Tag Archives: Surprise Youth Council

April 5, 2018 • Newsletter

City Council Work Session

Surprise Youth Council Update

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

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

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

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

Ambulatory Enterprise Fund and Sports & Tourism

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

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

City Council Meeting

General Obligation Bond Purchase

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

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

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

Events & Meetings

Arizona Charter Academy Annual Community Volunteer Appreciation Lunch

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

Surprise Police Department Retirement

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

Officer Terry Vernon-Reppert retirement ceremony from Surprise Police Department

Pinnacle Vein & Vascular Center Ribbon Cutting

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

Pinnacle Vein and Vascular Center Grand Opening

Read On Greater Surprise Steering Committee Meeting

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

Mark Your Calendar

Taste of Surprise

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

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

Sunday in the Park Food Truck Festival

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

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

Surprise SciTech Festival

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

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

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

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

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

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

Did You Know?

Micro-Enterprise Grants Available to Eligible Surprise Businesses

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

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

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

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

Surprise TV Website Boasts New Layout

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

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

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

Contact Me

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

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May 4, 2017 • Newsletter

City Council Work Session

Potential Renaming of Surprise Farms Park to Dick McComb City Park

Last year, the city lost a true icon…Mr. Dick McComb. Mr. McComb was hired as the Surprise Town Manager in November of 1990 and served through June 2000. He was instrumental in so many of our city’s successes. Mr. McComb is the longest tenure Town or City Manager for Surprise to date. After a few years of retirement, Mr. McComb went on to serve as Executive Director of Sun Village from February 1, 2007 through 2013. The communities of Arizona Traditions and Surprise Farms were developed in Surprise because of the relationships he built.

In recognition of his insurmountable achievements and in his loving memory, we had a discussion at the May 2 Work Session about the potential of renaming of Surprise Farms Park to Dick McComb City Park. All Council Members expressed that they were in favor of the renaming and gave consensus for the City Manager to direct staff to research how other cities address the naming of buildings, parks, etc. Once the research is completed, the policy and potential renaming of the park will be brought back to Council for consideration and possible action.

Library Feasibility Study Discussion

The City of Surprise is currently conducting a Library Feasibility Study. Surprise currently has two libraries, Northwest Regional Library (located on Bullard, near the Surprise Stadium) and Hollyhock Library (located in the Original Town Site). The city has an intergovernmental agreement with Maricopa County Library District to operate those facilities.

Orcutt Winslow, an architecture and planning firm, has been hired as the consultant to complete the study. The results of the study will guide future library operations, library renovation projects, and potential new library/libraries in the future. The results of the study will be completed in August and will be presented at a City Council meeting late August or early September.

Orcutt Winslow will be hosting several focus group meetings with stakeholders, city staff, teens, and Maricopa County library staff, as well as a community meeting, to obtain information for the study. There will be a survey on the city’s website that we would like all residents to take beginning May 8. I also invite you to attend the community meeting on May 11 in the Surprise Room of the Northwest Regional Library at 7 p.m. to provide your input on Surprise libraries today and your vision for the future.

City Council Meeting

New Surprise Youth Council Members Sworn In

Fifteen new members of the Surprise Youth Council will be joining fourteen returning members, creating our largest youth council yet. The new members are a diverse group and a direct result of deliberate recruitment efforts aimed at broadening our scope, diversity and reach.

Please join me in congratulating and welcoming our newest member members:

Tyrah Davis, TommiAnn DiCapo, Thalia Flores, Isabelle Hunsaker, Illona Illya, Gideon Kariuki, Joshua Laguit, Kaylena Madrid, Daryian Matthews, Cristian Moga, Elona Ogbaudu, Zoey Plytas, Andrea Soliz, Jade Stanton, Emilie Weston

New SYC members

Paradise Acres Rezoning

For many years, the residents of the 75-acre rural residential neighborhood located on Reems Road just south of Bell Road, commonly known as Paradise Acres, have struggled with developers, speculators, and even the City to maintain their rural lifestyle. Staff, as directed by City Council, set out to provide a solution that will benefit and appease all parties involved. The City Council approved a Rezone for approximately 16 acres of the 75-acre Paradise Acres area from Rural Residential and Medium Density Residential to Neighborhood Commercial with a PUD Overlay defining allowable land uses and dimensional standards. The Rezone with PUD Overlay demonstrates an opportunity for limited commercial development along Reems Road in accordance with the Surprise Unified Development Code and the General Plan. This solution should address concerns shared by all parties.

Preliminary Plat Approval for Altamira

Altamira is a new Master Planned Community consisting of 178 acres that will be located west of the Reems Road alignment and north of Pinnacle Peak Road. This new residential community will include 178 single-family residential lots consisting of three lot sizes on five development parcels, together with abundant neighborhood amenities including 59 acres of open space. City Council unanimously approved the Preliminary Plat for Altamira following the Planning Commission’s recommendation. It is envisioned that the developer will submit their Final Plat and engineering drawings in the near future.

Tentative FY18 Budget Adoption

City Council adopted the tentative budget for the upcoming fiscal year (FY) 2018 in the amount of $336.9 million. This includes $276.2 million of expenses and $60.7 million of transfers between different funds within the City. This represents an increase of $0.4 million from the City Manager’s recommended budget presented on April 18.

Operating expenses account for $162 million or 48% of the total budget. This includes a Peak Time Response Unit to strengthen Fire response times and two community policing officers, both programs partially funded by grants. A third ambulance will be brought into service funded through transport revenues. Capital Improvement expenses total $49.7 million, a large portion of which is dedicated to maintaining or replacing infrastructure and equipment.

The FY2018 tentative budget also includes $56.6 million in contingency that is set aside for future planned or potentially unforeseen purposes. In addition to the budgeted amounts, the City will have $37.2 million held in reserve. The budget is balanced, meaning that the sources of funds is greater than or equal to the uses of funds for FY2018. This is the first step in adopting the fiscal year budget and sets the maximum expenditure limit for the upcoming fiscal year that starts on July 1. The Council will look to finalize the process by adopting the final budget on June 6 and the property tax levy on June 20.

Events & Meetings

Kingswood Parke Block Party

District 5 HOA Kingswood Parke hosted their annual Spring Fling Block Party on Saturday, April 29. Almost 200 residents attended the fun event. Thank you to Kingswood Parke for the invite and opportunity to engage with you!

Mark Your Calendar

Surprise Safety Day

Join us for Surprise Safety Day on Saturday, May 6! It’s a fun, interactive and educational event focused on the city’s public safety services, water safety and more! The event will be held from 8-11 a.m. at the Surprise Aquatic Center, 15831 N Bullard Avenue, and will showcase emergency vehicles and equipment and feature interactive exhibits and live demonstrations on water safety, CPR and the city’s public safety services.

The Surprise Aquatic Center will be conducting free swim lesson assessments and swim team tryouts during the event. Participants are encouraged to bring a bathing suit and towel; the pool is heated.

Surprise Safety Day is hosted by the Surprise Aquatic Center in partnership with the Surprise Police and Fire-Medical departments and is presented by Banner Del E. Webb Medical Center. For more information about Safety Day, swim lesson assessments or swim team tryouts, please contact the Community and Recreation Services office at 623.222.2000.

Surprise Talent Show

Come see our local stars shine at the Surprise Talent Show on Friday, May 12! The performance begins at 6 p.m. at the Valley Vista Performing Arts Center, located at 15550 N. Parkview Place.

Tickets can be purchased in advance for $3 at the Community and Recreation Services office, 15960 N. Bullard Avenue, or at the door for $5.

Performances will include a variety of acts within three talent categories: youth, teens and adults. For more information, please visit www.surpriseaz.gov/specialevents or call 623.222.2000.

Did You Know?

Valley Metro Shares Dial-A-Ride Transition

Surprise Dial-a-Ride customers have more information about the July 1, 2017 Northwest Valley service model changes now that Valley Metro has released new ADA Paratransit Frequently Asked Questions and a customer outreach timeline.

Valley Metro, in partnership with Surprise, is contacting current Dial-a-Ride customers directly to inform them of the upcoming changes:

Riders in Surprise will receive an initial letter from Valley Metro introducing them to the new services the second week of May.

The city and Valley Metro staff will host a public meeting late May to discuss the changes and answer questions.

Surprise Dial-a-Ride customers will receive a second letter with additional information, including an updated Ride Guide, in mid-June.

Beginning July 1 Valley Metro’s contracted service provider Transdev will operate shared “Paratransit” and senior bus transportation services for Surprise and Northwest Valley customers; Valley Metro is also transitioning the Surprise taxi service model from Dial-a-Ride to RideChoice.

In addition to a new fleet that features mini-vans and cutaway vans, the vehicles will have paint schemes that incorporate the Valley Metro logo to make them more recognizable.

Information about the service model changes will continue to be shared at www.surpriseaz.gov/transportation as it becomes available.

Residence Inn Wins Hotel of The Year

The Residence Inn by Marriott in Surprise recently received the prestigious Hotel of the Year award for the second year in a row at the 2017 General Managers Conference in New Orleans. Receiving a total of three awards, the Residence Inn Surprise is thrilled to share this remarkable achievement with the Marriott International and Residence Inn community, as well as all of Surprise.

In addition to the Hotel of the Year, the Residence Inn Surprise also won the prestigious Diamond Hotel Award and the enthusiastic breakfast staff received a Best Service Award.

