Tag Archives: Grants & Community Outreach

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

Ask a Question

October 10, 2014 • Newsletter

City Council Meeting

City Council Work Session
The City Council met for our regularly scheduled Work Session on Tuesday, October 7th.  As part of the Work Session, Assistant Fire Chief Darrell Johnston discussed the amendments to the fireworks regulation the State legislature recently made.  They created three categories of fireworks which consist of display fireworks (fireworks necessitating a permit from the City), consumer fireworks (fireworks citizens can purchase and use, subject to regulation), and unregulated fireworks that can be utilized anywhere, such as sparklers.  Display fireworks continue to be closely regulated by the City.  The Fire Department would like Council to consider similar changes to our current Fireworks Ordinance that would mimic the updated State changes.  The Ordinance would state consumer fireworks cannot be set off on public property (property belonging to any government entity); the use and sales of consumer fireworks are limited to time periods specified in the legislation just passed; consumers must be 16 years of age to purchase and set-off fireworks; and, consumer fireworks cannot be set off without the permission of the property owner.  This Ordinance would require the sellers of fireworks to obtain a permit from the Fire-Medical Department, which would provide recovery of expenses for an emergency response relating to firework injuries.

In addition to the discussion on fireworks, Misty Leslie, City Attorney, reviewed the Council’s requested changes to the Council’s Boards & Commissions policies.  Some of the discussion included the adoption of an annual schedule for each Commission’s regular meetings; prohibiting political activity (members must resign to run for a local election) by tendering a letter of resignation prior to campaigning; and, the elimination of the Teen Advisory Board and the Surprise Youth Leadership Commission to integrate the Youth Civic Leaders Program.

City Council Regular Meeting
Mike Gent, Public Works Director, and Dave Kohlbeck, Business Manager, provided the City Council with an overview of the fiscal year 2014 transit service as well as the planned fiscal year 2015 services.  Surprise Express Route 571 bus service was reviewed.  The City plans to work with Phoenix, El Mirage and Valley Metro to keep the fourth trip we acquired in July 2013.  Surprise will continue to seek a convenient temporary relocation of the Park-and-Ride once the construction of the Bell/Grand Avenue overpass begins.  Future transit services, such as a Surprise circulator and Surprise connection to regional service routes, were also discussed.

The Valley Metro Dial-A-Ride services were reviewed.  Priority has been given to ADA, seniors and others with disabilities.  Currently, services are provided Monday through Saturday from 7 am to 5 pm.  Fares within the City limits for service are $1 and outside the City limits are $1.25.  Based on consumer surveys, Dial-A-Ride is mostly utilized for medical purposes (31%), followed by other uses (27%) and work (20%).  Possible expanded weekday service, extended weeknight service hours and added Saturday service was discussed.

Janeen Gaskins, Grants Administrator, reviewed our current Surprise Community Outreach Program, and she suggested changes to the evaluation criteria based on the recommendations from the Grants & Community Outreach Committee.  The Council has set aside $50,000 to help support local 501(c)3.  The Committee had requested one funding round for FY14-15 and the elimination of in-kind contributions.  Mrs. Gaskins will conduct a pre-application meeting that will help determine eligibility.  Later this month, the Committee will review and rank the recommendations with plans to present their award recommendations to the entire City Council in November 2014.  These changes were passes unanimously.

Events & Meetings

HOA Summit
The City hosted an HOA Summit on Thursday, October 2nd for residents and leadership of HOA communities in Surprise.  The Summit provided an opportunity to ask questions and share concerns and ideas with City Council and City staff representing Police, Public Works, Code Enforcement, Economic Development, Intergovernmental Relations and Neighborhood Services.  There were 44 people in attendance representing 19 HOAs (Happy Trails, Sarah Ann Ranch, Summerfield, Sun City Grand, West Pointe, Sierra Montana, Surprise Farms 1,2 & 3, Sun Village, Rancho Gabriella, Mountain Vista Ranch, Greenway Parc I & II, Northwest Ranch, Sierra Verde, Saguara View, Greer Ranch South and Asante).

Vice Mayor Hall at HOA Summit
Vice Mayor Hall at HOA Summit
Police at HOA Summit







Surprise Fiesta Grande
The inaugural Surprise Fiesta Grande was held on Saturday, October 4th.  To kick-off the festival, a special ceremony was held to name the recreation area (Gaines Park, Surprise Senior Center, Hollyhock Pool, Villanueva Recreation Center and Hollyhock Library) in the Old Town Site after former Mayor, Vice Mayor and long- serving Councilman Roy Villanueva.  I had the honor of serving on the Council with Roy for several years prior to his passing in July 2014.  Roy was instrumental to our City as he initiated many important improvements in the areas of housing rehabilitation, economic development, utilities, police and fire services and federal grants.

