseaz.gov/sportsandtourism.

Greater Phoenix Economic Council Agreement

The Greater Phoenix Economic Council (GPEC) is a public-private partnership founded in 1989 to leverage resources to attract and grow business to Greater Phoenix. Their goal is to develop a high-performance economy by attracting high-quality investments and jobs. The annual agreement with GPEC provides Surprise with the opportunity to partner with GPEC to attract quality jobs to the community, to receive marketing services that reach a targeted national and international industry and site selection audience, and to engage with local industry leaders in initiatives to enhance the overall regional competitiveness.

In the last 5 years, GPEC has assisted Surprise in locating nearly 1,000 jobs – providing a return-on-investment value of 12-to-1 for the community. Over the history of our membership, GPEC has assisted Surprise with the location of several local employers such as Janus International, RioGlass Solar, Brentwood Industries, Gestamp Solar Steel, Campcorp Structures, Cobalt Rehabilitation Hospital, and IRIS USA. The Economic Development Department is currently working on two confidential pending company location announcements with GPEC at the present time. GPEC will be engaging in enhanced marketing efforts over the next two years to roll out “The Connected Place” rebranding strategy for the region, implementing new marketing and data tools.

FY18 Financial Status Report

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

Events & Meetings

WESTMARC Legislative Breakfast

WESTMARC hosted a legislative breakfast on Thursday, June 14. Councilman Todd Tande and I attended along other elected officials and community leaders throughout the West Valley. Seven of our State Legislators were present to provide an update on their initiatives and this past legislative session as well as a look into what next session may bring.

Water Issues Hearing

The Arizona House of Representatives’ Committee on Energy, Environment and Natural Resources hosted a Special Committee Hearing on Water Issues in the State of Arizona on Wednesday, June 20 at the Palo Verde Nuclear Education Center in Buckeye. This hearing provided an opportunity for the public to speak on their concerns regarding water issues including conservation, salt cedar trees, water credits, desalination and much more.

West Valley Council to Council Mixer

Surprise City Council hosted a West Valley Council to Council mixer on Wednesday, June 20 at Ottawa University. Councilmembers from Buckeye, Goodyear, Peoria, Glendale and Tolleson attended. The mixer provided an opportunity to learn more about Ottawa University and to network with our peers. Thank you to Dr. Dennis Tyner and his team for hosting us!

Mark Your Calendar

Celebrate the Fourth of July in Surprise

The city will host its 35th Annual Fourth of July Celebration on Wednesday, July 4th at the Surprise Recreation Campus, 15850 N. Bullard Avenue. This free event includes a rookie league baseball game at Surprise Stadium featuring the Cincinnati Reds vs. Texas Rangers, in-game contests and giveaways, live entertainment by the 8 Tracks at Mark Coronado Park, and fireworks to end the night!

Stadium gates open at 4:30 p.m. with the first pitch at 5:30 p.m. Concession stands will be offering a variety of food. After the game, at approximately 8:30 p.m., catch a spectacular 20-minute firework show set to patriotic music!

If you want your Independence Day celebration to include live music and lawn seating, head to Mark Coronado Park just north of the Stadium. The 8 Tracks will play from 6 p.m. until the 8:30 fireworks show.

Plus, we’re hosting a 4th of July Pool Party at Surprise Aquatic Center. Get the details here: http://bit.ly/2I0Z5cA. For event information, please contact the Community & Recreation Services at 623.222.2000 or check the website at www.surpriseaz.gov/specialevents.

Did You Know?

S&P Upgrades City Utility Revenue Bonds

S&P Global ratings has assigned an AA+ rating for the city’s Series 2018 senior-lien utility system revenue obligations, which is an upgrade from the previous MPC 2007 wastewater bonds which were rated A+ by Fitch. The credit rating firm cited the following criteria for the upgrade (view full report):

  • Extremely strong enterprise and financial risk profiles
  • Affordable service rates in the context of the service area’s strong income metrics although somewhat hindered by the higher-than-average county poverty rate;
  • Good overall operational management that includes ample water supply through a diverse source of supply in addition to sufficient wastewater treatment capacity to meet demand.
  • Extremely strong historical debt service coverage Extremely strong liquidity position, with over a year’s worth of unrestricted reserves;
  • Manageable debt profile
  • Good overall financial management reflected by policies and procedures

The higher the rating, the lower the investment risk to the bond purchasers and the interest rate to the city on the borrowed funds.

City staff has been working to refinance the 2007 MPC Wastewater Debt which will generate savings from a lower annual debt service payment by approximately $1 million. The wastewater debt will be refinanced with a combined utility system revenue bond which provides greater economies of scales in order to achieve lower financing cost from stronger revenue coverage and higher credit ratings.

If the purchase of Circle City Water Company Acquisition deal moves forward, this combined utility system revenue bond positions the city to execute financing for the acquisition. The city expects to finance $14 million of the total acquisition cost. The debt service on the water acquisition will be repaid with the sale of water portfolio assets.

The possible purchase of Circle City Water would require action by the City Council. Staff continues negotiations with the company at this time.

Hydration Stations Available During Heat Warnings

With a heat warning in effect this week, the city of Surprise reminds residents that the city is a Heat Relief Network partner, providing hydration and refuge stations for those in need of a place to cool off during the hot summer months.

The Maricopa Association of Governments (MAG) coordinates mapping of the Heat Relief Network – a network of service providers, faith-based groups, municipalities, businesses, and caring citizens mobilizing to provide hydration and heat refuge for people in need.

Designated hydration stations in Surprise include the Surprise Resource Center, 12425 W Bell Road Building A Suite 124, and Surprise Fire-Medical Station #301 (FS 301), 16750 N Village Drive East. FS 301 is also a place of refuge to cool off during the day.

For a heat safety message from Surprise Fire-Medical Department, watch this video.

To learn about the symptoms of heat related illness and what to do if you or a loved one shows symptoms, please visit: https://www.cdc.gov/disasters/extremeheat/warning.html.

