Tag Archives: sign code

January 18, 2018 • Newsletter

Decide GO Bond Update

The city has released the anticipated procurement schedule for some of the bond projects approved by voters last November. As you recall, the voters of Surprise approved General Obligation bond funding for 10 projects in the areas of Public Safety, Traffic Congestion Mitigation and Pavement Preservation last November.

The advertisement for Design-Build Professional Services for the Public Works Operations Facility will open February 15, 2018.

The advertisement for Design Professional Services for the three Traffic Congestion Mitigation projects opens February 22, 2018. This includes improvements to sections of Waddell, Greenway and Litchfield roads.

The advertisement for Design Professional Services for Fire Station 304 and Fire Station 308 begins February 15, 2018.

The complete schedule, project timeline details and additional information is available at www.surpriseaz.gov/decidesurprise. To view the formal bid posting, visit Anticipated Procurement Schedule for Bond Projects.

City Council Work Session

Proposed Amendment Regarding Signs

City Council heard a presentation regarding the city’s draft sign code on Tuesday evening. City staff has been working to bring forward a new sign code that will balance business needs and community aesthetics, in a manner that is consistent with the 1st Amendment and recent changes to the law. While this was only a discussion item, the city’s Planning and Zoning Commission will hear the issue at a public hearing to be held here at City Hall on Thursday, January 18, 2018 at 6:00 PM. The City Council is also scheduled to hear the matter at a public hearing on Tuesday, February 6, 2018 at 6:00 PM, at City Hall. If you have any questions regarding the proposed sign code, please don’t hesitate to call Planner Robert Kuhfuss at 623-222-3137.

City Council Meeting

Amendment of Municipal Code – Wireless Facilities

Due to recent legislative action from State and Federal lawmakers, revisions to Section 122-112, Wireless Facilities, of the Surprise Municipal Code are necessary to ensure compatibility when constructing Wireless Facilities in the city. House Bill 2365 was adopted in 2017 which now allows wireless providers to install and operate wireless facilities in city rights-of-way. HB 2365 also provided an application process for said facilities (most applicants are exempt from zoning review) and requires the establishment of terms and conditions for the wireless providers. The bill allows cities to require reasonable appearance and concealment requirements. Timing, submittal requirements, design standards and the review process have been modified and unanimously approved by City Council.

Vice Mayor Selection – 2018

City Council selected District 4 Councilmember Ken Remley 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 each year. The Vice Mayor acts on behalf of the Mayor in the event of absence. Congratulations, Ken!

FY2018 Financial Status Report

Finance Director Lindsey Duncan provided an update of the financial activity through the month of October 2017. General fund resources, year to date, are higher than budgeted at $5.3 million. The largest portion of the increase is from local sales tax as well as the charges for services due to the increase in activities by developers. Expenses were approximately $900,000 less than budgeted.

City Council Supports Legislation Regarding Street Light Districts

Arizona Revised Statutes (48-616, and others) authorize cities to form special taxing districts known as Streetlight Improvement Districts (SLIDs) for the presently limited purpose of purchasing electricity for street lights in a specified area. The City of Surprise currently requires these districts for streetlights on all roadways except parkways, major arterials, and minor arterials, and administers over 100 SLIDs at present. With a growing city, the number of SLIDs continues to expand causing a greater need for administration of the districts and coordination with the energy provider. In addition, each district has a different taxing rate resulting in a wide variety of taxes for property owners.

The creation of these districts throughout the development of the city has led to over 100 taxable districts citywide. The variability in the number of properties and lights in each district can lead to very different tax bills for each property owner. In addition, the administration of these districts and coordination with the energy provider is both time and work intensive.

The city is seeking a solution to optimize the use and to streamline the efficiency of administration of the districts in terms of assessment of costs and maintenance of the facilities. The goal is to create greater consistency for tax payers and to reduce the burden of administration. As a result, city staff has engaged outside Counsel along with two other cities and the League of Arizona Cities and Towns to draft a bill allowing cities to expand and consolidate street lighting districts and add powers to acquire, construct, and maintain street lighting facilities.

Amendments to the City Council Policies and Procedures Manual

The current City Council Policies and Procedures Manual expressly requires that “this manual will be reviewed by the City Council to consider recommendations and update it as necessary in August of odd-numbered years.” This item was brought forth for discussion and action in November but tabled for further review prior to action. Consequently, the City Attorney’s Office reviewed the policy and identified changes based on issues that have arisen implementing the current policy.

