Tag Archives: Surprise Farms

September 18, 2015 • Newsletter

City Council Work Session

Capital Scholars Program Presentation

Capital Scholars is a collaborative program with students from Arizona Charter Academy and Imagine Prep in Surprise. The goal of the program is to introduce students to the municipal and legislative process in Arizona. For 2015, the students met with City of Surprise representatives from the Police, Community and Recreation Services and Fire Departments with hopes that they can create “bills” that will impact their own neighborhoods.

During the City Council Work Session on Tuesday evening, the Scholars presented their ideas which included: Doughnuts with Police, the City of Surprise Traveling Library, Local Building for Recreational Art Use, Recreation in Surprise, CCC (Continuous Chest Compression) Across Dysart Schools, and Fire Service Education Betterment.

The Capital Scholars Program began as the brainchild of Representative Rick Gray in 2014. I congratulate the students on their success, and I thank them for their diligent work putting together their respective proposals.

General Plan Elements Update

City staff is currently updating key elements of General Plan 2035 which takes into consideration land use, economic development, roadway systems, housing, growth areas, recreation and open spaces. On September 9, staff hosted a Stakeholder Meeting and Community Open House to review the land use element of the General Plan. Currently, the City’s incorporated land area is approximately 108 square miles. In contrast, the City’s planning area is 302 square miles which includes the current incorporated and unincorporated areas. With such a large planning area in relation to the City’s current municipal limits, Surprise is a community that is poised for future growth. Defining where and how this growth will appear is imperative to maintaining a sustainable community and character which is distinct to Surprise.

The Land Use Element provides the critical foundation we need to guide us. It utilizes a sustainable approach that balances development and conservation within the Surprise planning area to ensure that infrastructure is maximized and adequate distribution of services, employment, open space and recreation are provided in proximity to where people live. Staff provided a general overview of the existing community form and land ownership composition and provided details regarding the proposed character area approach and associated strategies that form the vision for future land use within Surprise.

The Planning and Zoning Commission reviewed the Land Use Element at their meeting on September 17. The start of the 60–day review period as required by Arizona law, begins on September 18. The draft Land Use Element documents can be found at www.surpriseaz.gov/GPupdate. The City Council and the Planning and Zoning Commission will host a General Plan Summit meeting on December 4 to discuss the General Plan Amendment and a focus will be placed on Economic Development.

Community Development Director Eric Fitzer presenting to Council
Community Development Director Eric Fitzer presenting to Council

City Council Meeting

Fiscal Year 2015 Financial Status Report

Early results are in for the fiscal year 2015, which ended on June 30, and the General Fund is outperforming estimates set during the recently completed budget process. General Fund resources are up 1.8% or $1.7 million over the estimates, fueled in large part by better than expected local sales tax collections. Meanwhile, expenses in the General Fund are below estimates by 2.9% or $2.7 million. The combination of the two results in a positive increase of $4.4 million in the General Fund.

During the budget process, the need for facility, vehicle, and equipment maintenance and replacement was discussed and set as a high priority. On October 6, the City Council will discuss action to increase funding in these areas using a portion of fiscal year 2015 gains. City Manager Bob Wingenroth and our Finance team have done a fantastic job. Thank you!

Events & Meetings

Rotary Club of Surprise Induction

On Thursday, September 10, I was inducted into the Rotary Club of Surprise. I was honored to be invited to become a member of this selfless service organization, and I look forward to sharing my passion of helping with others with my Rotarian peers.

Councilman Hall receiving his rotary induction

Councilman Hall with rotary members

Desert Streams Lutheran Church of Surprise Groundbreaking

Vice Mayor John Williams and I attended the groundbreaking ceremony for Desert Streams Lutheran Church in Surprise on Saturday, September 12. The church started services at Rosefield Charter School, but will soon expand to a new church at the northwest corner of Reems and Hearn. Congratulations on your expansion!

Surprise Farms II Block Party

Surprise Farms II hosted a block party on Saturday, September 12. It was a great opportunity to meet some of the residents of District 1!

Arts & Cultural Advisory Commission Meeting

The Arts & Cultural Advisory Commission met on Monday, September 14 at City Hall. Amongst several items on the agenda, the Commission discussed the establishment of a display plan for art on the City Hall campus. Nicole Lance, Deputy City Manager and staff liaison to the Commission, will be working with the building’s architect for input on the plan.

The Arts & Cultural Advisory Commission is responsible for ensuring public art policies and procedures are drafted and reviewed for ultimate recommendation to the City Council. Staff is currently exploring options for completing this task and will most likely utilize an outside firm to help establish the policies to determine the best next steps forward.