October 5, 2017 • Newsletter

City Council Work Session

Public Safety Retirement System Financial Status

Staff presented an update on the status of the Arizona Public Safety Personnel Retirement System (PSPRS). The system was established on July 1, 1968 to provide a uniform, consistent, and equitable statewide retirement program for Arizona’s public safety personnel. Due to several depressions in the economy during the 2000’s the fund went from being fully funded in 2000 to having only half the money needed to pay its obligations in 2010. This led to a number of reforms intended to help ensure PSPRS can and will exist for future generations of public safety employees. This was the first installment in a multi-chapter discussion on the status of the system, future outlook, and action plan for the statewide system and for the city of Surprise.

City Council Meeting

Domestic Violence Awareness Proclamation

Mayor Wolcott officially proclaimed October “Domestic Violence Awareness Month” Tuesday evening. In honor of this issue, purple lights will shine from Surprise City Hall and the city’s public safety building to help raise awareness about domestic violence. Purple is the nationally-recognized color signifying domestic violence awareness. Residents can help raise awareness by joining city of Surprise employees in wearing purple clothing or a purple ribbon throughout the month of October. This year, national wear purple day is Thursday, October 19. Help “Paint Surprise Purple” and show your support via social media using the hashtags #PurpleThursday #PaintSurprisePurple.

Surprise City Hall at night lite with purple light

Millions of men and women are victimized by domestic violence each year. If you or someone you know is a victim of domestic violence, you are encouraged to call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE or visit www.TheHotline.org. Additionally, Eve’s Place provides mobile advocacy services for victims of domestic and sexual abuse weekly at the city’s Surprise Resource Center. Individual appointments and support groups are available for adults and teens. The Surprise Resource Center also partners with New Life Center, Sojourner Center, Hope Women’s Center and New Leaf’s Faith House to support victims of domestic violence.

The Surprise Resource Center is located on the city’s AZ TechCelerator campus at 12425 W Bell Rd. Suite 124. For more information, please visit www.surpriseaz.gov/resourcecenter or call 623.222.1600.

Public Hearing

City Council approved a zone change request for ten acres located at the southeast corner of 175th Avenue and Sweetwater Avenue. The approved zoning will allow up to 50 single-family residential lots with a minimum lot size of 4,000 square feet; however, a separate Preliminary Plat is currently under review, which anticipates 44 lots. The developer of these ten acres will be responsible for completing street improvements along 175th Avenue adjacent to the site, in addition to half-street improvements along Sweetwater adjacent to the site. The city has also received development applications for additional properties located north of Sweetwater, one of which was the subject of a neighborhood meeting being held by the applicant at Paradise Honors High School earlier this week.

FY2017 Financial Status Report

During the FY2018 budget process, estimates of FY2017 expenses and revenues were presented. These FY2017 estimates helped define the available funds for FY2018. The staff presentation gauged the FY2017 estimates against actual financial performance. As the annual financial audit is currently underway, the amounts presented are not yet final for FY2017. Total FY2017 resources were greater than estimated by $1.9M and total expenditures were less than expected by $3.6M which led to an ending balance of $3.3M greater than expected. The balance will be applied to public safety personnel retirement system employee refunds made earlier this fiscal year.

Events & Meetings

Bloomberg Philanthropies “Idea Accelerator” Workshop

Mayor Sharon Wolcott, Vice Mayor Todd Tande and I joined 12 others including two Planning & Zoning Commissioners and the minority partners who own the land outside City Hall (known as SCDC) on Thursday, September 29 as part of the Bloomberg Philanthropies “Idea Accelerator” workshop. Unfortunately, the majority partner was absent due to illness. The purpose of the workshop was to provide city officials, developers, and local business stakeholders with strategies and tools to identify and address issues as related to building the city’s downtown. All present agreed that the current state of land is not delivering.

Benevilla Professional Friends Luncheon

Councilmembers Roland Winters, Ken Remley and I attended Benevilla’s Professional Friends Luncheon on Friday, September 29 at Rio Salado Community College. Together, we honored the awardee, Amber Hughes from Ryley, Carlock & Applewhite, with their esteemed Professional Friends recognition for outstanding work supporting our community. We were also provided with important updates on the fantastic programs and services Benevilla offers.

Dick McComb City Park Ceremony

Most of City Council joined Community and Recreation Services staff and the Community and Recreation Advisory Commission members on Saturday, September 30 when the City officially renamed Surprise Farms Community Park to Dick McComb City Park. Mr. McComb was our city’s longest-tenured City Manager (1990-2000) who played an instrumental role in the success of our city.

Love Our Schools Day

On the morning of Saturday, September 30, the Surprise Youth Council (SYC) led a service initiative for Love Our Schools Day. This annual event, which is dedicated to organizing community volunteers to perform meaningful acts of service at local schools, was a perfect opportunity for our SYC members to show their heart and character. Eleven SYC members and more than a dozen community members recruited by SYC, worked inside and outdoors at Thompson Ranch Elementary School where 80% of the school’s students reside in Surprise. They cleared and repaired an overgrown garden that will now be used by 1st and 2nd graders to grow vegetables and learn about science. They painted large outdoor learning tools for math and reading that teachers can use to teach students outside when they’ve been cooped up indoors for too long during the cooler months. Additionally, they performed much needed maintenance tasks in the school’s classrooms and cafeteria, where they scrubbed tables, desks, and walls. Councilmen Remley and I were on hand to support this initiative, passing out supplies to volunteers and encouraging their commitment to community stewardship. Thompson Ranch Principal Rachel Saunders and Assistant Principal Casey Kuhn offered their own skills to each task and expressed their great appreciation for the impact these services will have on their students.

Councilman Hall, SYC and community members

STEAM Showcase at Thompson Ranch Elementary School

I was invited to participate in the STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art & Mathematics) Program at Thompson Ranch Elementary School on Monday, October 2. Throughout the tour, we visited pre-school through 8th grade classes as the students were learning about these subjects. Thank you to Thompson Ranch administration for hosting us!

