Tag Archives: Surprise Literacy Challenge

March 30, 2017 • Newsletter

Events & Meetings

Surprise Police Department Promotion Ceremony

The Surprise Police Department held a promotional ceremony on March 23, 2017 to recognize the promotions of Lieutenant Norman Owens, Sergeant Michael Jalbert and Property and Evidence Supervisor Sarah Welch.

Lieutenant Norman Owens began his law enforcement career in 1996 with the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office (MCSO). Throughout his service with MCSO, Norm served as a detention officer, patrol deputy, and a narcotics detective with the MCSO Special Investigations Division. Lieutenant Owens joined the Surprise Police Department in 2001 and has served as the Off-Duty/Training Coordinator, Field Training Officer, Detective, Training Unit Officer, Sergeant, Detective Sergeant, and most recently as the Department’s Public Information Officer.

Sergeant Michael Jalbert joined the Surprise Police Department in August of 2005 and has served as a Patrol Officer, Field Training Officer and Detective. Sergeant Jalbert is currently serving as a Field Training Officer and is on the Department’s SWAT team.

Sarah Welch began employment with the Police Department in February 2007 and has been an integral part of the Property and Evidence Unit for the past 9 years. Sarah was instrumental in the implementation of the Department’s gun trade-in program and the electronic barcode evidence tracking system.

Pictured from left to right: Lt. Norman Owens, Sgt. Michael Jalbert, Sarah Welch
Pictured from left to right: Lt. Norman Owens, Sgt. Michael Jalbert, Sarah Welch

Congratulations to all of them on their promotions!

Cal Ripken Day at Surprise Stadium

Surprise Stadium hosted a parade for our city’s Cal Ripken players on Saturday, March 25 prior to the regularly scheduled spring training game. This is one of my favorite events every year as it provides Council an opportunity to welcome the players for another season. This year, there are 140 teams, 1,800 participants and 350 volunteer coaches. Thank you to Paul Frie, Community and Recreation Services Recreation Division Manager and Arizona Cal Ripken Commissioner, and his team for their work each year putting together this successful program!

National League of Cities Debrief

I met with staff on Monday, March 27 for a post-trip debrief on the National League of Cities Conference in Washington D.C. In addition to the sessions attended by staff and Councilmembers, we had a series of highly productive meetings aimed at accomplishing several objectives. Some of those objectives included the request of support from our Congressional representatives for opportunities related to funding the transportation needs of our growing city and collaborating to identify ways to meet transit and transportation needs in Surprise in a fiscally pragmatic manner.

In order to continue the conversation relative to transit and transportation needs in Surprise, Council will consider a request in the FY18 budget discussions to fund a demand study which will identify both transit demands and appropriate solutions to meet those demands. This item will be considered along with the other requests for funding in the coming fiscal year.

Surprise Regional Chamber of Commerce Monthly Breakfast Meeting

Councilmembers Jim Hayden, Ken Remley and I attended the Surprise Regional Chamber of Commerce monthly breakfast meeting on Tuesday, March 28. Scott Phillips, Vice President of Carefree Partners Investments, provided an update on City Center. The goal of Carefree Partners, in partnership with the City, is to create a downtown, walkable city center from scratch.

A project of this caliber will take patience and perseverance as we try to build the right mix of commerce, culture, recreation, entertainment, ingenuity and energy. Retail trends have changed due to the popularity of online shopping, and we are diligently working on an ever changing model. The future downtown will include major employment, Ottawa University, dense residential living, a multitude of entertainment and food options plus much more. In summary, this is a very unique public private partnership for a project of this size in the state, if not the entire country.

Surprise Literacy Challenge

The Surprise Literacy Challenge this year utilized partnerships with Surprise Friends of the Library and the local branch of the Maricopa County Library District to bring an engaging program to the 4th, 5th, and 6th grade students from Surprise. Through the use of bingo cards with 25 various challenges, students were engaged in literacy in many new and unique ways beyond just reading a book.

Ten schools participated this year with more than 2,200 students taking part of the challenge. I’m happy to report that the winners are Arizona Charter Academy’s 4th grade class led by Mrs. Wernet, Cimarron Springs’ 5th grade class led by Ms. Mohaupt and Kingswood Park Elementary’s 6th grade class led by Ms. Johnson. Congratulations!

Celebrating Expansion in Surprise

Luv 2 Play hosted a grand opening celebration on Wednesday, March 29 with a ribbon cutting ceremony, face painting, balloon artists and much more! Luv 2 Play is an indoor playground and arcade for children ages 0-12. They also have menu options for parents and kids alike! For more information, please visit http://luv2play.com/surprise/.

Christopher Todd Communities broke ground at the future Christopher Todd Communities on Greenway project. The area is located on the southwest corner of Greenway and Litchfield roads. This project will offer 136 one and two-bedroom private rental residences with a gated entry, charming detached homes with front and backyards, optional detached garages, community park with a pet washing station and a community pool. There will be 56 one-bedroom and 80 larger two-bedroom floor plans.


Mark Your Calendar

Household Hazardous Waste Collection

If you’ve been holding on to unwanted paint, electronics and other hazardous waste; mark your calendar for the City’s next Household Hazardous Waste Collection Event on Saturday, April 8.

This event is free and for Surprise residents only. Please bring a driver’s license or utility bill to show proof of a Surprise home address.

Drop-off is at the Public Works Maintenance Yard, 13433 W. Foxfire Drive (from Bell Road, turn north on Dysart and follow signs to the entrance off Foxfire), from 8 a.m. – Noon.

Acceptable items list:

  • Antifreeze, car batteries, motor oil, gasoline, diesel and fuel additives
  • Brake-transmission-power steering fluid, degreasers
  • Pool chemicals, fire extinguishers and gas cylinders
  • Compact fluorescent light bulbs
  • Stain, varnish, turpentine, cleaners, adhesives
  • Paint, paint thinners, solvents, cleaners, adhesives
  • Pesticides, herbicides, fertilizers and other lawn chemicals
  • Freezers, refrigerators (no RV refrigerators with ammonia)
  • TVs, electronics, cell phones, computers, stereos
  • Up to 5 auto tires (no rims and no truck tires )
  • Washers, dryers, water heaters, stoves, dishwashers and evaporative coolers

The following items will NOT be accepted:

  • Regular refuse and bulk trash
  • Bio–medical waste
  • Commercial waste
  • Ammunition or explosives
  • RV refrigerators that contain ammonia
  • Radioactive material

For more information, check out www.surpriseaz.gov/HHWevent or call 623.222.6000.

Taste of Surprise

The Rotary Club of Surprise will host the Taste of Surprise event at Surprise Stadium on Saturday, April 8 from 4 p.m. until 9 p.m. The event will showcase some the West Valley’s best foods and include a beer and wine garden and live entertainment. This event is designed to be fun for the entire family!

The 2017 Taste of Surprise proceeds will benefit five local non-profits including One Step Beyond, Surprise Youth Foundation, Benevilla, A New Leaf, and Rotary Club of Surprise Community Foundation. Tickets can be purchased at the event or online. To purchase tickets online, please visit http://www.tasteofsurprise.com/purchase-tickets.html.