Congratulations to General Manager Samantha Callahan, Director of Sales Dawn Crider and their great team!

Contact Me

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

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April 6, 2017 • Newsletter

City Council Work Session

Surprise Youth Council Update

Members of the Surprise Youth Council (SYC) provided an update on their recent activities. Some of their recent activities include:

  • Delivering a 7-part peer-to-peer workshop on healthy relationships and dating violence at local high schools
  • Hosting a free SAT prep class
  • Building community partnerships to provide greater mental and emotional health resources at local high schools
  • Conducting a hydration drive for people experiencing homelessness in and around the Surprise area
  • Developed a youth blog, and hosted a signature teen party on the 4th floor of the City Hall parking garage, with more than 225 high school student attendees.

SYC Kids walking parade route

The SYC is now wrapping up their most recent recruitment period and expects to add nearly a dozen new members with new ideas and a passion for community engagement. The Council will continue to prioritize projects and initiatives that have the potential for impact reaching far beyond its own membership. Council members hope that these efforts will raise the quality of life for local youth and solidify Surprise’s reputation as a truly innovative City.

City of Surprise Utility Billing Update

Assistance Finance Director Andrea Davis provided a utility billing update. Last spring, City Council unanimously voted to take over utility billing. In doing so, a new Customer Service/Utility Billing division was created within the Finance Department that generated 16 new full-time positions and utilized 6 current positions. Since November 1, when utility billing in the city began, call volumes have significantly decreased, as have average call wait times. Resolved utility billings issues have created and increase of $141,000 in monthly revenue for an annual increase of $1.7 million.

Non-residential Stormwater customers will be receiving their annual bill for the stormwater utility program that commenced in November 2016. Approximately 1,100 bills for the period November 2016 through June 2016 will be sent out in April generating $1 million in stormwater utility revenue.

City Council Meeting

Recognition of Valley Vista High School Girls Basketball Champions

City Council recognized the Valley Vista High School Girls 6A State Champion Basketball team at our Tuesday meeting. The team is led by coach Rachel Matakas who was named 6A Coach of the Year! Teammates told us that they won because they worked hard on building a true team, one that was committed to each other and understanding of each other- on and off the court. Congratulations to the team on a 26-6 winning year and a state title!

Approval of New Commission Members

City Council unanimously approved the appointments of Patrick Duffy to fill a vacancy on the Municipal Property Corporation with a term expiration of June 30, 2021 and Sally Wilson-Johnson to fill a vacancy on the Arts & Cultural Advisory Commission to complete the remainder of a term ending on June 30, 2019 due to resignation.

Central Arizona Project (CAP) and Water in Arizona

The Colorado River system has experienced drought conditions for nearly 16 years, resulting in the water level of Lake Mead to continue to be at historic lows. Water levels in Lake Mead determine how much Colorado River water Arizona receives on an annual basis. A large portion of Surprise’s renewable water supply is from the Colorado River, delivered by the Central Arizona Project (CAP) system. The Colorado River supply is of the upmost importance and it has a direct impact on the City’s water portfolio and future.

CAP Board President Lisa Atkins provided Council an update on the state of the Colorado River System, including Lake Mead and CAP. She provided a synopsis of the CAP system and the importance the CAP has on the state’s economy. A 2014 Arizona State University study found that the CAP system is responsible for 1.6 million jobs and over $1 trillion of Arizona’s gross state product. Ms. Atkins addressed the probability of water shortages on the Colorado River now and into the near future. She also identified programs that CAP, the state, and others have partnered on to ensure water levels in Lake Mead remain above shortage triggers. There is a 34% probability that a water shortage could be declared in 2018, with a similar likelihood one could occur in 2019. Shortages on the Colorado River will not affect Surprise’s water supply, but they will have direct effect on the cost to deliver water to Surprise.

Events & Meetings

Investiture of Associate Judge Catherine A. Gaudreau

I was honored to attend the investiture of Associate Judge Catherine A. Gaudreau on Wednesday, March 29 in the City Council Chambers. Judge Gaudreau was publicly sworn in by Judge Louis F. Dominguez and honored by her former colleagues prior to a reception in her honor.

Associate Judge Catherine Gaudreau with Judge Louis F. Dominguez
Associate Judge Catherine Gaudreau with Judge Louis F. Dominguez

The Park @ Surprise Groundbreaking

Vice Mayor Todd Tande, Councilman Ken Remley and I joined an excited crowd on Thursday, March 30 at the groundbreaking of The Park @ Surprise which will be located on Parkwood Drive. The Park will produce 40 new jobs and consist of 135 apartments and 20 casitas spread out over 8.5 acres with a bistro, movie theater and much more on the property.

Special City Council Meeting

City Council held a special meeting on Monday, April 3 at the Heritage Club at Marley Park. Discussion included a five-year financial forecast, possible future general obligation bond election, and consideration of our gateway and key asset areas. This was a no-vote meeting, discussion only about possible future items and issues facing our city.

Rancho Mercado Groundbreaking

William Lyon Homes hosted a groundbreaking on Tuesday, April 4. The development is located in a six square-mile area along Happy Valley Road (in the area of 147th Avenue & Jomax). The development plans to provide a variety of affordable housing options including single-family and multi-family residential, as well as retail and commercial services and much more. Rancho Mercado’s projected population is more than 12,000 residents at build out.

Mark Your Calendar

Household Hazardous Waste Collection

The city’s next Household Hazardous Waste Collection Event is 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. 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!

Event 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.

Second Sundays in the Park – This Sunday!

The City of Surprise continues the “Second Sundays in the Park” concert series on Sunday, April 9 with blues and R&B music performed by “Notes from Neptune” from 2-4 p.m. in the center of the Surprise Community Park.

The entertainment is free. Families are encouraged to bring a picnic or purchase food from the onsite vendors and enjoy the live entertainment. Surprise Community Park is located at 15953 N. Bullard Avenue. For more information, please contact the Community & Recreation Services Office at 623.222.2000 or online at www.surpriseaz.gov/specialevents.

Did You Know?

2017 Surprise Retail Survey

There is still time to complete our 2017 Surprise Retail Survey! Please complete the survey to tell us what establishments you want in Surprise and to vote for your local favorites! The survey is open through April 9 and is available online at www.surpriseaz.gov/retailsurvey.

Contact Me

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

Ask a Question

March 16, 2017 • Newsletter

Events & Meetings

Valley Metro Audit & Finance Subcommittee Meeting

At the Valley Metro Audit & Finance Subcommittee Meeting on March 9, the Chief Financial Officer (CFO) presented on staffing for the upcoming fiscal year – explaining the need for additional staff and the potential financial impact. The committee provided feedback for the CFO to consider.

West Valley Arts Council Celebrates 35 Year Anniversary

West Valley Arts Council celebrated their 35 year anniversary at Arts HQ on March 9. The event featured live music, food and art. I attended, along with Vice Mayor Tande and Council Members Winters and Remley. Following the reception, guests were invited to enjoy the “Neu Art Exhibit” at Surprise City Hall. The exhibit is on display through April 20. Stop by the first floor of City Hall to check it out!

“The Future of Desalination” Speaker Panel

The Kyle Center for Water Policy hosted a panel of speakers on March 10 who addressed the future of desalination by sharing their experience with and knowledge of the process, as well as the associated costs. Desalination is the process of removing salt from saltwater. Desalinated water is produced by either using seawater or brackish water (water that has more salinity than fresh water, but not as much as seawater). Shawn Bradford with Epcor talked about how the desalination plants in Goodyear deal with brackish water; Chuck Collum with Central Arizona Project spoke about next steps for dealing with brackish water throughout Arizona and gave insight into how North San Diego County is using desalination plants to supply 8 percent of that county’s water; Bob Lotts with APS spoke about his work on the Governor’s appointed Water Augmentation Council, which includes desalination; and Sharon Magdel, Ph.D., Director of University of Arizona’s Water Resources Research Center, shared what Israel is doing with desalination, as they possess leading technology in this field.

Veteran Success Project Advisory Board Meeting

I am a member of the Veteran Success Project Advisory Board. The Veterans Success Project is a program spearheaded by the Maricopa Community College District that is designed to provide support to military personnel, veterans and their families as they move from active duty to civilian life. I attended a meeting on March 15 where the board discussed the kickoff of a pilot program at Luke Air Force Base that will help those transitioning out of the air force find employment. We also discussed an outreach program for both active duty military and veterans. The program would involve a self-assessment that would help to identify the person’s current needs and their goals so the program can support their next steps. Lastly, we talked about the opening date for the new Veterans Resource Center – which will occupy the former Visitor’s Center at Luke Air Force Base. The center would provide various social services for veterans, with employment assistance being a major component. The center will open in the near future, but the exact date has not yet been determined.

Mark Your Calendar

Public Meetings on Proposed Sign Code Changes, Mar. 22 & 29

The city is in the process of updating its Sign Code and wants your input! The proposed code aims to balance business needs with aesthetics, while meeting the requirements of law.

There are two public meetings remaining where you can learn more and give your feedback on the proposed changes:

March 22
6-7 p.m. Surprise City Hall – Community Room, 16000 N. Civic Center Plaza

March 29
6-7 p.m. Surprise Regional Library, 16089 N. Bullard Avenue

The code changes will also be presented to the Surprise City Council at their Regular Meeting on March 7 at 6 p.m. in the Surprise City Hall – City Council Chambers.

