Category Archives: News Releases

News and updates on matters impacting Surprise.

Celebrating 2019; Looking Forward to 2020

Happy New Year, Surprise! Reflecting on the last year, I can’t help but feel proud. We had several changes entering 2019. Mike Frazier became City Manager, I was appointed Mayor, Chris Judd began his term as Councilmember for District 6, and David Sanders was appointed to Councilmember in District 5. Everyone worked together, respected each other’s opinions and diligently worked in the best interests of our great City! It was a successful 2019 in Surprise, with many accomplishments that advanced City Council’s strategic priorities – from economic and cultural vitality to community livability and lifelong learning. I want to highlight some of those big moments as we look forward to even more excitement in 2020.

For the thousands of you who told us you wanted a Costco in Surprise, your wish is coming true in 2020! Costco broke ground on a location near Waddell Road and Sarival Avenue in 2019, with a grand opening planned for this summer. Your opinion matters. We work for YOU! Please be sure to let us know what else you want to see come to town when the Surprise Retail Survey comes out in February!

This past year also brought a number of new restaurants, including Ugly Tuna Sushi, Bonfire Craft Kitchen & Taphouse, Richi’s Diner II, Café Rio, Mucho Burrito, Nothing Bundt Cakes and Angry Crab. Plus, in 2020, The Haymaker will open near Waddell and Litchfield roads. You asked for more restaurants, including locally owned restaurants, you got it!

Some of our business wins brought significant job growth to Surprise. This fall, we held a ribbon cutting for SeaCa Plastic Packaging – a 125-year-old, sixth generation family owned and operated company specializing in plastic packaging; and Trimaco opened its new 275,000 square foot operation, which manufactures paint accessories and professional floor protection products. These two companies brought more than 200 new jobs to Surprise! It is important to your City Council to continue to bring head of household jobs. We continue to work on this goal for you. Loop 303 has been instrumental with highlighting the West Valley for economic development. The I-10/Loop 303 corridor is rapidly growing with manufacturing companies; therefore, bringing more jobs to the West Valley and, hopefully, more employment opportunities for you. It is only a matter of time before that growth moves north.

The city is also growing new housing options. More than 1,600 single family residential housing permits were issued in 2019. Much of the growth is in our Northern area where we are building a new fire station and library to help accommodate the population growth; but, there is also a significant project underway in the Prasada area – Sterling Grove by Toll Brothers. This 2,200 home community brings executive style housing to the city with an 18-hole Nicklaus Design golf course, spa, fitness center, pools, tennis and pickleball courts and more. Models will be open in January 2020.

Education was also an important theme of 2019. Ottawa University Arizona (OUAZ) began its third year of classes with 850 students. This fall, their campus in City Center celebrated three building completions – a 300 bed dormitory, a student union, and a three-story athletic training facility that the city will be able to use for recreation programming. West-MEC Northwest Campus is expanding and will soon offer adult certification programs. Paradise Honors continues to grow, and they have recently annexed from Maricopa County to Surprise. We also continue to partner with Dysart Unified School District under the leadership of Dr. Quinn Kellis.

Speaking of education and Ottawa University, OUAZ is bringing an incredible vibrancy to City Center, and we can expect more development to come to our downtown in the coming years. The Texas Rangers are nearing completion of their housing and meeting facility and the new Hilton Garden Inn has opened its doors. Plus, City Council agreed to a Development Incentive Agreement with City Center landowners that brought forward a draft City Center Master Plan focused on walkability, and a mix of housing, restaurants, shops.

This past year was also a time for working on projects that you voted for in the Decide Surprise General Obligation Bond Election. Roads are being built out and buildings are going vertical. Things are really moving! In 2020, you can expect to see work begin on the widening of Greenway Road, the Public Safety Evidence & Readiness Center, a Police Training Facility and Fire Station 308. You can continue to check progress on all of the projects at www.surpriseaz.gov/decidesurprise.

Planning for new roads, schools, hospitals, public safety staffing and more is supported by the data we get from the Census count each decade, so I want to remind you that Census 2020 will begin in March. Check your mail mid-March for instructions on how to respond. It is so very important that each and every one of our residents be counted! An accurate population count attracts federal dollars to fund some of the things I mentioned above. It also strengthens our voice in Washington DC, as the overall state population projections indicate a new state representative in the coming years. Plus, it can help attract new businesses to the city. For the first time, you will be able to take the survey online, by phone or by mail. You can get all of the details on our city website at www.surpriseaz.gov/census2020.

Also in March, I invite you to my 2020 State of the City Address. It will be a celebration of the accomplishments of 2019 and our 60th Anniversary as a city! The event is Thursday, March 26, 6-8 p.m. at Surprise City Hall. Look for more details to come in the next couple of months. I hope to see you there!

