Thank you for signing up to receive my monthly newsletters! I am honored to serve you as your Surprise District 5 Councilman. One of my goals is to provide you with important City updates and information. I am always available to speak with you at firstname.lastname@example.org, or by calling 623.222.1325. Please also follow me on Facebook at facebook.com/councilmemberhastings. To receive my newsletters by email each month, please sign up on my website, d5.surpriseaz.gov, and click the “Notify Me” link.
State of the City
What an incredible evening it was on Thursday, March 31 at City Hall. Thank you to everyone who came to celebrate with us at the 2022 State of the City event, and a huge thank you to our performers who put on a stellar show! Did you miss the video? Watch it here: surprisetv.surpriseaz.gov/index.php/watch…
New Multigenerational Community Resource Center
The City, in partnership with Maricopa County, is making a major investment into the vitality and well-being of the West Valley with plans to build a multigenerational community resource center. On Tuesday, April 5, City Council voted to approve an Intergovernmental Agreement (IGA) with Maricopa County for the $26 million building project. The next day, the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors also voted to approve the IGA, dedicating $18 million of their federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding toward the project while the City is committing $8 million from a combination of City APRA funds and General Fund dollars.
This partnership will create an estimated 38-thousand square-foot center on City-owned land in Surprise’s historic Original Town Site. The campus will be at the corner of Hollyhock Street and Santa Fe Drive, will be built on shovel-ready land and should be completed by 2025.
April Proclaimed Water Awareness Month
Also at the City Council Meeting on Tuesday, April 5, Mayor Hall proclaimed April as Water Awareness Month in Surprise joining the annual statewide campaign to help raise awareness about the value of conserving water in the Southwest.
Fair Housing Proclamation
April is National Fair Housing Month. On Tuesday, April 19, Mayor Hall proclaimed it Fair Housing Month in Surprise. In this month we feel grateful for the Fair Housing Act that was passed on April 11, 1968. This law is designed to protect Americans from facing discrimination in selling or buying houses.
Mera City Center Ribbon Cutting
On Saturday, April 30, Mayor Hall and I attended an incredible Grand Opening event at Mera City Center, hosted by Team Sparrow. The event included live music, bocce ball tournaments, cornhole and pickle ball challenges. The Mera City Center resort-style, 55 and older active adult community is located at 15510 N. La Cometa Ave. Thank you for choosing Surprise!
Experience Arizona History and Culture
Do you want to experience stories of Arizona history and culture? Join us at upcoming speaker events presented by the Surprise Arts and Cultural Advisory Commission in partnership with Arizona Humanities. Local experts from Arizona Humanities’ AZ Speaks program will present on the following topics:
Saviors and Saints on the Arizona Frontiers (Speaker: Jan Cleere) June 8 • 11 a.m. – Noon Register here
Bisbee: The Alchemical City of Copper Borderlands (Speaker: Virgil Hancock) October 11 • 11 a.m. – Noon Register here
The events are free, but registration is required using the links above. For more information, please contact the Human Service & Community Vitality Department at 623.222.3243.
Meet and Greet
Please join me for my Monthly Meet and Greet on Thursday, May 19, at 6 p.m. at State 48 Brewery, 13823 W. Bell Rd. I look forward to discussing the latest City issues and answering any questions you might have. You can also subscribe to my Notify Me mailing list on my City webpage at d5.surpriseaz.gov so you never miss any important District 5 news.
City Council Meetings
The next regularly scheduled Council meetings are May 3 and 17 at 6 p.m. in the City of Surprise Council Chambers, located at 16000 N. Civic Center Dr. City Council meetings are open to in-person attendance, or you may tune in on surpriseaz.gov/surprisetv, the Surprise City Gov Facebook page at facebook.com/cityofsurprise or on Cox channel 11 to watch the meetings live. Instructions for virtual public comment will be available on the meeting agendas at surpriseaz.gov/agendas.
Thank you for signing up to receive my monthly newsletters! I am honored to serve you as your Surprise District 5 Councilman. One of my goals is to provide you with important city updates and information. I am always available to speak with you at email@example.com, or by calling 623-222-1325. Please also follow me on Facebook at facebook.com/councilmemberhastings. To receive my newsletters by email each month, please sign up on my website, d5.surpriseaz.gov, and click the “Notify Me” link.
Surprise Day of Service
In April, we celebrated National Volunteer Week with the City’s annual “Bean Bag Day” event. Volunteers helped to bag 6,000 lbs of bulk beans for distribution to those in need through the Valley View Community Food Bank. Thank you to Seeds of Hope International Ministries for donating the pinto beans!
If you would like to help out in your community, please consider joining the next Surprise Day of Service on May 26. For details or to volunteer, please contact Larry Garcia at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 623.222.1522.