Specifically, the suggestions that have been drafted clarify that Council Members do not “check their constitutional rights at the door” by being an elected official and this policy does not supersede any constitutional rights that members enjoy. The purposed amendments also include an obligation, corollary to the obligation to report a violation, to refrain from making false, frivolous, or otherwise harassing allegations of violation. The suggested amendments passed with a 4-2 vote.

Amendments to Surprise Municipal Code

At a Council meeting on November 7, 2017, City Council voted to postpone the consideration of specific proposed amendments to Surprise Municipal Code, Chapter 2, Article II, Section 2-22. The suggested amendments included:

(1) Clarify what a public comment is in the context of the Clerk accepting public comments for posting on the City’s website during a council vacancy;

(2) Apply a “resign to run” obligation to boards and commissions members in order to ensure parity in Arizona State Law as it applies to City Council and Boards and Commissions (i.e., Board Members or Commissioners would need to resign their seats to run for City Council);

(3) Distinguish between excused and unexcused absences in the context of boards and commissions attendance and allow the Boards and Commissions Nomination Committee to resolve attendance issues;

(4) Streamline the Nomination Committee’s process for submitting names of applicants when a new vacancy opens within ninety days of a qualified applicant completing the application process through interview.

(5) Provide the Nomination Committee with the authority to resolve allegations of nonfeasance and malfeasance of boards and commission members, short of removal.

After much discussion, City Council voted 3-3. The motion to approve the amendments failed with the tie vote.

Events & Meetings

Tourism Advisory Commission Meeting

The Tourism Advisory Commission met on Thursday, January 11. Discussion included identifying tourism priorities for existing facilities and the approval of international cooperative marketing opportunities available through the Arizona Office of Tourism Coop and Brand USA. This collaboration is the nation’s first public-private partnership to promote travel to the US. The collaboration has marketing initiatives in 40 markets reaching more than 90% of inbound travel to the US. In addition to these items, staff stated the city’s website has been updated to include the new Sports & Tourism department.

Arizona Charter Academy Spelling Bee

On Friday, January 12, I was asked to judge the spelling bee competition at Arizona Charter Academy. Congratulations to the following winners:

Overall winners:

1st Place: Alexis Kohatsu
2nd Place: Confidence Nkol
3rd Place: Sister Nkol

Grade Level Winners:

1st grade: Alan Castillo
2nd grade: Amani Glover
3rd grade: Emmanuel Etukudoh
4th grade: Divine Etukudoh
5th grade: Christopher Buenaventura
6th grade: Johanna Delgado
7th grade: Alexis Kohatsu
8th grade: Confidence Nkol

Mark Your Calendar

Sunday in the Park

The City of Surprise and State 48 Brewery are partnering to add food trucks and craft beer once again for the Sundays in the Park concert series. Event admission is free. Food and drinks are available for purchase. There will be 15 delicious food trucks as well as an assortment of craft beers provided by State 48 Brewery and live music. This is a great event for the entire family. There will be free face painting and bounce house along with several other fun activities for children.

The event is this Sunday, January 21 at 8 Acre Park, 15850 N. Bullard Avenue from 12 noon until 4 pm.

City Schedules Meetings to Discuss Future Development in OTS

As a follow-up to the implementation of the Heritage Overlay District in the city’s Original Town Site (OTS), the city is hosting public engagement meetings in January and February to discuss new development opportunities in the area. Most meetings will be held in the Roy Villanueva Recreation Center, 15660 N. Hollyhock Street, at 6 p.m. on the following dates:

Monday, January 22 (CRS Advisory Board Meeting, City Hall- Community Room, 16000 N. Civic Center Plaza); Wednesday, February 7; Wednesday, February 28

City staff and development partners will present information about future housing, recreation and retail amenities that are being considered for the OTS, in the general area bounded by Santa Fe Drive, Rimrock, Hollyhock and Nash streets. For more information, please call 623.222.3134.

Surprise POPS Band Concert

Expect big sounds from the Surprise Pops Band as they present a “Salute to the Big Bands” concert on Sunday, January 28, 3 p.m., Valley Vista High School Performing Arts Center, 15550 N. Parkview Place. Doors open at 2:15 p.m. The performance will feature the music of Count Basie, George Gershwin and other Big Band favorites.

The performance is open to the public and is free with the donation of a non-perishable food item. All Pops Band’s donations help support the Valley View Community Food Bank. For more information, visit www.surprisepopsband.com.

Did You Know?