Did You Know?

Greenway Road – Litchfield Road Intersection Improvement Work to Begin

Drivers can expect lane restrictions around the intersection of Litchfield and Greenway roads from March 30 through May 8 as crews perform utility work and correct a dip in the intersection.

A full closure of the intersection is planned for the final weekend of the project. The intersection will close Friday, May 5 at 9 p.m. and reopen Monday, May 8 at 5 a.m.

This work will complete the final phase of the Greenway Road Improvement Project. Last summer, the city completed the widening portion of the Greenway Road project between Litchfield Road and Bullard Avenue; the project also included landscaped medians, drainage improvements and sidewalks.

For more information, please call 623.222.6000.


Contact Me

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

Ask a Question

March 31, 2016 • Newsletter

Bell Road/Grand Avenue Update

BELL ROAD will be closed beginning 10 pm on April 1!

With the 6-8 month closure of Bell Road, from 134th Drive to West Point Parkway, beginning on Friday, April 1, at 10 p.m., I wanted to dedicate the majority of this issue to the overall project and the traffic restrictions. The Bell Road/Grand Avenue Interchange Project is using the design-build contracting method, which provides flexibility while the contractor’s designers work side-by-side with the construction team to deliver an improved connection between the two roadways.

The Arizona Department of Transportation contractors will build a Bell Road bridge over Grand Avenue and the railroad tracks. Median ramps in the center of Grand Avenue will connect the roadways. Utility relocation work in the area, mostly during overnight hours, is already underway.

The project is scheduled to be completed over the next 14 months (in spring 2017); however, Bell Road is scheduled to reopen in November in time for the holiday shopping season.

ADOT has issued the following project update, which includes upcoming traffic restrictions and a timeline of the Bell Road full closure activities:

Thursday, March 31

  • Eastbound and westbound Grand Avenue median removal preparation will begin at 10:30 pm on Thursday, March 31 until 5 am on Friday, April 1. No left turns onto Bell Road from Grand Avenue.

Friday, April 1

  • There will be eastbound and westbound left lane closures on Grand Avenue to remove traffic signals and medians from 10 pm to 5 am. No left turns from Grand Avenue to Bell Road, or right turns from eastbound Grand Avenue to Bell Road.
  • Bell Road Closed by 10 pm between West Point Parkway and 134th Drive (detour in place).

Saturday, April 2

  • Grand Avenue will be restricted to one lane in each direction for median paving and pavement lane line marking.

Sunday, April 3 at 10 pm to Monday, April 4 at 5 am

  • Westbound Grand Avenue left lane closure.
  • Eastbound Grand Avenue CLOSED from Litchfield Road to Dysart Road to remove pavement lane line markings and replace with new lane line markings.

Monday, April 4 and Tuesday, April 5

  • Bell Road demolition from Grand Avenue to West Point Parkway.
  • Grand Avenue will be open to two lanes in each direction.
  • Eastbound Grand Avenue right lane closure to install construction barrier and remove existing traffic signals from 10 pm to 5 am.

**City, County, and State law enforcement will be patrolling the area during the Bell Road closure transition. Please obey all traffic signage and posted speed limits.**

** While the closure is in place, Bell Road traffic will be directed to a primary detour route along Dysart, Greenway and Litchfield roads.

*schedule subject to change based on design schedule, weather, or unforeseen conditions

For more information or if you have questions regarding the project, please stay informed! ADOT has a project hotline specific for this project, (855) 712-8530, press option #1. You may also contact ADOT via email at bellandgrandinfo@azdot.gov or on their website at www.azdot.gov/bellandgrand.

This will begin Phase 3A of the project. Please see Illustration below as well as the detour map.

Local businesses will be open and accessible during the Bell-Grand Project!

Businesses on all sides of the Bell Road and Grand Avenue interchange improvement project will be open during construction. In coordination with our partner ADOT, a business access map has been released to help residents find entry points to the shopping, dining and service destinations around the construction project area.

The following driveways along Bell Rd will remain open during the full closure; but ADOT will close them from time-to-time during construction. For this reason we did not specifically highlight them on the business access map.

*The traffic signal at Bell Rd and West Point Pkwy/Towne Center Dr will allow motorists in a single lane to continue thru the signal to access the Surprise Marketplace driveways near Compass Bank and Chick-fil-A; allowing for right turn-in only entry to the shopping center.

*Exit points out of Surprise Towne Center will also be open as construction permits with right-turn outs only onto Bell next to I-Hop and behind the Five Guys Burgers and the Vitamin Shoppe building.

The following driveways along Grand Ave will remain open as construction activities permit through mid-May:

Surprise Towne Center
Taco Bell/ Office Max
Starbucks/Bank of America

Surprise Marketplace
Olive Garden
Del Taco

Access to businesses at signalized intersections will be maintained and are the recommended entry points into the business areas.

The Construction Business Access map shows the business entry options, permitted traffic movements, and lane configurations that shoppers can expect April 1 (after 10 p.m.) through mid-November. The reverse side of this map also includes the full closure detour route and ADOT’s project hotline number, website and email address for additional information.

Bell & Grand Business Access Map

In addition to traffic information, the “Bridge Buddy Outreach” campaign will provide support for businesses in the construction area, thanks to a partnership with the city and the Surprise Regional Chamber of Commerce. This collaboration with local businesses on a Bell & Grand ShopSurprise campaign that will launch in May and provide opportunities for residents to opt-in to receive daily deals, giveaways, and events from businesses near the project area. Stay tuned for additional details!

The Bell & Grand ShopSurprise campaign and a larger version of the business access map are featured in the city’s spring 2016 Progress magazine, which should be mailed to you any day now. Magazines are also available in the Surprise City Hall lobby, 16000 N. Civic Center Plaza; View the online version of Spring 2016 Progress Magazine.

Shop Bell and Grand local


Business Stakeholder Meeting Update

Approximately 17 business representatives attended the Bell and Grand Stakeholder Meeting at City Hall, March 29.

Economic Development (ED) opened the meeting by providing information regarding resources available to support businesses during the Bell Rd closure. ED promoted the upcoming business seminars, specifically, the March 31 seminar titled A New Way of Marketing Your Business. ED encouraged the businesses to get involved with the Surprise Regional Chamber Bell Grand Shop Surprise campaign to help promote their businesses during the bridge project closure. Those in attendance were given the spring 2016 issue of Progress Magazine that includes six pages of Bell-Grand construction project details, business access map and the Shop Surprise initiative.

