Tag Archives: Sports & Tourism

June 21, 2018 • Newsletter

City Council Work Session

Sports & Tourism Department Update

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

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

Distracted Driving Ordinance Discussion

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

Confinement of Animals Discussion

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

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

City Council Meeting

Boards & Commission Appointments

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

Urban Camping Ordinance

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

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

General Obligation Bond Update

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

Design work is underway for:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tourism Five Year Strategic Plan (2018-2023)

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

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

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

Greater Phoenix Economic Council Agreement

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

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

FY18 Financial Status Report

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

Events & Meetings

WESTMARC Legislative Breakfast

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

Water Issues Hearing

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

West Valley Council to Council Mixer

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

Mark Your Calendar

Celebrate the Fourth of July in Surprise

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

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

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

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

Did You Know?

S&P Upgrades City Utility Revenue Bonds

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hydration Stations Available During Heat Warnings

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

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

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

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

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

April 5, 2018 • Newsletter

City Council Work Session

Surprise Youth Council Update

As the end of the school year approaches each year, our Surprise Youth Council provides City Council with an update of their activities, accomplishments and future plans. Last May, new members were inducted to SYC. SYC Administrator Mike Cassidy wanted to increase the outreach to youth in Surprise by increasing the Youth Council membership.

This most definitely proved successful. In doing so, community events were also expanded. In addition to participating in the Surprise Veterans Day Parade and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr Day of Celebration and Service, SYC participated in several service projects including but not limited to the Adaptive Recreation Buddy Ball program, Surprise Fiesta Grande preparation, Taste of Surprise, Project Connect and the District 4 Block Party. The group is passionate about many concerns we all share including mental and emotional health and wellness of their peers. As such, they participated in Bloom 365 and partnered with Eve’s Place which both involved education of teen violence.

Members of SYC continue to have opportunities to thrive, serve and further develop. They’ve participated in a variety of workshops and screenings, radio appearances, panel discussions and camps. We have members who serve on the Governor’s Youth Commission, a member that has been successfully growing her own charities and has been featured on TV and magazines, a member that has been given the opportunity to attend Harvard University this summer as part of a leadership event. Many have been given scholarships and who are attending top universities in our country.

I am very proud of this group of incredible young leaders who are giving back and making a difference in our city. Please join me in congratulating them on their hard-earned successes.

Ambulatory Enterprise Fund and Sports & Tourism

This was the fifth in a series of presentations regarding the development of the FY2019 Budget. This presentation focused on the Ambulance Enterprise Fund and the new Sports and Tourism Department’s FY2018 status and the action items for the upcoming fiscal year. The Surprise Fire-Medical Department (SFMD) began ambulance service for Surprise residents in FY2016. As of December 31, 2017, there are three ambulances in service. In the fall of 2018 SFMD plans to put the fourth ambulance in service.

The new Sports & Tourism Department was formed in fall of 2017. An overview presentation was given of accomplishments over the first year of operations to include tennis tournaments, Arizona Fall League, college baseball and Major League Baseball Spring Training. For the FY2019 budget, the Finance Department will work with Sports & Tourism and Community & Recreation Services to separate the departments’ finances and assets that are currently comingled. The respective departments will also be updating their cost recovery philosophy and user fees in FY2019 and bringing them to council for consideration.

City Council Meeting

General Obligation Bond Purchase

City Council authorized staff to proceed with the first bond sale related to the General Obligation Bond Election approved by voters last fall. Tuesday night’s vote coincided with Standard and Poor’s (S&P) upgrade of the city’s General Obligation (GO) Bond rating from AA- to AA. The higher the rating, the lower the investment risk to the bond purchasers and the interest rate to the city on the borrowed funds.

This first sale of bonds will not exceed $40 million and will be used to fund public safety, traffic congestion mitigation and pavement preservation projects. The remaining nearly $20 million in bonds will be sold at a later time to meet with future project timelines. The expected next sale would be in summer 2020.

The principal and interest payments will be paid for through a secondary property tax. The first bond issuance will result in a secondary property tax of $0.42 per $100 of assessed limited property value, which will begin in the next fiscal year, starting July 1, 2018.

Events & Meetings

Arizona Charter Academy Annual Community Volunteer Appreciation Lunch

Arizona Charter Academy (ACA) hosted their annual Community Volunteer Appreciation lunch on Thursday, March 29. CEO Melissa Holdaway acknowledged her appreciation of the city and partners who help ACA each year.

Surprise Police Department Retirement

The Surprise Police Department held a retirement ceremony at the Public Safety Auditorium on March 29, 2017 to honor Officer Terry Vernon-Reppert. Terry joined the Surprise Police Department in February 1993 and served 25 years.

Officer Terry Vernon-Reppert retirement ceremony from Surprise Police Department

Pinnacle Vein & Vascular Center Ribbon Cutting

Pinnacle Vein and Vascular Center hosted a ribbon cutting on Thursday, March 29. They are located at 12361 W. Bola Drive, Suite 100 in Surprise. Dr. Baljeet Uppal has been provided vein and vascular services for almost 25 years. Welcome, Dr. Uppal!

