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.