2018 City Academy

Want to learn about the structure of city government, get updated on local issues and get to know your city leaders? Register for the 2018 Surprise City Academy! The eight-session academy offers the opportunity to learn about the city directly from the mayor, councilmembers, city manager and upper-level city staff. Plus, you will hear from city partners like Ottawa University and West-MEC.

The Surprise City Academy begins on March 5 and meets weekly through April 16. Most classes will meet from 6-8:30 p.m. in the auditorium of the Surprise Public Safety Building, 14250 W. Statler Plaza.

It’s free to participate, but space is limited. Registration is required by February 26! For an application or information, please visit www.surpriseaz.gov/cityacademy or you can 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

September 7, 2017 • Newsletter

Special City Council Meeting

Public Hearing – Interviews for District 3 Council Vacancy

The Surprise City Council interviewed six applicants seeking the vacant District 3 council seat in a Special Meeting, September 5. The term expiration for the appointment will be December 31, 2018 and the remainder of the original four-year term will be placed on the next scheduled Council election in August 2018. The names of those interviewed are: Patrick Duffy; James Hodge; Randal Kidd Jr.; Kevin Loken; Gisele Norberg; and Gary “Doc” Sullivan.

Patrick Duffy is a Financial Advisor for Merrill Lynch and for the past 9 years has worked part-time as a City of Surprise Recreation Leader 3. He has lived in Surprise for eight years, two of them in D3. Duffy was a member of the Surprise Municipal Property Corporation Board and through his city service has been part of numerous Community and Recreation Services events including Spring Training support, Relay for Life events and Cal Ripken All-Star games. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Arizona State University.

James Hodge has lived in D3 for seven years and is an Assistant Manager at Discount Tire Direct. He has served as a youth baseball coach, youth flag football coach and volunteered as a score keeper for numerous city rec tournaments. He founded and operated the Sandra Lynn Foundation, a 501c3 non-profit that assisted families with funeral expenses through fundraising events.

Randal Kidd Jr.is a Transition Specialist with the Arizona State Schools for the Deaf and Blind- Phoenix Campus. He has lived in Surprise for eight years. He is Vice President of the Deaf Community of Surprise and participated in the Surprise City Academy this spring. Kidd holds an Associate of Applied Science in Information & Computing Studies from Rochester Institute of Technology and is working towards obtaining a Bachelor of Science in Urban Planning from Arizona State University (May 2018).

Kevin Loken is a District Supervisor at XPO Logistics and has lived in D3 for less than a year. He has a Master of Arts in Management from National University and a Bachelor of Arts in English from Cal-State Fullerton. His grandfather, Carlo Leone, has served on the Peoria City Council for nearly 20 years.

Gisele Norberg is a member of the Surprise Planning & Zoning Commission and has lived in D3 for nearly two years. Norberg is the owner and independent distributor of AdvoCare International. Her family’s construction business provided her with experience in commercial and residential development. Norberg ran unsuccessfully for the D3 Council seat in 2016. She graduated Magna Cum Laude from Washington State University- Vancouver with a Bachelor of Arts in Social Sciences, majoring in Political Science and minoring in Psychology.

Gary “Doc” Sullivan is a former Surprise City Councilmember (2003 – 2007), serving one of those years as Vice Mayor. He was a member of the former Surprise Economic Development Advisory Board. He has lived in Surprise for 17 years. Sullivan is retired and previously worked in sales for Cox Communications.

Public comments regarding the applicants can be submitted to the City Clerk through the close of business on Tuesday, September 12. Comments received through this outlet will be sent to Council and posted online by the end of the following business day.

You can learn more about the applicants here: https://www.surpriseaz.gov/3652/District-3-Council-Applicants

City Council Work Session

Update on City Projects

Public Works Assistant Director Karl Zook provided an update on city projects.

Bullard Avenue – Peoria Avenue to Greenway Road is scheduled for construction beginning Spring 2018. The design phase is 95% complete and includes restriping for two lanes in each direction, protected bike lanes, two new traffic signals and landscape median. This project will be grant funded with a city contribution.

Bullard Ave map point markers

Bell Road Adaptive Signal Improvements on Bell Road between Avenue of the Arts and Cotton Lane has begun. This project includes upgraded vehicle detection and new software to monitor traffic demand in real time. The software deployment is 60% complete.

Bell Road Adaptive Signal Project map view

Bell Road Pavement Preservation includes pavement preservation on Bell Road from Grand Avenue to Parkview Place. Both east and westbound lanes will be completed. The project start date is September 17 and should conclude by the end of the month.

