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November 2020 • Newsletter

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.

August 2020 • Newsletter

We began our new fiscal year on July 1, with Council on recess and many families on road trips, etc., so it seems fitting to kick-off my August newsletter by saying “welcome back!” I am honored to represent Surprise, and I want to reiterate my commitment to serving you. I am confident that we have a united and talented team of staff and leadership in place to continue to move this city forward.

Primary Election Results

Earlier this week, Arizona held its primary election. Surprise voted on candidates for Mayor and City Council Districts 2, 3 and 4 with terms ending December 31, 2024. Voters choose a District 5 Councilmember for a 2-year term ending December 31, 2022. The winners will assume office the first meeting in January 2021 after receiving the official oath of office. Below are the preliminary election results as of August 5:

Mayor:

Skip Hall, 24,784 Votes (96.92%)

Cheryl Packham (Write-in Candidate), 407 Votes (1.59%)

District 2:

Alyson “Aly” Cline, 4,772 Votes (63.77%)

Wendell Fountain, 2,683 (35.85%)

District 3:

Patrick Duffy (Incumbent Councilmember), 2,891 Votes (68.31%)

Greg Norberg, 1,316 Votes (31.1%)

District 4:

Ken Remley (Incumbent Councilmember), 2,499 Votes (98.62%)

District 5:

Jack Hastings, 2,063 Votes (59.15%)

David Sanders (Incumbent Councilmember), 1,331 Votes (38.16%)

Kawika Henderson (Write-in Candidate), 71 Votes (2.04%)

All results are preliminary until all of the ballots dropped off at City Hall on Election Day and all Provisional Ballots are counted. A final ballot tally is expected by August 24, if not sooner, from the Maricopa County Elections Department.

Amazon Building in Surprise

Amazon recently closed escrow in Surprise! They are locating a brand new 150,000 square foot “last mile delivery station” at the Surprise Rail Plex, just south of the entertainment center near Uptown Alley on Litchfield Road. Initial estimates are that this will bring a minimum of 300 new jobs. The new operation will serve the northwest Greater Phoenix market and will bring tremendous employment, capital investment and revenues to the community! Construction is expected to begin this first week of August.

Virtual Ribbon Cutting Contest Finale

Over the last 5 weeks, 101 Surprise businesses have been featured for their virtual ribbon cuttings! Each week, the community voted for their favorite virtual ribbon cutting video. The top five businesses are going head to head this week, and the winner will be announced the week of August 8th. Please visit the Economic Development webpage to see the winner: https://www.surpriseaz.gov/988/Economic-Development

The finalists are:

1:12 Nutrition – 13833 W. Bell Rd
Barro’s Pizza – 15403 W. Greenway Rd
Joe Streckfuss Plumbing – 11340 W. Bell Rd
Spencer’s Place – 15431 W. Waddell Rd
TEAM 4 Kids – 13601 N. Litchfield Rd

Surprise Community Outreach Program

Applications are now being accepted for a City Council-led initiative that assists community organizations in providing programs and events that benefit Surprise residents. The Community Outreach Program offers funding assistance to organizations for programs, events, and activities that enhance the overall lifestyle of our community. Council set aside up to $100,000 for FY2020-2021 in an effort to support and grow qualified local programs and events that improve the health and welfare of Surprise residents.

To be considered, applicants must be a 501(c)3 organization or partner with a 501(c)3 verified agency. The maximum award per applicant is $10,000. According to program guidelines, funds are distributed by reimbursement through an invoice process. For more information including the application, complete program details, and eligibility requirements, visit surpriseaz.gov/communityoutreachprogram or please contact Jodi Tas at 623.222.1330. Applications will be accepted through Monday, August 31, 2020.

Water Resource Management Director Named

Surprise City Manager Mike Frazier has announced that Lee Lambert will serve as the city’s new Water Resource Management Director.

Lee has served as Acting Director of the Water Resource Management (WRM) Department since February, stepping in from his role as Assistant WRM Director.

Lee has worked for the City of Surprise since 2005, starting in project management roles that included work on multiple Capital Improvement Projects. Lee was named Water Manager in 2013 and was promoted to WRM Assistant Director in January of 2019. Previous to the city of Surprise, Lee held positions with the Maricopa County Planning Department and Arizona Department of Water Resources.

Lee was selected as the permanent WRM Director after a very competitive process that included candidates from around the country.