STEM Council Meeting at Canyon Ridge Elementary School

Canyon Ridge STEM Council met on Monday, October 2 at Canyon Ridge Elementary School. Discussion items included Canyon Ridge Continuous Improvement Plan, the focus of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics) work across grade levels and 2017-2018 STEM projects and initiatives such as iExplore and outdoor classroom.

Arts & Cultural Advisory Commission Meeting

The city’s Arts & Cultural Advisory Commission met on Monday, October 2. West Valley Arts HQ Director Bernadette Carroll presented on the Arts and Economic Prosperity report. This report is conducted by Americans for the Arts, a non-profit organization aimed at advancing the arts in our country. The report provides evidence that the non-profit arts and culture sector is a significant industry in the West Valley region, one that generates $23 million in total economic activity. Other items of discussion included the Veterans Art Show that will be held in conjunction with the Veterans Day Parade on November 11, the Public Art Bus tour that will be held on October 19 and other events held during Art week (October 14-23).

Mark Your Calendar

Join Us at Art Week Events

From October 14 – 23, the community is invited to participate in ‘Art Week’ – a collection of fun, family-friendly events designed to gather public input on the Surprise Arts & Culture Master Plan. There will be chances to help create a community art piece and win art too! Your input will help set the standard and strategic direction for how we continue to implement and enjoy arts and culture in the city of Surprise.

Find the Arts & Culture Master Plan booth at the following Art Week events, where you can fill out a short survey, collaborate on the community art piece and be entered to win a variety of art pieces donated by WHAM and the West Valley Arts Council:

Surprise Fiesta Grande

October 14, 3-9 p.m.
Villanueva Recreation Complex, 15660 N Hollyhock

Street Street-style festival featuring live music, authentic Mexican food, dancing, car show and kid zone. www.surpriseaz.gov/fiestagrande

Portrait Sessions & Outreach

Event October 16, 6 – 8 p.m.
Asante Community Park, 16763 W Vereda Solana Drive

Professional photographer will be available to take family portraits and provide the digital prints. Plus, other family fun activities will be available while you wait!

Public Art Bus Tour

October 18, 9 a.m. – noon
Meet at City Hall, 1600 Civic Center Plaza

See art galleries and public art installations around Surprise. Reserve your spot by calling Susan deJong at 623.214.7537. www.surpriseaz.gov/arts

West Valley Arts Council Block Party

October 19, 5-9 p.m.
West Valley Arts HQ, 16126 N Civic Center Plaza

Watch artists create art in real time and enjoy live music, a professional art gallery, local food trucks and more. www.westvalleyarts.org

Did You Know?

Greenway Road Improvements

Pavement preservation work on Greenway Road, Reems Road to Sarival Avenue, will begin Friday, October 6 and continue through Tuesday, October 17. Traffic will be reduced to one lane in each direction. Left turns will be restricted during work hours, 6 a.m. to 5 p.m.

This project is part of the city’s annual Pavement Preservation Program which identifies city streets that need treatment to rejuvenate, rehabilitate, and lengthen the life of the roadway. Learn more about the city’s Pavement Preservation Program at www.surpriseaz.gov/ppp.

Contact Me

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

Ask a Question

January 19, 2017 • Newsletter

Bell Road/Grand Avenue Update

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.

I encourage you to familiarize yourself with the Bell-Grand interchange traffic configurations before the project is complete in February. View the ADOT Bell-Grand interchange animation to better understand traffic movements at the project intersections.

Upcoming Activities

  • Grand Avenue base paving has been completed. Final paving will still need to be done and will require simultaneous closures of Towne Center Drive and Bell Grande. Final paving is anticipated to begin on Jan. 30.
  • Grand Avenue will be restricted to one lane in both directions at times over the next couple of weeks during daytime hours. Two lanes of traffic will be back in place at the end of each day.
  • Westbound Bell Road closed between 134th Avenue and West Point Parkway from 9 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 28, to 5 a.m. Monday, Jan. 30, for pavement work. DETOUR: Drivers can use Dysart Road to Grand Avenue and Litchfield Road to reconnect to westbound Bell Road.

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: bellandgrandinfo@azdot.gov

City Council Work Session

Bell Road/Grand Avenue Interchange Update

The ramps connecting Grand Avenue to the Bell Road Bridge are set to reopen before the end of February! City staff reported to City Council, in Tuesday’s Work Session, that these improvements will result in driving pattern changes. The city has created a map to help you navigate the area and safely access the new connections.

The Bell-Grand Traffic Pattern Map focuses on the intersections at Grand and Bell Grande Drive; Grand and Bell Road; and Grand and Towne Center Drive. Here are the biggest changes you will encounter:

  • An active traffic signal on the top of the Bell Road Bridge will direct traffic movements from the new on-off ramps to and from Grand Avenue;
  • Traffic descending the westbound Grand Avenue ramps will merge into Grand Avenue traffic prior to approaching the Towne Center Drive intersection. Shoppers will note dual lefts at the intersection to get into the commercial area;
  • There will be NO access to Bell Grande Drive for traffic coming off of the eastbound Grand Avenue ramp from Bell. If you want to shop at Surprise Marketplace, stay on Bell and enter the parking lot by the Chick-fil-A driveway at the bottom of the bridge;
  • And motorists traveling on Grand Avenue in either direction that want to access Bell Road should be in the left lane to access the ramps. At the top of the ramps there will be dual left lanes and one right lane to connect you to Bell.

Bell-Grand Traffic Pattern Map

The map complements the Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) interchange video that provides an animated portrayal of how motorists will access Bell Road from westbound Grand Avenue when the ramps open next month. Additionally, the city has identified the ‘Top 5 Driving Pattern Changes to Know’ to assist residents with navigating the area.

The Bell-Grand project is scheduled to be completed prior to the first Spring Training game at Surprise Stadium on February 25. For more information about the Bell-Grand project, visit www.surpriseaz.gov/bellandgrand.