ADOT presented the four-phase construction plan for 134th Dr/134th Ave construction and traffic management:

Mid-April – early May

  • Access to businesses in the area will be maintained on 134th Dr & Bell Rd and at Dysart & Bell roads
  • Traffic will be on the north side of Bell Road and will be restricted to one lane in each direction between 134th Dr and Dysart Rd; the south side of Bell Rd is under construction at this time

Early May – mid-June

  • Access to businesses in the area will be maintained on 134th Dr & Bell Rd and at Dysart & Bell Rd
  • Traffic is moved to the south side lanes of Bell Rd and is still restricted to one lane in each direction between 134th Dr and Dysart Rd; 134th Ave is being constructed on the north side of Bell Rd at this time

Mid-June – late June

  • Access to businesses in the area will be maintained on 134th Dr & Bell Rd; 134th Avenue & Bell (now open) and at Dysart & Bell Rd Late

June – November

  • Access to businesses in the area will be maintained on 134th Ave & Bell Rd and at Dysart & Bell Rd
  • 134th Dr cul de sac is under construction

ADOT informed the group that APS and Cox Communications will be conducting utility relocation work in April that may result in temporary lane restrictions and brief closures on Bell Rd west of Dysart.

Stakeholders, specifically those located on the south side of Bell Rd near 134th Dr, had questions regarding traffic configurations and business access during construction. A primary concern was left turn movements from Bell Rd into business driveways. ADOT has confirmed that left turn access to these businesses will be maintained throughout construction, with the exception of possible nighttime work.


Events & Meetings

Surprise Literacy Challenge

Councilman John Williams and I were honored to acknowledge Ms. Daniel’s 6th grade class at Paradise Education Center at Surprise Stadium on Friday evening. Thirteen schools and 124 classrooms, grades 4th-6th, from across Surprise accepted the four-month challenge, created by Councilman Williams and me, in November. The winning 6th grade class accepted their accolades on the field while the 4th and 5th grade winning classes will be treated to a pizza party.

Literacy Challenge Winners
Paradise Education Center – Ms. Daniel’s 6th grade class

Congrats to the all the winners!

Surprise Youth Council Video Review

As part of the recruitment process for additional new members for the Surprise Youth Council (SYC), Youth Services Administrator Paul Bernardo, Councilman Todd Tande and I reviewed video submissions of potential new SYC members on Monday, March 28. I am so impressed with our fearless, creative and hardworking youth, and I was honored to take part in the process.

Veteran Success Project (VSP) Advisory Committee Meeting

As a member of the Veteran Success Project Advisory Committee, I attended our Committee meeting on Tuesday, March 29. We were provided an update on the West Valley Veteran Center, and presentations on potential locations were given. Potential locations include Avondale, Surprise and Luke Air Force Base. Site Coordinator for the East Valley Veterans Education Center in Tempe, Troy Friedman, gave an update on the demographics and utilization of the East Valley facility.

With over 483,000 veterans in Arizona, the need for a Veteran Center is certainly justified and most definitely welcome in the West Valley. I am extremely honored to be part of this Committee and the future facility which would be funded by federal grants and local fundraising.


Mark Your Calendars

HOA Summit

The City of Surprise is proud to host the next HOA Summit on Wednesday, April 6. You will have a chance to share your opportunities, issues, concerns and solutions with your Surprise neighbors and hear the latest news from the City Manager and various City Directors, including those from Public Works, Human Service & Community Vitality and the Chief of Police.

HOA board members and management company representatives are encouraged to attend, as are HOA community members.

The HOA Summit will be held in the Community Room of the Surprise City Hall, 16000 N. Civic Center Plaza. The summit will begin at 5:30 p.m. and conclude around 8 p.m. A light meal will be served. For information or to register, contact Ruby Sitea at 623.222.3242 or ruby.sitea@surpriseaz.gov. Please register early since space is limited.


Did You Know?

Surprise Park-and-Ride Temporary Relocation

The Surprise Park-and-Ride will be temporarily relocated beginning April 4 due to construction activity related to the Bell Road and Grand Avenue Interchange Improvement.

The facility will remain open at its current location at 13327 W Bell Road through Friday, April 1. Beginning on Monday, April 4, the Park-and-Ride will be temporarily relocated to DreamCatcher Park, located at 14534 W Tierra Buena Lane. It is expected to return to its original location following the completion of the project, estimated to be no later than Feb. 2017.

If you have any questions, please call Valley Metro Customer Service at 602.253.5000 or TTY 602.251.2039, or the City of Surprise Customer Service Line at 623.222.6000.

BISCUITS Café is Open For Business

Biscuits Café has opened in Surprise! They are located at 13752 W. Bell Road. Welcome! We are excited to have you here!

Biscuits Cafe logo

COX Transitioning to Digital Television Service

Between May and September of this year, Cox will convert to an entirely digital platform. When this occurs, only customers with televisions that are directly connected to the cable wall outlet will stop receiving Cox’s cable signal. Customers with televisions that currently use a Cox cable box will not be affected by this change. For more information, please contact Cox at 866.961.0416 or you can visit www.cox.com/GoAllDigital.


Contact Me

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

Ask a Question

March 17, 2016 • Newsletter

Bell Road/Grand Avenue Update

Loop 303 Bridge Work to Close Stretch of Grand Avenue

While this closure is not part of the Bell Road/Grand Avenue interchange project, I wanted to be sure you were notified of the closure this weekend. Grand Avenue will be closed from 9 p.m. on Friday, March 18, to 7 p.m. on Sunday, March 20, between R.H. Johnson Boulevard/Sunrise Boulevard and Loop 303 to accommodate freeway bridge work, according to the Arizona Department of Transportation.

Motorists should plan ahead and consider alternate routes while this closure is in effect.

Crews will be painting the bridge and installing sound panels and signage at the Loop 303/Grand Avenue interchange as part of a $46 million ADOT project scheduled for completion this summer.

The primary detour for Grand Avenue traffic will be along Loop 303 and Bell Road. Southbound Loop 303 drivers in the Peoria area can connect with Grand Avenue via southbound El Mirage Road and westbound Bell Road.

North- and southbound traffic on Loop 303 won’t be affected by the Grand Avenue closure. To stay up to date with the latest highway conditions around the state, visit the ADOT Traveler Information System at www.az511.gov or call 511. For more information, please contact Gaby Kemp at 928.699.8983.

Interchange Construction Update

For continued updates on the Bell Road/Grand Avenue interchange project, please visit the project website at www.azdot.gov/bellandgrand. You can also call ADOT’s project hotline at 855.712.8530 (press option 1).


City Council Work Session

FY2017 Review of Capital Projects

Finance Department staff continued FY17 budget presentations during the City Council Work Session and City Council Meeting. They delivered a presentation regarding the operating budget related to non-public safety programs and potential funding options, as well as a presentation on funding sources for transportation and general government capital improvement projects. Videos of the presentations can be found at www.surpriseaz.gov/budget.

During the presentation, Budget Manager Jared Askelson identified a $12.0 million need for maintaining assets and infrastructure in FY17, which is the highest priority for the upcoming fiscal year. Also discussed were the top priority projects within the Transportation and General Government categories. Below are some of the city’s top projects in those areas.

The potential funding options for the public safety program increases that were previously discussed were also presented to Council.

After a healthy discussion about the options, conversations will continue at future Council meetings.