Bell Road Pavement Preservation map view

8 Acre Park Fencing is under construction. Construction began last month and should conclude by the end of this month. This project includes 2300 feet of 8 foot tall decorative fencing with pillars to match the aesthetics of our Surprise Stadium fencing.

Eight new pickle ball courts with LED lighting are also under construction. Construction began on August 23, and the anticipated completion, pending weather delays, is the end of November. This project also includes the relocation of our volleyball courts.

Earlier this year, City Council approved improvements for Surprise Farms Park that included an additional 10 acres of open space park area. Construction on the improvements began on July 10. Sod was completed at the end of August. The green fence will be removed later this month after the turf is established.

Other updates included the Dysart Road median (estimated completion in Spring 2018), 115th Avenue and Union Hills Drive drainage improvements (currently 55% complete, project should be complete in summer 2018), Bullard Avenue water line (construction began in early July and will be complete in October) and the South Plant perimeter wall (project in design for low-bid with an estimated completion of spring 2018).

City Council Meeting

Surprise Community Outreach Grant Program Recommendations

Staff presented the Surprise Community Outreach Grant program recommendations made by the Committee on Community Outreach, Partnerships and Grants. This year, staff received 32 applications with funding requests totaling more than $261,000. City Council set aside $65,000 with this year’s budget for this program. Council discussed increasing the funding for next fiscal year.

After much discussion, the funding recommendations were approved with one modification.

Citywide Temporary Sign Policy Adoption

The City Council approved an updated Temporary Sign Policy for the city at their Tuesday Regular Meeting. The intent of the policy is to better align with the current needs of businesses and residents and temporarily waives the Surprise City Code Section 113-47, but only as to Article V, of the current code, beginning thirty days after the adoption of this resolution until it is repealed.

During the recession council approved a temporary sign policy in 2012 that allowed:

  • A-Frames (1 per business; cannot be located on a street, sidewalk or within visibility triangle)
  • Banners (1 per business; must be placed on building)
  • Sign Walkers (Required a no fee permit from the City and must meet insurance criteria)

That policy was repealed by council in February 2017. Following months of public comment, council agreed to once again approve A-Frame and other temporary signs under the revised Temporary Sign Policy:

  • A-Frames (Class 1 Temporary Signs): may not exceed 24 inches in height or width (placed 1 hr before event/removed 1 hr after event; 1 sign per intersection, no further than closest arterial) and must be associated with a lawful temporary event.
  • A-Frames &am; Pedestal (Class 2 Temporary Signs): portable sign may not exceed 45 inches in height and 36 inches in width commercial hours are during business hours of the advertising business; signs must be within 15’ of the customer entrance and associated with a lawful commercial use.
  • When a Class II Temporary Sign is in conjunction with a Lawful Temporary Event located within a -residential zoning district, not more than four (4) such signs shall be utilized (45 inches in height and 36 inches in width). Such signs may be placed no further than the closest arterial street and be placed between the hours of 4:00 PM Friday to 11:00 PM Sunday.
  • Banners w/ ventilation flaps only: 1 banner per building (1 sf per linear foot of building elevation; if an active construction project banner may be placed on construction site fence (30 SF)
  • Sign Walkers: operational hours 7 am – 7 pm; may not restrict pedestrian/vehicle access; 2 single-sided signs not to exceed 3 sf/ or 1 double-sided sign not to exceed 12 sf; electronic message signs are prohibited

The revised changes allow for temporary event signage, such as real estate open house signs; neighborhood events, etc…

Signage that remains prohibited under the policy includes:

  • Animated Signs, flashing/blinking/rotating signs, inflatable signs (latex or Mylar balloons), permanent banner signs/pennants, searchlights, streamers, signs that emit audible sound
  • Vehicle Signs when the vehicle is placed in a location not approved for vehicular parking or storage
  • Signs located on trees/utility poles/public benches/ or public right-of-way
  • Signs containing vulgar/ profane messages, hate speech/ language intended to incite violence
  • Signs which are located within any sight visibility triangle of any street/driveway intersection, located in a median and/or as required by the Surprise Engineering Development Standards
  • Signs not expressly permitted as being allowed under this policy, or by specific requirements in another section of Surprise Unified Development Code, are expressly prohibited

For a complete listing of the requirements under this policy please visit www.surpriseaz.gov/signcode.

Events & Meetings

West Valley Veteran Center Tour

Vice Mayor Todd Tande and I, along with city staff, attended a tour of the West Valley Veteran Center on Thursday, August 31. The Maricopa County Community College District, in partnership with Surprise and many other West Valley cities, has invested in a new West Valley resource center to help veterans and their families adjust to civilian life. The center is located at the former Visitor Center at Luke Air Force Base. This initiative will provide veterans with assistance services related to counseling, housing, education, careers and much more.