To learn more, view the proposed sign code text or submit online comments, please visit: www.surpriseaz.gov/signcode.

Surprise Arts Commission hosts Public Art Bus Tour, March 22

Spend a morning discovering various art exhibits and experiences in the city of Surprise! On March 22, the Surprise Arts and Cultural Advisory Commission and Benevilla are joining together to offer a free public art bus tour.

Tour participants will visit art locations such as WHAM Art Gallery, Arts HQ and City Hall; they will also view public art pieces, including the Joe Tyler Learning Tree!

The tour will begin at 9 a.m. at Benevilla, located at 16752 N. Greasewood St. in Surprise, and will end at the same location at noon. Space is limited, so please reserve your spot by Wednesday, March 15, 2017. Reservations can be made by calling Benevilla at 623.584.4999.

At the conclusion of the bus tour, there will be an option to enjoy lunch at Birt’s Bistro on Benevilla’s campus. The lunch package is $15 per person, which includes a meal, soft drink, tip and tax. Please note if you would like the optional lunch when you reserve your spot for the bus tour. Payment is due at the time of reservation.

Community Pride Day, April 8

Looking for an opportunity to better your community? The city invites all residents to participate in our Community Pride Day Cleanup Event. This event will have volunteers helping with landscaping projects and trash removal.

Volunteers are asked to meet at the city park located on 183rd Avenue, south of Enoch Drive (24303 N. 183rd Avenue) at 8 a.m. on Saturday, April 8 to receive cleanup assignments. Volunteers will meet back at the park for lunch at 11:30 a.m. and the event will conclude at noon.

If you are interested in volunteering, please contact Jason Hughes at 623.222.3239.

Did You Know?

Seeking Applications for Voluntary Commissions

The City of Surprise is currently accepting applications for the following commissions:

Arts & Cultural Advisory Commission – 1 vacancy
Municipal Property Corporation Board – 1 vacancy

All board/commission positions are voluntary.

Applications for the above mentioned commissions are immediately available for pick-up from the City Clerk’s Office from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday – Friday at 16000 N. Civic Center Plaza.

Applications are also available online at www.surpriseaz.gov.

Please submit applications to the City Clerk’s Office in person or by e-mail to clerk@surpriseaz.gov.

Applications are always available for all boards and commissions and will be kept on file for future vacancies.

For more information, please contact the City Clerk’s Office at 623.222.1200.

Surprise Youth Council Accepting Applications; Deadline is March 20

The city of Surprise is recruiting new members for the Surprise Youth Council (SYC) – a group of groundbreaking teens who are making a difference in their community!

SYC members serve the community by collaborating with local leaders, including the Mayor and City Council, to give youth a voice in city issues and to help solve youth issues through awareness campaigns, service projects, and community-building events.

Students who are currently in grades 6-11 may apply, as long as they are attending a middle school or high school within the Surprise city limits, attending a Dysart Unified School District high school, or reside within Surprise city limits.

Applications are being accepted now – Mar. 20. The application consists of a video submission, no longer than 1 minute and 15 seconds, and should include the following information:

  • Your name, grade and school you attend
  • Why you want to be on the SYC
  • If you could bring one thing to this city or change one thing, what would it be? What can you and a group like SYC do about it?
  • Of these three words: fearless, creative, hardworking – which one best describes you and why? Briefly tell us about a time you were fearless, creative or hardworking.

The videos should be sent to Youth Services Administrator Mike Cassidy by uploading your application video from your Google Drive and sharing it with cityofsurpriseyouth@gmail.com.

Applicants must also have a parent or guardian complete and return a Parent Acknowledgement Form.

For questions or more information, please contact Mike Cassidy at 623.222.1033 or mike.cassidy@surpriseaz.gov or visit www.surpriseaz.gov/syc.

2017 Surprise Retail Survey is open! Help bring in new shopping & dining; vote for local favorites

Do you have a favorite restaurant that you would like to see open in Surprise? What about a unique shopping experience that you want added to your hometown? Tell us in our 2017 Surprise Retail Survey!

We want to know how we can make our city a one-stop shopping and dining destination, and we’ll be giving away $20 Visa gift cards to five randomly-selected survey-takers just for offering their thoughts!

The survey will help the city to identify retail strengths within the community, as well as opportunities to bring additional amenities closer to home. Every response helps the Surprise Economic Development Department better reach the retailers you want the most.

In the 2015 Surprise Retail Survey, we asked what restaurants and retailers you wanted us to target, and two of your top ten picks have already opened in Surprise – Oregano’s Pizza Bistro and Texas Roadhouse! We are still actively engaging with others on the list, and hope to see more of your favorites open up shop in Surprise.

It’s important to us that we attract businesses you want, because the money you spend here, stays here. In fact, local sales tax makes up nearly 40 percent of our city’s General Fund revenues which support public safety, clean parks and street maintenance.

The survey runs through April 9 and is available online at www.surpriseaz.gov/retailsurvey.

Contact Me

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

Ask a Question

March 2, 2017 • Newsletter

Bell Road/Grand Avenue Project

Last week, the Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) released a final weekly update. The opening of the new Grand Avenue ramps connecting to the Bell Road overpass on February 16 was the last major milestone for the project. While there is still some work to complete, ADOT and its partners are pleased to have opened all the new connections at the interchange, allowing much-improved traffic flow for the region.

The project team will complete permanent lane striping on sections of new pavement along Grand Avenue on March 5 and March 6. Crews also will finish minor work on signage, landscaping and signals as the project comes to an end.

While the construction took place in Districts 4 and 5, it affected people throughout the city. I wanted to personally thank each of you for your patience during the project. The major project went off with relative ease thanks to ADOT and members of our internal project team who effectively communicated weekly status reports to our residents and provided City Council, staff and residents with monthly updates at City Council meetings as well as attended dozens of HOA meetings to ensure our residents’ questions were answered. Thank you to each and every one of you.

Events & Meetings

Arizona Federal Credit Union Ribbon Cutting

Arizona Federal Credit Union celebrated the opening of their Surprise branch on Thursday, February 22 with a ribbon cutting and grand opening event. This is their first branch in the Northwest Valley. They are a member-owned financial service organization with 14 branches throughout the valley.

Arizona Federal Credit Union Ribbon Cutting

Mountain Vista Ranch Annual Party

I attended the Mountain Vista Ranch HOA Annual Party on Saturday, February 25. The event was well-attended and provided me an opportunity to talk to many constituents.

Opening Day @ Surprise Stadium

Councilmembers and our Spring Training volunteer organization, Surprise Sundancers, celebrated opening day at Surprise Stadium on Saturday, February 25 along with a full stadium of attendees. Welcome back, Rangers & Royals!

Surprise Youth Council Event

On the night of Saturday February 25, you may have seen an array of multi-colored lights in the sky and heard the sound of laughter and dance music cascading down from the 4th floor of the Civic Center parking garage. This was Level 4; the first annual social event planned and executed by the Surprise Youth Council, featuring music, dancing, a host of games like air hockey and old school arcade favorites, live art, food, and much more. From 6 to 9 p.m., more than 220 teenagers from high schools all around Surprise came to dance, eat, and socialize with friends in a positive and unique environment unlike any other in the City. Part dance club, part rooftop party, Level 4 provided teens with the experience of an exciting big city event here in their hometown. The City of Surprise’s Youth Services Division is committed to developing Level 4 into one the City’s signature youth events, growing our youth’s sense of connection to their community and the City’s reputation as an innovative and forward thinking organization that is truly invested in the quality of life of our youth. Stay tuned for more exciting events, programs, and initiatives coming out of Surprise’s Youth Services Division.

Economic Development Event @ Surprise Stadium

I attended an event hosting the retail industry during a spring training game on Wednesday, March 1. The event provided elected officials and city staff the opportunity to network with several retailers in advance of the International Council of Shopping Centers Conference later this spring.

Mark Your Calendar

Surprise Police Explorers Host “Tip-A-Cop” Event

The Surprise Police Department Police Explorer Post 2236 will join forces with the staff at the local Outback Steakhouse Restaurant, located at 14225 W. Grand Avenue, in order to raise donations in support of the their growing program. The event will be held on Saturday, March 4 from 4 – 8 p.m.

The Explorers are inviting the public to join them at the event and help support their fund raising efforts during this “Tip-a-Cop” event. So, come meet some of the Explorers and enjoy some of your favorite food. Remember to bring your change to tip your “server” and make a donation/contribution to help the Explorers raise funds to support their growing program.

Click here to learn more information about Surprise Police Explorer Post 2236: http://ow.ly/VqYMc

Citywide Text Amendment to Chapter 113

The City is currently in the process of updating its Sign Code and seeks your input.  A series of outreach meetings are being scheduled during the month of March.  The first of those meetings will be held at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, March 8 at the Surprise Regional Library, 16089 N. Bullard Avenue.  View meeting details…

Did You Know?

Valley Vista High School Girls Basketball Wins State Title

Valley Vista High School Girls basketball won the 6A Conference state championship at Grand Canyon University Arena on February 28. They beat Goodyear Millennium High School 44-36 in the championship game! Congratulations to all of you on this exciting win!

West Valley Agencies Join Together To Enhance Police Services

In April 2016, the Surprise Police Department and many other police departments located throughout the West Valley came together to form a coalition to enhance their efforts in serving citizens experiencing a mental health crisis.