New West Valley Hub for Military & Veteran Services
The West Valley Military and Veteran Success Center has a new home within the Surprise Resource Center, located at 12425 W. Bell Rd., Suite 124! The center provides military and veteran support services and resources to service members (active duty, Guard, and Reserve) and their families. This new West Valley location is in partnership with the Arizona Coalition for Military Families, Arizona Department of Veterans’ Services, Northern Arizona University, Maricopa Community Colleges Foundation, and Rio Salado Community College and was made possible by the generous support of many partner organizations and all West Valley cities. To learn more about the West Valley Military and Veteran Success Center and the resources available, please call 623.222.1658 or visit the City of Surprise website at surpriseaz.gov/veterans.
Passport Services Return
Passport services have returned to Surprise City Hall by appointment only. Regular business hours for passports are Monday – Friday, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the City Clerk’s Office. City staff can accept applications for first-time passport books and passport cards and review paperwork for renewals. They do not offer passport photos, so be sure to have your photos with you at your appointment. To make an appointment or for questions, please visit surpriseaz.gov/passport or call the City Clerk’s Office at 623.222.1200.
Free Arizona Small Business Association Membership!
In recognition of the continued small business recovery process resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, the City of Surprise Economic Development Department is teaming up with the Arizona Small Business Association (ASBA) to offer Surprise small businesses a free year of ASBA membership now through May 10! To sign up, please visit asba.com/surprise. Please also see the City of Surprise Economic Development webpage to learn about many other resources available for Surprise businesses!
Surprise Retail Survey
The 2021 Surprise Retail Survey is now open! Tell us what shopping and dining establishments you want to see in Surprise – plus, vote for current favorites so we can recognize the local businesses you love! Click on the link below to take our 2021 Retail Survey by May 9: surpriseaz.gov/retailsurvey
FY 2022 Recommended Budget
The City Manager’s Fiscal Year 2022 Recommended Budget was presented at the Special City Council Meeting on April 16. The budget continues to focus on Council’s commitment to maintaining quality public services and infrastructure. As such, the City of Surprise’s recommended budget includes funding for Countryside Park, Fire Station 308, $1 Million to attract new jobs and businesses, and a $4.5 Million increase in police funding.
To learn more about the budget process, please visit the City of Surprise Annual Budget page. All of the Fiscal Year 2022 budget presentations that the Council has received to date are located on this webpage, along with the City Council Budget Retreat video presentation.
A public hearing and tentative Budget adoption is scheduled for the May 4 Regular City Council Meeting, with final budget adoption planned for the June 1 meeting.
Property Tax Rate
There will be no change to your property tax rate! The primary tax rate in the City of Surprise is $0.7591 per $100 of assessed property value, plus the secondary property tax rate (from the voter-approved 2017 GO Bond) of $0.3880 per $100 of assessed property value. These rates multiplied by the assessed value of your home determine what you pay in property taxes. If the value of your home increases, you will see an increased tax bill; however, that is not due to an increase in the property tax rate but rather an increase in the assessed value of your home.
Surprise Ranked #6 Safest City
Surprise is the #6 safest city in Arizona, according to a new SafeWise report. Congrats to our community on this accomplishment, and thank you, Surprise PD and Surprise Fire-Medical, for making this possible! Here is a list of Arizona’s 10 Safest Cities: www.safewise.com/blog/safest-cities-arizona/.
The Maricopa County Department of Health reports that as of 4/27/2021, over 2.8 million COVID-19 vaccine doses have been administered to Maricopa County residents. It further states that Maricopa County residents have received an average of 30,000 doses of vaccine per day. This information is available and updated frequently on the Maricopa County website at https://www.maricopa.gov/5671/Public-Vaccine-Data.
Surprise Vaccination Numbers
The Arizona Department of Health Services reported the overall number of Surprise COVID-19 cases at 13,585 on April 15. Below are the number of vaccination totals for ZIP codes in Surprise as of April 15.
85374 – 20,841
85379 – 13,001
85388 – 8,398
85378 – 3,090
State of the City Video
The 2021 State of the City video premiered on April 13. Please take a few moments to view it, if you have not had the opportunity. It is available for on-demand replay a surpriseaz.gov/surprisetv. The COVID-19 pandemic impacted so many people last year, and in this video, we highlighted the resilience of our community. This message captures how our strength, effort, and strategic planning place the City’s trajectory toward future success. The State of the City video will also replay on Cox 11 cable channel at select times. To see a schedule, please visit surprisetv.surpriseaz.gov/schedule.
Full Browsing Access Now Available at Surprise Libraries
The Maricopa County Library District is moving into the next phase of reopening at all county-run libraries. Customers can stop by the library during Pop-In Pick-up hours to browse every shelf and all selections, rather than a limited collection. The Northwest Regional Library, located at 16089 N. Bullard Ave., has Pop-In pick-up hours Monday-Thursday, 9 a.m. – 8 p.m., and Friday-Saturday, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. The library is closed on Sunday. For more information, please visit mcldaz.org/locations/northwest/.