Dysart Unified School District’s Constitution Day Veterans Panel

Several Surprise Veterans, including me, were invited to take part on a Veteran’s panel at Willow Canyon High School as part of Dysart Unified School District’s Constitution Day events. The entire morning was spent talking to combined social study classes regarding our respective military experiences and how they directly relate to the Constitution.

Panelist included Bob Marotta, Julia Holland, Councilman Biundo, Staff Sgt. Jesse Schneider and Wayne Zaricor
Panelist included Bob Marotta, Julia Holland, Councilman Biundo, Staff Sgt. Jesse Schneider and Wayne Zaricor

A special thank you to Willow Canyon Principal Dr. Jayne Wieferich, and Assistant Principals Cheryl Pete and John Williams for hosting this memorable event!

Mark Your Calendar

Special Work Session Meeting

City Council will hold a Special Work Session on Tuesday, September 22 at City Hall to discuss the city’s sign code policy. The meeting will be held at 4 p.m. in the Council Chambers.

City staff is in the process of amending the City of Surprise Sign Code and at this work session is looking for general policy guidance from the Council. The main question to be answered will be what is the vision for signage in the City of Surprise, is it to the extreme of regulating signage vigorously or is it more of a laissez faire approach, or a combination where the city should be thinking about regulating some signage more than other signage.

Second Sundays Fall Series Returns

Second Sundays in the Park concert series, presented by Surprise Toyota, is returning! This free family event will take place in the center of the Surprise Community Park located at 15953 N. Bullard Avenue. The first fall performance is Sunday, October 11, and the Silverkats Live will perform 70’s and 80’s cover tunes. We hope to see you there!

Did You Know?

Traffic Restrictions

In preparation for the 115th Avenue and Union Hills drainage improvement project, APS is relocating some of their infrastructure located within the intersection of 115th Avenue and Union Hills Drive. The following traffic restrictions are in place as follows:

Beginning at 9 p.m. on Friday, September 18 through 6 a.m. on Monday, September 21

  • 115th Avenue north and southbound lanes will be closed from Beardsley Road to Union Hills Drive.
  • 115th Avenue northbound lanes will be closed north of the Avenue of the Arts.

For the most current information on traffic restrictions, visit the traffic restrictions webpage at http://ow.ly/RKXZJ.

Bullard Avenue Task Force Meeting

The Bullard Avenue Task Force comprised of volunteer residents, school officials and a business representative have been tasked with studying workable solutions, while maintaining safety along Bullard Avenue, from Greenway to Peoria. They will be presented with current traffic data and asked to consider the options heard from the public. This group may identify additional options during the course of conversation.

The public is invited to attend this meeting on Thursday, September 24 at 6 p.m. in the Community Room of City Hall.

If you have questions, please contact Public Works Director Mike Gent at 623.222.6223.

Fall Events for Teens

The City is excited to offer teens a full lineup of things to do this fall. Some of the events include a dodgeball tournament, a teen night, a haunted maze and much more. For more information, please be sure to follow Surprise Teen Programs on Facebook at www.facebook.com/surpriseteenprograms or you can always contact our Community and Recreation Services Department at 623.222.2000.

Contact Me

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

Ask a Question

November 7, 2014 • Newsletter

City Council Meeting

City Council Work Session
Mark Coronado, Director of Community and Recreation Services, provided an update on the Surprise Farms and Veramonte Park projects. After several public meetings, the design process will be 90% complete by the end of this month.  The projected groundbreaking is scheduled for late February/early March.

Representatives from the Site Design Group also presented the skate park concept design for Surprise Farms Park.

Main Park Plan

Dog Park

Vermonte Park

City Attorney Misty Leslie discussed the powers and duties associated with the Council’s Boards & Commissions in relationship to community engagement.  Council discussed the relationship between economic development and tourism and how it relates to the Tourism Advisory Commission.  Sales tax revenue to the City from restaurants and bars over the last four years has seen a 42% increase and a 29% increase from hotels.  The Tourism Advisory Commission has played a role in the increase.  Further discussion regarding the Tourism Advisory Commission has been deferred to a later time. Conversation took place regarding the Disability Advisory Commission and Council recognizes the importance of the Commission and agreed to retain it.

City Council Meeting
In honor of November being Diabetes Awareness month, Mayor Wolcott issued a Proclamation to two City employees who have family members inflicted by the disease.  Diabetes is a chronic, life-threatening illness that touches Americans of every age, ethnicity and background.  Its complications can be far-reaching.  Today, over 20 million Americans suffer from this disease and public health officials estimate that more than 1 million new cases will be diagnosed this year.  Our City is proud to help advance this cause and support promising breakthroughs in prevention, treatment and care.