Surprise Regional Chamber of Commerce Update

Last December, the city entered into a multi-year membership and facility use agreement with the Surprise Regional Chamber of Commerce through June 30, 2019 which is funded annually subject to budget appropriations. As part of the membership agreement, regular updates to the City Council on the partnership, accomplishments and any upcoming programming was expected.

Economic Development Director Jeanine Jerkovic provided an overview of the City member benefits and Surprise Regional Chamber of Commerce CEO Raoul Sada provided a year in review. The Chamber will have an Annual Meeting as part of their January breakfast meeting agenda next week and will discuss 2016 financials and the future for the Chamber which includes diversification of revenue stream (corporate income and contributions, fees for services, etc.) and the growth of the membership with approximately 75 new members and 17 new companies that have joined the Chairman Circle.

City Council Meeting

Nomination of Vice Mayor

The Surprise City Council selected District 6 Councilmember Todd Tande to serve as Vice Mayor. Per city code, City Council must select a new Vice Mayor to serve on an annual basis no later than January 30. The Vice Mayor acts on behalf of the Mayor in the event of absence.

Tande was elected to City Council in the August 2013 election to serve an extended five-year term beginning January 2014.

Comprehensive Annual Financial Report

Surprise Finance Director Lindsey Duncan and Assistant Finance Director Andrea Davis presented City Council with the result of the city’s fiscal year 2016 annual audit and Comprehensive Annual Financial Report. The city received an unmodified opinion, which is the “good” or “clean” opinion. While the outcome was positive, the city will continue to improve internal control policies.

Events & Meetings

MLK Jr. Day of Celebration & Service

The city, in partnership with APS and the Northwest Black History Committee, hosted the Martin Luther King Jr. Day Celebration & Service on Saturday, January 14. Emmy award-winning journalist and anchor of ABC 15 News Steve Irvin emceed the event and retired USAF Colonel Richard Toliver provided the uplifting keynote address. The spectacular event was quite motivating and even better was the opportunity to volunteer for community service projects afterwards. Approximately 350 people attended the programs and 300 volunteers, with a total of 600 unduplicated participants involved in the day’s festivities. Volunteers gave their time to 10 service projects.

Thank you to the city’s Human Service and Community Vitality Department, led by Seth Dyson, for their dedication and investment into this event which we certainly hope will become an annual event in Surprise! Thank you to the volunteers for serving and continuing to build a wonderful city! In the words of Martin Luther King Jr. “Use me, God, show me how to take who I am, who I want to be, and what I can do, and use it for a purpose greater than myself.”

WESTMARC’s State of the State Luncheon

WESTMARC hosted a State of the State Luncheon on Tuesday, January 17 at the Renaissance Hotel in Glendale. Governor Doug Ducey continues to emphasize education funding and increasing teachers’ salaries as well as increasing our education attainment rates with the “Achieve60AZ” education initiative. In addition to his commitment to cutting taxes, he briefly spoke about instituting a welfare provision.

Sun Village Lion’s Club

The Sun Village Lion’s Club invited me to speak to their membership during their meeting on Tuesday, January 17. I provided a city update on economic development and the Bell/Grand interchange project, as mentioned in this newsletter.

Mark Your Calendar

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 from 7-10 a.m. 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 10 a.m. or until the shred trucks have been filled up.

Surprise Pops Band Concert

The Surprise Pops Band is kicking off the new year with a free concert featuring Broadway show tunes! The concert will be held on Sunday, January 22 at 3 p.m. at Valley Vista Performing Arts Center located at 15550 N. Parkview Place in Surprise.

Doors open at 2:15 p.m. Attendees are asked to bring a nonperishable food item donation to benefit the Valley View Community Food Bank. For more information, please visit www.surprisepopsband.com.

Surprise Citizens Patrol Recruitment Meeting

The Surprise Citizens Patrol will be hosting a recruitment and informational meeting at the Surprise Public Safety Auditorium located at 14250 West Statler Plaza on January 25 at 6 p.m. The meeting is designed to inform the public about the Citizens Patrol and opportunities the program offers to those who are willing to volunteer. Come join the internationally acclaimed Volunteer Service organization, a winner of the 2015 IACP (International Association of Chiefs of Police) Award for Outstanding Achievement in Law Enforcement Volunteer Programs.

Join us for the meeting and hear from Surprise Police Chief Terry Young, see a presentation by the program leaders, experience a SWAT (Special Weapons and Tactics) Team demonstration, and tour the Police Department facilities.

Besides patrolling the streets and assisting at crime scenes, the Surprise Citizens Patrol partners with the police on programs such as vacation watch and the “We Care” Program. I hope you will consider joining this valuable group of volunteers!

Click here to learn more about the Surprise Citizen Patrol: http://ow.ly/PiPoX

Did You Know?

Board and Commission Openings

The City of Surprise is currently accepting applications for the following Commissions:

Arts & Cultural Advisory Commission 1 – vacancy
Disability Advisory Commission – 1 vacancy

Applications for the above mentioned commissions are available immediately and can be picked up at the City Clerk’s Office, Monday through Friday from 8 am – 5 pm. Applications are also available online at www.surpriseaz.gov/boards.

For more information, please contact the City Clerk’s Office at 623.222.1200.

Contact Me

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

Ask a Question

November 3, 2016 • Newsletter

Bell Road/Grand Avenue Update

The Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) continues to issue weekly project updates for the Bell Road/Grand Avenue bridge project. Bell Road will remain closed between 134th Avenue and West Point Parkway until November 22, pending weather conditions and other unforeseen factors that may affect the target date.

Full closure scheduled on Grand Avenue:

  • US 60 (Grand Avenue) closed in both directions between Dysart and Litchfield roads from 9 p.m. Friday, Nov. 4, to 8 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 5, to paint the Bell Road bridge. Traffic will be detoured at Dysart and Litchfield roads.

Work continues this week on the following:

  • Installation of barrier and lighting on new bridge.
  • Paving the east side of the new bridge.
  • Building the new median ramps from Grand Avenue to Bell Road.