Monday, May 10, from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m., Benevilla & Friends will be hosting a drive-thru baby shower for expecting moms and moms with infants up to 6 months old. Drive-thru and pick-up at Arizona Charter Academy parking lot located at 16025 N. Dysart Rd., Surprise, AZ 85537.
Meet and Greet
Please join me for my Monthly Meet and Greet on May 8, at 9 a.m. at Chef Peter’s Bistro, 17300 N. Sun Village Pkwy. I look forward to discussing the latest City issues and answering any questions you might have. You can also subscribe to my Notify Me mailing list on my city webpage at d5.surpriseaz.gov so that you never miss any important District 5 news.
City Council Meetings
The next regularly scheduled Council meetings are May 4 and 18 at 6 p.m. in the City of Surprise Council Chambers, located at 16000 N. Civic Center Dr. City Council meetings are now open to in-person attendance or you may tune in on surpriseaz.gov/surprisetv, the Surprise City Gov Facebook page at facebook.com/cityofsurprise, or on Cox channel 11 to watch the meeting live.
Thank you for signing up to receive my monthly newsletters! I am honored to serve you as your Surprise District 5 Councilman. One of my goals is to provide you with important city updates and information. I am always available to speak with you at email@example.com, or by calling 623-222-1325. Please also follow me on Facebook at www.facebook.com/councilmemberhastings. To receive my newsletters by email each month, please sign up on my website, d5.surpriseaz.gov, and click the “Notify Me” link.
Surprise’s Face Covering Mandate Lifted
Mayor Skip Hall has signed a proclamation terminating the face covering mandate in Surprise. You can read the full proclamation here.
The city retains the right to set and enforce mitigation policies in our city government buildings and on public transportation. Wearing of face coverings/masks is recommended within city facilities, with the exception of Surprise City Court, where they are required.
Per the Governor’s order, private businesses may institute and enforce face covering policies and retain the right to refuse service to those who do not comply with their policies.
Per federal mandate, face coverings are still required while riding public transportation.
Events of 50+ no longer need city approval
With the state of Arizona hitting several important public health benchmarks, Governor Doug Ducey announced several updates to the state’s COVID-19 measures, including on events, businesses and local ordinances.
Several key data points contributed to these changes:
Mass distribution of the vaccine: 3,041,773 doses of COVID-19 vaccine had been administered to 1,927,278 individuals in Arizona, including 1,185,986 who have been fully vaccinated.
10 weeks of declining cases.
Hospitalizations at the lowest level since the end of September/beginning of October.
Opening of vaccine appointments to all Arizonans 16 years of age and older.
A recent evaluation by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that ranks Arizona among the best states in the nation for getting the COVID-19 vaccine to vulnerable communities.
President Biden’s recent promise that every American will be able to be vaccinated by May 1.
Under the changes announced by Governor Ducey:
Events of more than 50 people will no longer need the approval of local governments. These events should continue to follow safe practices and CDC recommendations, including physical distancing. This includes youth sports.
The business guidance will transition from requirements to recommendations. Governor Ducey is providing businesses with the ability to continue requiring masks and social distancing.
Bars have already been allowed to operate as “dine-in” at full capacity. They will now be allowed to resume regular operations, with the ability to require social distancing and masks.
Unlike some other states, Arizona never issued a statewide mask mandate, and instead encouraged personal responsibility with an aggressive educational campaign — resulting in more widespread mask usage than states with mandates. Some local governments have implemented “mandates,” however, they have rarely, if ever, been enforced. Under this latest action, those local mandates will be phased out. Mask usage is still encouraged, especially in groups that are not vaccinated.
City Hall Re-opens/Council Meetings Re-open to In-person Attendance
On Monday, April 12, Surprise City Hall and other city administrative buildings will re-open to the public. Additionally, City Council meetings and all board and commissions meeting will open to in-person attendance effective that date.
COVID Relief Funding
For over a year now, the city of Surprise has been working hard to support residents and businesses impacted by COVID-19.
Our city has been fortunate to receive federal, state and county financial assistance to provide meals, rental/mortgage payments, and utility assistance through our Senior Center and Surprise Resource Center.
Here is a snapshot at how $10.88 million in federal funds has helped our community during the COVID crisis:
The Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program provided billions of dollars in payroll assistance funding for businesses through two rounds of funding.
While these programs have helped, the city identified some funding gaps in meeting certain needs and in some cases, noticed some needs were not being met at all.