Before I close, I just want to say that it’s an honor to serve as your Mayor. It’s the great people of Surprise, like you, who care about the community and take time to engage that make this city so special. Thank you for all that you do, and I look forward to another great year with you in 2020!

Sincerely,

Mayor Skip Hall

November 29, 2018 • Newsletter

Mayor Selection

It is with the most sincere gratitude that I take on a new position after the Surprise City Council unanimously selected me to serve as the city’s next mayor. I will serve in this capacity until December 31, 2020, fulfilling the remaining mayoral term vacated by Sharon Wolcott on November 16, 2018. For those of you who don’t know me, I have served on the city council since 2008 and was most recently re-elected to the District 5 seat in the 2018 Primary Election. I served as Vice Mayor in 2011 and 2014. I also served three years as a city Planning and Zoning Commission member before being elected to the City Council.

Mayor Skip Hall swearn in by City Clerk

It is my hope to accomplish many things with City Council and staff. Some of my goals include: the anticipation of funding through budget priorities for our police and fire to ensure our city remains safe and secure through our next growth cycle; through vigilant budget review and department by department justification, work to insure that our financial strength and sustainability is maintained; and to maximize the education benefit to our youth by encouraging and facilitating, where possible, the cooperation and synergy of our new residential university, Ottawa, as well as West-MEC vocational school, Dysart Unified School District and our several charter schools. I also want us to work with our Economic Development Department to attract private investment to produce an entertainment venue for teens and to attract more entertainment and restaurant operators. We hope to continue to work with City Center landowners and staff on an updated vision that’s unique to Surprise and is adaptable to the market.

Thank you for your continued support and your ongoing trust. I look forward to working with Council, our various partners and serving the residents of this great city.


District 5 Council Vacancy

The city is currently accepting applications for the position of Councilmember for District 5 (Palm) due to my appointment as Mayor earlier this month. All District 5 applicants must reside within District 5 boundaries. The term expiration for the appointment will be December 31, 2020, and the remainder of the four-year term will be placed on the next scheduled Council election in August 20, 2020 per ARS 9-235 (The council shall fill a vacancy that may occur by appointment until the next regularly scheduled council election if the vacancy occurs more than thirty days before the nomination petition deadline. This subsection does not apply to a charter city). The Interview/Selection process is as follows:

Section 2-22 of the Surprise City Code – Council/District Vacancy:

(1) Vacancies in district office will be advertised beginning no later than 14 days from the date the vacancy is created when caused by death, and seven days from the date the vacancy is created in all other cases. The city clerk will advertise all vacancies in at least one newspaper with local circulation, on the city website, and in all designated posting locations during the application acceptance period. (Date of Advertisement – Monday, November 26, 2018).

(2) All eligible persons interested in filling the district vacancy must submit an application to the city clerk’s office prior to the close of the acceptance period. The application acceptance period will end at 5:00 p.m. on the 14th day following the placement of the advertisement as required by subsection (1) of this section. (Monday, December 10th, 2018).

(3) No later than the end of the business day following the close of the application acceptance period, the city clerk will forward to the mayor and council and post on the city website a copy of all applications submitted during the application acceptance period (Tuesday, December 11, 2018).

(4) The council will interview each applicant at a public hearing held no later than ten days following the close of the application acceptance period, followed by a seven-day period during which public comment may be submitted to the city clerk’s office (Interview/Public Hearing – Thursday, December 20, 2018 – 4:00 p.m. & Close of Comments (Thursday, December 27, 2018 – 5:00 p.m.).

(5) No later than the end of the business day following the close of the public comment period, the city clerk will forward to the mayor and council and post on the city website a copy of all comments submitted during the comment period (Friday, December 28, 2018).

(6) A district candidate must be selected no later than the second regularly scheduled council meeting following the public hearing (Thursday, January 3, 2019 or Tuesday, January 15, 2019 – 6:00 p.m.).

Applications are available for pick up the City Clerk’s Office, 16000 N. Civic Center Plaza, starting on Monday, November 26, 2018 – 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday – Friday, and the closing date will be Monday, December 10, 2018 – 5:00 p.m.

Interviews will be scheduled for Thursday, December 20, 2018 at a Special Council Meeting (4:00 p.m.).

Selection of the applicant will take place on Thursday, January 3, 2019 or Tuesday, January 15, 2019, 6:00 p.m. Regular Council Meeting. Applications are also available online @ www.surpriseaz.gov, under City Clerk section. Please submit applications to the City Clerk’s Office.


Did You Know?

