Tag Archives: IRIS USA

April 12, 2018 • Newsletter

Events & Meetings

Surprise Citizens Academy

I was invited to address the Surprise Citizens Academy on Monday, April 9 in the Public Safety Auditorium. I was able to provide participants with how I became a Councilmember, the achievements the City Council has been able to make during my time on Council, my platform and initiatives and an overall update on District 5 and the city.

Madison Heights Tour

Human Service and Community Vitality Director Seth Dyson and I took a tour of the Madison Heights apartment complex in Avondale on Tuesday, April 10. Madison Heights is an exciting Maricopa Housing Authority Project in Avondale. The Maricopa Housing Authority is interested in a similar project in the Original Town Site.

Appreciation Event for Retiring IRIS USA CEO

Economic Development Director Jeanine Jerkovic and City Councilmembers hosted an appreciation dinner honoring Chet Keizer who retired last month as the CEO of IRIS USA. We are thankful that he has chosen Surprise to call his home and Mr. Keizer looks forward to serving the community in his new capacity as resident.

Mark Your Calendar

WHAM Recycled Arts Festival

Join WHAM Art Association to see what you can create with cast-off and recycled materials. Juried Exhibit for Adults in the West Gallery and a Special Youth Art Exhibit displaying creations of at least 75% recycled material. Art, Music, Entertainment, ICE CREAM, Dancers, Demonstrations and to cap off the day –a Runway Fashion Show for Adults and Kids. -over 30 different fashions on the runway. There will be fun for the whole family. For additional festival information available, please visit http://www.wham-art.org/recycle-arts.html.

Surprise Swap Meet

The semi-annual Surprise Super Swap Meet on Saturday, April 14. More than 50 vendors will have new and used treasures on display from 8 a.m. – 1 p.m. in the parking lot of the Surprise Aquatic Center, located at 15831 N. Bullard Avenue. Parking and admission are free.

The Surprise Swap Meet is sponsored by the Human Service & Community Vitality Department and the Surprise Senior Center Site Council. For more information, please call 623.222.1500.

State of the City

Mayor Sharon Wolcott’s 2018 State of the City Address will be held on Monday, April 16, at the new West-MEC Northwest Campus! Join City Council, your neighbors and business leaders and learn more about the opportunities for transportation, job growth and water management.

A reception in the Lightbox building begins at 6 p.m. The program will begin at 6:30 p.m. West-MEC is located at 13201 W. Grand Avenue. Register through the Surprise Regional Chamber of Commerce at http://www.surpriseregionalchamber.com/state-of-the-city.html.

Registration Open for Youth Summer Leagues and Camps

The City of Surprise Community and Recreation Services Department is currently offering registration for the following summer sports programs:

  • Summer Youth Basketball League:
    Recreational leagues for boys and girls ages 5-15. The summer basketball season starts in early June and runs until the end of July. Games are played on Saturdays and/or weeknights. Practice times are up to the volunteer coach, usually one hour, once a week (5:30pm, 6:30pm or 7:30pm). Age determined on or before July 31, 2018. For league details, visit www.surpriseaz.gov/1165/Youth-Basketball
  • Summer Break Sports Camps:
    Surprise is also offering a number of Summer Youth Sports Camps in June and July, including basketball, football, baseball, softball, volleyball, soccer and cheerleading. For a list of camp dates and details, visit www.surpriseaz.gov/2017/Sports-Camps-and-Clinics

Don’t miss your shot at these great summer activities! Register online at surpriserec.surpriseaz.gov or in person at the Community and Recreation Services Office, 15960 N Bullard Avenue. The final day to register is April 28, when a special Saturday registration will be held at the Community and Recreation Services office from 8-11 a.m. For more information, please contact the Sports Division at 623-222-2000 or visit www.surpriseaz.gov/recreation.

Did You Know?

City Council Meeting

Surprise City Council will meet for Work Session at 4 pm on Tuesday, April 17 and our Regularly Scheduled meeting at 6 pm. Many of you have inquired about an update on City Center. An update will be provided during our Work Session by Carefree Partners. To see our agenda, please visit https://www.surpriseaz.gov/1592/Watch-Council-Meetings-Online.

New Surprise Progress TV Episode

Watch the latest episode of Surprise Progress TV for info on the 2019 budget building process, the first bond sale related to the GO Bond Election, the upcoming State of the City Address, info on grants for small business owners and more!