On September 1, 2020 and November 2, 2020, the Surprise City Council approved resolutions to support $555,000 for Surprise COVID Community Relief Packages for addressing community and business needs because of the prolonged nature of the pandemic. Utilizing some of our AZ CARES ACT dollars, we were able to allocate $180,000 to address the following human service needs:
The remaining $375,000 supported the Surprise Small Business Relief Grant, disbursed over two rounds:
The city will continue to explore additional needs as we anticipate another round of funding through the American Rescue Plan Act in the future. We have a good plan in place to monitor where the needs are and address as appropriate.
Lucky House Chinese Cuisine, located at 14291 W. Grand Avenue, opened in Surprise last summer. Recently, they celebrated with a ribbon-cutting and were kind enough to invite Mayor Hall and me to participate. Thank you for allowing us to celebrate with you, and I wish you continued success!
Thank you also to Player One Arcade, located at 17239 N. Litchfield, for inviting Mayor Hall and me to participate in your ribbon cutting celebration! Player 1 Arcade is a family-friendly entertainment business new to Surprise!
Property Maintenance Ordinance
Public comment is being requested for the draft Property Maintenance Ordinance (PMO). This document establishes the minimum standards for all property throughout the city. The goal of the PMO is to keep the City of Surprise safe, healthy, and blight-free. Public comment will be accepted through Sunday, May 2, 2021. If you would like to learn more about the document, please join the public meeting that is scheduled for April 13 at 6 p.m. in the Surprise City Hall Community Room, or view the March 2 Property Maintenance Ordinance Work Session Presentation. To access the public meeting online or to leave a comment on the document, please visit surpriseaz.gov/PMO.
A presentation and vote on the item is scheduled for the June 15, 2021 Regular City Council Meeting. If adopted, the PMO will be effective July 15, 2021.
State of the City Video Premiere
Please tune in on April 13 at 6 p.m. for the 2021 State of the City Video Premiere, live online at surpriseaz.gov/SurpriseTV. The 2021 State of the City will reflect on our community’s resilience and look forward to what’s on the horizon!
Surprise Day of Service Event
If you are looking for a way to give back to your community, please consider volunteering for a Day of Service event. The next Day of Service event is scheduled for April 24 and is the “4th Annual Bean Bag Day” event. In celebration of National Volunteer Week 2021, Seeds of Hope International Ministries has purchased 6,000 pounds of dry pinto beans for this annual event! Participants will help bag bulk pinto beans into individual packaging for distribution through the Valley View Community Food Bank. Register to volunteer during one of four two-hour time slots between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. COVID-19 CDC guidelines will be in place, and masks are required. To volunteer, please call 623.222.1522 or email Larry Garcia at Larry.Garcia@surpriseaz.gov.
The City of Surprise usually hosts a Day of Service each month. If you are not able to participate this time, please visit surpriseaz.gov for information on other opportunities..
Councilmember Aly Cline and I had the opportunity to tour the Ottawa campus and meet with Ottawa’s president, Dennis Tyner, and new Vice President of University Advancement, Todd Simpson. Ottawa University is a great partner for the City of Surprise, and I appreciated having some time to sit down and hear from their leadership.
The Surprise City Council will be participating in a Budget Retreat on April 16, beginning at 9 a.m. in the City Council Chambers. The intent of the retreat is to continue the development of the Fiscal Year 2022 City Manager’s Recommended Budget. The retreat will be open to public attendance and will be televised for public viewing on surpriseaz.gov/surpriseTV, the Surprise City Gov Facebook page at facebook.com/cityofsurprise and Cox channel 11.
New Southwest Gas Customer Information System
Beginning on Monday, May 3, 2021, Southwest Gas is transforming their customer information system to provide an improved customer experience, along with enhanced security. For more information on how this could impact you and the way your account will be serviced, please visit www.swgas.com/new4u.
The Maricopa County Department of Health reports that as of 3/31/2021, almost 1.2 million, adult residents have been vaccinated with at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine. It further states that Maricopa County residents have received an average of 26-28,000 does of vaccine per day. This information is available and updated frequently on the Maricopa County website at https://www.maricopa.gov/5671/Public-Vaccine-Data.
The graph below, also from the Maricopa County Department of Health website, shows the current case counts of those diagnosed with COVID-19.
Please join me for my Monthly Meet and Greet on April 10, at 9 a.m. at Chef Peter’s Bistro, 17300 N Sun Village Pkwy. I look forward to discussing the latest City issues and answering any questions you might have.
City Council Meetings
The next regularly scheduled Council meetings are April 6 and 20 at 6 p.m. Please note that Council meetings will be re-opened to in-person attendance beginning with the April 20 meeting. For the April 6 meeting, please tune in on www.surpriseaz.gov/surprisetv, the Surprise City Gov Facebook page at www.facebook.com/cityofsurprise, or on Cox channel 11 to watch the meeting live. Instructions for virtual public comment will be available on the meeting agendas at www.surpriseaz.gov/agendas.