**City, County, and State law enforcement will be patrolling the area. Please obey all traffic signage and posted speed limits.**

As always, please allow plenty of time and observe all traffic control signs and barricades. Thank you again for your patience during this project. For more information, please visit the project website at www.azdot.gov/bellandgrand or you can contact ADOT’s project hotline at 855.712.8530, press option #1.

City Council Work Session

FY2016 Financial Status Report

Assistant Finance Director Jared Askelson presented the 2016 fiscal year end Financial Status Report. Local sales tax exceeded original estimates by $400,000; state shared revenue increased by $200,000 due to stronger than expected vehicle license tax; charges for services exceeded original estimates by $1.4 million due to increases from spring training, community development, and public works revenues. Due to the approximate increase in revenues and decrease in expenditures, the estimated General Fund balance is $3.3 million higher than originally anticipated.

City Council Meeting

Neighborhood Grant Program Recommendations

Human Service and Community Vitality Director Seth Dyson provided the Committee on Community Outreach, Partnerships & Grants funding recommendations for the Neighborhood Grant Program. The Committee recommended funding for Marley Park (Veteran Commemorative Plaza) for $3,000 and Sanalina HOA (water conservation and playground equipment) for $3,000. The City Council unanimously approved funding.

The Committee has extended the grant program through November 30, 2016. If you are interested, please visit https://www.surpriseaz.gov/3406/Neighborhood-Grant-Program.

Reopening of Bell Road – Celebration Activities

The City of Surprise is preparing activities to celebrate the reopening of Bell Road and thank local businesses, residents and visitors for their patience during the closure. The activities are scheduled for November 21. Specific event details will be available soon. Arizona Department of Transportation announced earlier last month that the target date for the reopening is scheduled for November 22.

The Bell Road/Grand Avenue corridor is still an active construction zone. While Bell Road will reopen on November 22, Grand Avenue will be inaccessible from the Bell Road bridge and vice versa. A detour route will be in place to allow for connection between those roads until project completion in early 2017.

Events & Meetings

New Real Estate Brokerage Office – Ribbon Cutting

Council Members Jim Hayden, Todd Tande and I joined members of the Surprise Regional Chamber of Commerce for the ribbon cutting celebration of the Leolinda Realty office in Sun City Grand on Wednesday, October 26. We wish her the best in her new office!

ribbon cutting

Torque Trends Unveils Electric City Truck

President and CEO of Torque Trends, located in the AZ TechCelerator, hosted the unveiling of the converted City of Surprise Ford F-150 work truck to an electric engine on Wednesday, October 26. The conversion allows the truck to travel between 50 to 75 miles before requiring a charge, therefore saving money and reducing our carbon footprint.

City of Surprise electric truck

Annual Legislative Breakfast Meeting

City Council Members John Williams, Rachel Villanueva, Jim Hayden and I joined staff, state legislators and local business leaders at our Annual Legislative Breakfast on Thursday, October 27 at Surprise Stadium. This year, the focus was on economic development partnerships, our Veteran Job Club success, and our upcoming legislative agenda. The state legislators included State Senators Don Shooter and Judy Burges as well as State Representative David Livingston.

GAIN Night

GAIN Night was held on Saturday, October 29 at 8-Acre Park, and the event had record-breaking attendance. Representatives from public safety and city management were present, and the Water Resource Management Department provided a demonstration on solid waste and water resources.

Mark Your Calendar

Surprise Super Swap Meet

The fall Surprise Super Swap Meet is scheduled for Saturday, November 19. More than 70 vendors will be onsite at the popular community-wide swap meet, sponsored by the Surprise Senior Center Site Council. The event will be held from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the Surprise Aquatic Center parking lot, 15831 N. Bullard Ave.

Annual Surprise Party

The Annual Surprise Party is scheduled for Friday, December 2 from 5-9 p.m. and Saturday, December 3 from 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. at the Surprise Recreation Campus, located at 15850 N. Bullard Avenue. This free event features fun for the entire family. For more information, please visit www.surpriseaz.gov/specialevents.

Did You Know?

Fitch Upgrades Surprise Revenue Bond and Long Term Default Ratings

City Manager Bob Wingenroth announced Tuesday night that Fitch Ratings, one of the “Big Three” nationally recognized credit rating agencies, has upgraded the city’s Excise Tax and State-Shared Revenue Obligation (ETRO) bond rating to ‘AA+’ from ‘AA-’. A city’s credit rating is important due to its impact on interest rates in the bond market. A better rating means the city can sell bonds to finance capital projects and pay a lower interest rate to the buyer.

Fitch stated the “rating reflects a solid coverage cushion and expectations for strong pledged revenue growth.”

Fitch also upgraded the city’s Long-Term Issuer Default rating (IDR) to ‘AA+’ from ‘AA-’.

In reviewing the city’s economic base Fitch noted, “The city’s 2015 population of 128,422 has realized a rapid 10% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) over the past 15 years and its median household income exceeds that of the U.S. by 16%.”

In commenting on the city’s operating performance Fitch reported, “Fitch expects Surprise to maintain a high level of financial flexibility through economic downturns based on its ample revenue raising capacity and solid financial flexibility, supplemented by its ample reserves.”

Contact Me

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

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February 19, 2016 • Newsletter

Bell Road/Grand Avenue Update

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*

Prepare for traffic switch on Grand Avenue:

  • roadway paving,
  • apply new lane striping,
  • modify the traffic signal at Town Center Drive/Bell Grande Drive, and
  • install temporary concrete barrier to establish work zone

What to Expect > Traffic Restrictions*

  • Eastbound Grand Avenue will be closed between Litchfield and Dysart roads Sunday (Feb. 21) from 7 a.m. to Monday (Feb. 22) 3 a.m.
  • Business access available from Bell Road; no turning movements to eastbound Grand Avenue.

SUGGESTED DETOUR: Eastbound Grand Avenue traffic use Reems to Greenway to Dysart roads back to eastbound Grand Avenue.

Overnight Westbound Grand Avenue Restrictions

Westbound Grand Avenue restricted to one lane on Monday (Feb. 22), Tuesday (Feb. 23) and Wednesday (Feb. 24) nights from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m.

