Be An Active Participant in Your Local Government By Getting Involved and Attending City Meetings


The next Council meeting will be held on Wednesday, May 4 in order to allow my Council colleagues and I as well as the city’s management team to attend the opening of IRIS USA’s headquarters in Surprise. The meeting will be held at its regular time at 6 p.m. in the Council Chambers. There will not be a Council work session prior to the 6 p.m. meeting.

I’m sure many of you have noticed the shiny, new 420,000-square-foot building on Waddell, east of Litchfield Road. The city’s latest corporate locate is a very big deal for our community as two of our goals in the Council’s Strategic Plan is to promote Surprise for manufacturing and corporate office development as well as attract high quality jobs to our city. IRIS USA, which is a consumer products manufacturer, is a great example of the city’s commitment to attracting foreign direct investment and advancing our goal of becoming a world-class community. For these reasons, it will be a tremendous privilege for me to personally welcome our new corporate partners, who are traveling all the way from Japan for this event, to Surprise.


During the two Council meetings in May, the Council will continue working with the City Manager and the city’s Finance team in finalizing the city’s fiscal year 2017 budget. The FY17 budget begins this July 1. As I’ve written in previous eBulletins, the recommended FY17 budget focuses on the Council’s top priority – public safety – to meet the needs of our growing community and the increasing number of citizen calls for police and fire services. During these upcoming meetings, we need to come to a consensus on the tax revenues that will be used to fund the hiring of 13 police officers, 7 firefighters as well as one emergency manager, one city judge and one city prosecutor.

The ongoing cost to fund these new positions: $2.4 million annually. Much discussion has taken place since the concept of reinstituting a food tax was introduced to generate the needed funds to help pay for these positions. As a result, I have a received a lot of feedback on this topic from residents, which I always welcome. Those that I’ve heard from all raise the same points that I publicly stated at the March 1 Council meeting – that a food tax is a regressive tax and may not be the best way to fund these essential positions. This funding challenge is one that needs to be addressed now. What do you think? We need to hear from you on the best way to pay for enhancing public-safety services. I invite you to attend the May 4 or May 17 Council meeting and speak to the entire Council on this very important decision in front of us.


You can learn more about the city’s plan to revitalize Surprise’s original square mile by attending a community meeting at 5 p.m. Wednesday, May 11 at the AZ Techcelerator, 12425 W. Bell Rd. Community Development team members will provide details on the proposed Surprise Heritage Zoning District for the Original Town Site (OTS). City staff will also be available to answer your questions regarding the new zoning district. The Heritage District will consolidate development standards and land uses both in the commercial and residential areas to create a sense of place and preserve the historic character of the OTS. Following the community meeting, public hearings on the proposed zoning district will be held at upcoming Planning & Zoning Commission and City Council meetings.


At some point in our lives, most all of us had to buy a larger house (or invest in our existing one), a bigger car and purchase other important items (the list is endless, isn’t it?) to accommodate our growing family. Just like growing families, growing cities – like Surprise – also need to invest in themselves. To that end, the city is hosting a series of community meetings in May to discuss the funding of capital improvement projects to help meet the needs of our growing community. For consumers, like you and I, we obtain loans from lending institutions to pay for our cars and homes. Cities, on the other hand, obtain bonds from lending institutions to pay for large-scale projects.

At the May meetings, city staff will discuss a proposed $60 million bond issuance to pay for capital improvement projects around Surprise over the next five years. These projects include new fire stations and a regional recreation center as well as roadway improvements to serve a growing resident base. In addition to the new fire stations, several other proposed projects are designed to enhance public safety services to residents. I encourage each and every one of you to attend one of the upcoming Surprise Forward community meetings to learn more about the projects and bonding requirements. For a listing of the upcoming meetings and for more information on potential projects, costs and more, please visit www.surpriseaz.gov/surpriseforward.