Water Resource Management Director Lee Lambert

Planning & Zoning Commission Vacancy

Are you looking to volunteer for the city? The city is currently accepting applications for the Planning and Zoning Commission. This particular vacancy will serve the remainder of the current term set to expire on June 20, 2023. Applications are available for pick-up at the City Clerk’s office from 8 am through 5 pm, Monday through Friday at City Hall (16000 N. Civic Center Plaza). Applications are also available online at www.surpriseaz.gov/boards. Please submit the applications in person or via email to clerk@surpriseaz.gov.

COVID-19 Update

Given the pandemic, we continue to face challenges in all aspects of our lives, but I am confident that we will overcome these setbacks. We will return economically stronger and with much hope as a closer and tighter community. None of us could have predicted what 2020 was going to bring. COVID-19 demanded swift action at every level of government; action that I know was appreciated by many in our community. I have made it my highest priority to ensure we get through these uncertain times and keep our community safe. I’ve worked in consultation with the Governor’s office, Maricopa County, public health experts, hospital administrators, our City Council, City Manager and City Attorney to make some tough decisions. We have a moral obligation to protect public health and avoid transmissions that would cost residents their health and put extra demands on medical resources.

July 2020 • Newsletter

The city just ended FY20 and embarked on FY21 on July 1. As we begin our new fiscal year and reflect on the last six months of 2020, I have no doubt that we are all thinking “what a year” it has been. It could not have been more unpredictable. As we continue to grapple with this pandemic that is challenging our country, communities and local economies, no matter where you stand on this situation, I think we can agree that there are demands facing us and we need to work together to address them head on. We can agree to disagree, but do so respectfully. There has been so much uncertainty with the virus, and information seems to change on a daily basis. Please understand as elected officials, we are doing our best with the information provided to us to protect everyone.

The Surprise City Council mourns the tragic loss of Surprise resident and Peoria Police Officer Jason Judd. Officer Judd was a 20 year veteran with Peoria Police Department as well as a U.S. Air Force veteran. He was a husband, father, and friend to many. Our hearts are with his family and the entire law enforcement community during this difficult time.

The 2020 Census is currently underway! Surprise residents should have received an invitation to complete the 2020 Census. I am happy to see that just over 66% of our households have already responded. This is the first time in Census history that residents can respond online at my2020census.gov. You can also respond via phone at 844.330.2020. The questionnaire is available in English and 59 other languages. Please take a moment to complete it. A complete count is critical to our future. The information collected guides the distribution of more than $675 billion to states annually and helps us plan critical infrastructure like roads and water, etc. It should take no more than 10 minutes of your time to complete. All responses are confidential and protected by federal law. The deadline to submit (August 14, 2020) your information was extended due to COVID-19. For more information, please visit surpriseaz.gov/census2020.

The primary election will be held on Tuesday, August 4. The ballot will include five local City Council seats. The local seats to be filled are Mayor, District 2 (Cottonwood), District 3 (Mesquite), District 4 (Mulberry) and District 5 (Palm). All of the aforementioned terms, with the exception of District 5, will end December 2024. The District 5 seat will end December 2022. The first day to cast early ballots was July 8. The last day to request a ballot via mail is July 24, with the last day to mail your ballot being July 29.

Surprise City Hall is a designated voting center. The City Hall Community Room is open for voting now through August 4 for any Maricopa County resident to cast a ballot in person. To access the Community Room, please enter through the north or south entrance of City Hall at the Mayor’s Atrium (eastern end of the building). All other entrances are closed at this time due to COVID-19. Additionally, for the primary election, Maricopa County voters can choose any Voting Center that works for them to cast a ballot in-person. Please visit Locations.Maricopa.Vote for all locations.

The city resumed drop-off recycling on July 7. Residents can bring acceptable materials to the Public Works North Yard, 17274 N. Litchfield Road, on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Saturdays from 8 am until 11 am and 1 pm until 3 pm. Proof of residency will be required. This is our first step to resuming our recycling program, which was temporarily suspended last August due to rising program operations costs and decreasing value of recyclables. We continue to actively research cost-effective and sustainable solutions for processing recycling curbside. For more information, including FAQs about the drop-off program, please visit surpriseaz.gov.