Diabetes Awareness

Sunset Hills Elementary School Principal Karen Winterstein was recognized for her recently earned title of 2014 Principal of the Year.  This award was given to Mrs. Winterstein by the National Association of Elementary School Principals.  Congratulations, Mrs. Winterstein!  Thank you for instilling our youth with the highest standards of ethics, compassion and education.

Mayor Wolcott with Karen Winterstein
Mayor Wolcott with Karen Winterstein


City staff provided a presentation on the City’s Community Development federal funding and the 5-year consolidated plan.  The Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) is a federal funding source for housing projects, community development and economic development.  Fifty-one percent of area residents must be low-moderate income to receive these funds.  The Original Townsite (OTS) is the only area that fits this eligibility.  Most cities utilize these funds for infrastructure such as street projects, sidewalks and other public infrastructure improvements.   They also utilize these funds for housing acquisition and rehabilitation, public facilities such as community centers and assistance to companies to increase housing opportunities.  Surprise receives approximately $525,000 in CDBG funds annually.  Some of our public service agencies that receive CDBG support are St. Mary’s Food Bank Alliance, Benevilla, Arizona Charter Academy and Arizona Bridge to Independent Living.

HOME Investment Partnerships provides federal funding for housing activities and related service benefiting low income persons.  HOME funds must be spent within the City’s limits.  Most cities utilize the funding for housing with forgivable loans and energy efficient options.

The 5 year Consolidated Plan is created every 5 years (2015-2019) and it is accomplished through a yearly action plan.  This plan helps the City determine community needs and identifies funding priorities for CDBG, HOME and other HUD funded programs.  The Nonprofit Applications are due in January followed by the Planning & Zoning Public Hearings in February 2015 and a City Council Workshop in March 2015.  Under this timeline, the City Council would be scheduled to discuss the Consolidated Plan in April and pending approval the plan would be submitted to HUD in May.

Public Services Grant applications will be made public in December 2014.  Applications will be due in January 2015 and staff will screen and evaluate them in February-March 2015 followed by the Planning & Zoning Public Hearings in February 2015 and a City Council Workshop in March 2015.  Under this timeline, the City Council would be scheduled to discuss Consolidated Plan in April and pending approval it will be submitted to HUD in May.

Events & Meetings

27th Annual Clean Air Campaign Awards
On Thursday, October 30, I attended the 27th Annual Clean Air Campaign Awards & Luncheon hosted by Valley Metro at the JW Marriott Desert Ridge Resort.  Sean McLaughlin, CBS-5 News, was the Master of Ceremonies.  I was a guest of Steve Banta and Valley Metro.

Clean Air Award
Clean Air Award
Master of Ceremonies Shean McLaughlin
Master of Ceremonies Shean McLaughlin
Steve Banta, Valley Metro
Steve Banta, Valley Metro






Water Planning Subcommittee Meeting
The Water Planning Subcommittee met on Thursday, October 30th.  Staff presented the Subcommittee with the next Council Water Policy for review.  This policy, the Water Acquisition Policy, outlines the City’s approach to growing and managing its water portfolio.  The Policy addresses the different water asset classes including Extinguishment Credits, Central Arizona Project (CAP), Long-Term Storage Credits and physical water.  The Subcommittee will thoroughly review this Policy over the next month and bring it for final discussion at the November Water Planning Subcommittee meeting before it will be discussed with the City Council for review.

In addition to the Water Acquisition Policy, staff presented the Subcommittee with an educational partnership opportunity with Gateway Community College (GCC).  GCC is the only Valley school, college or university that offers programs in water and wastewater utility operations.  Students who go through these programs are trained to become certified water and wastewater operators and can also acquire an Associate’s Degree in their discipline of choice.  GCC is looking to expand their program in the West Valley.  They are looking to partner with institutions that can offer opportunities for both classroom and hands on instruction.  The Subcommittee and staff will be discussing this partnership opportunity in greater detail with Gateway Community College and City management in the coming months.  The Subcommittee believes this opportunity would present some real possibilities for Surprise to be able to assist its youth with additional education and career opportunities.

West-MEC – Glendale Campus Tour
On Friday, October 31st, I participated in a tour of the West-MEC Central Campus in Glendale.    This campus offers programs in Aviation Maintenance Technology, Avionics/Electronics, Precision Manufacturing and Welding Technology.  Interestingly, more than $1 million dollars of training materials and equipment for the Aviation Tech program were donated by the industry.  After speaking to professors from West-MEC, there is quite a demand for the professions and some of the students are already being recruited for companies throughout Arizona.

