Fall is here, and we finally get relief from the heat. With the holidays rapidly approaching, I hope we find time to reflect on the positives with so much negativity surrounding us. Last month, we celebrated Arizona League of Cities and Towns Week and focused our gratitude on essential workers in municipal departments. There are so many people, community heroes, who help our residents and those in need, whether it be our Public Safety departments, our Human Service and Community Vitality Department and so many others. I thank them for what they do every day to keep us functioning, especially in the times of uncertainty and fluidity.
Speaking of gratitude, I wanted to take this opportunity to personally thank Councilman David Sanders for his service to District 5 and the residents and businesses in Surprise. Dave Sanders served the city in multiple capacities years before he was appointed to his seat, having been a five-year member of the Surprise Community and Recreation Services Advisory Board, as well as a volunteer member of the Capital Improvement Funding Exploration Committee. Dave has been instrumental with all of our successes since he has been on Council, including utilizing his professional experience and skills with banking and finance to help the city through this pandemic and to assist our businesses that needed help to continue their services for our residents. Thank you, Dave Sanders, for sharing your talents and intellect; for your sacrifices and commitment to Surprise!
Welcome to City Council, Councilman Jack Hastings! Councilman Hastings took the Oath of Office on Tuesday, November 3. Mr. Hastings teaches US Civics at Valley Vista High School. We look forward to working with you in this capacity.
APS is in the early stages of a public siting process to identify routes in the city of Surprise for new 230kV power lines to best meet current and future needs. With the arrival of high-tech companies, such as the new Microsoft facility in El Mirage, and their load demands, these lines are needed to address reliability and flexibility. The 230kV power lines will need to connect the new Conrail Substation (located in El Mirage near the southeast corner of Olive Avenue and Dysart Road) to existing 230kV facilities. The poles will be between 115-195 feet tall and placed in new or existing rights-of-way or easements up to 120 feet in width. If you would like a say in where the poles are located, please visit www.apswestvalleycentral.com. The Virtual Open House page allows you to leave comments. The comment period is open now through November 20. Additionally, another Live Virtual Town Hall meeting will be hosted on Tuesday, November 10, 2020 from 6-7:30 p.m. You can register here: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/APSlivechat. For more information on the project, please visit www.aps.com/westvalleycentral.
City Council voted Monday night to disperse an additional $100,000 in Small Business Relief Grant funding, while expanding the scope of assistance to include small business retailers and non-profits with commercial space who were not restricted by the Governor’s executive orders. Council also approved an additional $25,000 for water utility payment relief.
Like the original grant program, which closed October 30, the Small Business Relief Grant 2.0 program seeks to distribute funding to businesses in Surprise who have been affected by COVID-19, have fewer than 25 employees and less than $2 million in revenues. The grant dollars are intended to assist with rent, utilities, payroll expenses and other necessary operating costs.
The grant categories are as follows:
- Category 1 (up to $1,500): Hair salons, barber shops, massage therapy, nail salons
- Category 2 (up to $2,500): Restaurants with no indoor or no fully enclosed dining
- Category 3a (up to $5,000): Restaurants with indoor or fully enclosed dining; Small (less than 4,500 sf) fitness, dance, yoga, gymnastics studios/centers/facilities etc.
- NEW! Category 3b (up to $5,000): Non-profits in commercial space
- NEW! Category 3c (up to $5,000): Retail businesses in commercial space
- Category 4 (up to $7,500): Bars / series 6 or 7 licenses
- Category 5 (up to $10,000): Large (more than 4,500 sf) Gyms, Fitness clubs
Applications for the Small Business Relief Grant 2.0 program are expected to open the week of November 9 and close December 11, 2020 or until funds last. Applying for the grant does not guarantee that funding will be awarded, and each business entity may apply only once. Businesses who were awarded funding as part of the original grant program, are not eligible for additional funding through the 2.0 program. For eligibility requirements, the application and more, please visit www.surpriseaz.gov/smallbusinessgrant. (Please note this information may not be available until the application period opens).
City Council also approved $25,000 to help qualifying residents pay their water bills. This comes after $15,000 was approved by Council for this purpose in September and has since been depleted. For assistance, please call the Surprise Resource Center HOPE line at 623.222.4673.
Last month, Ottawa University Arizona (OUAZ) received the Excellence in Innovation award at WESTMARC’s Annual Best of the West Awards. WESTMARC – the Western Maricopa Coalition – is a public-private partnership of 15 West Valley communities, the business community and the education sector. The Best of the West Awards recognizes outstanding contributions to the image, lifestyle and economy of the West Valley.
Veterans Day is around the corner. If you picked up a sign to decorate for our veterans, those decorated signs need to be dropped off at our Parks and Recreation Services department by 5 p.m. on Friday, November 6. The signs will be displayed on Bullard Avenue, near Surprise Stadium on Tuesday, November 10, Veterans Day – Wednesday, November 11; and Thursday, November 12 until 5 p.m.
To all American veterans who we owe a tremendous amount of debt, to ALL American veterans who chose to set aside their goals, ambitions and dreams, to all American veterans who have put their lives on the line for our freedom and who have sacrificed so very much – Surprise THANKS you!
While COVID may have canceled our traditional in-person Surprise Party Celebration this coming December, our Parks & Recreation Department is working with the Marketing & Communications Team to get us all in the holiday spirit with a week-long virtual Surprise Party experience! The City Council’s Virtual Tree Lighting Ceremony will kick things off at 7 p.m. on December 4. Musical performances will also be part of this programming. You can view it on Surprise TV and online at www.surpriseaz.gov/surprisetv at 7 p.m. Later in the week, Zoom calls with Santa, Holiday Bingo, Holiday & Crafts with WHAM, and Santa Drive Thru events are scheduled. There is even a Light Up the Night house-decorating contest planned. We’ll have all the details available soon at www.surpriseaz.gov.