Recreation Center Roy Villanueva Ceremony
Recreation Center Roy Villanueva Ceremony
Recreation Center Roy Villanueva Plaque
Recreation Center Roy Villanueva Plaque

Roy Villanueva Photo Dedication Roy Villanueva Recreation Complex Plaque The Fiesta was quite a success!  Mark Coronado, Director of Community and Recreation Services, and his team were able to obtain 33 local business partners, 9 food vendors and 122 entries for the car show.  Mr. Coronado estimates 14,000 to 16,000 people attended the event!

Arts & Cultural Advisory Commission Meeting
The Arts & Cultural Advisory Commission hosted their monthly meeting at City Hall on Monday, October 6th.  Susan deJong, Commission Chair, informed the Commission that she will proceed to schedule the Luncheon Theater Program through Herberger Theater and that the West Valley Arts HQ is a possible site for the program.  Eric Faulhaber, the Visual Arts Coordinator for the City of Chandler and Coordinator of the platFORM initiative gave the group a presentation outlining the platFORM program.  Councilman Jim Biundo and I were in attendance and found this program very interesting!  The initiative is available to create opportunities for student artists to place existing pieces or propose new sculptures for placement in public places.  The Commission will place this item on the November agenda for discussion and possible action to make the recommendation to the City Council.  The next cycle starts in April 2015.  Lastly, the Commission unanimously voted to endorse WHAM’s “Give your Community a Hand” mural project.  The unveiling will take place at the Surprise Party in December.

60th Aerial Delivery
I invited Mick Anderson and several other veterans to meet with the Mayor and me to receive a Certificate of Appreciation for their service in the US Air Force.  This special group of veterans meets every other year at a different location and this year, it was Surprise!  We were able to thank the group for their service and sacrifice to our country and provide them with a tour of the Council Chamber.

USAF 60th Aerial Port Squadron
USAF 60th Aerial Port Squadron
Vice Mayor Hall with Mick Anderson
Vice Mayor Hall with Mick Anderson

Community Drug Awareness Symposium
On October 8th, I attended the Community Drug Awareness Symposium at the CCV Surprise campus that was hosted by the Surprise Police Department and CCV. The Symposium provided information on the dangers of drugs and how to recognize signs and symptoms associated with drug abuse. Resources were available to those impacted by drugs.

Mark Your Calendars

Surprise Police Department – Tip A Cop Event
Representatives from the Surprise Police Department will be waiting tables alongside the staff of Red Robin to raise money for Special Olympics during the annual “Tip-A-Cop” event on Saturday, October 11th. Tips earned will be donated to the Special Olympics Arizona. The event will be held at the Red Robin located at 14015 W. Bell Road from 11 am until 3 pm and again from 4 pm until 8 pm.

Hazardous Waste
Residents with old paint cans, car batteries, etc. are encouraged to drop off these items at the City’s Household Hazardous Waste Collection Event on Saturday, October 11th from 8 a.m. until 12 noon.  The event will be held at the Public Works Maintenance Yard at 13433 W. Foxfire Drive.

Second Sunday in the Park
Second Sunday in the Park will be held this Sunday, October 12th from 2 pm until 4 pm at the Surprise Community Park, 15953 N. Bullard Avenue. The band, the Big Zephyr, will be playing a variety of music to entertain us all!

Columbus Day
Monday, October 13th is Columbus Day. Please note that City Hall will be closed.

Litchfield Road Closure
Beginning at 8 pm on Tuesday, October 14th, MCDOT (Maricopa County Department of Transportation) will temporarily close Litchfield Road at Northern Parkway to facilitate bridge construction.  During the closure, Northern Parkway will remain open. Reems Road or Dysart Road may be utilized as an alternate route.  Litchfield Road will reopen by 5 am on Wednesday, October 15th.

Boards & Commissions
The City is accepting applications for a few of our Boards and Commissions. Those with openings include:

  • Arts & Cultural Advisory Commission (1 vacancy)
  • Disability Advisory Commission (2 vacancies)
  • Health & Benefits Trust Fund Board (2 vacancies)
  • Planning & Zoning (1 vacancy)

All positions are voluntary.  Applications are accepted at the City Clerk’s office, 16000 N. Civic Center Plaza (Monday through Friday from 8 am – 5 pm) or online at www.surpriseaz.gov.  For more information, please call the City Clerk at 623.222.1200.

FREE Class
You can learn how to optimize your retirement income with a free class that will help you best position your portfolio to take advantage of tax saving strategies and minimize exposure to market volatility on Wednesday, October 22nd from 10 am until 11:30 am at the Public Safety Building, 14250 W. Statler.  This free class will be taught by Mark Melkowski and Robert Feinholz with American Financial Education Alliance.  For more information or to register, please call Ruby Sitea at 623.222.3242.

Contact Me

Domestic Violence Awareness Month

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

Ask a Question