City Transportation Projects

The Public Works Department provided a year-to-date update on the Capital Improvement Program. Discussion focused on the status of our current FY16 transportation improvement projects, the project delivery process, and the current capital budget status.Along with the detailed transportation project update, the Public Works Department also highlighted a few lower profile projects and their status.

Non-transportation projects discussed included the rehab of the Greenway sewer lift station ($325,000), Park N Ride enhancements that were funded by Proposition 400 ($108,000), Surprise Stadium Campus, and Civic Center Reclaimed Water Conversion (Project budgeted at $208,000).

With regards to the 2016 transportation projects, the Waddell Road median project was completed late last month but the landscaping portion began this month and is expected to last through June. Cactus Road (Marley Park) project began in January and concluded this week. Litchfield Road (additional northbound lane) began in February and should wrap up in late May. Greenway Road improvements also began in January and the project is expected to last through June 2016. Cactus Road (175th – Cotton Lane) work is expected to begin next month. Peoria Avenue (two eastbound lanes) will begin in April and is expected to conclude in late August.


City Council Meeting

Neighborhood Grant Program – Recommendation For Funding

The City Council designated $10,000 from the FY2016 Surprise Community Outreach Program budget for the Neighborhood Grant Program. The Committee on Community Outreach, Partnerships and Grants reviewed the applications that were due on February 26.

The Committee held a public meeting on March 2 to review the five applications received. Applicants were invited to the March 2 committee meeting to present their project to the committee. Four of the five applicants made presentations.

The recommendations were as follows: Marley Park (Veteran’s Commemorative Plaza) – $2,000; WHAM (Recycled Arts Festival) – $2,000; Sanalina HOA (Water Conservation Project) – $4,000; OTS (Numbers on homes without addresses) – $2,000. The Committee’s recommendations were unanimously accepted by the City Council.

Personnel Appeals Board Appointment

City Council unanimously approved the appointment of Ira McCullough to the Personnel Appeals Board with a term expiration of September 11, 2016. Congratulations, Ira and thank you for contributing your time to our City!

Ira McCullough being sworn into the Personnel Appeals Board

Bell and Grand Temporary Sign Policy

Once the proposed timeline for the Bell Road/Grand Avenue interchange project was announced, the city began to work diligently to determine ways we could assist businesses through the construction. Allowing businesses that will be impacted by this project to increase signage was a common sense solution. Signage in the revised policy includes: A-frames, banners, sign walkers and off site directional signs. Additionally, the policy removes the requirements for Temporary Use Permits in the area for special events that could be held to draw shoppers and diners during the Bell Road closure.

Resolution 2016-42 (Temporary Sign and Temporary Use Permit Policy) was unanimously approved.

City of Surprise Stormwater Utility

Stormwater management in Surprise may soon have a dedicated funding source following City Council’s action Tuesday night to move forward with the code amendment and ordinance approval for a Stormwater Utility.

Beginning as early as November, single residential homes could see $2 added to the monthly water/wastewater bill. The proposed rate was determined by calculating the costs to maintain the city’s infrastructure, meet regulatory requirements, and implement capital improvement projects, and then dividing that cost by the number of equivalent dwelling units (EDU) in the city. One EDU is equivalent to the average amount of impervious surface areas (roofs, patios, driveways, sidewalks) on Surprise’s single family residences.

The effective date of the Utility would occur after the 60 day Notice of Intention and public hearing period. The implementation timeline of the proposed Utility is as follows:

  • April 5 – Provide notice to adopt Stormwater rates and set date of Public Hearing; city will adopt the Notice of Intention and file the Rate Study with the clerk’s office
  • April 11 – 15 – Notice of Intention published on the city’s website and in newspapers
  • May 17 – City will host a Public Hearing and adopt the rates
  • November 1 – Stormwater Utility goes into effect in conjunction with the city taking over the utility billing

Funds collected from the Stormwater Utility will enable the city to cover the costs to maintain storm water related infrastructure such as curbs and gutters, pipes and catch basins, comply with regulatory requirements, and develop projects to protect and prevent problems often caused by stormwater such as flooding, which causes polluted standing water that attracts disease-bearing pests and transportation issues, such as sinkholes and premature pavement loss.

Currently, all stormwater activities, including regulatory compliance, asset management, and capital improvement, are funded by the wastewater fund, general fund and the Highway User Revenue Fund (HURF). The Stormwater Utility will relieve burden from those funds and will be responsible for revenue generation, operational costs and Capital Improvement Project development and management.

Other Arizona cities with dedicated stormwater management fees include Mesa, Peoria, Oro Valley, Tucson, Flagstaff and Scottsdale. A detailed Rate Study outlining the research and projected expenditures can be found at www.surpriseaz.gov/stormwater. For questions about the Stormwater Utility, view the Frequently Asked Questions or call 623.222.6000.

FY2016 Budget Amendment

Economic Development Director Jeanine Jerkovic requested consideration for an FY16 budget amendment in the amount of $50,000 from the Economic Development contingency fund to Economic Development operations fund to cover costs related to new and increased programming in facilitation of strategic business retention and marketing activities for the Bell Road/Grand Avenue intersection.

Staff has partnered with the Surprise Regional Chamber of Commerce in developing a new digital marketing campaign for the businesses that will be affected by the construction. Several events and promotional activities are planned. The amendment was passed unanimously.


Meetings & Events

Taste of Surprise

I participated in the Taste of Surprise as a Surprise Rotarian, on Wednesday, March 9. The event was held at Riverboat Bingo and more than 400 people attended. Thank you to all of you who came out to help support our community organizations, and thank you to Amanda Sanchez, the committee chair!

Arizona Town Hall

I was honored to provide a welcome and attend the Arizona Town Hall – Keeping Arizona’s Water Glass Full event at the Communiversity on Tuesday, March 15. Guest speakers included Sarah Porter – Director of Kyle Institute for Water Policy, William Garfield – President of Arizona Water Company, David Iwanski – Executive Director of Arizona Water Association and Avondale Councilman, and Eric Orsborn – Vice Mayor of Buckeye.

This town hall was a follow up to the 107th Arizona Town Hall, which gathered in November for two days to develop recommendations for our State’s future water needs. The consensus items were:

• Move forward with Arizona’s strategic vision for water supply sustainability

• Create and fund mechanisms to finance water supply and new infrastructure

• Appropriately fund and staff the AZ Department of Water Resources (ADWR)

• Education and Public Awareness

• Conservation and Augmentation

• Legal Reform

• The Role of Individuals (educate ourselves and others, advocate, etc.)

Former Governor Jan Brewer and Governor Doug Ducey have helped begin the process through the development of Arizona’s Strategic Vision for Water Supply Sustainability which provides comprehensive water supply and demand analysis for Arizona and helps identify solutions for urban and rural areas.

For additional information, view the report from the Arizona Town Hall.

Surprise Councilman Skip Hall speaks at the 2016 Arizona Town Hall

Site Selector Visit

Mayor Wolcott, Councilman Winters, Economic Development staff and I attended a game at Surprise Stadium and networked with Greater Phoenix Economic Council (GPEC) and various site selectors on Wednesday, March 16.

