There are a lot of projects as well as short- and long-term planning discussions taking place in our city. In this edition of the Mayor’s eBulletin, I’d like to update you on a couple of them.
DISCUSSIONS CONTINUE ON CITY’S FY2017 BUDGET
Finance Department staff will make their fourth presentation to Council regarding the city’s 2017 fiscal-year capital budget at the next City Council work session at 4 p.m. Tuesday, April 5. The discussion will focus on public safety and parks and recreation projects. Potential sources of capital financing will be discussed as well. During the 6 p.m. Council meeting on April 5, Finance staff will make their fifth presentation to Council on the city’s FY2017 operating budget. This discussion will focus on FY2016 year-end estimates as well as projections and expenditure recommendations for FY2017.
Later this month, City Manager Bob Wingenroth will present his recommended FY2017 budget to the Council. The new budget year begins July 1, 2016, so important decisions are being made now. I encourage all of you to inform and educate yourselves on the budget priorities and projects being discussed. If you cannot attend or tune in to the work session live on Tuesday, you can view these discussions as well as all the previous FY2017 budget presentations “on demand” at www.surpriseaz.gov/budget.
IT’S GO TIME AT BELL & GRAND
April 1 marks the first day the Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) project at Bell and Grand is officially in full swing. Bell Road at Grand will be completely closed starting at 10 p.m. tonight and will remain closed for 6-8 months. This closure will cut the construction schedule in half and lessen the impact to businesses in the area over future holiday shopping and spring training seasons. Grand Avenue stays open during this time, and you can access all the businesses in the area during construction.
This $42 million regional project, approved by Maricopa County voters in 2004, represents a significant infrastructure investment in Surprise that’s being paid with countywide sales tax dollars set aside over the past 12 years. Once completed, this project will not only improve traffic flow at the city’s “front door” of our community, it will also pave the way for our city center to finally be developed.
City staff is helping Bell Road businesses during this time as well as assisting ADOT in keeping residents informed during construction. The new spring issue of Surprise Progress is a great resource for you to learn how to access nearby businesses as well as how to use the designated detour route. Visit www.azdot.gov/bellandgrand and www.surpriseaz.gov/bellandgrand for more information. If you have any questions or need further assistance during construction, please call the ADOT Project Hotline at 855.712.8530. ADOT staff will be monitoring the hotline seven days a week.
POTENTIAL SITES FOR A NEW VETERANS CENTER IN THE WEST VALLEY
Plans are moving forward on establishing a new West Valley Veterans Center. Creating a resource facility for veterans is an initiative being developed by the Maricopa County Colleges Foundation. The facility will support veterans in the areas of employment, education, housing and healthcare as well as legal and emergency issues.
Earlier this week, I attended a Veterans Success Project Advisory Committee meeting where potential locations were identified. Surprise Economic Development Manager Mike Hoover presented three potential sites in our city, and representatives from neighboring cities also presented locations in their respective communities. During the meeting, I stressed that access to the facility through public transportation should weigh heavily into the committee’s decision on where to locate it.
Over the next couple weeks, advisory committee members will be prioritizing the potential locations. There was genuine consensus among the committee, which is made up of members from our federal delegation, West Valley mayors and business leaders, that the final siting decision will be supported by everyone. Steve Yamamori with the Maricopa County Colleges Foundation suggested that using an existing building may be the best way to go initially in order to provide services to veterans as soon as possible. Building a brand new facility, which would require extensive fundraising, may be something the committee establishes as a long-term priority.