Tag Archives: Literacy Challenge

April 7, 2016 • Newsletter

Bell Road/Grand Avenue Update


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

City Council Work Session

Community Development Block Grant Annual Action Plan

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

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

Review of Capital Projects and Potential Capital Funding

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

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

City Council Meeting

Austin Ranch West Parcel 1 & 4

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

Stormwater Utility Discussion

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

Revenue Projections and Expenditure Recommendations

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

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

IGA for Safe Route to School Grant

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

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

City-wide Temporary Sign Policy

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

Regular Council Meeting CHANGE

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

Events & Meetings

City Café Express Gallery Grand Opening

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

Sierra Verde HOA Meeting

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

The Orchards Block Party

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

Surprise Literacy Challenge Pizza Parties

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

HOA Summit

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

Mark Your Calendars

Job Fair Coming to Surprise

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

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

Did You Know?

ADOT’s National Household Travel Survey

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

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

Contact Me

Shop Bell & Grand local

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

Ask a Question

Winners of 3rd Annual Surprise Literacy Challenge announced

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

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

Here are the winners in each grade:

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

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

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

The top 4th and 5th grade classroom will be treated to a pizza party. They will also receive a trophy for their room and individual medals for each student.

The winning 6th grade class accepted their accolades on the field at the March 25 Spring Training game at Surprise Stadium.

The city congratulates these winning readers!

Surprise Literacy Challenge Winners Recognized

Councilman Hall visited the classrooms of the 4th and 5th grade students who won the 2015 Surprise Literacy Challenge during their celebratory pizza parties on March 25!

The Challenge, created by Vice Mayor Williams and Councilman Hall, asked students in 4th -6th grade to track the number of hours they read outside the classroom for a period of four months.

The winning 4th grade class was Ms. Housari’s class at Rancho Gabriela.

Surprise Literacy Challenge Winners Rancho 4th
Councilman Hall with winning 4th grade class.

The winning 5th grade class was Ms. Guest’s class at Parkview.

Surprise Literacy Challenge Winners Parkview
Councilman Hall with winning 5th grade class.

In addition to the pizza party, each of the students received a medal for their reading efforts. They will also receive a trophy for their classroom at the City Council Meeting on April 7.

Councilman Hall also attended the recognition of the winning 6th grade class from Paradise Education Center, which happened on the field at the March 26 Spring Training game at Surprise Stadium.

Winning 6th Grade
Councilman Hall and Youth Services Administrator Paul Bernardo with winning 6th grade class


Councilmember John Williams and I have issued a challenge to help promote reading among elementary-age students in Surprise. We are asking students to read at home (non-homework related) and keep a log of their reading, with a parent signature to confirm their progress. Students then turn the logs into their teachers, who keep track of the total number of minutes read among the students in their respective classrooms.

Several local elementary schools and hundreds of students, grades 3 – 6, participated in the first-year initiative and the winning teachers were awarded trophies in May. We are hoping that even more students accept the challenge this year!