Orchards Annual HOA Meeting

Representatives from Surprise public works, Surprise Police, Arizona Department of Transportation and I attended the Orchards Annual HOA meeting on Wednesday, March 16. Topics of discussion included updates on the upcoming Bell Road/Grand Avenue interchange project, City transportation projects, review of area crime statistics and crime prevention strategies.

Mountain Vista Ranch Annual HOA Meeting

Mountain Vista Ranch HOA held their annual meeting on Wednesday, March 16. Topics of discussion included the upcoming Bell Road/Grand Avenue interchange project and pavement preservation. Approximately 30 residents were in attendance.


Mark Your Calendars

Arizona Supreme Court coming to Surprise!

On Tuesday, March 29, the public is invited to attend oral arguments at Valley Vista High School’s Performing Arts Center, located at 15550 North Parkview Place. Arguments will begin promptly at 9:30 a.m. This is a rare opportunity to witness the judicial branch of government at work and watch attorneys present real cases to the state’s highest court.

Arizona’s five Supreme Court Justices believe strongly that this outreach enriches the students’ educational experience and gives the community an opportunity to experience the workings of the State’s highest appeals court.

The justices have identified two cases to be presented that day, and attorneys representing each side will be given 20 minutes to present their cases. The justices will take questions from the audience, as long as those questions do not pertain to the case or cases they just heard. The event will end at noon.

Select student groups from public and charter high schools in Surprise have been invited to attend. All guests attending the arguments will need to arrive by no later than 9:00 a.m. in order to go through security screening. Seating is limited.

Click to view the parking map

Students and members of the public may take photos during the Q&A session only. Photos should not be taken during oral arguments. News media are welcome, but should make arrangements in advance with the Arizona Supreme Court’s Director of Communications, Heather Murphy, at 602.452.3656 or hmurphy@courts.az.gov. For more information about the justices or court system in Arizona, please go to www.azcourts.gov.

HOA Summit

The City of Surprise is proud to host the next HOA Summit on Wednesday, April 6. You won’t want to miss this opportunity to hear the latest news from the City Manager and various City Directors, including those from Public Works, Human Service & Community Vitality and the Chief of Police. You will also have a chance to share your opportunities, issues, concerns and solutions with your Surprise neighbors.

HOA board members and management company representatives are encouraged to attend, as are HOA community members. The HOA Summit will be held in the Community Room of the Surprise City Hall, 16000 N. Civic Center Plaza. The summit will begin at 5:30 p.m. and conclude around 8 p.m. A light meal will be served.

For information or to register, contact Ruby Sitea at 623.222.3242 or ruby.sitea@surpriseaz.gov. Please register early since space is limited.


Did You Know?

Newsletter Distribution

The distribution of my newsletters has changed. I am now sending them at 5 pm on Thursdays!

Surprise Literacy Challenge Winners!

Thirteen schools and 124 classrooms from across Surprise accepted a five-month reading challenge back in October, and now, the results of the 3rd Annual Surprise Literacy Challenge are in!

The Challenge, created by Councilmembers John Williams and Skip Hall, asked students in 4th-6th grade to track the number of hours they read outside the classroom. Teachers then reported those numbers back to the city.

Here are the winners in each grade:

4th Grade
Ms. Gore’s class – Arizona Charter Academy

5th Grade
Ms. Frazier’s class – West Point Elementary

6th Grade
Ms. Daniel’s class – Paradise Education Center

The top 4th and 5th grade classroom will be treated to a pizza party. They will also receive a trophy for their room and individual medals for each student. The winning 6th grade class will accept their accolades on the field at the March 25 Spring Training game at Surprise Stadium.

The city congratulates these winning readers!

Social Media

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April 10, 2015 • Newsletter

City Council Work Session


Community Development Block Grant Update
The City of Surprise receives a yearly allotment of Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funding from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). The City has the ability to designate up to 85% of the grant award to fund-eligible administrative, housing and public improvement services with the intent of serving low to moderate income residents.

The Consolidated Plan is mandated, per the grant guidelines, by HUD.  This identifies funding for CDBG and other programs. It includes a five year strategic plan consisting of priorities and needs. We will be entering year one of the plan (Annual Action Plan 2015-16) beginning July 1st with our new fiscal year. The Annual Action Plan will contain specific projects. To qualify, 51% of the residents in the area must be in the low to moderate income brackets. The only area in Surprise that qualifies based on this requirement is the Original Town Site (OTS).

Last fall, surveys were conducted and those survey findings were shared with the Planning & Zoning Commission in December 2014. Priorities included youth/senior/veteran services, recreation programs, improved lighting, neighborhood clean-up and job training. Non-profit organization applications to receive funding were due in January 2015 and Planning & Zoning Commission hearings were held in February and March 2015. With City Council’s approval, the recommendations will be submitted to HUD by May 15, 2015.

Public Service Awardee recommendations included summer youth employment ($16,897), ABIL- Arizona Bridge to Independent Living ($15,580), Arizona Charter Academy ($12,539), St. Mary’s Food Bank ($11,480), Benevilla ($10,000), Tumble Weed ($8,200), Central AZ Shelter Services ($5,000) and Aid to Adoption of Special Kids ($3,000).

Water Funding Policy
Water Resource Management Director Terry Lowe presented the fourth strategic water policy, the Water Funding Policy, for review and comment. This policy brings together the first three policies, focusing the City’s position on how Surprise will invest in its water future. This specific policy identifies the different investments the City will make in water, including the expansion of its CAP allocations, the acquisition of physical water and water systems, and the purchasing of water credits. The policy then identifies who the benefiting parties of these investments are, such as Surprise residents as a whole or the Surprise water service area customers. Furthermore, the policy identifies possible funding options that would be the best match for the City to utilize in order to acquire these investments given the benefited areas. All four strategic water policies (Conservation, Use of Reclaimed, Acquisition, and Funding) will be brought before the Surprise City Council for approval at the City Council meeting scheduled for May 6.

Zoning Text Amendment – Donation Bins
Due to citizen concerns about the increasing number of donation bins located within the City and the lack of any regulations concerning said bins, City staff proposed a zoning text amendment to regulate bins for the entire City. The proposed amendment will allow for regulations. This amendment will require these facilities to register the bins with Temporary Use Permits (TUP) that would require a notarized signature of the property owner or designated representative and it would have to be applied for annually.  The bins are limited to commercial, business park, industrial, and public facility zoning districts. The amendment would also regulate the location, size, maintenance, and identification of the bins. These parameters are determined by the size of the property or commercial center. A Citizen Review Meeting has been held.  Council will vote on the amendment at the next Council meeting.

FY2016 Budget Discussion
The fiscal year 2016 budget process continued with an update of ongoing revenues and expenses, and discussion on budget recommendations regarding staffing, asset and vehicle replacement, pavement preservation, and fund balance reserve policy.  While the ongoing surplus estimate for FY2015 of $3.5 million remains unchanged from previous discussions, the projected ongoing surplus for FY2016 increased by $0.5 million to $1.3 million.

