City Council Work Session
New Enterprise Department Discussion
The mission statement for our city’s Community and Recreation Services (CRS) Department is to “enrich and complement the lives of Surprise residents through stewardship of our resources while providing responsive programs which promote and prioritize diversity, cultural, neighborhood, family, education, recreation and wellness opportunities.” At the same time, CRS is responsible for operating and staffing two world class facilities (baseball and tennis) and coordinating with the Surprise Tourism Commission. City Manager Bob Wingenroth recognizes the opportunity to further enhance the quality of life for our residents and proposed a potential organizational change to create a new department.
Staff is proposing a new Enterprise Department, possibly named the Sports and Tourism Department. This new Department would be business focused with the following primary responsibilities: operation of Surprise Stadium and the Surprise Tennis & Racquet Complex, establish public/private partnerships to construct an aquatics center and a regional recreation complex, coordinate the usage of city sports facilities with Ottawa University and our school district, and work in partnership with the Chamber of Commerce and the Tourism Commission to bring regional and national events to Surprise that would increase overnight stays and increase local restaurant and retail business.
The majority of the staffing necessary to build the Sports and Tourism Department would come from CRS divisions. In addition, it will be necessary to establish a director position and a coordinator position at an estimated annual cost of $318,900. There would be estimated start-up costs of $20,000. The potential gains from utilization and tourism dollars flowing to the city with this increased focus will outweigh the increased cost.
Shop Local Program
In 2016, the City partnered with the Surprise Regional Chamber of Commerce on an award-winning “Shop Local” campaign as part of our efforts to help businesses that were impacted by the Bell Road/Grand Avenue bridge construction. The campaign proved to be successful and as such, staff has received direction from City Council to partner again to explore a citywide Shop Local campaign, leveraging the best practices learned. The campaign is consistent with the Council’s Strategic Plan to promote jobs and enhance the needs of small businesses, particularly through business retention and expansion activities.
Bell Road and Grand Avenue Monument Signage
Council discussed and provided staff with some direction relative to signage in and around the Bell and Grand overpass. With the construction of the overpass, signage was removed due to expansion of right-of-way and relocation of utilities and easements from properties at the intersection. Staff was able to work with two of the property owners to replace signage along Grand Avenue; however, the signage requested along Bell Road is higher than allowed by code and prior approvals. Council instructed staff to work with those property owners at the intersection of Grand Avenue and Bell Road to find amenable solutions to signage to provide visibility to the businesses while looking at impacts relative to the view shed.
Temporary Signage Discussion
A discussion on temporary signage was brought to the City Council during Tuesday’s Work Session. City Council had received concerns from residents and business owners relative to signage directing traffic to businesses and public services such as churches and events in and around the City. Currently, the City sign code does not allow for temporary signage such as A-frames and sandwich boards. City staff has been working on revising the sign code. Under the draft code, the City is looking to allow signage for lawful temporary events that would include signage such as A-frames and sandwich boards.
Staff presented Council with the option to enact the temporary sign portion of the draft code prior to the full code being adopted. This would assist business during the update process and allow staff to obtain data on how best to address temporary signage in the final sign code adoption.
Council voiced their understanding of the need for signage to promote businesses and events around the City and instructed staff to “beta-test” the temporary signage portion of the draft sign code under a new Temporary Sign Policy. That Temporary Sign Policy will be discussed and deliberated upon by City Council at their September 5, 2017 meeting.
I also want to share a bit of history with you on the city’s use of temporary sign policies to give you a better picture of how we got here.
In 2009, during the great recession, Council enacted Resolution 09-151 which allowed temporary signs; Council extended it in 2012 for one year. Then, in March of 2016, the City enacted the Bell Road Temporary Sign Policy (Resolution 2016-42) in order to assist businesses during the construction of the Bell and Grand Overpass Project. The City Wide Temporary Sign Policy was then approved again in April of 2016 under resolution 2016-43 for the entire City limits. In February 2017, after the completion of Bell and Grand Avenue Overpass construction, the City approved resolutions 2017-20 and 2017-21. These resolutions repealed the City Wide Temporary Sign Policy and the Bell and Grand Temporary Sign and Temporary Use Permit Policy.
City Council Meeting
2017 Summer Youth Interns
Each year, the City’s Human Service and Community Vitality Department sponsors a Summer Youth Employment Program for teens residing in Surprise. This year, 25 interns were selected to participate from over 70 applicants. Interns were permitted to work up to 25 hours a week. Each Monday, they received Life Skills training which included information on how to prepare for interviews, how to put together resumes, interviewing and job readiness skills and much more. All 25 interns were recognized at the City Council meeting. Many thanks to our HSCV team led by Director Seth Dyson for their dedication to this fantastic program that grooms our teens for life!
Maricopa County Work Force Development Services
The Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act of 2014 (WIOA) is designed to help job seekers access employment, education, training and support services to succeed in the labor market and to match employers with the skilled workers they need to compete in the global economy. Maricopa County is a designated as a Local Workforce Development Area under the federal WIOA.
The County operates two (2) comprehensive Workforce Development One Stop Career Centers (Centers) under WIOA. The Centers provide employment-related services to job-seekers and employers in Maricopa County. Job seekers can access services such as workshops on job search and job retention skills; assessment tools for measuring interests, aptitude and skills; career exploration; vocational counseling, funding assistance for occupational skills training and job placement assistance. Resources such as computers, fax machines and copiers are available to assist in job search activities. The Centers hold job fairs for local employers recruiting employees to fill vacant positions. The Centers also provide transition assistance for local employers who experience a reduction in force and, therefore, must lay-off employees. The City will house a satellite office for the County through the approval of this Intergovernmental Agreement with Maricopa County. The services provided in the Resource Center will benefit job seekers and employers who cannot travel to access services in the County’s Centers.