The importance of enhancing these police services and providing additional training was recently highlighted in the 2015 release of the Final Report of the “President’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing”. The report outlined six pillars; including Pillar Five: Training & Education. This pillar discusses training of police officers in many different areas of discipline, but particularly outlined the importance of providing proper training to police officers in regard to their response to crisis intervention and other mental health issues.

As a result, the West Valley Crisis Intervention Team Coalition (WVCIT) was formed. The coalition is currently comprised of the following police agencies: the Surprise Police Department, the Glendale Police Department, the Goodyear Police Department, the Peoria Police Department, the Avondale Police Department, the Tolleson Police Department, the El Mirage Police Department, and the Buckeye Police Department.

City Ambulance Service Grows

The Surprise Fire-Medical Department now has a second city-run ambulance in operation, advancing its goal of becoming the primary provider of emergency transport in the city. Surprise Fire-Medical launched its ambulance service in November 2015 with one ambulance running out of Fire Station 305 at Greenway Road and Parkview Place. In just one year of operation, that ambulance responded to nearly 2,500 calls for service.

Funding for two new ambulances was approved by City Council through the 2017 budget. One of those ambulances now operates out of Fire Station 302 near Reems Road and Mountain View Boulevard. The other new ambulance has replaced the one at Fire Station 305. The used ambulance from station 305 now serves as a backup when one of the new ambulances needs to be serviced. Private ambulance companies continue to supplement the coverage needed throughout the city.

“Our community is growing and our needs are changing,” said Surprise Fire-Medical Chief Tom Abbott. “We are constantly analyzing those needs and taking action to ensure we can continue to deliver the best possible response times and premier patient care.”

Learn more about Surprise-Fire Medical at www.surpriseaz.gov/fire.

Contact Me

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

Ask a Question

May 6, 2016 • Newsletter

Bell Road/Grand Avenue Update

Week of May 9, 2016

Current Activities:

View the weekly construction photos and additional information on the project website.

Work continues Monday through Saturday to:

  • Prepare to pave and form the curb and gutters to build the east side of Grand Avenue.
  • Install Grand Avenue lighting electrical conduit and foundations.
  • Build the bridge columns on the east and west side of Grand Avenue.
  • Relocate and install utilities on Bell Road and Grand Avenue.
  • Install storm drain and sewer main on Bell Road east of 134th Drive.

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

The Grand Avenue/Bell Road 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 project is scheduled to be completed over the next 14 months (in spring 2017).

In order to reduce the project’s length and lessen the overall impacts of construction, ADOT has worked with the city of Surprise and local businesses to schedule a full closure of Bell Road near Grand Avenue. The full closure will allow Bell Road to be reconstructed as an overpass traveling over Grand Avenue and the parallel railroad tracks, providing a significant improvement for traffic flow.

Stay Informed – Keep In Touch

For more information or if you have questions:

ADOT’s project hotline: (855) 712-8530, press option #1
Project email: bellandgrandinfo@azdot.gov
Project website: www.azdot.gov/bellandgrand
Media inquiries: (800) 949-8057; email: news@azdot.gov

For more information about retail shopping and services in Surprise please see:

City of Surprise Shop Surprise: www.surpriseaz.gov/2122/Shop-Surprise
Shop Surprise on Facebook: www.facebook.com/ShopSurpriseArizona
Surprise Regional Chamber of Commerce: www.surpriseregionalchamber.com

Bell Road/Grand Avenue progress images May 6, 2016

City Council Meeting

New Surprise Youth Council Members

Seven new Surprise Youth Council (SYC) Members took the oath of office at the beginning of the meeting on Tuesday evening. These teens were selected from a group of 80 interested students by a panel consisting of Council Member Todd Tande and me, along with Youth Services Administrator Paul Bernardo and graduating seniors who are currently on the youth council. Congratulations to each of you!

New Surprise Youth Council Members

Surprise Youth Initiatives

The City of Surprise FY15 budget, adopted by the Surprise City Council on June 3, 2014, included a special allocation of funds for a Boys & Girls Club in the amount of $2 Million. The Council directed the expenditure of the $2 million to the Arizona Community Foundation on behalf of the Steering Committee. A provision of the Council’s action requires that the Boys & Girls Club of Surprise be chartered by the National Club by June 1, 2017. An amendment which would extend the charter deadline from June 1, 2017 to June 1, 2020 was considered and tabled until May 2, 2017 with a 4-3 vote.

For a number of years, the City has researched locating a Boys and Girls Club to serve youth in Surprise. Over the past two years, discussions through the Boys & Girls Club of Surprise Steering Committee have been held with possible partners and stakeholders to determine the feasibility of moving forward. There have been discussions of serving the children of Surprise by building a facility at the Villanueva Center in the Original Town Site. There have been discussions of serving the children of Surprise at school locations across the City. Both of these approaches require additional funding for operations as well as a capital investment. In addition, given the temporary moratorium for establishing new charters by the Boys & Girls Club of America, both approaches will take a year or two to implement.

Community and Recreation Services Director Mark Coronado discussed approaches to provide enhanced youth programs by the Community and Recreation Services Department at current Recreation Centers at Countryside and Sierra Montana with no cost increase to the budget. The CRS Department plans to utilize volunteers and partnerships to provide the enhanced programing.

FY2017 Budget Discussions Continue

The Surprise City Council has opted for a new funding mechanism that would allow the city to add 22 full-time public safety personnel in Fiscal Year 2017, without creating a food tax.

At the City Council Meeting, City Manager Bob Wingenroth presented a $298.6 million Fiscal Year 2017 Recommended Budget, and on May 4, Council approved a $306.8 million FY2017 Tentative Budget that support City Council’s Strategic Goal of maintaining a safe community by adding more than 20 public safety personnel.

The positions would have been financed through a combination of a reduction in the city’s sales tax base from 2.20% to 2.12%, and the addition of a 2.12% food tax to generate an estimated $2.4 million.

Following public input, Council asked for additional funding options that excluded a food tax. Tuesday night, on a 4-3 vote, Council approved a funding formula that eliminates the $1 million Council Contingency; utilizes $500,000 in annual budgeted salary savings; opts to not add an Emergency Operations Manager position in FY17; and includes an 8.7% property tax increase to pay for the following positions:

Police: 13 | Fire-Medical: 7 | Court: 1 | City Attorney: 1

The property tax increase on a $200,000 home would result in an annual increase of $13, or $1.08 per month.

This budget also dedicates $55.2 million for capital improvements to preserve and/or replace aging infrastructure, such as increasing funding for the Pavement Preservation Program to $4.5 million. Investments in communications, facility, information technology, recreation and utility infrastructure amount to $6.8 million. And $10.5 million will support replacing aging vehicles to enhance service and lower maintenance costs.

Beginning in November, the city will assume responsibility for billing the water, waste water and sanitation utilities. By removing these operations from a third-party vendor, the city will be able to provide more efficient operations and provide an improved customer experience. This service will result in an additional 11 positions. The ongoing utility billing budget of $1.7 million that had been paid to the third-party vendor will remain the same once the city transitions to the billing responsibilities.

Council is scheduled to formally adopt the FY2017 budget at their June 7 meeting and the property tax rate on June 21. Both meetings begin at 6 p.m., are open to the public at City Hall and available online at www.surpriseaz.gov/surprise11.

I would like to personally thank all of my constituents who contacted me regarding your opinion on the funding options. I greatly appreciate it. I heard you loud and clear!

Events & Meetings

West Point Towne Center HOA Meeting

West Point Towne Center HOA held their monthly HOA meeting on Wednesday, April 27. Councilwoman Rachel Villanueva and I both represent the Districts that the HOA is located within, and we were both present to answer questions the residents had concerning the Bell Road closure and cut-through traffic issues.

Arizona Charter Academy Community Appreciation Luncheon

Arizona Charter Academy (ACA) hosted their annual Community Appreciation Luncheon on Thursday, April 28. Vice Mayor Jim Biundo, Council Members Rachel Villanueva, Roland Winters, Todd Tande and I all attended, as well as Mayor Lana Mook from El Mirage. Economic Development Coordinator Julie Neal received the Community Partner of the Year award for her program, the Surprise Youth Entrepreneurship Boot Camp. This camp is offered annually through partnerships and donations with several businesses in the community. Congratulations, Julie!

Surprise Networking Group Recruitment Breakfast Meeting

I was honored to be the keynote speaker at a Surprise networking group recruitment breakfast on Friday, April 29. Economic development was the focus of conversation.

Valley Metro Audit & Finance Committee Meeting

I participated in the Valley Metro Audit & Finance Committee meeting on Monday, May 2 to discuss the results of the City of Phoenix audit of Valley Metro.

Surprise Arts & Cultural Advisory Commission Meeting

The Surprise Arts & Cultural Advisory Commission met on Monday, May 2. Mr. Travis Copley from Old Hickory Bat Company was recognized with a plaque for his generous donations of bats for the Commission’s art project this spring. In addition, a few upcoming events were discussed including the “Poetry Slam at WHAM” which will be held on Friday, May 6. It will feature open mic night for poetry, free verse and storytelling. This free event will be held at WHAM Art Association located at 16560 N. Dysart Road from 5 until 7 pm.

Old Hickory Bat Company was recognized with a plaque

The Commission is also sponsoring “An Art Encounter with Eric Mengel” for kids. There will be an art contest and prizes to win. Admission is free. The event will be held at Barnes & Noble, 13719 W. Bell Road on Saturday, May 21 from 11 am until 1 pm.