A plan was discussed to utilize this surplus to maintain transit and library services as well as shore up public safety and other general government services. There was also discussion about increasing funding levels to maintain the City’s infrastructure.  Vehicle replacement funding will nearly double to $1.9 million; critical maintenance and replacement needs across City facilities will be funded at $1.7 million, and pavement preservation funding will increase 50% to $3.0 million. A plan to increase the fund balance reserve by $1.2 million was also discussed. Much of this serves as a sneak preview of the Recommended Budget that will be presented by the City manager at the City Council Meeting on April 21.

City Council Meeting


Surprise Literacy Challenge Awards
On behalf of Vice Mayor John Williams and I, I was able to acknowledge the 4th and 5th grade winning classes of the Surprise Literacy Challenge at the Council Meeting. The top overall 4th grade classroom from Rancho Gabriela Elementary School, taught by Mrs. Wendy Housari, received their trophy as well as the top overall 5th grade class from Parkview Elementary School, taught by Ms. Marcia Guest. Congratulations!

4th grade winners
4th grade winners
5th grade winners
5th grade winners

 

Communiversity Update
Greg Pereira, Director at the Communiversity at Surprise and the Lifelong Learning Center at Rio Salado College, provided an update on the Communiversity. The Communiversity consists of six academic partners including the Glendale Community College, Northern Arizona University, Phoenix College, Ottawa University, The College of St. Scholastica and Rio Salado College. Over 130 courses are provided each year. Over 5,000 students have been served since 2009. The Communiversity offers certificate programs as well as Associate to Master’s Degrees.

AZ TechCelerator
The City Council approved a $500,000 renovation for the AZ TechCelerator which will help enhance the space, allow for the creation of two business programs and attract a new pipeline of start-up innovation companies. Renovation funding will come from the operating contingency within the general fund.

Since its launch in 2010, the TechCelerator has occupied the former City Hall space on Bell Road. The four campus building, owned and operated by the City, has been successful in providing innovative start-up companies with affordable space, tools and resources needed to grow their businesses. Following the upgrades, the Economic Development team will launch two new start-up business programs at this campus. The first program, Beehive, will provide home-based businesses the opportunity to operate in a professional setting for a low monthly cost. The second initiative is a soft-landing program for international businesses that would also offer affordable office space, as well as assistance navigating issues like international patents, work visas and other issues that are unique to foreign companies.

Mid-Decade Census
The City of Surprise receives approximately $36 million annually in state shared revenues. This revenue is distributed to all cities in Arizona based on population which is set based on the federal census that is completed every decade. Cities have the option to update the population with a mid-decade census that is completed by the Census Bureau and paid for by each individual city. Five cities, Buckeye, Gilbert, Goodyear, Peoria, and Queen Creek, have entered into agreements with the Census Bureau to undertake a mid-decade census on their behalf. A sixth city, Chandler, has also expressed interest in completing a mid-decade census. The City would stand to lose approximately $0.7 million per year of its portion of state shared revenues if these six cities were to complete a mid-decade census without Surprise.  If Surprise were to join these cities, its portion of state shared revenues would increase by $1.1 million per year, a net difference of $1.8 million. The results of the mid-decade census would be in effect for 5 years for a total net impact of $9.0 million. The City has received an estimate from the Census Bureau that it will cost $2.7 million to complete a mid-decade census.  That investment would be re-paid in 1.5 years and result in a total net gain of $6.3 million over a five year period. For these reasons, the City of Surprise will be going forward with a mid-decade census that is set to begin on October 1st of the calendar year.

Zoning Text Amendment pertaining to Assisted Living Facilities
Planner II Robert Kuhfuss requested Council approval on the proposed Zoning Text Amendment pertaining to Assisted living Facility (ORD 2015-07). After much review of the industry standards and the HOA Concerns expressed through the stakeholder process, he reiterated the Planning & Zoning Commission’s recommendations to delete the 120-day rule and other questions posed by City Council during a past work session. The Council unanimously voted to approve the amendment.

Events & Meetings


Surprise Citizen Corp
On April 2, I attended the newly revised Surprise Citizens Corps Council (SCCC).  CJ Anderson, who has 37 years of risk management experience, attended the meeting and spoke to the SCCC to provide guidance on how to establish goals for the coming year so the SCCC can actively offer disaster preparedness programs to benefit the community. She is currently the President of the Arizona Regional Citizens Corp and President/CEO of Empty Bowl Pet Food Pantry Disaster Service, and she has offered to help guide the SCCC as we move forward toward initiating our own City organization.

The SCCC is looking for active community volunteers who want to help work with government organizations like FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) and ready.gov which offers emergency preparedness guidance from the US Department of Homeland Security. For more information, please contact Fire Captain Renee Hamblin at 623.222.5000.

CRS Spring Eggstravaganza
The Annual Spring Eggstravaganza this year was another fantastic success thanks to the efforts of the families that attended, the volunteers that helped and our wonderful team of employees at CRS. Community and Recreation Services Director Mark Coronado estimates there were over 14,000 people in attendance. The Easter egg hunters were treated to 250 pounds of eggs and candy. The event was held on Saturday, April 4. It is always a pleasure to attend.

Eggstravaganza 2015

Service Anniversary
Linda Rodriguez, Surprise City Court Administrator, celebrated her 25 years of service with the City on Tuesday, April 7. Congratulations, Linda, for all you’ve done and all you continue to do for our City!

Linda Rodriguez with Judge Louis Dominguez
Linda Rodriguez with Judge Louis Dominguez
City Manager Bob Wingenroth with Council Members Villanueva, Winters and me
City Manager Bob Wingenroth with Council Members Villanueva, Winters and me

 

Celebrate Arizona Northwest Valley
Councilman Jim Biundo, Councilman Roland Winters and I attended the “Celebrate Arizona Northwest Valley” event on Wednesday, April 8.  Several business, civic and community leaders were there, as well as other elected officials from Glendale, Peoria, Sun City, Sun City West, Youngtown, El Mirage and Wickenburg. This event began three years ago as a way to continue dialogue to find new ways to work together to make Arizona a better place to live and work.

Did You Know?


Your Input is Requested
Residents can now provide online input regarding potential capital improvement projects that are currently under review by the City’s Capital Improvement Funding Exploratory Committee. This Committee is charged, in part, with determining which projects should be included if the City considers a future bond initiative as a funding source. They have asked for you to get involved by sharing your thoughts on what matters most to you.

This Committee is looking at potential project lists during this process. You can review the same lists online at www.surpriseaz.gov/cife and provide comments. All comments will be shared by the Committee. Additionally, please feel free to attend the meetings or watch them live on Surprise 11 or at www.surpriseaz.gov/surprise11. Future meeting dates will be posted on the City’s online calendar.