Surprise Youth Services College Readiness Summit

The first annual Surprise Youth Services College Readiness Summit was held on Saturday, November 17 at the Ottawa University campus here in Surprise. The 40 attending high school seniors were treated to a variety of workshops focused on helping them gain tools for success in college or trade school next year. Attendees learned about budgeting and how to be money smart in the Financial Literacy workshop facilitated by a financial advisor from Mid-First Bank. They engaged in thoughtful conversation about how they spend their time and learned how to break down big goals into smaller, easy to manage steps in the Time Management and Goal Setting workshop. In the Physical Wellness workshop, facilitated by doctoral students from Mid-Western University, they created a personal wheel of wellness and examined how all of the various parts of life such as nutrition, sleep, stress, finances, and more, work together to contribute to overall wellness. Lastly, in a workshop facilitated by two students who currently attend Northern Arizona University, attendees heard the inside scoop about “Things They Don’t Tell You About Your First Year of College.” They learned the importance of making connections on campus, how to deal with the inevitable homesickness, how to maintain a healthy relationship with family as they work to be independent, resources for first-gen students, and more. Lunch was catered by Lolo’s and Papi’s Tacos, a local mobile taqueria. Attendance at the summit was a qualifying step in the application process for the first ever Surprise Youth Services Scholarship where three winners will share a total of $7,000. Stay tuned as winners will be announced in mid-February!

Surprise Fire Station 305 Holiday Celebration

Residents from the community gathered together at Surprise Fire Station 305 to celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday on Monday, November 19. Residents wanted to ensure the firefighters working on the holiday had time to celebrate the holiday in advance. Many thanks to our generous community members who contributed!

residents and members of Surprise Fire Station 305

My Surprise Community Engagement App Now Available

The city has launched a new way for residents to connect with city services and reminders, the My Surprise app! When you download My Surprise, you’ll join our community of vigilant residents who want to help Surprise be one of the cleanest, most well-maintained cities in Arizona.

My Surprise transforms your smart devices into tools that assist with reporting city-maintained service requests such as broken street lights, potholes on city streets, graffiti, flooded roadways and more! The app also provides users a way to connect with City Council members and receive refuse reminders, such as changes to the schedule due to holidays. Plus, My Surprise is easy to use! Reporting a concern is as simple as logging in, typing a brief description of the issue and pressing send; you can even upload video, audio and image files! My Surprise even allows you to pinpoint the exact location of your service request.

My Surprise was designed for a community who cares about the appearance and functionality of city-maintained spaces. Join us, and let’s build a beautiful, safe city we can all enjoy; download the app now and show your love for My Surprise! The My Surprise app is now available for download in the Apple Store and Google Play Store. Learn more about My Surprise at www.surpriseaz.gov/mysurprise.

My Surprise App

Bullard Ave traffic signals at Acoma, Sweetwater intersections active week of Dec 3

The traffic signals at the Acoma Drive and Sweetwater Avenue intersections will be activated on Monday, December 3.

Barring changes to the schedule, signals will flash red for 48 hours through Tuesday, December 4. Motorists are reminded to treat the intersections as four-way stops while the signals are flashing red.

The new traffic signals, featuring flashing yellow arrows on north and south signal pole masts, will be fully operational on Wednesday, December 5. Surprise police officers will assist with traffic control during the signal activation.

Work hours for this week are Monday – Saturday, 6 a.m. to 4 p.m.; traffic barricades along the roadway are scheduled to be removed on Sunday, December 2.

Crews are scheduled to stripe lanes along Bullard Avenue on Monday, December 3 and Tuesday, December 4; thermoplastic striping will be placed late December.

The speed limit in the construction area remains 25 mph except in school zones where the speed limit is 15 mph. Please proceed with caution through the project area and remember to Drive Wise, Surprise!

For project-related questions, contact Suneel Garg at 623.222.6130. To learn more about the Bullard Ave project, visit www.surpriseaz.gov/bullard.


Mark Your Calendar

Annual Surprise Party

Come celebrate with the City of Surprise at the 17th annual Surprise Party on November 30 and December 1 at the Surprise Recreation Campus! This fun-filled event offers a variety of activities and entertainment experiences, and admission is free with a canned food or toy donation benefiting Sanderson Ford Operation Santa Claus. Here’s what you can expect:

Friday, November 30 (5 p.m. – 9 p.m.) will include a traditional tree lighting ceremony, a hot air balloon glow, Arizona Skyhawks Skydivers, great food, live musical performances from “The Chadwicks” and “SMASHED,” fireworks and ice skating. Plus, Santa’s Workshop offers a free opportunity for youth of all ages to visit with Santa and Mrs. Claus while enjoying arts and crafts, cookies, and fun! Friday’s event will be held at the Surprise Recreation Campus – Stadium Plaza, located at 15850 N. Bullard Avenue. Fireworks will begin approximately at 8:55 p.m.