Dysart Unified School District Athlete of the Month

Athletes from Dysart Unified School District were recognized as part of the Athlete of the Month program. Councilman John Williams and I attended the ceremony to congratulate this month’s winners which included Mariah Fleming and Charles Proby III, both from Dysart High School; Hayley Bejarano and Brendan Kuffel, both from Shadow Ridge; Makayla Nguon and David Minasian, both from Valley Vista; and Morgan Zimmerman and Fernando Lugo, both from Willow Canyon. Congrats to all of you!

Recognized Athletes of the Month

IRIS USA Ribbon Cutting

IRIS USA is officially here and City Council and staff welcomed them with open arms! Last year, IRIS USA broke ground on their 400,000square foot western regional headquarters. The consumer products manufacturer, based in Sendai, Japan is located near the southwest corner of Dysart and Cactus roads. The company is in the process of creating over 100 jobs for local area residents and significantly adding to our overall economic base.

STEM CoP Meeting

Fifty-seven schools were recently accepted into the first ever AZ STEM School Community of Practice (STEM CoP). The STEM CoP is an initiative that empowers teams with multiple perspectives to learn from one another in a social structure based on learning goals. It is a community made up of school based teams who share a passion for STEM education. The community interacts throughout the school year to learn from each other, to develop a sustainable peer network of local practitioners, to improve participants’ skills and promote collaborative planning. I was flattered to be asked to participate in this initiative, and I look forward to making a contribution!

Mark Your Calendar

Surprise Safety Day

Surprise Safety Day, presented by Banner Del E. Webb Medical Center, is coming to Surprise on Saturday, May 7 from 8 am until 11 am. This fun-filled event, hosted by the aquatic center in partnership with Surprise Police and Fire-Medical, will feature emergency vehicles and equipment; interactive exhibits and live demonstrations of Surprise’s public safety services; and water safety and CPR demonstrations.

The Surprise Aquatic Center is offering free swim lesson assessments and will be conducting swim team tryouts for those who are interested. Participants are encouraged to bring bathing suits and a towel; the pool is heated.

The Surprise Aquatic Center is located at 15831 N Bullard Avenue. For more information regarding Safety Day, swim lesson assessments, or swim team tryouts, please contact the Community and Recreation Services office at 623.222.2000.

Did You Know?

Surprise Forward Meetings Begin New Week

As the City of Surprise explores options for funding capital improvements, the public is invited to attend a presentation and discussion on a proposed $60 million 2016 General Obligation (GO) Bond.

The money would fund capital improvement projects around our City over the next five years – from new fire stations to serve a growing city; to recreational amenities that promote community wellness; to road improvements that will create a more connected Surprise!

If approved by City Council prior to the July “Call for Election” deadline, the bond package would be added to the November 2016 ballot. If approved by the voters, it would result in a secondary property tax. Currently, Surprise does not have a secondary property tax.

The cost to Surprise homeowners, administered via the property tax bill, is NOT determined by the home’s market value, but rather its assessed value. The tax is estimated to be $0.50 per $100 of assessed value, which would be $100 a year on a $200,000 home. You can find the assessed value of your home at www.mcassessor.maricopa.gov.

We want your input in this process, so please plan to attend one of the public meetings. Next week, the meetings are scheduled as follows:

Monday, May 9
Surprise City Council Chambers, 16000 N Civic Center Plaza
6 – 8 p.m.

Thursday, May 12
Sierra Montana Community Center, 14861 N Spring Lane
6 – 8 p.m.

For more information on potential projects, costs and more, visit www.surpriseaz.gov/surpriseforward.

Deal of the Day

Please remember the new “ShopSurprise” incentive program is in full gear during the Bell/Grand interchange project. This program offers you special coupons and shopping promotions as well as prizes and drawings. You just need to text “ShopSurprise” – one word – to 40518. If you don’t have a smart phone, you are welcome to see all the daily deals at www.shopsurpriseaz.com. Thank you for your assistance to help support our businesses impacted by this construction project!

Shop Bell & Grand local

Contact Me

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

Ask a Question

April 21, 2016 • Newsletter

Bell Road/Grand Avenue Update

Construction Schedule

Columns that will support a $41.9 million overpass and interchange at Bell Road and Grand Avenue (US 60) have begun rising on the east side of the project now that nine shafts have been drilled, according to the Arizona Department of Transportation.

Work has proceeded steadily since Bell Road closed April 1 between 134th Drive and West Point Parkway, with crews clearing the project area, relocating utilities and more. Among the latest progress, forms have been assembled to create bridge panels with an agave pattern.

As always, the project team appreciates your understanding and continued patience. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact the project hotline at 855.712.8530 and press option #1. You may also send an email to bellandgrandinfo@azdot.gov.

Bell & Grand road construction images April 20, 2016

City Council Work Session

Surprise Youth Council (SYC) Update

Eight members of SYC attended a week long immersive civic education program in Washington D.C. from March 13 through March 18, 2016 along with over 250 students from across the nation. This program was done in partnership with Close Up, a successful 45 year old company that leads thousands of students each year by turning the nation’s Capital into a living classroom.

Members of SYC launched an awareness campaign, “Be Yourself. Find Your Crowd. Get Along”, for teens on April 4, 2016 to help spread the message that everyone belongs. Promoting the idea of finding your crowd encourages students to break out of their comfort zones and expand their horizons when it comes to making friends.

Surprise Youth Council (SYC) member showing off their new campaign shirts
Some of our SYC members embracing their great campaign

Utility Partners Update

Deputy City Manager Nicole Lance provided a utility update. The utility partners discussed included EPCOR, Southwest Gas and APS.

EPCOR has a planned investment in excess of $500 million primarily for the repair and/or replacement of aging infrastructure in addition to support for new homes and businesses. Some of EPCOR’s impending projects include the installation of new pumps to replace aging wastewater infrastructure and improve operational safety at the Bell Road Lift Station (June 2016); the relocation of water and sewer lines (October 2016); and the replacement of approximately 3.5 miles of water main that is consistently prone to issues in Coyote Lakes. Additional projects include the Bell Road Lift Station connection with the Northwest Valley Water Reclamation Facility (end of 2016); the installation of 3.4 miles of new 12 to 16 inch water main to support new development and ensure adequate water pressure and fire flow at Water Plant 8 to Zanjero Trails (2017+ pending developer activity) and the expansion of capacity at the White Tanks Water Treatment Plant (late 2016).

EPCOR has been ordered by ACC to file a new wastewater rate case by April 29, 2016. They will be required to provide 2015 date/costs to examine three rate design scenarios. Once the application is accepted, EPCOR will be holding community open houses. EPCOR would like to create one large rate district to mitigate the impact that infrastructure replacements and increasing operating costs will have on customers.

Mrs. Lance provided an APS construction update which included a project update occurring immediately outside the City limits. This project will connect the Sun Valley Substation near Sun Valley Parkway in Buckeye to the Morgan Substation located near SR74 in Peoria. In fall of 2016, APS will begin to build roads needed to access parts of the line with an in-service date of spring 2018. Additionally, APS filed a 120-day Notice of Intent to File a rate case with the Arizona Corporation Commission (ACC). In June 2016, APS plans to file a general rate case which will identify details. A decision regarding the case is expected in 2017. Public input will be a cornerstone in this process. The last rate case was approximately 5 years ago. For updates, you can visit http://www.azenergyfuture.com/rate-review.

Southwest Gas is in the process of relocating facilities to accommodate the pending construction of the bridge on Bell Road. No other projects within Surprise limits are planned at this time. Southwest Gas has partnered with the Salvation Army for the Energy Share program which is an emergency fund that provides direct utility assistance to qualified customers with unexpected difficulties.

City Council Meeting

Grant Funding Priorities – Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Programs

City Council unanimously approved the grant funding priorities for CDBG’s Second Year Annual Action Plan for year 2016-2017. The organizations approved included Ability 360 ($27,560), Aid to Adoption to Special Kids ($5,000), Central Arizona Shelter Services ($7,000), Benevilla ($22,560), Mentally Ill Kids in Distress ($5,000), Potter’s House ($7,650) and Surprise Youth Employment Program ($13,000). Improvements to the AZ TechCelerator were also included in the funding strategy. The anticipated cost is less than $380,000 which will help expand programming options.

City Manager’s FY2017 Recommended Budget

The City Council reviewed the City Manager’s recommended FY2017 budget that focuses on continuing the Council’s commitment to maintaining the quality public services and infrastructure our residents value most. The recommended budget, which totals $298.6 million, includes 23 new positions across the public safety services of Police, Fire-Medical, Emergency Management, Prosecution, and City Court. These positions are financed through a combination of a reduction in the city’s transaction privilege tax (“sales tax”) base from 2.2% to 2.12%, a slight reduction of the property tax from $0.7591 to $0.7413 per $100 of assessed valuation, and an addition of a food for home consumption tax of 2.12% to generate an estimated $2.4 million. The City Council will discuss and adopt changes to the tax rates on May 17.

The recommended budget includes transitioning water, wastewater and sanitation utility billing services in-house to better control the customer experience as well as providing for more efficient and effective operations than currently provided. For this purpose, 11 positions are added to the FY2017 budget, which will be offset by the reduction of the current billing provider’s contract costs. Six other positions are added to support the areas of fleet, information technology, human resources, community development, finance, and the senior center.