Councilman Skip Hall and Vice Mayor Todd Tande, along with city staff tour the West Valley Veteran Center

Walmart Grand Re-Opening

Walmart, located at 13770 W. Bell Road, hosted a grand re-opening on Friday, September 1 to celebrate their recent remodel. Walmart also utilized the event to raise money to support the communities affected by Hurricane Harvey!

Mark Your Calendar

Second Sundays in the Park Fall Concert

The city is kicking off its fall series of “Second Sundays in the Park” concerts on Sunday, September 10 from 2-4 p.m. This family-friendly event will take place in the center of Surprise Community Park, 15953 N. Bullard Avenue, and will feature live variety music from The Steven P. Project.

Families are encouraged to bring a picnic or purchase food from the onsite vendors and enjoy the live entertainment. For more information, please contact the City of Surprise Community & Recreation Services Office at 623.222.2000 or visit us online at www.surpriseaz.gov/specialevents.

General Obligation Bond Meeting Dates Announced

Surprise residents will consider three separate General Obligation Bond questions to fund 10 capital improvement projects in the areas of Public Safety, Traffic Congestion Mitigation and Pavement Preservation on Tuesday, November 7. The city is hosting several public meetings to help educate our residents on the bond.

Those meetings are as follows:

Tuesday, September 26 (6 p.m.): City Hall- Council Chambers, 16000 N. Civic Center Dr.

Wednesday, September 27 (6 p.m.): District 4 Community Meeting open to all residents, Community Center, 15832 N. Hollyhock St.

Thursday, October 5 (10 a.m.): District 5 Community Meeting open to all residents, Sun Village Community Association, 17300 N. Sun Village Parkway

Monday, October 9 (10:30 a.m.): District 2 Community Meeting open to all residents, Sun City Grand Cimarron Center Agua Fria Room, 17100 W Clearview Blvd

Thursday, October 12 (7 p.m.): District 5 Community Meeting, Sun Village Community Association, 17300 N. Sun Village Parkway

If you cannot attend one of the meetings, city staff will come to your neighborhood HOA, community group, or club meetings to provide facts related to the bond election. We already have several booked throughout the city’s districts! Please contact the City Manager’s Office at 623.222.1100 to schedule a date.

In addition, the city will also have educational information available at various Fire-Medical Station Open Houses (Sept. & Oct.), Fiesta Grande (Oct. 14), G.A.I.N Night (Oct. 28). The details for the events are posted on our city calendar at www.surpriseaz.gov. You can learn more about the bond projects, costs and voter registration information at www.surpriseaz.gov/decidesurprise

If any of the bond questions are approved by voters in November, the cost to residents would be administered via a secondary property tax. Currently, Surprise does not have a secondary property tax.

The last day to register to vote in the Nov. 7 election is Oct. 10 by 5 p.m. This is a Ballot-By-Mail Only Election. Ballots will be mailed to all registered voters on Oct. 11. In-person voting and ballot drop-off begins at Surprise City Hall – City Clerk’s Office, Saturday, Oct. 28 – Tuesday, Nov. 7, 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. Election Day (Nov. 7) voting hours will be extended to 6 a.m. – 7 p.m.

Bell Road & Grand Avenue ramps to be closed Sept. 18-24 for improvements

The Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) has issued a project improvement announcement for the Bell Road Bridge and Grand Avenue.

The notice is as follows:

The on- and off-ramps at the Bell Road Bridge over Grand Avenue (US 60) will be closed Sept. 18-24 for roadway improvements both on and near the overpass.

The Bell/Grand ramps will be closed from 1 a.m. Monday (Sept. 18) to 5 p.m. Sunday (Sept. 24), according to the Arizona Department of Transportation. Drivers can use detour routes along Dysart and Litchfield roads to make connections between Bell Road and Grand Avenue. Bell Road will remain open for traffic traveling over the bridge.

During the week, crews will be removing the median island along westbound Grand Avenue near the Bell Grande Drive intersection. The change is designed to provide improved guidance for drivers making left turns onto Bell Grande Drive while clearly separating that traffic from vehicles using the westbound off-ramp at the Bell Road overpass. Drivers should use caution in the work zone and expect restrictions along westbound US 60 and left-turn closures at the Bell Grande Drive intersection.