Saturday, December 1 (11 a.m. – 5 p.m.) will include an arts and crafts festival, classic car show, interactive games, camel rides, a petting zoo, clowns, face painters, inflatables, gingerbread house contest, ice skating and much more! Throughout the day, enjoy a variety of entertainment, including performances by the City of Surprise dance programs. Concessions will be available for purchase. Saturday’s events will be held at the Surprise Recreation Campus – Mark Coronado Park, north of Surprise Stadium.

For additional event information, please contact the Surprise Community and Recreation Services Department at 623.222.2000 or visit www.surpriseaz.gov/surpriseparty.

Ottawa University Victory Bowl

The OUAZ football team has accepted an invitation from the National Christian College Athletic Association (NCCAA) to serve as host and participant in the 2018 NCCAA Victory Bowl Invitational. The Spirit will welcome Olivet Nazarene to Spirit Field on Friday, November 30 at 7 p.m.

The 2018 Victory Bowl will mark the 21st straight year the NCCAA will award a Victory Bowl champion. Fox 10’s Cory McClosky came out today to preview the game, so I hope we will have a big crowd tomorrow night to cheer on our home team! Best of luck to our OUAZ football team and Coach Mike Nesbitt!

Surprise Fire Medical Open Houses

The Surprise Fire-Medical Department is holding a series of open houses at city fire stations. Residents can come out and meet the firefighters, check out the living and eating quarters, walk through the bays and see the fire trucks! Attendees will also get a look at the medical equipment, firefighting gear and tools used on emergency calls.

Dates for the open houses are as follows:

  • Saturday, December 8 – Station 307, 16171 W. Cactus Rd.
  • Saturday, January 5 – Station 302, 18600 N. Reems Rd.
  • Saturday, January 19 – Station 304, 24900 N. 163rd Ave.
  • Saturday, February 2 – Station 305, 15517 N. Parkview Pl.
  • Saturday, February 16 – Station 306, 16645 W. Clearview Blvd.
  • Saturday, March 2 – Station 303, 15440 N. Cotton Ln.

All open houses will be conducted from 9 a.m. to noon. For more information, please call the Surprise Fire-Medical Department administration line at 623.222.5000.

City of Surprise “Deck the Hock” Event

Please join us for the city’s 2nd annual “Deck the Hock” event on December 11, and help set the holiday spirit by bringing an ornament to decorate one of eight themed trees! “Deck the Hock” is a free, family-friendly event that will be held on Tuesday, December 11 from 5 – 7 p.m. at the Surprise Senior Center, 15832 N. Hollyhock Street. It includes performances by local school choirs, hot cocoa, tree decorating and more.

You can also join in on the tree decorating by bringing a new or handmade ornament that fits one of the following tree themes: Candy Canes; Legos; Sports; Patriotic; Animals; Snowflakes; Red; North Pole. In addition, you can also decorate a luminaria bag for the event. Simply pick up a blank luminaria from the Surprise Senior Center, take it home to decorate it, and then return it by 4 p.m. on Friday, December 7 so it can be displayed.

For more information, please contact Joe Gladieux at joe.gladieux@surpriseaz.gov or 623.222.1500.


I would like to wish you and your families a wonderful holiday season. Moving forward and as your Mayor, I will be issuing a monthly newsletter beginning in January. I look forward to serving you in this capacity and keeping you updated. Thank you!

Fox 10 Previews OUAZ Football Victory Bowl

On November 29, 2018, Mayor Hall joined the Ottawa University Football Team on Spirit Field for a preview of their first ever bowl game with FOX 10’s Cory McCloskey. The Haydon Building Corp NCCAA Victory Bowl Invitational caps the team’s first season of play. OUAZ recorded a 7-3 overall record during the regular season. They finished third in the Sooner Athletic Conference by posting a 5-3 record in conference games.

Skip Hall selected as City of Surprise Mayor

The Surprise City Council unanimously selected Skip Hall to serve as the city’s next mayor.

Mayor Hall will serve in this capacity until December 31, 2020, fulfilling the remaining mayoral term vacated by Sharon Wolcott on November 16, 2018.

Hall has served on the city council since 2008 and was most recently re-elected to the District 5 seat in the 2018 Primary Election. He served as vice mayor in 2011 and 2014. He also served three years as a city Planning and Zoning Commission member before being elected to the city council.

As a councilmember Hall has been engaged in growing the city’s water portfolio, supporting transportation improvements throughout the city, attracting new employers to Surprise and engaging the city’s youth in developing the city’s future leaders.