The recommended budget increases funding for maintaining the city’s roads through the pavement preservation program to $4.5 million; invests $6.8 million in communications, facility, information technology, recreation, and utility infrastructure; and replaces $10.5 million of aged vehicles minimizing future maintenance costs.

During the discussion, the City Council gave direction on some changes that will be brought back with the tentative budget that will be adopted on May 4. That will be followed by the adoption of the final budget on June 7.

Events & Meetings

Audit Committee Meeting

Earlier this year, City Manager Bob Wingenroth formed an Audit Committee whose goal is to provide advice to the City Council with respect to fulfilling its oversight responsibilities regarding the integrity of the financial statements of the city. The Committee will also assist and advise the Internal Auditor and City Council on matters relating to the City’s compliance with legal and regulatory requirements, systems of internal controls, management of city-wide risk environment and the performance of internal and external auditors. The Committee consists of 7 members appointed by the City Manager. In addition to the City Manager, the Committee members are Councilman Roland Winters and me, Finance Director Lindsey Duncan, IT Director Tammie Hollowell and Surprise citizens Sharon Ward, Melissa Holdaway and Arden Engmark.

The Committee met on April 14 and will hold our first official meeting on Thursday, May 19 at 2 pm in the Overflow Room of City Hall. The public is welcome to attend!

Surprise Job Workshop and Job Fair

I attended the Surprise Job Fair Workshop at the Surprise Communiversity on Friday, April 15. The event was made possible through partnerships with Arizona @ Work, Rio Salado College, LinkedIn and the Communiversity. The workshop provided attendees with tips on updating their resumes, having a successful interview, and much more.

The Surprise Job Fair took place at the Surprise Communiversity on Tuesday, April 19. The event was overwhelmingly successful thanks to the team effort of our Economic Development Department, Human Service and Community Vitality Department, and the many businesses who participated. During the time I stopped by, there were over 140 people and one company alone made four offers for employment.

Surprise Police Appreciation Bonanza

The Surprise Police Department hosted the 2016 Employee Appreciation Awards Bonanza at the Surprise Stadium on Friday, April 15. Vice Mayor Jim Biundo, Council Members Todd Tande, Roland Winters and I attended. The Master of Ceremonies for the event was Rick D’amico, a host on FOX 10’s “Morning Show”.

During the award ceremony, Chief Terry Young presented Mr. Michael Walker, a cab driver for West Valley Cab Company, with a Certificate of Appreciation. A Certificate of Appreciation is presented to a citizen who takes it upon themselves to “get involved” when many would not. In January 2015, Mr. Walker contacted the police and provided information on how to locate a residence, where he dropped off a female fare. As the woman exited the cab, she told Mr. Walker she was in fear for her life. Once officers arrived at the residence, they heard a female screaming inside, entered the home and found the husband strangling the victim to the point where she could no longer breathe. Mr. Walker, thank you!

In special recognition, Chief Young formally recognized several employees, both sworn and civilian, and several other volunteers, for their personal dedication, professionalism and commitment to excellence. At the top of that list, Officer Ray Johnson was bestowed with the department’s highest honor, the Medal of Valor. To be awarded the Medal of Valor, an individual must have performed an act displaying extreme courage while consciously facing imminent peril.

Highlighting some other achievements, Detective Antonio Martinez was awarded the Medal of Merit. Additionally, Officer Matthew Barker, Officer Craig Scartozzi, Officer Joanna Massimillo-Vallet, and Detective Joshua Waldeck were each presented with a Life Saving Award. Officer Jason Lewis received a Department Commendation and the Training and Recruitment Unit was recognized as the Unit of the Year.

Several annual awards were also presented including the following; Officer of the Year – Officer James Jennings, Rookie of the Year – Officer Morgan Williams, Detective of the Year – Detective Michael Forbrook, Civilian of the Year – Kim Davies, Volunteer of the Year – Barbara Jones, Citizen Patrol Member of the Year – Jim Gearns, and the Supervisor of the Year – Public Safety Communication Supervisor Emily Pepe.

Mark Your Calendar

Utility Payment Assistance Event

The City of Surprise Resource Center, in partnership with the City of El Mirage, Maricopa County and APS, is hosting a Gas and Electric Utility Payment Assistance event on Saturday, April 23 from 8 a.m. – 3 p.m. at the El Mirage Senior Center, located at 14010 N El Mirage Rd.

Southwest Gas and APS customers who qualify are encouraged to attend! This event is open for residents of Surprise and El Mirage who meet the income qualifying guidelines. Specific documents must be provided in order for an application to be taken. The income guidelines and document requirements are available here: http://bit.ly/1oCmSWu.

Please note, applicants will be served on a first-come, first-served basis, and an interview is not a guarantee of assistance. If your household has received utility assistance from a CAP office in the last 12 months, you are not eligible for utility assistance at this time.

For questions, please contact the Surprise Resource Center at 623.222.1600.

Surprise Citizen Corps Council Workshop on Protection

With concerns about personal safety and security at an all-time high, the Surprise Citizen Corps Council is inviting women in the Northwest Valley to an informative workshop on ways to protect yourself and your family. The workshop will be held at the Surprise Fire-Medical Department, 14250 W. Statler Plaza from 6:30 pm until 8:30 pm on April 27. Tuition is $25 and can be paid at the door. You can make your reservation by emailing crfire@surpriseaz.gov.

Relay for Life

Relay for Life is scheduled for April 23 at Willow Canyon High School’s football field, 17001 W. Lundberg Street from 12 noon until 10 pm. This marks the 10th anniversary of the event in Surprise! The public is invited to participate in the walk. If you’d like to sign up for this annual event, please do so at http://relayforlife.org/SurpriseAZ.

Did You Know?

Deal of the Day

Please remember the new “ShopSurprise” incentive program is in full gear during the Bell/Grand interchange project. This program offers you special coupons and shopping promotions as well as prizes and drawings. You just need to text “ShopSurprise” – one word – to 40518. If you don’t have a smart phone, you are welcome to see all the daily deals at www.shopsurpriseaz.com. Thank you for your assistance to help support our businesses impacted by this construction project!

Shop Bell and Grand local

Public Meetings Scheduled for Proposed Surprise Heritage District

The public is invited to attend several upcoming meetings on a proposed Surprise Heritage District, which aims to advance the revitalization plan for the city’s Original Town Site (OTS) – a one square mile area bounded by Bell, Greenway, El Mirage and Dysart roads. The city has drafted ordinance changes that, if approved by City Council, would implement a new zoning district in the OTS with two associated zoning overlays – one that focuses on residential and one that focuses on commercial.

The proposed zoning changes are intended to further implement the existing OTS Revitalization Plan that was adopted by City Council in 2002. The city has collaborated with residents through presentations, interactive workshops and visual surveys to gather input and draft this proposed ordinance, which supports a unique sense of place and character.

The next meeting (Citizen Review Meeting) is scheduled for April 27 at 5 pm at the Surprise Senior Center, 15832 N Hollyhock Street. You can also review the Draft Surprise Heritage District Ordinance and offer your comments online at www.surpriseaz.gov/heritagedistrict.

For more information, please contact Joshua Mike at joshua.mike@surpriseaz.gov or 623.222.3134.

Contact Me

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

Ask a Question

March 10, 2016 • Newsletter

Bell Road/Grand Avenue Update

Work to build a Bell Road bridge over Grand Avenue continues this week. For weekly traffic updates on this project visit www.azdot.gov/bellandgrand. They are updated every Friday afternoon.

Bell Road/Grand Avenue Business Outreach Stakeholder Meeting

Councilman Todd Tande and I joined ADOT representatives and city staff for the second monthly Bell Road/Grand Avenue Business Outreach Stakeholder meeting on Tuesday, March 8. Approximately 10 business representatives were in attendance.

Economic Development provided an update on the Bridge Buddy program and noted that the Business Education Series begins on March 17. Businesses are encouraged to attend the seminars that will be held at the AZ TechCelerator. There will be a job fair at the Communiversity on Tuesday, April 19 and businesses are encouraged to contact the city to reserve a space.

Community Development presented information on the temporary Bell-Grand sign policy and the changes that will be taken to City Council on March 15. If approved, the revised policy will allow businesses in the designated Bell-Grand shopping areas to utilize a-frames, banners, sign walkers and directional signs. Businesses not located in the Bell-Grand area can use banners and sign walkers. Following Council action, the city will share the revised policy on the website and create printed materials to share with the local businesses.

Business Education Series Launching for Local Businesses

To help support the businesses in the area of Bell Road/Grand Avenue, as well as other local businesses and entrepreneurs, the city is launching a Business Education series.

Launching on March 17, the first Business Series course will provide local entrepreneurs with the inside scoop on how to start and grow a new business venture. Future topics range from effective hiring practices to innovative marketing strategies.

Seminars in the series include:

March 17: The ABC’s of Starting Your Business, 10 a.m. – 1 p.m.

March 31: The Inbound Disruption: A New Way of Marketing Your Business, 10 a.m. – noon

April 7: Five Things Companies with Less than 10 Employees Need to Know, 9 a.m. – 11 a.m.

April 28: No More Bad Hires, 9 a.m. – 11 a.m.