Watch episode…

Contact Me

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

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May 6, 2016 • Newsletter

Bell Road/Grand Avenue Update

Week of May 9, 2016

Current Activities:

View the weekly construction photos and additional information on the project website.

Work continues Monday through Saturday to:

  • Prepare to pave and form the curb and gutters to build the east side of Grand Avenue.
  • Install Grand Avenue lighting electrical conduit and foundations.
  • Build the bridge columns on the east and west side of Grand Avenue.
  • Relocate and install utilities on Bell Road and Grand Avenue.
  • Install storm drain and sewer main on Bell Road east of 134th Drive.

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

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).

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.

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

For more information about retail shopping and services in Surprise please see:

City of Surprise Shop Surprise: www.surpriseaz.gov/2122/Shop-Surprise
Shop Surprise on Facebook: www.facebook.com/ShopSurpriseArizona
Surprise Regional Chamber of Commerce: www.surpriseregionalchamber.com

Bell Road/Grand Avenue progress images May 6, 2016

City Council Meeting

New Surprise Youth Council Members

Seven new Surprise Youth Council (SYC) Members took the oath of office at the beginning of the meeting on Tuesday evening. These teens were selected from a group of 80 interested students by a panel consisting of Council Member Todd Tande and me, along with Youth Services Administrator Paul Bernardo and graduating seniors who are currently on the youth council. Congratulations to each of you!

New Surprise Youth Council Members

Surprise Youth Initiatives

The City of Surprise FY15 budget, adopted by the Surprise City Council on June 3, 2014, included a special allocation of funds for a Boys & Girls Club in the amount of $2 Million. The Council directed the expenditure of the $2 million to the Arizona Community Foundation on behalf of the Steering Committee. A provision of the Council’s action requires that the Boys & Girls Club of Surprise be chartered by the National Club by June 1, 2017. An amendment which would extend the charter deadline from June 1, 2017 to June 1, 2020 was considered and tabled until May 2, 2017 with a 4-3 vote.

For a number of years, the City has researched locating a Boys and Girls Club to serve youth in Surprise. Over the past two years, discussions through the Boys & Girls Club of Surprise Steering Committee have been held with possible partners and stakeholders to determine the feasibility of moving forward. There have been discussions of serving the children of Surprise by building a facility at the Villanueva Center in the Original Town Site. There have been discussions of serving the children of Surprise at school locations across the City. Both of these approaches require additional funding for operations as well as a capital investment. In addition, given the temporary moratorium for establishing new charters by the Boys & Girls Club of America, both approaches will take a year or two to implement.

Community and Recreation Services Director Mark Coronado discussed approaches to provide enhanced youth programs by the Community and Recreation Services Department at current Recreation Centers at Countryside and Sierra Montana with no cost increase to the budget. The CRS Department plans to utilize volunteers and partnerships to provide the enhanced programing.

FY2017 Budget Discussions Continue

The Surprise City Council has opted for a new funding mechanism that would allow the city to add 22 full-time public safety personnel in Fiscal Year 2017, without creating a food tax.

At the City Council Meeting, City Manager Bob Wingenroth presented a $298.6 million Fiscal Year 2017 Recommended Budget, and on May 4, Council approved a $306.8 million FY2017 Tentative Budget that support City Council’s Strategic Goal of maintaining a safe community by adding more than 20 public safety personnel.

The positions would have been financed through a combination of a reduction in the city’s sales tax base from 2.20% to 2.12%, and the addition of a 2.12% food tax to generate an estimated $2.4 million.

Following public input, Council asked for additional funding options that excluded a food tax. Tuesday night, on a 4-3 vote, Council approved a funding formula that eliminates the $1 million Council Contingency; utilizes $500,000 in annual budgeted salary savings; opts to not add an Emergency Operations Manager position in FY17; and includes an 8.7% property tax increase to pay for the following positions:

Police: 13 | Fire-Medical: 7 | Court: 1 | City Attorney: 1

The property tax increase on a $200,000 home would result in an annual increase of $13, or $1.08 per month.

This budget also dedicates $55.2 million for capital improvements to preserve and/or replace aging infrastructure, such as increasing funding for the Pavement Preservation Program to $4.5 million. Investments in communications, facility, information technology, recreation and utility infrastructure amount to $6.8 million. And $10.5 million will support replacing aging vehicles to enhance service and lower maintenance costs.