Prior to his service to Surprise, Hall held executive leadership roles in the hospitality and real estate industries.

He is a Vietnam War Veteran and was awarded the Bronze Star in 1969-1970. Hall grew up in Idaho and received a business degree from Seattle University.

Hall’s appointment to the mayor’s seat triggers a vacancy in District 5, setting the stage for an appointment process for that district with a term expiration of December 31, 2020. The City Clerk will open the application period on Monday, November 26, 2018.

The next election for the mayor’s seat will be the August 20th Primary Election in 2020, and the winning candidate would then begin a new four-year term on January 1, 2021.

November 15, 2018 • Newsletter

Bullard Avenue Update

The Bullard Avenue Improvement Project remains on schedule to be substantially complete this month, weather permitting; full project completion will be achieved in early 2019.

Slurry seal work will move to the north and southbound left lanes; traffic is scheduled to be switched to the lanes adjacent to the protected bike lanes on Monday, November 19. Scheduled work hours for this week are Monday – Wednesday, 6 a.m. to 4 p.m.; crews will not be working on Thursday, November 22 and Friday, November 23 in observance of the Thanksgiving holiday.

  • Work will continue on the ADA ramps at the Bullard and Acoma intersection.
  • Roadway signage will be installed along the project corridor.
  • The speed limit in the construction area remains 25 mph, except in school zones where the speed limit is 15 mph. Please proceed with caution through the project area and remember to Drive Wise, Surprise!

For project-related questions, contact Suneel Garg at 623.222.6130.To learn more about the Bullard Ave project, visit surpriseaz.gov/bullard.


Events & Meetings

Veterans Day Celebrations

It was my honor to take part in several Veterans Day events throughout the city last week. Solona at the Park hosted a celebration honoring our veterans on Thursday, November 8. Canyon Ridge Elementary School also hosted their annual Veterans Day Commemoration Program on Friday, November 9, as did the community of Sun Village.

The city of Surprise hosted their annual Veterans Day Parade on Monday, November 12. We would like to thank all of you who attended and our parade entries for a great event honoring our nation’s heroes and an even bigger thank you to our veterans! The following were recognized as parade winners:

  • Best Veteran Service Organization Entry – Sons of the American Revolution
  • Best Military Entry – White Tank Mountain Marine Corps League Detachment 1246
  • Best Motorized Entry – Chance Shelter
  • Best Non-Motorized Entry – Painted Promise Ranch
  • Best Musical/Performance Entry – Shadow Ridge High School Marching Band
  • Best Youth Entry – Bling Tour
  • Best Classic Car Entry – Auburn Classic Kit Car

25th Year Work Anniversary

The City Clerk’s office hosted a 25 year anniversary celebration on Thursday, November 8 to acknowledge the time and commitment of Deputy City Clerk Linda Stevens. Congratulations, Linda and thank you for serving the residents of Surprise!

Friends of the Library Volunteer Appreciation Dinner

Surprise Friends of the Library hosted a volunteer appreciation dinner on Thursday, November 8 at Valley Vista High School. The nonprofit organization has been helping Surprise residents, and they have contributed more than $570,000 to the community since their inception. Currently, they have more than 90 volunteers. The volunteers collectively donate more than 800 hours a month to make the organization function successfully.

Pictured above are FOL Board Member Bev Autrey with 2018 Volunteer of the Year Janet Axelrod and volunteers who were recognized for five years of service.

Special thanks to the culinary students at Valley Vista High School who did a fantastic job catering the event and to Surprise Friends of the Library for your community support!

Sun City Grand Fall Festival

I appreciated the opportunity to attend the Sun City Grand Fall Festival on Saturday, November 10. The festival included quality arts and crafts, music, food and fun.

Farewell to City Manager Bob Wingenroth

City staff hosted a farewell open house at City Hall for outgoing City Manager Bob Wingenroth on Tuesday, November 13. Bob served as City Manager since June 2014 and prior as our Chief Financial Officer and Assistant City Manager for a year. Please join me in wishing Bob the best of luck and thanking him for his overwhelming support of City Council, city staff and the city as whole.

Ottawa University Student Housing Groundbreaking

Ottawa University hosted a groundbreaking for their new student housing buildilng on Wednesday, November 14. The construction of the dorms are already underway and scheduled for completion in November 2019. The $19.9 million facility will be four stories and include 312 beds. The building will consist of more than 73,000 square feet.

Ottawa Dooms 2018

 

Chance Shelter Meeting with Sun Village Residents

The city hosted a meeting at Sun Village with Chance Shelter representatives on Wednesday, November 14. Chance Shelter provided an overview of their conceptual proposed shelter. Residents asked several questions pertaining to the project and the location. After listening to the feedback from the residents, city staff will discuss the conversations that took place as well as alternative locations.Thank you to those who attended.