Future sessions are under development for topics on social media management and small business accounting. All Business Series sessions will be held at the AZ TechCelerator, 12425 W. Bell Road. Businesses interested in attending should RSVP to Julie Neal at 623.222.8324

Events & Meetings

International Businesses Hosted at Ballpark

I joined staff from our Economic Development team at the Surprise Stadium on Friday, March 4. We networked with several international businesses located in Surprise including Rioglass and Gestamp which are situated in our industrial park.

KC Royals World Series Celebration – Surprise Style

Mayor Wolcott and Surprise City Council took the field with the 2015 World Series Champions, the Kansas City Royals, and Kansas City Mayor Sly James on Saturday, March 5 as part of the World Series celebration held at Surprise Stadium. What an incredible event our city hosted, and even better, what incredible teams! We are lucky to have them on our home field!

Arts & Cultural Advisory Commission Meeting

I attended the Arts & Cultural Advisory Commission meeting on Monday, March 7. Due to the overwhelming success of the inaugural Surprise Public Art Bus Tour, the Commission has organized a second tour! You can join the Arts Commission on Tuesday, March 22, and experience the art of Surprise. Participants will visit locations and exhibits such as the WHAM Art Gallery, Arts HQ, the Joe Tyler Learning Tree, and many more. The bus departs Surprise City Hall, 16000 N. Civic Center Plaza, at 8:30 a.m. and will return at noon. For questions about the tour or to reserve a seat, contact Susan de Jong, 623.214.7537. The deadline to reserve a spot is Tuesday, March 15.

The Commission members requested approval for a reception to celebrate the opening of the new gallery space in the Café Express and the recent display of John Clark’s art at City Hall. The Café Express grab and go coffee shop opened in the City Hall lobby in November 2015.

Read Across America @ Thompson Ranch Elementary School

I was honored to read to first and third graders at Thompson Ranch Elementary School on Monday, March 7 as part of the annual Read Across America event for Dr. Seuss’s birthday.

Councilman Hall reads to first and third graders at Thompson Ranch Elementary School on Monday, March 7

Summerfield HOA Meeting

ADOT’s Assistant Communication Director Brock Barnhart and city staff joined me at the Summerfield HOA meeting on Tuesday, March 8. An update on Bell Road/Grand Avenue interchange project was provided, and detour maps were distributed. In addition, we listened to the residents’ concerns regarding increased traffic and continued speeding through their community. City staff will discuss their concerns and work together to help mitigate their issues.

ADOT’s Assistant Communication Director Brock Barnhart and city staff attending Summerfield HOA meeting
Brock Barnhart and I at Summerfield HOA Meeting.

Valley Metro Community Meeting

Valley Metro hosted a community meeting at the Surprise Senior Center on March 9 to share information about bus and light rail services available to residents in the Northwest Valley. Information was provided on Dial-a-Ride, the door-to-door transportation service for qualified seniors, people with disabilities and other residents.

Mark Your Calendars

Pavement Preservation Work

The city continues our pavement preservation work this week with work at the following locations through March 14:

  • Mountain Vista Blvd (Bell Rd to Vista Ranch Rd)
  • Paradise Ln (157th Ave to Reems Rd)
  • Young St (Reems Rd to Parkview Pl)
  • Mondell Rd (Reems Rd to Parkview Pl)
  • Honeysuckle Ln (Reems Rd to Parkview Pl)

The treatment will leave some debris in the form of slurry chips. Sweepers will continue to sweep the loose chips as the product cures and compacts. Motorists are asked to drive with caution and proceed slowly during the application.

The pavement preservation work schedule and maps will be available online at www.surpriseaz.gov/ppp, as they become available throughout the various phases of the work. For more information, please contact the Public Works Department at 623.222.6000.

Surprise Pops Band Concert – April 3

The Surprise Pops Band will be performing at Valley Vista High School Performing Arts Center, 15550 N. Parkview Place on Sunday, April 3 at 3 pm. Doors open at 2:30 pm. The line-up includes music from The Twilight Zone, MASH, Happy Days, Mr. Ed, The Lone Ranger and much more.

The performance is open to the public and is free with the donation of a non-perishable food item. All donations help support the Valley View Community Food Bank.

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. Moving forward, I’ll be sending them at 5 pm on Thursdays!

Park-and-Ride Temporarily Relocating in April

As a reminder, the Surprise Park-and-Ride will temporarily relocate beginning April 4 due to construction activity related to the Bell Road/Grand Avenue Interchange Project. 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.

Surprise Youth Council Accepting Applications

The city is recruiting new members for the Surprise Youth Council (SYC) – a group of groundbreaking teens who are making a difference in their community! SYC members serve the community by collaborating with local leaders, including the Mayor and City Council, to give youth a voice in city issues and to help solve youth issues through awareness campaigns and community-building events.

Students who are currently in grades 6-11 may apply, as long as they are attending a middle school or high school within the Surprise city limits or a Dysart Unified School District high school.

Applications are being accepted Feb. 22 – Mar. 20. The application consists of a video submission, no longer than 1 minute and 15 seconds, and should include the following information:

  • Your name, grade and school you attend
  • Why you want to be on the SYC
  • If you could bring one thing to this city or change one thing, what would it be? What can you and a group like SYC do about it?
  • Of these three words: fearless, creative, hardworking – which one best describes you and why? Briefly tell us about a time you were fearless, creative or hardworking.

The videos should be sent to Youth Services Administrator Paul Bernardo using one of the following methods:

Applicants must also have a parent or guardian complete and return a Parent Acknowledgement Form.

For questions or more information, please contact Paul Bernardo at 623.222.1029 or paul.bernardo@surpriseaz.gov or visit www.surpriseaz.gov/syc.

Social Media

You can now follow me on Facebook and on Twitter @skiphall2! I look forward to hearing from you!

Contact Me

Shop Surprise

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

Ask a Question

February 26, 2016 • Newsletter

Bell Road/Grand Avenue Update

The Grand Avenue/Bell Road 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 project is scheduled to be completed over the next 14 months (in spring 2017).

Utility relocation work in the area, mostly during overnight hours, is already under way. In order to reduce the project’s length and lessen the overall impacts of construction, ADOT has worked with the city of Surprise and local businesses to schedule a full closure of Bell Road near Grand Avenue. The full closure will allow Bell Road to be reconstructed as an overpass traveling over Grand Avenue and the parallel railroad tracks, providing a significant improvement for traffic flow.

The preliminary activities below are preparing the team for the April 1 Bell Road closure.

Schedule of On-site Activities*

  • Utility potholing on eastbound Grand Avenue overnight between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m.
  • Excavation and installation of drainage pipes on the east side of Grand Avenue within the right-of-way. No impact to traffic.
  • Excavation for utilities trench. No impact to traffic.

What to Expect > Traffic Restrictions*

  • Eastbound curb lane closure of Bell Road, from Grand to 134th Dr., will continue on Monday, Feb. 29, from 8:30 a.m.- 3:30 p.m.
  • All business access remains available from both Bell Road and Grand Avenue.
  • Eastbound Grand Avenue lane restrictions overnight for potholing between Towne Center and Bell Grande drives.

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

Stay Informed – Keep In Touch

For more information or if you have questions:

ADOT’s project hotline: (855) 712-8530, press option #1
Project email: bellandgrandinfo@azdot.gov
Project website: www.azdot.gov/bellandgrand
Media inquiries: (800) 949-8057; email: news@azdot.gov

Events & Meetings

WESTMARC 2016 Annual Meeting & Transportation Forecast

Councilman Todd Tande and I attended the WESTMARC 2016 Annual Meeting and Transportation Forecast, Thursday, February 18. Arizona Department of Transportation Director John Halikowski elaborated on the some of the major transportation projects occurring in the West Valley. With the approval for the Loop 202 South Mountain Freeway and the funding to move the I-11 forward, the state is seeing major infrastructure movement.

Senator Steve Farley and Representative Rick Gray also spoke to the attendees regarding the ties between trade and economic development.

Surprise Youth Council Mural Painting

Members from our very talented Surprise Youth Council (SYC) spent the last weekend painting a mural on the wall of the well site located between Surprise Stadium and 8 Acre Field. This mural was initiated in partnership with the West Valley Arts Council and the Surprise Arts & Cultural Advisory Commission.

The theme of the mural will coincide with SYC’s awareness campaign that will launch in March and focuses on self and social awareness for teens called “Be Yourself. Find Your Crowd.” I was able to stop by and support the team, and I would encourage you to check it out when you are in the area.

2016 State of the City Address

Mayor Sharon Wolcott delivered the 2016 State of the City speech that highlighted the city’s recent success stories. Years of our team’s hard work and planning have resulted in 300 new businesses and more than 1,000 new jobs over the past five years. City Council has worked together with staff to stabilize city finances, strengthen budget reserves and enhance Surprise’s presence not only locally, but regionally, nationally and internationally.

West Point Elementary School Meeting

City staff, ADOT representatives and I met with West Point Elementary School administration to discuss traffic concerns, taking into account the current construction on Greenway Road and the likely increase of traffic on that road, once the closure of Bell Road at Grand Avenue begins in April. We continue to work together to discuss concerns and mitigate as many issues in advance of the closure as possible.

40th Annual Cactus League Lunch

I attended the 40th Annual Cactus League lunch on Wednesday, February 24. More than 600 people from all over the Valley attended the event. Community and Recreation Services Director and Cactus League President Mark Coronado welcomed everyone and made key introductions. Former MLB catcher Jim Sundberg was the emcee and interviewed several former players including Fergie Jenkins and George Brett. Kansas City Royals Manager Ned Yost and Texas Rangers Manager Jeff Banister also took the stage.