Crews also will add sections of what are known as mountable, rounded curbs near the ends of the existing barrier walls separating the on- and off-ramps near the crosswalks on the Bell Road overpass. As an additional safety measure, yellow flexible safety posts will be placed near the ends of the ramp barrier walls. The changes are designed to help drivers with turning angles between Bell Road and the ramps.

The ramps first opened to traffic in February as part of ADOT’s $42 million project to build a new interchange connecting Bell Road and Grand Avenue. The improvements are the result of feedback from local drivers as well as staff at ADOT and the city of Surprise.

Did You Know?

Civic Center Drive Almost Complete

I am pleased to inform you that the much anticipated construction of Civic Center Drive from Bell Road to Paradise is almost complete. Despite the inclement summer storms, the project remains on track and we anticipate the opening of the road on September 13. The project includes one travel lane in each direction with a center median. At this time, there will not be any landscaping, streetlights or sidewalk included.

Civic Center Dr.

Hollyhock Library Extends Hours Due to Generous Nonprofit Donation

The city and Maricopa County Library District are excited to offer extended operating hours for the Hollyhock Library, located at 15844 N Hollyhock Street. In response to the recommendations provided through the recent library feasibility study, beginning Sept. 25 the Hollyhock Library will modify operating hours Tuesdays and Thursdays,1 – 7 p.m. The Hollyhock Library will offer extended hours on Saturdays from 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. beginning October 14.

The Surprise City Council would like to recognize the generosity of the non-profit independent organization, Friends of the Surprise Libraries. Since 2003, Friends of the Surprise Libraries has donated $185,000 in support of literacy and programs offered at the Northwest Regional Library and Hollyhock Library. Extended hours of operation will offer residents and local student’s access to study areas, computing stations and library resources.

Contact Me

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

Ask a Question

August 3, 2017 • Newsletter

City Council Work Session

New Enterprise Department Discussion

The mission statement for our city’s Community and Recreation Services (CRS) Department is to “enrich and complement the lives of Surprise residents through stewardship of our resources while providing responsive programs which promote and prioritize diversity, cultural, neighborhood, family, education, recreation and wellness opportunities.” At the same time, CRS is responsible for operating and staffing two world class facilities (baseball and tennis) and coordinating with the Surprise Tourism Commission. City Manager Bob Wingenroth recognizes the opportunity to further enhance the quality of life for our residents and proposed a potential organizational change to create a new department.

Staff is proposing a new Enterprise Department, possibly named the Sports and Tourism Department. This new Department would be business focused with the following primary responsibilities: operation of Surprise Stadium and the Surprise Tennis & Racquet Complex, establish public/private partnerships to construct an aquatics center and a regional recreation complex, coordinate the usage of city sports facilities with Ottawa University and our school district, and work in partnership with the Chamber of Commerce and the Tourism Commission to bring regional and national events to Surprise that would increase overnight stays and increase local restaurant and retail business.

The majority of the staffing necessary to build the Sports and Tourism Department would come from CRS divisions. In addition, it will be necessary to establish a director position and a coordinator position at an estimated annual cost of $318,900. There would be estimated start-up costs of $20,000. The potential gains from utilization and tourism dollars flowing to the city with this increased focus will outweigh the increased cost.

Shop Local Program

In 2016, the City partnered with the Surprise Regional Chamber of Commerce on an award-winning “Shop Local” campaign as part of our efforts to help businesses that were impacted by the Bell Road/Grand Avenue bridge construction. The campaign proved to be successful and as such, staff has received direction from City Council to partner again to explore a citywide Shop Local campaign, leveraging the best practices learned.  The campaign is consistent with the Council’s Strategic Plan to promote jobs and enhance the needs of small businesses, particularly through business retention and expansion activities.

Bell Road and Grand Avenue Monument Signage

Council discussed and provided staff with some direction relative to signage in and around the Bell and Grand overpass. With the construction of the overpass, signage was removed due to expansion of right-of-way and relocation of utilities and easements from properties at the intersection. Staff was able to work with two of the property owners to replace signage along Grand Avenue; however, the signage requested along Bell Road is higher than allowed by code and prior approvals. Council instructed staff to work with those property owners at the intersection of Grand Avenue and Bell Road to find amenable solutions to signage to provide visibility to the businesses while looking at impacts relative to the view shed.

Temporary Signage Discussion

A discussion on temporary signage was brought to the City Council during Tuesday’s Work Session. City Council had received concerns from residents and business owners relative to signage directing traffic to businesses and public services such as churches and events in and around the City. Currently, the City sign code does not allow for temporary signage such as A-frames and sandwich boards. City staff has been working on revising the sign code. Under the draft code, the City is looking to allow signage for lawful temporary events that would include signage such as A-frames and sandwich boards.