Pinnacle Vein and Vascular Center Grand Opening

Read On Greater Surprise Steering Committee Meeting

I was invited to attend the Read On Great Surprise Steering Committee meeting on Friday, March 30 at Northwest Regional Library. Donna Davis provided an update from Expect More Arizona. Updates were also provided on the Raising a Reader program, summer kinder readiness through Nadaburg School District and participation in upcoming vendor events.

Mark Your Calendar

Taste of Surprise

The much anticipated Taste of Surprise is this Saturday, April 7 from 4 pm until 9 pm at Surprise Stadium, 15850 N. Bullard Avenue. More than 50 local restaurants, beer, wine and spirit vendors will be ready for the crowd! There is also an incredible line-up of entertainment scheduled for the entire event. Plan on bringing your dancing shoes because there will be a dance floor too! Last year, this event raised well over $40,000 for five local non-profit organizations.

For more information and tickets, please visit http://www.tasteofsurprise.com/. Tickets are available at the gate as well. General admission tickets include unlimited food samples and entry into the drawing for an Australian vacation for two.

Sunday in the Park Food Truck Festival

The City of Surprise, in coordination with State 48 Brewery and Food Truck Friday West, presents Sunday in the Park Food Truck Festival on April 8 with live music performed by Notes from Neptune! Please join us from 4 – 8 p.m. at Mark Coronado Park, 15960 N Bullard Avenue.

Event admission is free; food and drink will be available for purchase. Choose from a variety of delicious food trucks, as well as an assortment of craft beers and wines provided by State 48 Brewery. Don’t forget a blanket or lawn chair! Dogs must be on leashes. For more information, please contact the City of Surprise Community & Recreation Services Office at 623.222.2000 or visit www.surpriseaz.gov/specialevents.

Surprise SciTech Festival

Have fun with science and technology, while celebrating Earth Day, at the Surprise SciTech Festival on April 21! The event is free and has something for all ages! Come check out interactive SciTech booths, an incredible line-up of speakers, music and more! Plus, we’ll have delicious food options from local vendors available for purchase.

The event will take place from 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. in the Surprise City Hall Outside Courtyard, 16000 N. Civic Center Plaza.Demonstrations and displays include:

  • City of Surprise Fire-Medical, Police, Public Works, Water Resources and other departments
  • Local businesses and colleges (including ASU and Ottawa University)
  • Dysart School District Solar Go Kart and Robotics teams

We also have a variety of amazing speakers lined up for this event. Make plans to watch these exciting and informative presentations in the Surprise City Hall Council Chambers:

  • How the Brain Works (9:00 – 9:50 a.m. and 10:10 – 11:00 a.m.) – Presentation will identify the main parts of the brain and what they do, explore sensory illusions, and teach how to enhance the formation of memories by our brain.
  • When Even The Walking Dead Refuse to Conserve Energy: Sustainable Innovations from the Developing World (11:20 a.m. – 12:10 p.m.) – This talk is aimed at encouraging creative, innovative thinking about sustainability and energy innovations at all scales, in all places, and for all our communities.
  • Science the Earth (12:30 p.m. – 1:20 p.m.) – A discussion on how to bridge cultures through science and human discovery, and how logic and innovation unite our planet in a quest for knowledge.
  • U.S. Manned Space Flight (1:40 p.m. – 2:30 p.m.) – Who were the early astronauts? What ‘firsts’ were accomplished by American astronauts? What happened to the American space program after the moon landings? These and many other questions will be answered and discussed in this presentation.

For more information on the event, please visit www.surpriseaz.gov/scitech

Did You Know?

Micro-Enterprise Grants Available to Eligible Surprise Businesses

Applications are currently being accepted for the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Micro-enterprise Grant. Under the 2017-2018 CDBG program funding, Micro-enterprise Grant funds were set aside to support innovative small businesses licensed within the city of Surprise that provide services that benefit low income clients.

Eligible city of Surprise-based businesses can apply to receive one of three $20,000 awards to grow their small business. To be considered for the award, applicants must meet eligibility requirements which include:

  • Must have a valid city of Surprise business license
  • Applicants must meet AZ TechCelerator business incubator tenant requirements
  • Business owner is low or moderate income and has five or fewer employees, or business benefits low income clients in the city of Surprise
  • Business objective must focus on scalable technological advancement and innovation as evidenced in an executive plan

Application and supporting documents are due by 2 p.m. Monday, April 30, 2018. For more information about the Micro-enterprise Grant, contact Julie Neal, julie.neal@surpriseaz.gov.

Surprise TV Website Boasts New Layout

Surprise TV, the official channel of the City of Surprise, has a new website with responsive design making it easier for you to watch shows on all your devices! The new layout features a user-friendly schedule guide and recent videos are easily located on the homepage. Plus, descriptions of Surprise shows and city meetings make finding the program you’re looking for more simple.

Watch the channel LIVE from most internet browsers; viewers using Internet Explorer 11 can view archived videos but will need to use a different browser to watch the livestream.

From bi-weekly City Council Meetings to special programs – Surprise TV has what you need to stay informed with city activities. That informative city public service announcement you saw on Facebook @CityofSurprise a couple of weeks ago and can’t remember where it was? It’s on Surprise TV! Watch it again and share it with your friends. Tune in 24-7 to watch your favorite series and stay up to date on the latest city news at surpriseaz.gov/surprisetv.

Contact Me

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

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