Surprise Police join Nextdoor.com
Last week, the Surprise Police Department joined Nextdoor.com. Nextdoor.com is a free, private social network specifically designed for neighborhoods to build stronger and safer communities. It also allows for police to communicate online with the neighborhoods they serve. Currently, there are 58 local neighborhoods involved with over 3,000 registered members in Surprise. If you haven’t joined yet, you may want to consider it!

Mark your Calendars


Household Hazardous Waste Collection
The next household hazardous waste collection event will take place on Saturday, April 11. This event is free and for Surprise residents only. Proof of residency is required. The drop-off location is the Public Works Maintenance Yard at 13433 W. Foxfire Drive (from Bell Road, turn north on Dysart and follow signs to the entrance off Foxfire). The hours of drop-off are 8 a.m. until 12 noon.

For more information or a list of acceptable items, please visit our calendar section of www.surpriseaz.gov or call 623.222.6000.

Movie Night
The City of Surprise presents Movie Night at the Surprise Stadium on Saturday, April 11, featuring “The Boxtrolls” (rated PG). This event is sponsored by Coulter Nissan and the admission is free. Gates open at 6 p.m. and the movie will begin at 6:30 pm. Ice chests and lawn chairs are not permitted so bring your blankets!

Movie Night April 2015

Second Sunday in the Park
Come out and join the music at the next Second Sunday in the Park this Sunday, April 12. The free event will occur at the Surprise Community Park, 15953 N. Bullard Avenue, from 2 until 4 pm.

Surprise Swap Meet
The Surprise Swap meet is next Saturday, April 18 from 8 am until 1 pm at the Surprise Aquatic Center Parking Lot!

Contact Me


Shop Surprise

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

Ask a Question

April 3, 2015 • Newsletter

Events & Meetings


HOA Summit
The City hosted the first HOA Summit of the year at the Surprise Stadium on Thursday, March 26. Seventy-one people were registered for the Summit representing 25 different HOAs. City Directors from several departments were on hand to provide updates. The departments represented were Code Enforcement, Community Development, Water Resource Management, Public Works, Economic Development, Communications and the Department of Human Service and Community Vitality. Important information was shared and several general questions were asked and answered.

CM Hall at Summit
Councilman Hall welcoming attendees at HOA Summit
Lowe at Summit
Water Resource Management Director Terry Lowe addressing the crowd

 

Surprise Literacy Challenge Recognition
The sixth grade class that won the Surprise Literacy Challenge was recognized at the Surprise Stadium on Thursday, March 26 immediately before the Spring Training game. Mrs. Schneider’s class, from Paradise Education Center, were the recipients of the trophy and recognition.  Congratulations!

Surprise Literacy Winner with CM Hall
Councilman Hall with 6th grade class, the winning class medal

 

Surprise Literacy Challenge Medal

Business Appreciation Day @ the Ballpark
I attended Business Appreciation Day at the Surprise Stadium on Friday, March 27 with staff from the City’s Economic Development Department. Several local businesses attended and were thanked for their contributions to our City.

Bike Rodeo
The Surprise Police Department, in partnership with the Surprise Fire-Medical Department and Surprise Build-A-Bike, hosted a bicycle safety rodeo at the Surprise Campus of Christ’s Church of the Valley. This important event allowed children of all ages to have their bicycle safety helmets checked for proper fit, learn about bike safety and practice new bicycle skills with police bicycle operators. Children who did not have a helmet or had an ill-fitting helmet were provided with a new, proper fitting helmet free of charge. In total 82 children participated in the event and 76 helmets were distributed. We could not have these events without the efforts of the aforementioned departments. Thank you for all you do to keep all residents in Surprise safe!

Surprise PD Bike Rodeo

Surprise PD Bike Rodeo

Surprise Community Center Open House
The City’s newly established Human Service & Community Vitality Department hosted its first Open House at the Surprise Community Center this past Saturday to showcase current programs and celebrate small facility improvements. Several Council Members and I were present along with more than 110 people.  Approximately 50% were first time visitors! Visitors toured the facility’s exercise room, outdoor seating areas, cafeteria, computer room, reading room, puzzle room and other multi-purpose areas.

The Community Development Department provided information on the Heritage District Overlay and the City Clerk’s Office was available to discuss voter engagement and voter registration.

Survey poster boards were on display to capture community input on programs, services and project ideas for the new Department. In addition, a barbeque with music, games and multi-generational interactions were enjoyed by all!

Boy Scout Pinewood Derby 2015
The City Manager’s office and the Community Recreation Services Department jointly hosted 200 people for the Boy Scouts Pinewood Derby Tournament in the Villanueva Gym on Saturday, March 28.

Pinewood Derby Winners
Pinewood Derby Winners

 

ASU Sustainability Meeting
On March 30, Mayor Wolcott, Councilman Tande and I met with City staff and officials from ASU Global Institute of Sustainability to discuss possible future partnerships.

AZ TechCelerator
City staff and I met on Monday, March 30 to discuss the TechCelerator. The TechCelerator opened in January 2010 and consists of 4 buildings totaling 58,800 square feet. Ten clients, 12 active mentors and 3 on-site service providers are currently supporting the space. In the last few years, there have been several business success stories including MD24 and Athena Wireless.

Boys & Girls Club Steering Committee
Members of the Boys & Girls Club Steering Committee met on Wednesday, April 1.  Teri Halliday, Regional Director of the Boys & Girls Club of America, was present to provide a presentation on the history of the Club. Updates were also provided by the Subcommittees.

Arizona Town Hall
Councilman Jim Biundo, Councilman Todd Tande and I attended the Arizona Town Hall – Arizona’s Economy, A Community Outreach Program on Wednesday, April 1. Several municipalities and economic development leaders were present. An overview on Arizona’s current economic status was discussed as well as the link between the economy and education. Perspectives from the legislative front, recommendations and priorities were summarized as well.

Did You Know?


Shop Surprise
The City has launched a new “Shop Surprise, Shape Surprise” campaign to show how shopping locally helps shape the community.

Local sales tax makes up nearly 40% of the City’s General Fund revenues. This means by keeping sales tax dollars at home, residents are helping to pay for city services that they count on such as police, fire, park operations and street repairs.  For more information, please visit www.surpriseaz.gov/shopsurprise.

Shop Surprise
What you spend, stays here!

 

Mark Your Calendars


Spring Eggstravaganza Eager egg hunters, from toddlers to 8 year olds, are invited to join the search for more than 50,000 candy and toy-filled plastic eggs as part of the Surprise Spring Eggstravaganza on Saturday, April 4. The celebration will be held on the Kansas City Royals practice fields at the Surprise Recreation Campus, located at 15850 N. Bullard.

Gates will open at 9:30 am. The first hunt will begin at 10 am with the 2 year olds and under group. New hunts will follow approximately every 20 minutes. Children should bring their baskets or bags to hold their treats.

The event will also include a visit from the Easter bunny, clowns, face painters, magicians and an interactive kid zone with slides and obstacle courses. There will be a minimal charge from some activities.