Staff presented Council with the option to enact the temporary sign portion of the draft code prior to the full code being adopted. This would assist business during the update process and allow staff to obtain data on how best to address temporary signage in the final sign code adoption.

Council voiced their understanding of the need for signage to promote businesses and events around the City and instructed staff to “beta-test” the temporary signage portion of the draft sign code under a new Temporary Sign Policy. That Temporary Sign Policy will be discussed and deliberated upon by City Council at their September 5, 2017 meeting.

I also want to share a bit of history with you on the city’s use of temporary sign policies to give you a better picture of how we got here.

In 2009, during the great recession, Council enacted Resolution 09-151 which allowed temporary signs; Council extended it in 2012 for one year. Then, in March of 2016, the City enacted the Bell Road Temporary Sign Policy (Resolution 2016-42) in order to assist businesses during the construction of the Bell and Grand Overpass Project. The City Wide Temporary Sign Policy was then approved again in April of 2016 under resolution 2016-43 for the entire City limits. In February 2017, after the completion of Bell and Grand Avenue Overpass construction, the City approved resolutions 2017-20 and 2017-21. These resolutions repealed the City Wide Temporary Sign Policy and the Bell and Grand Temporary Sign and Temporary Use Permit Policy.

City Council Meeting

2017 Summer Youth Interns

Each year, the City’s Human Service and Community Vitality Department sponsors a Summer Youth Employment Program for teens residing in Surprise. This year, 25 interns were selected to participate from over 70 applicants. Interns were permitted to work up to 25 hours a week. Each Monday, they received Life Skills training which included information on how to prepare for interviews, how to put together resumes, interviewing and job readiness skills and much more. All 25 interns were recognized at the City Council meeting. Many thanks to our HSCV team led by Director Seth Dyson for their dedication to this fantastic program that grooms our teens for life!

Surprsie Summer Youth Interns group photo
2017 Summer Youth Interns

Maricopa County Work Force Development Services

The Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act of 2014 (WIOA) is designed to help job seekers access employment, education, training and support services to succeed in the labor market and to match employers with the skilled workers they need to compete in the global economy. Maricopa County is a designated as a Local Workforce Development Area under the federal WIOA.

The County operates two (2) comprehensive Workforce Development One Stop Career Centers (Centers) under WIOA. The Centers provide employment-related services to job-seekers and employers in Maricopa County. Job seekers can access services such as workshops on job search and job retention skills; assessment tools for measuring interests, aptitude and skills; career exploration; vocational counseling, funding assistance for occupational skills training and job placement assistance. Resources such as computers, fax machines and copiers are available to assist in job search activities. The Centers hold job fairs for local employers recruiting employees to fill vacant positions. The Centers also provide transition assistance for local employers who experience a reduction in force and, therefore, must lay-off employees. The City will house a satellite office for the County through the approval of this Intergovernmental Agreement with Maricopa County. The services provided in the Resource Center will benefit job seekers and employers who cannot travel to access services in the County’s Centers.

The Intergovernmental Agreement was approved on Consent Agenda. This action will allow our HSCV Department to offer Workforce Development Services from the Surprise Resource Center with a full-time Workforce Development Coordinator.

Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Annual Plan

The city received an allotment of Community Development Block Grant funding of $638,560 from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development for year 2017-2018. Of this amount, $95,784 is being awarded to non-profits to provide social services to Surprise residents. These non-profits include Aid to Adoption of Special Kids, Benevilla, CASS, Surprise Community Action Program, Mentally Ill Kids in Distress, SoJourner, St. Mary’s Food Bank, and the Sun Health Foundation. Remaining funds will be utilized for neighborhood infrastructure improvements, micro-enterprise grants, emergency home repair, and associated administrative costs.

Events & Meetings

Project Connect

The city’s Human Service & Community Vitality Department (HSCV) recently partnered with Salvation Army and United Way for the comprehensive event, Project Connect, which provided the homeless with basic services and connection to resources. The event was held on Wednesday, July 26 at Salvation Army in Surprise. HSCV Director Seth Dyson was informed that we had 216 guests.

Project Connect infographic

Water Resource Management Department Meeting

Vice Mayor Todd Tande and I attended our Water Resource Management Department’s “All Hands” quarterly meeting on Wednesday, July 26. Director Terry Lowe provided an update on the department and an overview of their budget while Department managers also provided updates on their respective areas. Afterwards, we were given a tour of a demonstration project.