Beginning in November, the city will assume responsibility for billing the water, waste water and sanitation utilities. By removing these operations from a third-party vendor, the city will be able to provide more efficient operations and provide an improved customer experience. This service will result in an additional 11 positions. The ongoing utility billing budget of $1.7 million that had been paid to the third-party vendor will remain the same once the city transitions to the billing responsibilities.

Council is scheduled to formally adopt the FY2017 budget at their June 7 meeting and the property tax rate on June 21. Both meetings begin at 6 p.m., are open to the public at City Hall and available online at www.surpriseaz.gov/surprise11.

I would like to personally thank all of my constituents who contacted me regarding your opinion on the funding options. I greatly appreciate it. I heard you loud and clear!

Events & Meetings

West Point Towne Center HOA Meeting

West Point Towne Center HOA held their monthly HOA meeting on Wednesday, April 27. Councilwoman Rachel Villanueva and I both represent the Districts that the HOA is located within, and we were both present to answer questions the residents had concerning the Bell Road closure and cut-through traffic issues.

Arizona Charter Academy Community Appreciation Luncheon

Arizona Charter Academy (ACA) hosted their annual Community Appreciation Luncheon on Thursday, April 28. Vice Mayor Jim Biundo, Council Members Rachel Villanueva, Roland Winters, Todd Tande and I all attended, as well as Mayor Lana Mook from El Mirage. Economic Development Coordinator Julie Neal received the Community Partner of the Year award for her program, the Surprise Youth Entrepreneurship Boot Camp. This camp is offered annually through partnerships and donations with several businesses in the community. Congratulations, Julie!

Surprise Networking Group Recruitment Breakfast Meeting

I was honored to be the keynote speaker at a Surprise networking group recruitment breakfast on Friday, April 29. Economic development was the focus of conversation.

Valley Metro Audit & Finance Committee Meeting

I participated in the Valley Metro Audit & Finance Committee meeting on Monday, May 2 to discuss the results of the City of Phoenix audit of Valley Metro.

Surprise Arts & Cultural Advisory Commission Meeting

The Surprise Arts & Cultural Advisory Commission met on Monday, May 2. Mr. Travis Copley from Old Hickory Bat Company was recognized with a plaque for his generous donations of bats for the Commission’s art project this spring. In addition, a few upcoming events were discussed including the “Poetry Slam at WHAM” which will be held on Friday, May 6. It will feature open mic night for poetry, free verse and storytelling. This free event will be held at WHAM Art Association located at 16560 N. Dysart Road from 5 until 7 pm.

Old Hickory Bat Company was recognized with a plaque

The Commission is also sponsoring “An Art Encounter with Eric Mengel” for kids. There will be an art contest and prizes to win. Admission is free. The event will be held at Barnes & Noble, 13719 W. Bell Road on Saturday, May 21 from 11 am until 1 pm.

Dysart Unified School District Athlete of the Month

Athletes from Dysart Unified School District were recognized as part of the Athlete of the Month program. Councilman John Williams and I attended the ceremony to congratulate this month’s winners which included Mariah Fleming and Charles Proby III, both from Dysart High School; Hayley Bejarano and Brendan Kuffel, both from Shadow Ridge; Makayla Nguon and David Minasian, both from Valley Vista; and Morgan Zimmerman and Fernando Lugo, both from Willow Canyon. Congrats to all of you!

Recognized Athletes of the Month

IRIS USA Ribbon Cutting

IRIS USA is officially here and City Council and staff welcomed them with open arms! Last year, IRIS USA broke ground on their 400,000square foot western regional headquarters. The consumer products manufacturer, based in Sendai, Japan is located near the southwest corner of Dysart and Cactus roads. The company is in the process of creating over 100 jobs for local area residents and significantly adding to our overall economic base.

STEM CoP Meeting

Fifty-seven schools were recently accepted into the first ever AZ STEM School Community of Practice (STEM CoP). The STEM CoP is an initiative that empowers teams with multiple perspectives to learn from one another in a social structure based on learning goals. It is a community made up of school based teams who share a passion for STEM education. The community interacts throughout the school year to learn from each other, to develop a sustainable peer network of local practitioners, to improve participants’ skills and promote collaborative planning. I was flattered to be asked to participate in this initiative, and I look forward to making a contribution!