Household Hazardous Waste Collection
The next household hazardous waste collection event will take place on Saturday, April 11. This event is free and for Surprise residents only. Proof of residency is required. The drop-off location is the Public Works Maintenance Yard at 13433 W. Foxfire Drive (from Bell Road, turn north on Dysart and follow signs to the entrance off Foxfire). The hours of drop-off are 8 a.m. until 12 noon.

For more information or a list of acceptable items, please visit our calendar section of www.surpriseaz.gov or call 623.222.6000.

Contact Me


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

Ask a Question

March 27, 2015 • Newsletter

Events & Meetings


Kingswood Parke HOA Meeting City Manager Bob Wingenroth, Public Works Director Mike Gent and I attended the Kingswood Parke HOA meeting on Thursday, March 19. Several residents were present. Public Works Director Mike Gent provided a presentation on sidewalks for the HOA. Due to the pedestrian traffic concerns of the residents, a sidewalk on the east side of Parkview, from Bell north to Lea Lane has been requested.

Economic Development at the Ballpark Last week, Economic Development Director Jeanine Jerkovic hosted several organizations and companies in the Economic Development suite at Surprise Stadium.  Some of those groups included GPEC (Greater Phoenix Economic Council) site selectors and California Tech Council. I am always honored to be part of these events to help convey what a fantastic city we live in!

WHAM Recycled Art Project I participated in WHAM’s Recycled Art Project on Saturday, March 21. This project is part of WHAM’s 3rd Annual Community Leader Art Activity fundraiser which helps the organization continue art programs in the West Valley. If you would like to personally view the art pieces or to bid on them, the Recycled Art Silent Auction Fundraiser will be held on March 29 from 4 to 7 pm at WHAM West Gallery (16560 N. Dysart Road).

City Manager - WHAM Recycled Art Project

Councilman Hall - WHAM Recycled Art Project

Cal Ripken Day at the Ballpark The Cal Ripken League kicked off their season with a parade at Surprise Stadium prior to the spring training game on Saturday, March 21. Approximately 1,200 people were in attendance at the event. The entire City Council was also present to welcome our players to the Stadium and wish them luck as they embark on their season. This year, there are 156 teams in the league which consists of 1,900 players and over 400 volunteer coaches. A special thank you to our extraordinary CRS department for putting together not only this program but the many others they offer and to the hundreds of volunteers that help make this possible! Best of luck to all of our players!

Cal Ripken Day at the Ballpark

Veramonte Block Party I attended the Veramonte HOA block party and Community Easter Egg Hunt on Sunday, March 22. There were approximately 100 residents at the event.

Celebrity Reading Day at Canyon Ridge On Tuesday, March 24, I was invited to participate in the Celebrity Reading Day event at Canyon Ridge Elementary School. I was honored to read to two 3rd grade classrooms who anxiously inquired about being a Council Member and local government.

Celebrity Reading Day at Canyon Ridge

GPEC Community Partnership Meeting Mayor Wolcott, Councilman Tande and I attended a meeting on Tuesday, March 24 with GPEC (Greater Phoenix Economic Council) to listen to their strategy for attracting companies throughout the Valley.

Surprise Literacy Challenge I attended a pizza party at Rancho Gabriela Elementary School for the 4th grade class taught by Mrs. Housari that won the Surprise Literacy Challenge, co-sponsored by Vice Mayor John Williams and me.

Samantha Warne, 4th grade student at Rancho Gabriela
Samantha Warne, 4th grade student at Rancho Gabriela who read an impressive 3,000 minutes
Mrs. Guest, teacher of the winning 5th grade class at Parkview
Mrs. Guest, teacher of the winning 5th grade class at Parkview Elementary School
5th grade class at Parkview Elementary School
5th grade class at Parkview Elementary School

League of Women Voters Event Councilman Jim Biundo, Councilwoman Rachel Villanueva and I attended the League of Women Voters event at the Dysart School District office on Thursday, March 26. Guest speakers included Maricopa County Recorder Helen Purcell, Yavapai County Recorder Leslie Hoffman and our very own City Clerk Sherry Aguilar.  Interesting facts were shared by all speakers.  In the last election, 81% of the voters in Maricopa County voted early. Voter turnout for the 2014 election in Maricopa County was 48%. Voter turnout in Surprise for the last election was only 36%. In Maricopa County, for the 2010 election, 54% of registered voters voted; in 2012, which was a Presidential election, 76% of registered voters voted. Attendees partook in brainstorming ideas that may help facilitate increased voter participation. There were also opportunities for residents to register to vote and/or to sign-up to be on the Permanent Early Voter List. If you are not on the Permanent Early Voter List, you may want to consider it so ballots continue to be sent to you.

League of Women Voters

Mark Your Calendars


Surprise Community Center Open House Residents are invited to attend an Open House hosted by the City’s newly created Human Services and Community Vitality Department on Saturday, March 28 from 10 am until 2 pm at the Surprise Community Center located at 15832 N. Hollyhock Street. Department Director Michael Celaya welcomes you to meet the staff, take a tour of the facility and enjoy the food and beverages offered that day.

In addition to the Open House, City staff will be on hand to assist with voter registration and permanent early voter list sign-up. Furthermore, the four Heritage District Overlay concepts that were recently developed via input from the public will be available for viewing and feedback.

The Human Services and Community Vitality Department was formed in late January to help better engage residents and improve overall quality of life. The Department houses the City’s Neighborhood Services Division, Senior Services Division and Grants Administration.

Bike Rodeo Please join me on Saturday! The Surprise Police are hosting a bicycle skills event at the Christ’s Church of the Valley (CCV) on March 28, 2015. The event will take place from 8 am until 12 noon in the main church parking lot at 14787 W. Cholla Street. The “Bike Rodeo” is designed to teach skills needed to ride safely while helping bicyclists enjoy the sport of biking and reducing their chances of injury. The funding of this event was provided by a grant from the Arizona Governor’s Office of Highway Safety.

Did You Know?


Grand Avenue Restricted Please note that NW Grand Avenue will be restricted to one lane at Loop 303 on April 4 and April 5.

Grand Avenue

Board/Commission Openings The City of Surprise is currently accepting applications for the following Commissions.

  • Disability Advisory Commission (2 vacancies)
  • Building & Construction Review Board (1vacancy)
  • Health Benefits Trust Fund Board (3 vacancies)
  • Judicial Selection Advisory Commission (1 resident vacancy)
  • Tourism Commission (1 restaurant rep. vacancy)

All Board and/or Commission positions are voluntary. Applications are available at the City Clerk’s office from 8 am until 5 pm, Monday through Friday (16000 N. Civic Center Plaza). You can also download an application at www.surpriseaz.gov.

Students Aiding Community Dysart School District is keeping unwanted fruit produce out of the trash and putting it into the hands of the hungry in Surprise! Dysart students are offered at least one fruit or vegetable at lunch due to the Federal nutritional guidelines. A new program initiated by Dysart Registered Dietician Sarah Cox allows students to donate their unwanted fruit options. Great idea!

Contact Me


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

Ask a Question