Decide Surprise 2017 Bond Meeting

2017 Decide Surprise Bond Election banner

Vice Mayor Todd Tande and I were asked to join Mayor Sharon Wolcott on Tuesday, August 1 at Marley Park for a meeting with a select group of residents to discuss the Decide Surprise General Obligation Bond Election that will be on the November ballot. Surprise voters will decide three separate bond questions in the areas of public safety, traffic congestion mitigation and pavement preservation. The mail-ballot only election will be November 7, but ballots will be mailed in early October.

For more information on the projects and costs, please visit www.surpriseaz.gov/decidesurprise.

Mark Your Calendar

Raise a Reader Series

Surprise has partnered with Southwest Human Development to host a free eight week Raising a Reader program that utilizes proven skills to educate parents about the importance of early literacy and provides tools to help children learn to read. Using an evidence-based model that focuses on developmental milestones and brain development, literacy specialists will model how to engage children with the use of books. Families will also learn the significance of singing, dancing and playing as a way to build their child’s vocabulary and prepare them for school.

All members of the family are invited to participate! Plus, participating families will take home a bag filled with award-winning children’s books at the end of each week. Courses will be taught from 11 a.m. -12:30 p.m. on consecutive Fridays beginning August 11 at the Surprise Resource Center, 12425 W. Bell Rd, Suite 124. To enroll in the eight week Raising a Reader series, contact Lizette Garced at LGarced@swhd.org.

Free Educational Presentation on Older Adults and Series

Suicide rates of older adults are higher than any other age group in Maricopa County. The City of Surprise has partnered with Area Agency on Aging and Maricopa Elder Behavioral Health Advocacy Coalition to provide a free educational presentation.

A Matter of Life is a presentation created to educate and help people recognize the signs and symptoms of suicide, depression, anxiety and substance abuse. It encourages help-seeking behaviors by connecting people with resources and tools to access help for themselves or someone they know.

This program will be held on Wednesday, August 23 at 9 a.m. at the Surprise Senior Center, located at 15832 N. Hollyhock Street. It will run approximately one hour. Please register with Trisha Weston at 623.222.1544 or trisha.weston@surpriseaz.gov

Senior Services is a division of the Human Service & Community Vitality Department and is designed to provide programs to strengthen the community and better serve Surprise residents. Located in the heart of Surprise, in the Heritage District, at 15832 N. Hollyhock Street. The Surprise Senior Center is the hub of activities for citizens age 50 and better and adults with disabilities. The membership fee for a resident of Surprise is $12 per year, and for non-residents it’s $15 per year. The Senior Center also offers a gym membership for an additional fee (some rules and restrictions apply). Hours of operation are Monday thru Friday from 8 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Disclaimer: Information in seminars and classes sponsored by the City are a public service and should not be construed as advice or representation of any specific business, company, individual business owners, brokers or affiliations. The City does not endorse any particular business, product or speaker. Any information presented does not reflect the opinion or position of the City.

Did You Know?

Monsoon Safety Tips

Monsoon season, June 15-September 30, is characterized by increased thunderstorm and lightning activity, high winds, dust storms and flooding. Having a plan of action and knowing what to do in each of the weather conditions can help save your life.

During any major storm event, the safest place to be is indoors. If you are at home, turn off all unnecessary power equipment and refrain from using landline phones. Make sure your home is equipped with flashlights, batteries, bottled water and non-perishable food items.

Dust storms and rain events can decrease visibility and increase road hazards when driving. If you are in your vehicle during a storm, slow down and pull off to the right side of the road as far as possible and turn off your engine and lights. Be sure to take your foot off the brake pedal.

Never drive through flooded intersections or washes! Even shallow flowing water has enough power to sweep your vehicle off the road or stall your engine. If you approach a flooded intersection, safely turn your vehicle around and find an alternate route.

Monitor weather reports and listen for potential flood warnings in your area. When flooding is imminent, knowing where to find sand and bags is essential to protecting your home and family. Sand and bags are provided free of charge to Surprise residents at multiple locations throughout the city; you will need to bring your own shovel to fill the bags. Sand and bag locations

To report downed trees, roadway debris or clogged storm drains, contact the Public Works department at 623.222.6000; crews will be on call and available to provide assistance during major storm events. If reporting after hours or on a holiday, please call the Surprise Police Department Non-Emergency Line at 623.222.4000.

Visit www.surpriseaz.gov/monsoon for a complete list of monsoon safety tips and resources.

Contact Me

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

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