Mark Your Calendar

City Council Meeting

The Surprise City Council will meet on Tuesday, November 20 for our regularly scheduled Work Session and Council meeting, 4 p.m. and 6 p.m., respectively. City Council will vote to select a current City Councilmember to complete the remainder of Mayor Sharon Wolcott’s term at this meeting. The next election for the mayor’s seat would be the primary election in 2020 and the winning candidate would then begin a new four-year term on January 1, 2021. Mayor Wolcott’s last day in office is Friday, November 16.

City Hall Closed for Thanksgiving Holiday

Please note that City Hall will be closed on Thursday, November 22 and Friday, November 23 in observance of Thanksgiving. City of Surprise trash and recycling customers are reminded that trash and recycling collection normally scheduled for Thursday, November 22 will occur on Friday, November 23.

Surprise RideChoice public meeting Nov. 28

Valley Metro will be hosting a public meeting in Surprise on Nov. 28 to discuss its new, enhanced RideChoice transportation service.

Last month, Surprise RideChoice customers were given the option of remaining in the current RideChoice program through Nov. 30 or transitioning to the new program, which fully launches Dec. 1.

Anyone currently enrolled in Surprise RideChoice, or who wants to learn more about the transportation service, is invited to attend the public meeting, which will be held:

Wednesday, November 28
11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
Surprise Senior Center
15832 N Hollyhock Street
Surprise, AZ 85378

The redesigned RideChoice program offers more service and more transportation options, including:

  • Single phone number – Whether you are calling to request a trip, change or cancel a trip or check on a requested trip, you will call 602.716.2111. Representatives are available 24 hours per day, every day of the year, including holidays.
  • Expanded provider network – The network will include many of the current taxicab providers, as well as more wheelchair-accessible vehicles. The popular rideshare service Lyft will also be joining RideChoice. This means more vehicles and quicker service.
  • More trips – The monthly RideChoice limit increases from 16 to 20 RideChoice trips per month! AND for those of you who use RideChoice to get to work, school or medical appointments, the monthly limit increases from 40 to 50 trips per month.
  • Simplified fare structure – The RideChoice fare is not changing, but the rules are getting easier. It’s $3 for each trip up to eight-miles long. And if your trip is longer, it’s just $2 for each additional mile.
  • Cashless, cardless system – The RideChoice Fare Card is going away. Instead, you will simply provide a credit card, debit card or checking account routing number when you book your trip, and you are all set. There is no need to carry cash or a credit card when you travel.

View the program information online.

For questions about the RideChoice program, please contact Valley Metro at 602.716.2100.

17th Annual Surprise Party

Celebrate with the City of Surprise at the 17th annual Surprise Party on Nov. 30 and Dec. 1 at the Surprise Recreation Campus! This fun-filled event offers a variety of activities and entertainment experiences, and admission is free with a canned food or toy donation benefiting Sanderson Ford Operation Santa Claus. Here’s what you can expect:

Friday, November 30 (5 p.m. – 9 p.m.)
Will include a traditional tree lighting ceremony, a hot air balloon glow, Arizona Skyhawks Skydivers, great food, live musical performances from “The Chadwicks” and “SMASHED,” fireworks and ice skating. Plus, Santa’s Workshop offers a free opportunity for youth of all ages to visit with Santa and Mrs. Claus while enjoying arts and crafts, cookies, and fun! Friday’s event will be held at the Surprise Recreation Campus – Stadium Plaza, located at 15850 N. Bullard Avenue. Fireworks will begin approximately at 8:55 p.m.

Saturday, December 1 (11 a.m. – 5 p.m.)
Will include an arts and crafts festival, classic car show, interactive games, camel rides, a petting zoo, clowns, face painters, inflatables, gingerbread house contest, ice skating and much more! Throughout the day, enjoy a variety of entertainment, including performances by the City of Surprise dance programs. Concessions will be available for purchase. Saturday’s events will be held at the Surprise Recreation Campus – Mark Coronado Park, north of Surprise Stadium.

For additional event information, please contact the Surprise Community and Recreation Services Department at 623.222.2000 or visit www.surpriseaz.gov/specialevents.


Did You Know?

My Surprise Community Engagement App Now Available

The city has launched a new way for residents to connect with city services and reminders, the My Surprise app! When you download My Surprise, you’ll join our community of vigilant residents who want to help Surprise be one of the cleanest, most well-maintained cities in Arizona.