NOTE: Tuesday (Feb. 23) morning eastbound and westbound Grand Avenue traffic will be in a new configuration with two lanes in each direction.

*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

FY2017 Budget Capital Revenue and Process Overview

The discussion on the fiscal year (FY) 2017 budget continued this week with separate presentations on the capital and operating areas. The capital budget discussions focused on available revenue sources. The current fiscal year’s capital budget of $78.0 million is highly dependent on fund balances carried over from savings in prior years. These balances will be utilized to complete the Clubhouse Renovations and various transportation projects throughout the city this fiscal year. With the fund balances reduced, future capital budgets will rely more heavily on other revenue sources which total about $23.1 million for the current fiscal year. With this scarcity of resources, prioritization of projects will be the main emphasis of the capital budget going forward. Continuing from last fiscal year, a high value will be placed on maintaining our current infrastructure through maintenance, replacement, and pavement preservation efforts.

The operating budget discussion highlighted the programs of public safety with specific presentations on the Police and Fire-Medical departments, the City Attorney’s Office, and the Surprise City Court. The common theme was that staffing levels have been held relatively flat over the last seven years as population, calls for service, and other workload measures have increased. All four areas have been exceptionally effective and efficient in maintaining a safe city over this time period. Proactive efforts have been declining over the last few years which will inevitably lead to higher instances of property crime, less coordinated and effective prosecution of crimes, and longer timelines to resolve cases without an infusion of additional resources. Also discussed was a program to centralize emergency management to coordinate the city’s response to natural or manmade disasters. As outlined, the public safety needs exceed the current expected resources of the city. The discussion of how the city will look to meet its operating needs will continue throughout the budget process that will culminate with the adoption of the FY2017 budget in June before the new fiscal year is rung in on July 1.

City Council Meeting

Comprehensive Annual Financial Report

Surprise Finance Director Lindsey Duncan and Assistant Finance Director Andrea Davis presented City Council with the result of the city’s fiscal year 2015 annual audit and Comprehensive Annual Financial Report. The city received an unmodified opinion, which is the “good” or “clean” opinion. The city has made a number of improvements in internal controls and corrected many of the identified areas from the prior year. The city will continue to improve internal controls and processes to eliminate the remaining auditor comments.

FY2016 Budget Reallocation for Bullard Avenue

Director of Public Works Mike Gent and Assistant Public Works Director Karl Zook provided an update on Bullard Avenue based on the input from the Bullard Avenue Task Force and the surveys received from residents. The strongest recommendation was the return of four lanes of travel on Bullard Avenue.

The recommended solution incorporates a full median from Greenway to our southern city limits. Currently there is not a raised median between Greenway to Waddell so we will be installing a raised landscaped median. South of Waddell, the median will need size modifications to allow for maintaining the bike lane throughout the corridor. The bike lines, 3 miles in each direction, will be maintained. There will be a curb separation from the bike lane to the traffic lane and two new traffic signals (Acoma and Bullard /Sweetwater and Bullard).

Since this project was not approved as part of the FY2016 budget, a reallocation of $220,000 from the Transportation Improvement Fund contingency to Bullard Avenue Multimodal project for the design portion of this project was requested. The remaining funds needed to complete this project will be programmed into the FY2017 Capital Improvement Plan. The city was awarded the Maricopa Association of Governments (MAG) Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality grant ($1,551,300) for some of the enhancements, and staff has applied for additional grants that could possibly pay for approximately 95% of the project.

Fiscal Year 2017 Budget Review of Public Safety

Budget Manager Jared Askelson’s discussion focused on operating programs, predominantly the General Fund ongoing uses for fiscal year 2017 in Public Safety including Police, Fire-Medical, City Attorney and City Court. General Fund ongoing uses is $96.7 million for FY16 with almost half spent on Public Safety (Police – 25%, Fire – 18%, City Attorney – 2%, City Court – 2% and all others – 53%).

Police Chief Terry Young provided an overview, considered key components including service demands, increased training, and staffing ratio comparisons. Surprise has one of lowest staffing ratios (1.06 compared to the highest at 2.20) of sworn personnel per 1,000 persons. Since 2010, Surprise has seen an 8.5% increase in residents, a 4% calls for service increase from 2014-2015 and a 6% overall increase in crimes from 2014-2015.

Fire–Medical Chief Tom Abbott also provided an overview and focused on the multiple factors used to consider proper staffing including call volume, response times, etc. In the last six years, SFMD has witnessed an increase of 6,175 calls for service which equates to a 60.1% increase. In 2009, there were 126 members of the Department, including administration. In November of 2015, six new members were hired which brought the total number of staff to 128. Surprise again has one of the lowest staffing ratios (.11 compared to highest at .26) of sworn personnel per 1,000 persons.

Assistant City Manager Michael Frazier discussed the need for an effective Emergency Management Program. The purpose of the program is to mitigate, prepare, plan for, respond to and recover from a natural or manmade disaster. These potential disasters would include flooding, health emergencies such as outbreaks, etc. Staff recommends the hiring of two new full-time employees (FTEs) which would include an Emergency Manager and an Administrative Specialist. The Emergency manager would work directly with the Police, Fire-Medical, Public Works and Communication Departments.

City Attorney and City Court provided a brief overview. The Departments are directly impacted by the work of the Police Department which has increased; hence two new FTEs (one for each) have been requested.

Special City Council Meeting

The City Council held a Special Meeting on Thursday, February 18. The sole agenda item was the discussion and action pertaining to the City of Surprise vs. Surprise Center Development Company (SCDC). The City Council voted unanimously to begin the process to end litigation and work to achieve a final settlement.

Events & Meetings

Valley Metro Budget & Finance Subcommittee Meeting

I attended the Valley Metro Budget & Finance Subcommittee meeting on Thursday, February 11. Some of the items discussed included the Request for Proposal (RFP) for financial audit services and transit performance review. For FY15, 77.5% of the total Valley Metro ridership was bus transit followed by 19.6% light rail, 1.5% vanpool and 1.4% paratransit (such as Dial-A-Ride). The bus saw a 2.29% decrease in total boardings.