The Intergovernmental Agreement was approved on Consent Agenda. This action will allow our HSCV Department to offer Workforce Development Services from the Surprise Resource Center with a full-time Workforce Development Coordinator.
Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Annual Plan
The city received an allotment of Community Development Block Grant funding of $638,560 from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development for year 2017-2018. Of this amount, $95,784 is being awarded to non-profits to provide social services to Surprise residents. These non-profits include Aid to Adoption of Special Kids, Benevilla, CASS, Surprise Community Action Program, Mentally Ill Kids in Distress, SoJourner, St. Mary’s Food Bank, and the Sun Health Foundation. Remaining funds will be utilized for neighborhood infrastructure improvements, micro-enterprise grants, emergency home repair, and associated administrative costs.
Events & Meetings
The city’s Human Service & Community Vitality Department (HSCV) recently partnered with Salvation Army and United Way for the comprehensive event, Project Connect, which provided the homeless with basic services and connection to resources. The event was held on Wednesday, July 26 at Salvation Army in Surprise. HSCV Director Seth Dyson was informed that we had 216 guests.
Water Resource Management Department Meeting
Vice Mayor Todd Tande and I attended our Water Resource Management Department’s “All Hands” quarterly meeting on Wednesday, July 26. Director Terry Lowe provided an update on the department and an overview of their budget while Department managers also provided updates on their respective areas. Afterwards, we were given a tour of a demonstration project.
Decide Surprise 2017 Bond Meeting
Vice Mayor Todd Tande and I were asked to join Mayor Sharon Wolcott on Tuesday, August 1 at Marley Park for a meeting with a select group of residents to discuss the Decide Surprise General Obligation Bond Election that will be on the November ballot. Surprise voters will decide three separate bond questions in the areas of public safety, traffic congestion mitigation and pavement preservation. The mail-ballot only election will be November 7, but ballots will be mailed in early October.
For more information on the projects and costs, please visit www.surpriseaz.gov/decidesurprise.
Mark Your Calendar
Raise a Reader Series
Surprise has partnered with Southwest Human Development to host a free eight week Raising a Reader program that utilizes proven skills to educate parents about the importance of early literacy and provides tools to help children learn to read. Using an evidence-based model that focuses on developmental milestones and brain development, literacy specialists will model how to engage children with the use of books. Families will also learn the significance of singing, dancing and playing as a way to build their child’s vocabulary and prepare them for school.
All members of the family are invited to participate! Plus, participating families will take home a bag filled with award-winning children’s books at the end of each week. Courses will be taught from 11 a.m. -12:30 p.m. on consecutive Fridays beginning August 11 at the Surprise Resource Center, 12425 W. Bell Rd, Suite 124. To enroll in the eight week Raising a Reader series, contact Lizette Garced at LGarced@swhd.org.
Free Educational Presentation on Older Adults and Series
Suicide rates of older adults are higher than any other age group in Maricopa County. The City of Surprise has partnered with Area Agency on Aging and Maricopa Elder Behavioral Health Advocacy Coalition to provide a free educational presentation.
A Matter of Life is a presentation created to educate and help people recognize the signs and symptoms of suicide, depression, anxiety and substance abuse. It encourages help-seeking behaviors by connecting people with resources and tools to access help for themselves or someone they know.
This program will be held on Wednesday, August 23 at 9 a.m. at the Surprise Senior Center, located at 15832 N. Hollyhock Street. It will run approximately one hour. Please register with Trisha Weston at 623.222.1544 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Senior Services is a division of the Human Service & Community Vitality Department and is designed to provide programs to strengthen the community and better serve Surprise residents. Located in the heart of Surprise, in the Heritage District, at 15832 N. Hollyhock Street. The Surprise Senior Center is the hub of activities for citizens age 50 and better and adults with disabilities. The membership fee for a resident of Surprise is $12 per year, and for non-residents it’s $15 per year. The Senior Center also offers a gym membership for an additional fee (some rules and restrictions apply). Hours of operation are Monday thru Friday from 8 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Disclaimer: Information in seminars and classes sponsored by the City are a public service and should not be construed as advice or representation of any specific business, company, individual business owners, brokers or affiliations. The City does not endorse any particular business, product or speaker. Any information presented does not reflect the opinion or position of the City.
Did You Know?
Monsoon Safety Tips
Monsoon season, June 15-September 30, is characterized by increased thunderstorm and lightning activity, high winds, dust storms and flooding. Having a plan of action and knowing what to do in each of the weather conditions can help save your life.
During any major storm event, the safest place to be is indoors. If you are at home, turn off all unnecessary power equipment and refrain from using landline phones. Make sure your home is equipped with flashlights, batteries, bottled water and non-perishable food items.
Dust storms and rain events can decrease visibility and increase road hazards when driving. If you are in your vehicle during a storm, slow down and pull off to the right side of the road as far as possible and turn off your engine and lights. Be sure to take your foot off the brake pedal.
Never drive through flooded intersections or washes! Even shallow flowing water has enough power to sweep your vehicle off the road or stall your engine. If you approach a flooded intersection, safely turn your vehicle around and find an alternate route.
Monitor weather reports and listen for potential flood warnings in your area. When flooding is imminent, knowing where to find sand and bags is essential to protecting your home and family. Sand and bags are provided free of charge to Surprise residents at multiple locations throughout the city; you will need to bring your own shovel to fill the bags. Sand and bag locations
To report downed trees, roadway debris or clogged storm drains, contact the Public Works department at 623.222.6000; crews will be on call and available to provide assistance during major storm events. If reporting after hours or on a holiday, please call the Surprise Police Department Non-Emergency Line at 623.222.4000.
Visit www.surpriseaz.gov/monsoon for a complete list of monsoon safety tips and resources.