My Surprise transforms your smart devices into tools that assist with reporting city-maintained service requests such as broken street lights, potholes on city streets, graffiti, flooded roadways and more! The app also provides users a way to connect with City Council members and receive refuse reminders, such as changes to the schedule due to holidays. Plus, My Surprise is easy to use! Reporting a concern is as simple as logging in, typing a brief description of the issue and pressing send; you can even upload video, audio and image files! My Surprise even allows you to pinpoint the exact location of your service request.

My Surprise was designed for a community who cares about the appearance and functionality of city-maintained spaces. Join us, and let’s build a beautiful, safe city we can all enjoy; download the app now and show your love for My Surprise! The My Surprise app is now available for download in the Apple Store and Google Play Store. Learn more about My Surprise at surpriseaz.gov/mysurprise.

My Surprise App

 

In Closing

I would like to wish you and your families a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday. In the spirit of Thanksgiving and with the sincerest gratitude, I have been proudly serving you for nine years, and I am grateful to each of you for the opportunity you’ve given me. Thank you! Please also note that due to the holiday, I will not be sending out a newsletter next week.

Voters ok city water election

Voters have approved the May 15th Water Election, authorizing City Council to complete negotiations with the Circle City Water Company (CCW) for the possible acquisition of the utility.

According to preliminary results released by the Maricopa County Recorder’s Office tonight 80% (14,676) of registered voters voted yes; 20% (3,615) voted no.

CCW is a small water service company in the northern part of Surprise’s planning area and future water service area. This acquisition, which would require City Council approval, would provide Surprise with the company’s existing water infrastructure and grow the city’s allocation of Colorado River water by more than 38 percent.

Colorado River water is currently the only renewable surface supply available to Surprise. Having a right to more surface water will help the city meet future demands and shortfalls.

The purchase of CCW would be funded through the sale of current and future water portfolio assets.

Official final results are expected from the county by Friday, May 18.

The City Council will meet to canvass the votes at a Special Council Meeting, on Tuesday, May 22.  This meeting will begin at 4:30 p.m., and will be held in the Community Room of City Hall, as Council Chambers will be closed for pre-scheduled equipment upgrade work.

Council approves new sign code

Last night, City Council voted to approve a new City Code Chapter 113, which addresses signage. The update aims to balance business needs with aesthetics, while meeting the requirements of law.

Under the new code, Businesses will have increased options for permanent signage and are permitted to use limited temporary signage, which was not allowed under the old code.

Highlights of the new sign code related to Temporary Signs include:

  • Small A-Frames (Class 1 Temporary Signs, not exceeding 30 inches in height or width) – Only allowed in conjunction with a Lawful Temporary Event being held on land zoned for single-family residential uses. One sign allowed at the event site; one at each local or collector street intersection leading from the site of the event to the adjacent arterial street grid; two signs at the point where the local or collector streets intersect with the arterial street (one sign on the side of the street closest to the event and one on the opposite side of the arterial street). May be displayed one hour prior to the start of the event and must be removed one hour after the event ends for events that occur between 9:00 AM and 6:00 PM Monday through Thursday, or any length of time between 4:00 PM Friday and 11:00 PM Sunday.
  • Large A-Frame Sign and Pedestal Sign (Class 2 Temporary Signs, not exceeding 45 in height and 36 inches in width) – One sign within 15 feet of the business entrance. May be displayed during the business hours of the business.
  • Banner Signs (Non-residential) – Must be equipped with ventilation flaps. One banner may be placed on a building. Max area should not exceed one square foot per linear foot of building elevation, not to exceed 500 square feet. For a single-tenant building, width shall not exceed 80% of the building elevation width. For multi-tenant building, width shall not exceed 80% of the leased tenant frontage.
  • Additional provisions for Model Home Complexes and active single-family residential subdivisions.

Highlights of the new sign code related to Permanent Signs include:

  • Commercial Wall Signs – 1.5 square foot of sign area per 1 linear foot of building elevation for elevations that face street or parking lot.  Additional provisions for increased sign area in certain circumstances.
  • Commercial Ground Signs – All freestanding ground signs must be of a monument type with the base of the sign at least 75% of the width of the sign face.
  • Minor Monument Signs (Class V, associated with non-residential uses in a residential zone such as schools or places of worship, but not including Cottage Industries or Home Occupations; multi-family uses in multi-family zones; or non-residential uses in a non-residential zone located on a High Volume Collector Street, Residential Collector Street, or Commercial Collector Street) – 8 foot maximum height with additional 2 foot architectural embellishments allowed; 32 square feet sign area. One sign per 150 feet of street frontage. Minimum spacing on same property 150 feet.
  • Major Monument Signs (Class VI, associated with non-residential uses in a non-residential zone located along a Parkway, Major Arterial, or Minor Arterial, and Grand Ave.) – One sign per 150 feet of street frontage.  Minimum spacing on same property 150 feet. Cannot be located within 80 feet of residential. Height dependent upon proximity to residential up to maximum height of 15 feet with two additional feet of architectural embellishments.
  • Freeway Monument Signs – Up to 65 feet in certain specified locations.
  • Electronic Messaging Centers – Allowed up to 50% of sign copy provided static sign copy with change rate no more frequent than 8 seconds, and nighttime illumination level not more than 0.03 foot-candles above ambient.