Surprise Regional Chamber Breakfast
Surprise Regional Chamber of Commerce hosted their monthly breakfast on Tuesday, November 5th.  Colonel Jeremy T. Sloane, Vice commander of the 56th Fighter Wing at Luke Air Force Base was the key-note speaker.  Colonel Sloane spoke about Luke Air Force Base and the economic impact it has on the West Valley.  Luke AFB employs 800 civilians, 300 pilots and many other positions with an annual payroll of $448 million per year.  They spend $52.7 million for vendor contracts, $5.3 million annually for utilities and $2 million each year for education assistance.  Luke AFB has 30,000 retirees living within 50 miles of the base.

Military and veterans were the topic of this month’s meeting in honor of Veteran’s Day on November 11th, 2014.  Several new businesses were also introduced.

Colonel Jeremy T. Sloan
Colonel Jeremy T. Sloan
Councilman Jim Biundo, Al DeAngelis and Vice Mayor Hall
Councilman Jim Biundo, Al DeAngelis and I







Best of the West Awards
I attended WESTMARC’s Best of the West Awards at Phoenix International Raceway on Wednesday, November 6th.  Over 450 people were in attendance.  The West Valley inspiration in Leadership Award was given to the Honorable Jan Brewer, the West Valley Visionary Award was given to Dr. Lattie Coor and the West Valley Regional Advancement Award was given to Charley Freericks of DMB and Associates.

Mark Your Calendars

USTA Tennis Tournaments
The USTA League Tennis National Championships continue to be held at the Surprise Tennis and Racquetball Complex.  This upcoming weekend, the 55 and Over National Championships will be held followed by a 40 and Over Mixed Doubles National Championships the weekend of November 14-16.  The last tournament will be held the weekend of November 21-23 for 40 and Over 7.0 and 9.0 Mixed Doubles National Championships.  The USTA National Selection Tournament for Boys and Girls 18’s will be held the weekend of November 28-30.
The public is invited to attend and enjoy the action!  These tournaments will attract approximately 2,800 players.  Most of the players are out of town and the players and spectators are expected to generate 2,400 hotel room nights this month.

Veteran’s Day Parade at Sun Village
Sun Village will be hosting an “Annual Veteran’s Day Salute with Parade” on November 11th at the Sun Village Community, 14300 W. Bell Road in Surprise. The Parade will begin at 10 am and the presentation of colors will begin promptly at 11:45 am.  The American Kountry Band will play, followed by Up-Tempo Classic Country, along with some 50’s through 80’s music from 12 noon until 3 pm.  Lunch will be available.  We hope to see you there!

Nick Bacon Memorial Dedication
There will be a memorial dedication for Nick D. Bacon, USA Medal of Honor Recipient and former Surprise Town Manager, on Tuesday, November 11 at sunset in the south courtyard of City Hall.  An orchestra, the West Valley Pops Band, will begin playing patriotic music at 5:15 pm and the candlelight program is scheduled to begin promptly at 5:55 pm.  Parking is available in the City Hall parking garage and City Court parking lot on the northeast side of the complex.  We hope to see you there for this very special and moving event!

2014 Annual Summit
The 2014 Annual Summit for the City Council will be held on Saturday, November 8th in the City Hall Community Room from 8 am until 2 pm. The purpose of the meeting is to comply with Chapter 6 of the General Plan, which is known as the Implementation Plan.  The Summit presents a summary of the report and acts as a forum to obtain input to the staff from the Council.  This is an open meeting.

Second Sunday in the Park
The band, the Roadrunners will be playing ‘50s and ‘60s rock music at the next Second Sunday in the Park on November 9th from 2 pm until 4 pm at the Surprise Community Park (15953 N. Bullard).  This public event is free.

Surprise Super Swap Meet
The fall Surprise Super Swap Meet will be held on Saturday, November 15th.  This popular community-wide garage sale, sponsored by the Surprise Community and Recreation Services Department and the Surprise Senior Center Council, will be held in the Surprise Aquatic Center parking lot at 15831 N. Bullard Avenue from 8 am until 1 pm.  Parking and admission is free.  Vendor spaces are now available for rent.  If you are interested in space, please contact 623.222.1500.

Surprise Health and Wellness Fair
The Surprise Health and Wellness Fair will be held on Saturday, November 15th from 9 am until 12 noon.  The Fair will be held at the Banner Health Center at 13995 W. Statler.  There will be several health screenings, demos, clinics and displays.  This event is free to the public.

Contact Me

Veterans Day

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

Ask a Question