I wanted to thank our entire City Council and City Management team for their outstanding work this past year. Despite the stress and unknowns of the current crisis, the city has had many successes. We’ve worked together to accomplish so much that would not have been possible if we didn’t work as a team. Thank you to our residents for their continued support and outreach to us. We represent you, and it’s important we hear from you. I can assure you that your City Council listens to you and represents you at the dais. I am extremely happy with the direction of the city. There will be some upcoming announcements concerning economic development soon that I’m sure will please you. We’ve been actively working with the businesses in Surprise to see how we can support them. We’ve lobbied Maricopa County and requested additional grant possibilities through their CARES Act funding. We have talked to our US Senators and advocated for our businesses and residents during this crisis. We are here for you!

On a personal note, I wanted to let you know that I am fully recovered from COVID-19, having thankfully had a mild case, and have been out of quarantine for a week. I appreciated the outpouring of prayers, support and emails I received while I was recovering.

As a friendly reminder, our first City Council meeting of the new fiscal year is Tuesday, August 18 at 6 pm.

June 2020 • Newsletter

This has been a unique time in history for us with many things slowing down or pausing for the protection of public health. But in the midst of all this, development in Surprise has continued to flourish, and there are some exciting things to look forward to.

For the foodies in the city, we have a new ice cream shop, Handel’s Ice Cream, and Mexican restaurant, Mr. Mesquite Taqueria in the Prasada / Loop 303 corridor. A Starbucks is also set to open in the area.

Costco continues to move forward with a newly advertised opening timeline of this fall. I know that many of you are excited for the doors to open, and it won’t be long now!

Our city’s first microhospital is hiring and almost ready to open. Abrazo Surprise Hospital expands our city’s ability to care for community health – something we deeply understand the need for during this time.

A second Legacy Traditional School is under construction in the city at the northwest corner of Cotton Lane and Cactus Road, adjacent to the city’s first luxury resort-style community, Sterling Grove by Toll Brothers! Education is an important foundation for a sustainable community, and we are lucky to have quality options for our children here in Surprise.

City Center also has some big projects in the pipeline. Several new multi-family residential projects are in process, including a new housing facility for the Kansas City Royals Major League Baseball team. The facility will be built north of Greenway Road and east of Bullard Avenue. Now, both the Royals and Rangers will have a home here year-round. Plus, a new Springhill Suites Marriott is under review in City Center.

Additionally, Mera City Center Apartments is under construction on Greenway Road. This development is a resort-style, 55+ active adult community. My office received several concerns once City Council approved the site plan so I wanted to take this opportunity to elaborate on it. The City Center Planned Area Development (PAD) allows this type of development. The PAD was approved by Council on January 11, 2001 which was long before any of the current Council served on City Council. City Council cannot arbitrarily deny a project that is in compliance with zoning and all other development requirements. This project complied with all zoning and city development regulations and standards, therefore, it was approved.

In the Surprise Rail Plex industrial district, 36,000 square feet of flexible storefront industrial, retail and office space was just completed, growing options for commercial and industrial businesses.

The wide range of development happening across the city right now shows that we are maturing, growing and able to support an exciting mix of new projects.

When the Census wraps up this year, we are aiming to have a complete count of our population. The data from the Census helps businesses decide where to locate. It’s just one of the many reasons that it’s important to fill out the survey. If you haven’t already, please take it online at www.my2020census.gov. You can also call 844-330-2020 or send in the paper form that was mailed to you.

New businesses aren’t the only thing we are celebrating right now. Our Economic Development team has been hosting Virtual Ribbon Cuttings to help local businesses get the word out that they have reopened. When you support your local restaurants and retail stores, you not only help keep unique offerings here in Surprise, you also create local jobs and keep tax dollars at home where they can be used for parks, street maintenance, police and fire-medical.

Little by little, we are returning to some sort of normalcy with our events as well. I am happy to say that the city will feature a 20-minute fireworks display on July 4 beginning at 8:40 p.m. The display will be staged in the area around Bullard Avenue and Paradise Lane. While we share in our community’s excitement to celebrate our nation’s independence, it’s important to do so responsibly. As a result of COVID-19 concerns, this year’s Fourth of July Celebration will be greatly modified in an effort to avoid mass gatherings and maintain physical distancing, in accordance with CDC recommendations.

I am proud to be the mayor of a city that understands the importance of community and the value of supporting each other. As we look forward, remember to be kind and think safe, Surprise. We will return stronger than ever!