Mark Your Calendar

Surprise Safety Day

Surprise Safety Day, presented by Banner Del E. Webb Medical Center, is coming to Surprise on Saturday, May 7 from 8 am until 11 am. This fun-filled event, hosted by the aquatic center in partnership with Surprise Police and Fire-Medical, will feature emergency vehicles and equipment; interactive exhibits and live demonstrations of Surprise’s public safety services; and water safety and CPR demonstrations.

The Surprise Aquatic Center is offering free swim lesson assessments and will be conducting swim team tryouts for those who are interested. Participants are encouraged to bring bathing suits and a towel; the pool is heated.

The Surprise Aquatic Center is located at 15831 N Bullard Avenue. For more information regarding Safety Day, swim lesson assessments, or swim team tryouts, please contact the Community and Recreation Services office at 623.222.2000.

Did You Know?

Surprise Forward Meetings Begin New Week

As the City of Surprise explores options for funding capital improvements, the public is invited to attend a presentation and discussion on a proposed $60 million 2016 General Obligation (GO) Bond.

The money would fund capital improvement projects around our City over the next five years – from new fire stations to serve a growing city; to recreational amenities that promote community wellness; to road improvements that will create a more connected Surprise!

If approved by City Council prior to the July “Call for Election” deadline, the bond package would be added to the November 2016 ballot. If approved by the voters, it would result in a secondary property tax. Currently, Surprise does not have a secondary property tax.

The cost to Surprise homeowners, administered via the property tax bill, is NOT determined by the home’s market value, but rather its assessed value. The tax is estimated to be $0.50 per $100 of assessed value, which would be $100 a year on a $200,000 home. You can find the assessed value of your home at www.mcassessor.maricopa.gov.

We want your input in this process, so please plan to attend one of the public meetings. Next week, the meetings are scheduled as follows:

Monday, May 9
Surprise City Council Chambers, 16000 N Civic Center Plaza
6 – 8 p.m.

Thursday, May 12
Sierra Montana Community Center, 14861 N Spring Lane
6 – 8 p.m.

For more information on potential projects, costs and more, visit www.surpriseaz.gov/surpriseforward.

Deal of the Day

Please remember the new “ShopSurprise” incentive program is in full gear during the Bell/Grand interchange project. This program offers you special coupons and shopping promotions as well as prizes and drawings. You just need to text “ShopSurprise” – one word – to 40518. If you don’t have a smart phone, you are welcome to see all the daily deals at www.shopsurpriseaz.com. Thank you for your assistance to help support our businesses impacted by this construction project!

Shop Bell & Grand local

Contact Me

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

Ask a Question

IRIS USA Ribbon Cutting

The Surprise City Council helped IRIS USA mark the opening of their new 400,000+ sq ft facility on May 3, 2016. The Council participated in the official ribbon cutting, along with IRIS Ohyama Inc. President Kentaro Ohayama, IRIS USA Chairman Akihiro Ohyama and IRIS USA President Chet Keizer.

May 22, 2015 • Newsletter

City Council Special Meeting

City Pavement Condition Assessment

The Public Works Department presented the results of analyses pertaining to the Pavement Preservation Program. A consultant had been hired to determine the overall condition of our roads and to provide us with OCI (Overall Condition Index) which is a numerical index (between 0-100) utilized to indicate the general condition of pavement. A new road is 100. The City would like to maintain an 80 to maximize our investment on the roads and ultimately save money. OCI has declined in the past 10 years so it is recommended we continue to invest in pavement preservation to maintain 80 OCI.

City of Surprise Water Resource Management Policies

Through the guidance of the Council’s Committee on Water Resource Planning, Water Resource Management Director Terry Lowe brought before Council four water-related strategic policies over the last several months. Those policies are Water Conservation, Use of Reclaimed Water, Water Acquisition, and Water Funding. These policies were unanimously approved by City Council on Tuesday evening.

Staff will now begin to complete Integrated Water Master Plan Phase II (Water Resources II) and Phase III (Infrastructure). City Council is expected to receive an update on Phase II in June. In addition, the Committee and staff plan to establish acquisition targets and update General Plan language related to water and development.

Series 2015 Obligation

Finance Director Lindsey Duncan discussed refinancing the MPC 2003 bond at a lower rate; therefore saving the City an estimated $1.2 million dollars. The refinance would also extend the term of the bond from 2020 to 2024. The City is looking to pair the refinancing with the clubhouse renovation bond issuance which will also save administrative and issuance costs.