Surprise Citizens Patrol Banquet

The Surprise Citizens Patrol (CP) hosted their annual awards dinner on Friday, February 12, 2016 at the Sun City Grand Cimarron Center. Vice Mayor Jim Biundo and I were honored to attend the banquet to help honor and thank our outstanding CP volunteers. Sergeant Tim Klarkowski presented the Citizens Patrol with a plaque and expressed the Department’s sincere appreciation for the volunteers’ continued dedication and selfless service.

In 2015, the Citizens Patrol volunteered 25,806 hours. The Citizens Patrol has been in existence since 1997 and has volunteered a total of 170,372 hours, which is a significant cost avoidance to the City.

Those receiving awards were: Patrick Kellison – Patrol Person of the Year, June Dower – Administrative Person of the Year, Bill Crain – Support Person of the Year, Charles Manning – Command Staff Person of the Year, and Henry Saunders – Rookie of the Year.

Mark Your Calendar

Public Transportation Community Meeting

Valley Metro is hosting a community meeting on Wednesday, March 9 from 9 am until 11 am at the Surprise Senior Center (15832 N. Hollyhock Street) to share information about bus and light rail services available to residents in the Northwest Valley, including 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.

The Surprise Senior Center is located near the intersection of Grand Avenue and Nash Street. For driving directions, contact the center at (623) 222-1500. To arrange your trip on Northwest Valley Dial-a-Ride, call (602) 266-8723.

Surprise Park-And-Ride Temporary Relocation – April

The Surprise Park-and-Ride will be temporarily relocated beginning April 4 due to construction activity related to the Bell Road and Grand Avenue Interchange Improvement.

The facility will remain open at its current location at 13327 W Bell Road through Friday, April 1. Beginning on Monday, April 4, the Park-and-Ride will be temporarily relocated to DreamCatcher Park, located at 14534 W Tierra Buena Lane. It is expected to return to its original location following the completion of the project, estimated to be no later than Feb. 2017.

Questions? Please call Valley Metro Customer Service at 602.253.5000 or TTY 602.251.2039, or the City of Surprise Customer Service Line at 623.222.6000.

Did You Know?

Greenway Road & Bullard Avenue Intersection Closure

The intersection of Greenway Road and Bullard Avenue will be closed as part of the Greenway Road Improvement Project beginning at 9 p.m. on Friday, February 26 through 5 a.m. on Monday, February 29.

There are several detours planned during the closure:

  • Bell Road (eastbound and westbound) to southbound Bullard Avenue to access the Surprise Recreation Campus
  • Eastbound Greenway Road traffic will take northbound Reems Road to access Bell Road to continue heading east.**For those visitors planning to attend the 2016 Surprise Big 12 / Pac 12 Baseball Challenge tournament and Food Truck Festival at Surprise Stadium that weekend, you will remain on eastbound Greenway Road to Parkview Place and head north to event parking.
  • Motorists who ordinarily travel westbound on Greenway Road can take Litchfield Road north to access westbound Bell Road.**Visitors heading to Surprise Stadium on Greenway Road will continue westbound on Greenway Road and head north on Civic Center Drive; turn left onto Tierra Buena Drive to northbound Bullard Avenue.

View a map of the recommended alternate routes. Event parking and directional signage will be displayed. For more information please call 623.222.6000.

Pavement Preservation Projects Are Underway

The city’s Pavement Preservation Program identifies city streets to receive appropriate applications that lengthen the lifetime of the street surface. Over the next week, the following areas will be receiving Slurry Seal, an asphalt mixture that fills cracks and voids in the surface:

Feb. 19-23:

Waddell Rd (Litchfield Rd to La Cometa)

140th Dr (Greenway Rd to Waddell Rd)

La Cometa (Greenway Rd to Waddell Rd)

Residents can expect street restrictions during the work. For more information, please contact the Public Works Department at 623.222.6000.

New Council Conversation Interview

My new Council Conversation with CRS Director Mark Coronado is online and on Surprise 11.

Check it out at: http://surpriseaz.granicus.com/MediaPlayer.php?publish_id=f2b8e37e-d692-11e5-8170-f04da2064c47.

It includes footage of the improvements to the Stadium clubhouse!

Social Media

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

Contact Me

September 18, 2015 • Newsletter

City Council Work Session

Capital Scholars Program Presentation

Capital Scholars is a collaborative program with students from Arizona Charter Academy and Imagine Prep in Surprise. The goal of the program is to introduce students to the municipal and legislative process in Arizona. For 2015, the students met with City of Surprise representatives from the Police, Community and Recreation Services and Fire Departments with hopes that they can create “bills” that will impact their own neighborhoods.

During the City Council Work Session on Tuesday evening, the Scholars presented their ideas which included: Doughnuts with Police, the City of Surprise Traveling Library, Local Building for Recreational Art Use, Recreation in Surprise, CCC (Continuous Chest Compression) Across Dysart Schools, and Fire Service Education Betterment.

The Capital Scholars Program began as the brainchild of Representative Rick Gray in 2014. I congratulate the students on their success, and I thank them for their diligent work putting together their respective proposals.

General Plan Elements Update

City staff is currently updating key elements of General Plan 2035 which takes into consideration land use, economic development, roadway systems, housing, growth areas, recreation and open spaces. On September 9, staff hosted a Stakeholder Meeting and Community Open House to review the land use element of the General Plan. Currently, the City’s incorporated land area is approximately 108 square miles. In contrast, the City’s planning area is 302 square miles which includes the current incorporated and unincorporated areas. With such a large planning area in relation to the City’s current municipal limits, Surprise is a community that is poised for future growth. Defining where and how this growth will appear is imperative to maintaining a sustainable community and character which is distinct to Surprise.