May 2020 • Newsletter

Governor Doug Ducey announced a new Executive Order amending the Stay Home, Stay Healthy, Stay Connected order. In short, the Governor plans to continue to put public health first and proceed with a step-by-step approach to reenergize our economy guided by facts and health officials. Some of the key provisions of Executive Order 2020-33 – Returning Stronger include extending a revised “Stay Home, Stay Healthy Stay Connected Order” until May 15, 2020; retail businesses opened following specific guidance in the order:

  • Offer the sale of goods curbside, walk-up, and/or in-store by appointment only starting Monday, May 4
  • Offer in-store sale of goods after establishing and implementing protocols and best practices to address COVID-19 beginning Friday, May 8.

For more details, please see the Governor’s press release: https://azgovernor.gov/governor/news/2020/04/updated-guidance-arizonans-businesses

On May 4, following continued positive data trends, Governor Doug Ducey issued an Executive Order allowing cosmetologists and barber shops to resume appointment-based services this Friday, May 8 and restaurants and coffee shops to resume dine-in services with physical distancing measures on Monday, May 11. The Governor’s Office also released additional guidelines to keep customers and employees safe.

For more details, please see the Governor’s press release: https://azgovernor.gov/governor/news/2020/05/governor-ducey-issues-updated-guidance-restaurants-coffee-shops-barbers-and

In anticipation of Governor Doug Ducey’s “Stay Home, Stay Healthy, Stay Connected” Executive Order expiring May 15, the city is preparing to reopen select recreational amenities that allow for appropriate physical distancing, including tennis courts, pickleball courts and dog parks.

  • Surprise Tennis and Racquet Complex will reopen May 15. This is for open play only and by reservation only. Residents may call 48 hours in advance to reserve a court and non-residents 24 hours in advance. Classes and programs continue to be canceled until further notice. To make a reservation, please call 623.222.2400. Hours are 7-11 a.m. and 5-9 p.m. Monday – Friday and 7-11 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday. Retail and concession areas will remain closed. Please follow posted signage at the facility, continue to follow all CDC guidelines and practice physical distancing. Check our website at surpriseaz.gov/tennis for more information and USTA recommendations on play.
  • Pickleball courts at Surprise Community Park will reopen May 15. Park hours are 6 a.m. – 10 p.m. Please follow posted signage, continue to follow all CDC guidelines and practice physical distancing. Check our website at www.surpriseaz.gov/229/Parks-Facilities for more information and USAPA recommendations on play.
  • Dog parks will reopen May 15. Park hours are 6 a.m. – 10 p.m. Please follow posted signage, continue to follow all CDC guidelines and practice physical distancing.

The city is maintaining all other facility and amenity closures and program cancelations until further notice for health and safety reasons, as well as to mitigate the financial impacts of COVID-19 to the city’s budget.

See the full press release, here: https://bit.ly/35Qn5Nn

Budget FY21 built with flexibility in mind

The Fiscal Year 2021 (FY2021) City Manager Recommended Budget, with a focus on flexibility amid the to-be-determined economic impacts of COVID-19, is available online for public viewing.

The Finance Department presented the budget to City Council at their April 21st Work Session.

The FY2021 recommended expenditure budget is $388.3 million, with transfers of $40.7 million, for total use $429 million. This amount sets the ceiling for how much the city has the authority to spend.

The city will continue to monitor future COVID-19 related financial impacts and adjust the budget as needed to deliver a balanced budget, as required by state statute.

The recommended budget includes $111.2 million for planned Capital Improvement Projects. This includes $40.7 million to begin voter-approved 2017 GO Bond projects including, Greenway Road; Fire Station 308; and the Public Safety Evidence and Readiness Center. $31.2 million will fund critical water and sewer projects.

The budget also includes three full-time employees to support water reclamation and collections services and 1.5 employees to support fleet operations. These positions have no new impacts to the General Fund.

The budget process kicked off in October 2019 and a budget retreat was held on March 27, 2020. The FY2021 budget forecast developed between October and February was revised as a result of the Presidential National Emergency Declaration issued on March 13, 2020. Learn more about this in the story below.

A public hearing and Council’s Tentative Budget adoption was held at the May 5 Regular Council Meeting; with final budget adoption scheduled for the June 2 meeting. These public meetings begin at 6 p.m. They are carried live on Surprise TV and online at www.surpriseaz.gov/surprisetv. You can also follow the budget process and see the City Manager’s Recommended Budget at www.surpriseaz.gov/budget.