Capital Improvement Funding Exploratory Committee Discussion

On February 18, the City Council approved the creation of the Capital Improvement Funding Exploratory Committee. The Committee met on three occasions to review and educate themselves on the use of general obligation bonds to fund specific capital improvement projects (transportation, public safety and parks & recreation); identify appropriate communication methods for educating residents and voters and to determine if any capital improvement project items are more appropriate to add to a potential bond initiative.

While the City Council decided it is not the time for a bond initiative, it was helpful to have the community’s assistance with determining priorities concerning our projects. I’d like to personally thank the Committee for their hard work and resolve. For more information, please feel free to visit www.surpriseaz.gov/CIFE.

Events & Meetings

IRIS USA Ground Breaking

IRIS USA hosted their groundbreaking for their manufacturing, distribution and Western U.S. Regional Headquarters in Skyway Business Park in Surprise on Thursday, May 21. IRIS USA represents a nearly $40 million investment, 100 new jobs and $800,000 of new city revenues in the first year of operations.

IRIS Ground Breaking

Surprise Fire-Medical 10th Annual Awards Ceremony

I attended the 10th Annual Awards Ceremony for the Surprise Fire-Medical Department on Friday, May 15. Several awards were given to our outstanding civil servants. Please join me in congratulating them!

The Fire Chief’s Award and Company of the Year award went to E302 A shift consisting of Captain Wes Odom, Steve Spirlong, Chris Gouso, Abram Fogelson, BC Dan Gromer and Captain Donny Martinez; EMT of the Year award recipient is Robert Jenkins; Paramedic of the Year award recipient is Louis D’Angelo; Civilian of the Year award recipient is James Whitehead; Crisis Response Rookie of the Year recipient is Calvin Rowen; Firefighter of the Year is Ryan Flinn; and individual citation recognitions went to Clint Fogelson, Captain Nick Colombo, Captain Renee Hamblin and Captain Scott Smith. One award, the Perry Award, was given to James Ruff. This award is given to a Fire personnel recipient that best represents the Department’s core values of Team, Trust, Professionalism and Efficiency.

Chief Award E302 A Shift
E302 A Shift receiving their Fire Chief Award

Surprise Regional Chamber of Commerce Breakfast

Councilman Jim Biundo and I attended the Surprise Regional Chamber breakfast on the morning of Tuesday, May 19. Patrick McDermott, Relationship Manager with APS, spoke about Arizona’s energy future.

Patrick McDermott, APS, addressing the Chamber crowd
Patrick McDermott, APS, addressing the Chamber crowd

National Public Works Week

They keep our streets in good condition; they pick-up our trash and recycling; they keep our water clean; and they do so much more. They are the team members that make-up the City of Surprise Public Works, Water Resource Management and Community Development Departments. In their honor, the City recognizes May 17 through May 23 as National Public Works Week.

Mayor Wolcott officially claimed this week in honor of Public Works during the City Council Special Meeting on Tuesday, May 19. In addition, a small reception to thank these employees was provided beforehand. These employees impact our daily lives in the areas of planning, building, and maintaining city facilities to produce a wonderful quality of life for residents. Thank you to each and every one of them!

Public Works Reception

Did You Know?

Economic Development Recognitions

I am very excited to share some great news with you! Economic Development Director Jeanine Jerkovic has been appointed as the Vice-chair of the GPEC Economic Development Directors Team (EDDT)! She will be the first West Valley representation on this particular GPEC Board in quite some time, and next year, she will ascend to the role of Chair. Congratulations, Jeanine! We are lucky to have you in Surprise!

City of Surprise Economic Development Manager Mike Hoover has been named the “2015 Economic Developer of the Year” by the Arizona Association for Economic Development (AAED). Mr. Hoover was nominated in the Large Community category by AAED peers. The nomination was evaluated based on overall economic impact to the community, the development of strong relationships and community support, the innovation and creativity utilized in the process and contributions made to the economic development profession. Congratulations Mike!

Jeanine Jerkovic
Jeanine Jerkovic
Mike Hoover
Mike Hoover

Kingswood Parke Sidewalk Connection Project

The City of Surprise will soon begin a project to connect the sidewalk on the east side of Parkview Place, north of Bell Road. Three trees will be removed on Friday, May 29 and the concrete sidewalk will be poured on Saturday, May 30. Barricades will be removed by late Saturday afternoon. There will be some final cleanup on Monday or Tuesday of the following week.

We Need Your Help!