The Land Use Element provides the critical foundation we need to guide us. It utilizes a sustainable approach that balances development and conservation within the Surprise planning area to ensure that infrastructure is maximized and adequate distribution of services, employment, open space and recreation are provided in proximity to where people live. Staff provided a general overview of the existing community form and land ownership composition and provided details regarding the proposed character area approach and associated strategies that form the vision for future land use within Surprise.

The Planning and Zoning Commission reviewed the Land Use Element at their meeting on September 17. The start of the 60–day review period as required by Arizona law, begins on September 18. The draft Land Use Element documents can be found at www.surpriseaz.gov/GPupdate. The City Council and the Planning and Zoning Commission will host a General Plan Summit meeting on December 4 to discuss the General Plan Amendment and a focus will be placed on Economic Development.

Community Development Director Eric Fitzer presenting to Council
Community Development Director Eric Fitzer presenting to Council

City Council Meeting

Fiscal Year 2015 Financial Status Report

Early results are in for the fiscal year 2015, which ended on June 30, and the General Fund is outperforming estimates set during the recently completed budget process. General Fund resources are up 1.8% or $1.7 million over the estimates, fueled in large part by better than expected local sales tax collections. Meanwhile, expenses in the General Fund are below estimates by 2.9% or $2.7 million. The combination of the two results in a positive increase of $4.4 million in the General Fund.

During the budget process, the need for facility, vehicle, and equipment maintenance and replacement was discussed and set as a high priority. On October 6, the City Council will discuss action to increase funding in these areas using a portion of fiscal year 2015 gains. City Manager Bob Wingenroth and our Finance team have done a fantastic job. Thank you!

Events & Meetings

Rotary Club of Surprise Induction

On Thursday, September 10, I was inducted into the Rotary Club of Surprise. I was honored to be invited to become a member of this selfless service organization, and I look forward to sharing my passion of helping with others with my Rotarian peers.

Councilman Hall receiving his rotary induction

Councilman Hall with rotary members

Desert Streams Lutheran Church of Surprise Groundbreaking

Vice Mayor John Williams and I attended the groundbreaking ceremony for Desert Streams Lutheran Church in Surprise on Saturday, September 12. The church started services at Rosefield Charter School, but will soon expand to a new church at the northwest corner of Reems and Hearn. Congratulations on your expansion!

Surprise Farms II Block Party

Surprise Farms II hosted a block party on Saturday, September 12. It was a great opportunity to meet some of the residents of District 1!

Arts & Cultural Advisory Commission Meeting

The Arts & Cultural Advisory Commission met on Monday, September 14 at City Hall. Amongst several items on the agenda, the Commission discussed the establishment of a display plan for art on the City Hall campus. Nicole Lance, Deputy City Manager and staff liaison to the Commission, will be working with the building’s architect for input on the plan.

The Arts & Cultural Advisory Commission is responsible for ensuring public art policies and procedures are drafted and reviewed for ultimate recommendation to the City Council. Staff is currently exploring options for completing this task and will most likely utilize an outside firm to help establish the policies to determine the best next steps forward.

Dysart Unified School District’s Constitution Day Veterans Panel

Several Surprise Veterans, including me, were invited to take part on a Veteran’s panel at Willow Canyon High School as part of Dysart Unified School District’s Constitution Day events. The entire morning was spent talking to combined social study classes regarding our respective military experiences and how they directly relate to the Constitution.

Panelist included Bob Marotta, Julia Holland, Councilman Biundo, Staff Sgt. Jesse Schneider and Wayne Zaricor
Panelist included Bob Marotta, Julia Holland, Councilman Biundo, Staff Sgt. Jesse Schneider and Wayne Zaricor

A special thank you to Willow Canyon Principal Dr. Jayne Wieferich, and Assistant Principals Cheryl Pete and John Williams for hosting this memorable event!

Mark Your Calendar

Special Work Session Meeting

City Council will hold a Special Work Session on Tuesday, September 22 at City Hall to discuss the city’s sign code policy. The meeting will be held at 4 p.m. in the Council Chambers.

City staff is in the process of amending the City of Surprise Sign Code and at this work session is looking for general policy guidance from the Council. The main question to be answered will be what is the vision for signage in the City of Surprise, is it to the extreme of regulating signage vigorously or is it more of a laissez faire approach, or a combination where the city should be thinking about regulating some signage more than other signage.

Second Sundays Fall Series Returns

Second Sundays in the Park concert series, presented by Surprise Toyota, is returning! This free family event will take place in the center of the Surprise Community Park located at 15953 N. Bullard Avenue. The first fall performance is Sunday, October 11, and the Silverkats Live will perform 70’s and 80’s cover tunes. We hope to see you there!

Did You Know?

Traffic Restrictions

In preparation for the 115th Avenue and Union Hills drainage improvement project, APS is relocating some of their infrastructure located within the intersection of 115th Avenue and Union Hills Drive. The following traffic restrictions are in place as follows:

Beginning at 9 p.m. on Friday, September 18 through 6 a.m. on Monday, September 21

  • 115th Avenue north and southbound lanes will be closed from Beardsley Road to Union Hills Drive.
  • 115th Avenue northbound lanes will be closed north of the Avenue of the Arts.

For the most current information on traffic restrictions, visit the traffic restrictions webpage at http://ow.ly/RKXZJ.

Bullard Avenue Task Force Meeting

The Bullard Avenue Task Force comprised of volunteer residents, school officials and a business representative have been tasked with studying workable solutions, while maintaining safety along Bullard Avenue, from Greenway to Peoria. They will be presented with current traffic data and asked to consider the options heard from the public. This group may identify additional options during the course of conversation.

The public is invited to attend this meeting on Thursday, September 24 at 6 p.m. in the Community Room of City Hall.

If you have questions, please contact Public Works Director Mike Gent at 623.222.6223.

Fall Events for Teens

The City is excited to offer teens a full lineup of things to do this fall. Some of the events include a dodgeball tournament, a teen night, a haunted maze and much more. For more information, please be sure to follow Surprise Teen Programs on Facebook at www.facebook.com/surpriseteenprograms or you can always contact our Community and Recreation Services Department at 623.222.2000.

Contact Me

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

Ask a Question