City prepares for COVID-19 financial impacts in current budget

While revenues have exceeded budget estimates for the first eight months of current Fiscal Year 2020, the tax data for March through June are months away from being released by the state.

These are the months we expect to be among the most impacted by COVID-19 business closures, event cancelations and service reductions. Our Finance Department will monitor the numbers closely to keep our budget balanced through the remainder of the fiscal year, which ends June 30, 2020.

The City Manager has already authorized some cost-controlling measures. They include:

  • A hiring freeze on non-critical vacant positions;
  • Reduced city department operating budgets;
  • Furlough of some part-time seasonal and part-time temporary employees

With the uncertainty surrounding COVID-19 and its impacts to public assembly and our budget, all recreation programming and events are suspended or closed until further notice. This includes summer camps, youth and adult sports leagues and camps, swim lessons, swim teams, open swim and large gatherings such as 4th of July.

All recreation centers, parks and recreation office, and aquatics facilities remain closed to the public until further notice. The city’s libraries, operated by Maricopa County Library District, also remain closed. They do offer online eMedia options and a new curbside pick-up program at Northwest Regional Library. Learn more at https://mcldaz.org.

Surprise parks, walking paths and open space remain open to the public; and fishing is allowed at the Surprise Community Park Lake. Physical distancing guidelines recommended by the Centers for Disease Control apply in these areas.

Some playground amenities remain closed until further notice: playground equipment, splash pads, restrooms, basketball courts, and skate park.

Our budget strategy will allow us, if needed, to identify future service reductions, and additional furloughs for those employees whose daily work will be significantly impacted by additional program suspensions.

We also have the flexibility in place to re-open some amenities, if the negative impacts to the budget are less than anticipated and public health guidelines allow.

Veterans Reflection Circle wins national and state awards

The city of Surprise Veterans Reflection Circle has been selected as an American Public Works Association (APWA) Public Works Project of the Year for 2020, as well as the APWA Arizona Chapter Project of the Year, in the category of Structures that cost less than $5 Million.

The Veterans Refection Circle is an outdoor garden and reflection space that was dedicated on November 11, 2019 in honor of late Surprise resident and combat wounded veteran Brian Mancini.

Mancini spent his life serving his country and helping other wounded veterans find healing. The Veterans Reflection Circle is located in the Surprise Community Park (next to the fishing lake) at 16089 N. Bullard Ave. The site was selected as a tribute to Mancini’s love of nature, fishing and quiet self-reflection. These were important components to the non-medicinal healing philosophy he shared at his nonprofit Honor House – a place where wounded veterans can go for therapy and counseling. The space pays tribute to Mancini and his legacy by telling his story and providing a place for veterans to reflect, find healing and feel the community’s deep appreciation for their service and sacrifice.

The design for the Veterans Reflection Circle was completed at no cost to the city by local design companies Logan Simpson and WERK. The generosity and heart of these firms inspired the idea to invite members of the construction and landscape communities to become partners in honoring our veterans by donating products and services to help bring this incredible project to life.

The city shares these awards with the following partners who contributed to the project:

82 Bravo Land Survey & Mapping, Ace Sandblasting, Airpark Signs, Allstate Rent-a-Fence, Arizona Wholesale, Atwater Construction, Castle Steel, Cox Cactus Farms, DBA Construction, EarthScapes, Elite Waste Services, Evergreen Turf, Ewing Irrigation, Excel Screen Printing, Felix Construction, Granite Express, Hawkeye Electric, Haydon Building Corp., Honor House, Hauser Engineering Group, Kilauea Crushers, Lowe’s, Mountain States Wholesale Nursery, Natina Products, Nesbitt Construction Contracting, Outdoor Systems Management, Premier Irrigation, RC Lurie, Rummel Construction, Straight Arrow Construction, Sunrise Nursery, Triton Boulder Supply, Weinberger Waste Disposal, Wright Engineering.

For more information about the Veterans Reflection Circle project and Brian Mancini, please visit www.surpriseaz.gov/vrc.

The City’s Water Resource Management department receives multiple 2020 AZ Water Association Awards

The AZ Water Association awards recognize members, facilities and projects that have excelled throughout the year.

Surprise Lead Water Operator Ryan Hime has been recognized as the 2020 Water Operator of the Year-Large System. Recipients in the operation leader category are awarded based on their significant contributions to the water/wastewater industry and to AZ Water.