Sierra Verde Community Meeting

Water Resource Management Director Terry Lowe, Environmental Compliance Analyst Kathy Boland and I attended the Sierra Verde Community meeting on Wednesday, February 24 to discuss water reclamation at the request of the HOA. After Terry Lowe answered questions, the landscaper provided information regarding the water hook-up to the HOA Board.

Additionally, Assistant Communication Director Brock Barnhart also attended and provided a Bell Road/Grand Avenue construction project update.

Mark Your Calendar

Surprise Stadium Hosting BIG 12- PAC 12 Tournament

College Baseball continues at the Surprise Recreation Campus – Campus of Champions with the BIG 12 – PAC 12 Spring Training Baseball Challenge (Feb. 25-29).

Individual tickets and tournament passes for each of the scheduled tournaments are now available for purchase online at www.surprisespringtraining.com.Tickets can also be purchased at the Surprise Stadium Box Office, located at 15960 N. Bullard Avenue, or over the phone with Tickets.com at 888.755.2583. Service charges may apply to online and phone orders. All seating for collegiate tournaments is general admission.

Surprise $5 Dollar Food Festival

The $5 Dollar Food Festival will be in Surprise at 8 Acre Field, 15930 N. Bullard Avenue, on Saturday, February 27 from 11 am – 12 noon (VIP) or 12 noon until 7 pm for general admission. Enjoy food from more than a dozen food trucks, booths and carts, plus live music. For more information, please visit https://fivedollarfoodfest.com/events/surprise-az/.

Note: The intersection of Bullard and Greenway will be closed this weekend. Access to the festival will be maintained off of Bell and Bullard. Download the detour map

Spring Household Hazardous Waste Event

The date to dispose of your household hazardous waste has been changed by two weeks. The spring 2016 Household Hazardous Waste Collection event is now scheduled for Saturday, March 26 at the Public Works Maintenance Yard, 13433 W. Foxfire Drive, from 8 am until 12 noon, to avoid potential traffic conflicts that may arise due to the full closure of Bell Road between West Point Parkway (west) and 134th Avenue (east) on April 1.

The City offers the Household Hazardous Waste event twice a year so Surprise residents may properly dispose of items that contain chemicals which may be harmful to the environment. The event is free and for Surprise residents only. Please bring a driver’s license and a utility bill to show proof of a Surprise residential address. For more information, including acceptable items, please visit www.surpriseaz.gov/HHWevent or call 623.222.6000.

Did You Know?

Arizona Charter Academy Competes

Students from Arizona Charter Academy recently competed in their first district-wide DECA competition. Over 400 students from 20 schools were in attendance, competing in various categories including sports entertainment, marketing and hospitality and tourism. Fourteen students from Arizona Charter Academy attended the competition and four of them placed in the top of their category of team events. The students are currently preparing for the upcoming state competition.

Social Media

You can now follow me on Facebook and on Twitter @skiphall2! I look forward to hearing from you!

Contact Me

Shop Surprise

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

Ask a Question

February 6, 2015 • Newsletter

City Council Meeting

City Council Work Session
City Council held a joint meeting with the Planning and Zoning Commission in the Community Room on Tuesday, February 3.  Community Development Director Eric Fitzer discussed the recent community meetings with regards to the development of the city-initiated General Plan Amendment.  The City is updating key elements of General Plan 2035 including land use, economic development, roadway systems, housing, and recreation/open space.  Kevin Kugler, a consultant with Michael Baker International, shared some stats concerning our population and economic development.  At some of the recent meetings that were held in Marley Park and Willow Canyon and led by Mr. Kugler, residents indicated that they treasured the safety, diverse architecture, parks and open spaces in the City but there was a lack of community, pedestrian connectivity and arts and culture that presented a challenge to them as well.  Residents also appreciated the access to healthcare, small business incubator space and the public sector jobs that Surprise offers, but they were challenged by the lack of higher quality, higher income jobs and transportation infrastructure in the City.

In addition to the General Plan Update meetings, two other public meetings took place last month.  The Heritage District Overlay meeting was held at the Surprise Senior Center on January 21. The purpose of this particular meeting was to establish alternative development requirements while managing appropriate, compatible development for the area.  It is the goal of the City to develop incentives for converting incompatible uses to more appropriate activities in the Original Town Site and to ensure quality housing combines with appropriate consumer-oriented retail and service functions, such as mixed use.  Preservation, education, recreation and economic revitalization are the OTS Heritage District goals.

The last public meeting concerned the Public Arts Master Plan, and the purpose of this meeting was to guide the development of public art and culture opportunities in the City that will enhance our quality of life, create a sense of place, provide venues for community art, help to become an economic driver and assist in revitalization efforts throughout our City.

City Council Meeting Budget Update
Lindsey Duncan, Finance Director, provided a budget status report with data as of November 2014.  Sales tax, excluding construction, is 10.9% higher than FY2014 actuals and FY2015 actuals are 5.3% higher than FY2015 budget.  Construction sales tax is 28.8% lower for FY2015 than FY2014 actuals and 45.8% lower than FY2015 budget.  FY2015 actual expenditures are significantly lower than the FY2015 adopted budget from savings with personnel, supplies and services.

Mrs. Duncan and Dana Garr, Procurement Manager, also provided a procurement update to Council.  A formalized policy and procedure for surplus personal property disposal was reviewed.  The Finance Department developed the policy and procedure which has achieved negotiated contract savings and ensured responsive, detailed and complete bids.  A Notify Me link has been established so residents can receive notifications of upcoming solicitations.  The surplus personal property disposal for FY2015 year-to-date is $131,000.

Water Acquisition Policy
Director of Water Resource Management Terry Lowe discussed the proposed Water Acquisition Policy, which is the third policy in a series of water-related policies that staff has recommended and approved by the Committee on Water Resource Planning.  The main purpose of this particular policy will allow for strategic investment in Surprise’s water future.  Several different strategies for water acquisition were discussed including CAP (Central Arizona Project) allotment and CARGD membership, extinguishment credits, long-term storage credits, physical water such as groundwater importation, water leases, water transfers and exchanges, as well as future land development.

Development Agreements
City Attorney Misty Leslie requested consideration of a Development Agreement between the City of Surprise and 371 on 163rd LLC, regarding the development of property located on the northwest corner of Pinnacle Peak Road and 155th Avenue and a Development Agreement between the City of Surprise and Verdugo Land, LLC regarding the development of property located on the northwest corner of Pinnacle Peak Road and 163rd Avenue.  Both Development Agreements were approved unanimously by City Council.

Zoning Text Amendment
Bart Wingard asked the City Council to consider a zoning text amendment regarding the height of structures within the Industrial General Zoning District.  The current Surprise Municipal Code provides a maximum height of structure in this particular district.  This district is described as areas for concentrated manufacturing, fabrication and other industrial uses. Due to various requests from prospective industrial businesses, staff is proposing this zoning text amendment to increase the building height from 60 to 85 feet.

Events & Meetings

Surprise Youth Council
The Surprise Youth Council (SYC) held their team building retreat on January 30th & 31st at the Public Safety Training Center.  The SYC is comprised of 25 students ranging in age from 6th grade – 11th grade representing five local high schools & nine local middle schools.  The retreat was facilitated by Deanie Wlodek from Opening Minds, LLC with assistance from three local school staff:  Arthur Greenway (Asst. Principal – Willow Canyon High), Jan Fellow (Guidance Counselor – Shadow Ridge High), Diosa Holmes (Student Council Advisor – Paradise Honors High).  This brand new council quickly bonded as a team after learning about their personal lives, fears and leadership styles.  Other topics explored included issues at school, human rights and Surprise as a community.  Council members also took time out to attend the Surprise Celebrity Flag Football Challenge, create various crafts representing the retreat and enjoy some dancing!

SYC Retreat January 2015

SYC Retreat 2015 group

Celebrity Flag Football Game
The Celebrity Flag Football game was held on Saturday, January 31 at Surprise Stadium.  According to Mark Coronado, Community and Recreation Services Director, approximately 4,000 people were in attendance.  The event had over 10 million national and local media impressions.

Mayor and Council at 2015 Celebrity Flag Football

2015 Celebrity Flag Football game

Councilmember Hall with Quinton Aaron

Imagine Prep Science Fair
Councilman Jim Biundo and I were judges for a regional science fair at Imagine Prep in Surprise.  The group science fair is scheduled on February 19.

Mark Your Calendars

3rd Annual Surprise Fine Art & Wine Festival
The Thunderbird Artists will be hosting the 3rd Annual Surprise Fine Art & Wine Festival for artists to exhibit and sell their work and for art buyers to make a direct connection to the artists and the vast selection of art.  The Festival will take place February 6-8 from 10 am until 5 pm each day at the Surprise Recreation Campus, 15940 N. Bullard Avenue.  Admission is $3; or $10 for a Wine Tasting Ticket with souvenir glass.  For more information, please visit www.thunderbirdartists.com/surprise.

Second Sundays in the Park Concert
The Second Sunday in the Park series will continue on Sunday, February 8 from 2 pm until 4 pm at the Surprise Community Park (15953 N. Bullard Ave). Please come and enjoy a free concert from Retirement Rocks! You can bring a picnic or purchase food from one of the onsite vendors and enjoy the show!

Contact Me

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

Ask a Question