Do you prefer the look of Tuscan or Contemporary homes? Do you think all city parks should have ramadas? We would love to hear your opinion. You can provide us with your preferences via our new online survey which features colorful images of various concepts. The survey can be taken at http://bit.ly/visualsurvey and your input from the survey will help city planners as they work to update plans pertaining to both land-use and parks and recreation.

For more information on any of the planning updates, please feel free to contact either Joshua Mike at Joshua.mike@surpriseaz.gov or 623.222.3134 or Lloyd Abrams at Lloyd@surpriseaz.gov or 623.222.3021.

Mark Your Calendar

Surprise Pools Open – May 23

As the days continue to get warmer, our pools are getting ready to open for summer swim on Saturday, May 23. Daily admission for residents is $1 per child, ages 12 and under, and $2 per adult with proof of residency. Non-residents are $5. Pool passes are also available for purchase. Children, 10 years of age and younger, must be accompanied by a responsible person (16 or older) at all times.

The Surprise Aquatic Center is located at 15831 N. Bullard Avenue. The weekend hours for the pool are 12 noon until 5 pm, including Memorial Day. Weekday open swim hours are Monday through Thursday from Noon until 6 pm and Friday from Noon until 4 pm.

The Hollyhock Pool is located at 15808 N. Hollyhock Street. The weekend hours are Noon until 5 pm, including Memorial Day. Weekday open swim hours are Monday through Thursday from Noon until 3 pm.

Memorial Day Event at Radiant Church

The Surprise Veterans will be hosting a Memorial Day event at Radiant Church on Memorial Day, which is Monday, May 25, at 3 pm. Radiant Church is located 15522 W. Paradise Lane in Surprise.

Contact Me

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

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February 20, 2015 • Newsletter

City Council Work Session

Signature Gateway Program
During the City Council Work Session Tuesday night, city planner Jackie Keller talked about a Signature Gateway Program. The purpose of the program is to visually communicate through monument signage the City’s unique ‘sense of place’ and identity on a regional, community, and special district level to residents, visitors, and travelers as they come into our city limits and travel throughout the community.

As part of the FY2015 Capital Improvement Program budget, $250,000 was approved for developing a City Gateway Monument. The intent is to utilize a portion of this budget to secure professional services to develop a Signature Gateway Program and prototypical monument designs that can be implemented as future locations and additional funding or opportunities become available. The council discussed their desires for the types and locations of new signage, as well as the budget.

Regular City Council Meeting
Global company to build Western US Headquarters in Surprise
City Council approved a development agreement at Tuesday night’s meeting for IRIS USA, Inc, a subsidiary of IRIS Ohyama, Inc., headquartered in Sendai, Japan. The company will build its new Western United States Regional Headquarters in Surprise’s Southwest Railplex Industrial District. The new facility represents a $33-$40 million investment, 100 new jobs, and $800,000 of new city revenues in the first year of operations. Congratulations to Economic Development Manager Mike Hoover, who was instrumental in bringing this project to Surprise!

IRIS USA with Surprise City Council
From left to right: Economic Development Manager Mike Hoover, Councilman Jim Biundo, Councilman Todd Tande, Councilman Skip Hall, Councilwoman Rachel Villanueva, IRIS USA President Chet Keizer, Mayor Sharon Wolcott, Councilman John Williams, Councilman Roland Winters

Comprehensive Annual Financial Report
Surprise Assistant Finance Director Andrea Davis presented City Council with the result of the city’s fiscal year 2014 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 be working to improve internal control policies based on the auditor’s identification of areas in which the city can improve.

New committee will vet use of bond money for capital improvements
City Council voted on Tuesday night to form a Capital Improvement Funding Exploratory Committee. The 17-member committee will provide recommendations regarding the use of general obligation bonds in funding capital improvement projects. They will meet over the next several months and review the benefits of funding 11 capital improvement projects. They will also welcome public input, identify appropriate communication methods for educating residents and voters and provide City Council with a written report of their findings no later than May 31. Council will decide whether to proceed with a potential bond ballot initiative in June.  All meetings will be noticed at surpriseaz.gov, and the public is encouraged to attend. Read more about the committee and potential bond projects at http://bit.ly/1zoFZST.