Maris Adams, SCADA Systems Supervisor, is the recipient of the Technology Professional of the Year – Large Systems. This award recognizes an individual for their notable service to the AZ Water Association in the categories pertaining to water, wastewater, collections and distribution.

The city also received safety awards for the following water resource facilities:

  • Mountain Vista PWS (2 awards)
  • Surprise WRF – SPA1
  • Surprise SPA 2 WRF5

Watch the 2020 State of the City Video

Following an April 15 live premiere, the 2020 State of the City video is now available for on-demand replay. The video looks at significant achievements that have transformed our city and celebrates the progress we have made over the past six decades – as Surprise turns 60 this year!

Watch the video here: https://surprisetv.surpriseaz.gov/shows/state-of-the-city

The video will also replay on the Cox 11 and Century Link 8513 cable channels at select times. See the schedule here: https://surprisetv.surpriseaz.gov/schedule

April 2020 • Newsletter

Fellow Residents of Surprise,

We have seen a lot of change in the past few weeks. We went from handshakes and high fives, sports games and festivals, to maintaining six feet of social distancing, cancellations of events and programs, and the closure of schools and many city buildings. I know that all of this COVID-19-related change, on top of concerns about your health, can be very stressful. I want to assure you that the city is mindful of the impact on our residents and our businesses, and we are working tirelessly to ensure that city services are maintained and our community is cared for.

Public health and safety continue to be our top priority, and communication is key in that. That’s why the city has developed a one-stop resource for COVID-19 information on our Surpriseaz.gov website. If you haven’t visited it already, please take a moment to see what information is available to you. There are updates on changes to city business processes, contacts to connect with city services and links to trusted information on the COVID-19 virus.

Community vitality and economic security are also significant priorities, and we have assembled a team to work on support resources for our residents and businesses. The city’s Economic Development department has created a COVID-19 Business and Workforce Resources webpage to provide a comprehensive, one-stop spot for residents and businesses to receive information.

The page can be accessed off the city’s COVID-19 webpage and includes recommendations on how consumers can continue to support local businesses; a list of restaurants in Surprise providing takeout and delivery services; links to financial support for businesses through organizations like the Small Business Association and Arizona Commerce Authority; connections for job seekers, and more.

We have also developed a webpage dedicated to human service needs during this difficult time – whether you are in need of assistance or looking to serve your community. This COVID-19 Community Care webpage includes information about free meals for seniors and access to free essentials like food and diapers. It also provides details on opportunities to donate needed supplies, help our seniors with grocery shopping, or be a phone pal during this time of isolation.

I am already so encouraged by the stories I’m hearing of volunteerism and human kindness; the ways the community has come together. There is joy to be found in the gratitude I see pouring out of people for first responders, doctors, nurses, grocery store clerks and others who are working overtime to provide the essential services we need. Recently, a home in Marley Park decorated their trash bins with colorful, handmade posters to thank their sanitation truck driver. It was a simple, but beautiful gesture of appreciation. While this is a time to be serious about stopping the spread of COVID-19, it’s also a time to get serious about spreading love to our neighbors – and you are really shining at that, Surprise.

On April 15, I invite you to tune into a video premiere of our State of the City at 6 p.m. We’ll take a look at significant achievements that have transformed our city and celebrate the progress we have made over the past six decades – as Surprise turns 60 this year!

The State of the City video premiere will be carried live on Surprise TV, online at www.surpriseaz.gov/surprisetv, and via Facebook LIVE on the City of Surprise Facebook page. If you are unable to tune into the premiere, the video will be rebroadcast on Surprise TV and will be available for viewing on the Surprise TV website.

This live video premiere replaces the State of the City Celebration that was planned for March 26 at City Hall, but canceled due to COVID-19 concerns.

As our community faces unprecedented challenges during this time, I feel it is important to deliver this message of where we’ve been and who we are – united, strong and resilient.

I am proud to be your mayor, and I am here for you if you have any questions or concerns. You can reach me at mayor@surpriseaz.gov or 623.222.1300.

We will get through this together!

Sincerely,

Mayor Skip Hall

COVID-19 Special Report Video

With so much change and uncertainty surrounding COVID-19, Mayor Hall sat down with staff to talk about how the city is working hard to preserve public health, support our vulnerable populations, and maintain essential city services.

Community inquires helped to shape the questions he asked, so thank you for reaching out, Surprise.