Events & Meetings

Citizen Review Meeting
City staff held a public Citizen Review meeting on Wednesday for a proposed Zoning Text Amendment that would regulate donation bins. The proposed ordinance will require that each bin owner apply for a yearly permit update while ensuring proper location, spacing, and aesthetics. The attendees were in general support of the ordinance and provided suggestions to enhance the ordinance. On March 15, Planning and Zoning will participate in a workshop to discuss the issue followed by a recommendation on March 19. The Mayor and City Council will hold their workshop on April 7 with the final determination on April 21.

WHAM Art Association Meeting
City Manager Bob Wingenroth, Councilwoman Rachel Villanueva and I met with members of the WHAM Art Association on Wednesday regarding the building the organization utilizes on Dysart in Surprise. Future discussion will occur at a Council Meeting in March.

Valley Metro Meeting
I attended the Valley Metro RPTA Board Meeting on Thursday. The main item of discussion concerned updates on transportation during the Super Bowl earlier this month. On January 31 alone, Valley Metro nearly doubled their former ridership record (which was 65,800 on 12/7/2013) with 126,000 boardings!  An average Saturday generates 35,300 boardings. The rail ridership for Super Bowl week (Wednesday, January 28 through Sunday, February 1, 2015) was 389,500. Phoenix experienced the biggest event in its city history with the Verizon Super Bowl Central and the NFL experience. There were 177,000 people at the NFL experience, which was held at the Phoenix Convention Center.  Approximately $500 million in positive economic impact was estimated to be received by Phoenix and surrounding Valley areas due to the Super Bowl events. The Arizona Super Bowl Host Committee achieved a fundraising goal of $30 million to support the downtown Phoenix events. They also provided $2 million in charitable donations to 22 local, non-profits.

Arizona Fair Share Meeting
On Wednesday, I met with Kimberley Pope, State Organizer with Arizona Fair Share.  Arizona Fair Share Education Fund (FSEF) is a non-partisan, non-profit, 501(c)3 organization that promotes economic fairness and sustainability through independent research, practical ideas, effective education campaigns and grassroots outreach. Ms. Pope requested a proclamation recognizing childhood hunger in Arizona.

Did You Know?

Surprise is seeking Senior Center volunteers
The City of Surprise Human Service & Community Vitality Department is seeking volunteers to assist with food service at the Surprise Senior Center. Volunteer shifts are typically once or twice per week during the weekdays and last between two and four hours. Volunteer hours are flexible and coordinated to meet individual availability. For more information, please contact Joe Gladieux at joe.gladieux@surpriseaz.gov or call 623.222.1500.

City is developing a Community Emergency Response Team
Surprise is offering free Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) training for residents interested in learning how to help in an emergency or disaster situation. The training, which offers certification upon completion, is designed to help build a team of community volunteers who can help respond to incidents effectively and efficiently without putting themselves in danger. The classes are scheduled for Feb. 28, Mar.7 and Mar. 14 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Surprise Public Safety Auditorium, 14250 W. Statler Plaza. All three training classes must be completed in order to receive full certification. For more information or to register for the CERT training, please contact the Surprise Fire-Medical Department at crfire@surpriseaz.gov or 623.222.5400.

Mark You Calendars

Big 12/Pac-12 Baseball Challenge – Feb. 19-22
This weekend, the Big 12/Pac-12 Baseball Challenge continues at Surprise Stadium. There are two Saturday games. The first starts at 1 p.m. (Oregon State v. Oklahoma) and the other at 4:30 p.m. (Kansas v. Washington State), The Sunday game starts at 11 a.m. (Kansas v. Oregon State). Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for students. For more information, call the Surprise Stadium Box Office at 623.222.2222 or visit www.surprisespringtraining.com.

13th Annual Mayor’s Welcome Back Lunch – Feb. 23
Come Join Mayor Sharon Wolcott, the Kansas City Royals 2014 American League Champions and the Texas Rangers as they celebrate Spring Training 2015. Baseball Fans will have the opportunity to hear about the upcoming Season from Team Staff. The lunch starts at 11 a.m. at Surprise Recreation Campus – Surprise Stadium. Individual tickets are $30 and a Corporate Table of 8 is  $210. More info is available at www.surprisespringtraining.com.

Free Estate Planning Class – Feb. 24
From taxes to power of attorney, this free class will cover the essentials of estate planning. The class will be held in the auditorium of the Surprise Public Safety Building (Police Department), 14250 W. Statler Plaza, from 10-11:30 a.m. on Tuesday, February 24. For information or registration, please contact Ruby Sitea at 623.222.3242 or ruby.sitea@surpriseaz.gov.

Contact Me

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

Ask a Question