Billboards remain prohibited, as do vehicle signs, inflatable signs, and animated signs that flash, blink or rotate.

The process to update the sign code began in spring 2015. The adopted code was shaped by input from residents, businesses, City Council, Planning and Zoning Commission and other stakeholders.

To read the full updated sign code, please visit: www.surpriseaz.gov/signcode.

The code is effective April 5, 2018.

Please note that city businesses operating under an existing Comprehensive Sign Program (CSP) will continue to be guided by the rules of their CSP.

The city’s Temporary Sign Code, enacted by City Council in September to address the needs of businesses and residents while the Comprehensive Sign Code was in the revision process, remains in place until the effective date of the new sign code.

For questions, please contact Robert Kuhfuss at 623.222.3137 or robert.kuhfuss@surpriseaz.gov.

City begins FY19 budget discussions

The City of Surprise Fiscal Year 2019 budget-building process kicked off at the City Council’s Work Session, 4 p.m., Tuesday, February 6.

This was the first in a series of presentations regarding the overall development of the budget. The first presentation provided a general overview of the city’s budget, including revenue sources, city funds and expenditures.

The presentation also highlighted outside issues that influence the outcomes of the budget process. View presentation.

Future Council Work Sessions and Regular Meetings will include additional presentations related to budget development, including topics on Capital Improvement Projects and continued operating budget discussions. The Recommended Budget is scheduled for release in April, followed by months of Council and public review that will result in the adoption of a balanced FY2019 budget in June. FY2019 begins July 1, 2018.

Council agendas are posted online at http://agenda.surpriseaz.gov at least two business days before the meeting. City Council meets the first and third Tuesdays of each month. Work Sessions are at 4 p.m. and Regular Meetings begin at 6 p.m. All meetings are carried live on Surprise TV for cable customers and streamed online at www.surpriseaz.gov/surpriseTV.

It’s time to Decide Surprise as Council sends 3 bond questions for Nov ballot

At their June 6th Regular Meeting, City Council approved sending three General Obligation Bond questions in the areas of Public Safety, Traffic Congestion Mitigation and Pavement Preservation to the ballot in a Special Election on November 7, 2017. All registered voters in Surprise will receive a ballot by mail.

Residents are invited to learn more about the projects, costs and voter information at a specialized website Decide Surprise www.surpriseaz.gov/decidesurprise.

The projects included in the following questions were based on community needs, comments received from residents during the 2016 bond election outreach process, and input received during and after the Surprise Capital Improvement Funding Exploratory Committee’s April 19 meeting.

Question #1: Voters in Surprise are asked to consider a $34 million public safety bond proposal to: build a Public Safety Evidence & Readiness Center; renovate an existing city facility into a Police Training Facility; acquire Land for Future Fire Station/Police Substation & Park; build a new Fire Station at Cactus and Litchfield roads; build  a new Fire Station along 163rd Avenue, south of Happy Valley Road, to replace the current temporary station; and build a Public Works Operations Facility to centralize  operations. The annual cost for a homeowner would be approximately $26 per $100,000 in Limited Property Value (LPV).

Question #2: Voters in Surprise are asked to consider a $15.5 million street bond proposal to provide funds to plan, design, construct and improve Waddell, Greenway and Litchfield roads. The annual cost for a homeowner would be approximately $12 per $100,000 in Limited Property Value (LPV).

Question #3: Voters in Surprise are asked to consider a $10 million street pavement preservation bond proposal to plan, design, construct, replace and improve deteriorated street pavement citywide. The annual cost for a homeowner would be approximately $8 per $100,000 in Limited Property Value (LPV).

General Obligation Bonds are sold to investors who are repaid with interest. The repayment comes from a secondary property tax, which Surprise does not currently have.   If all three questions are approved, the annual secondary property tax could be up to $46 per $100,000 in Limited Property Value, or approximately $4 per month.  ($92 per $200,000 in Limited Property Value, or approximately $8 per month).  You can determine the exact cost to your property by following the steps listed at www.surpriseaz.gov/decidesurprise.

Educational public meetings will be scheduled ahead of the November 7 Special Election. Meeting dates and locations will be posted at www.surpriseaz.gov/decidesurprise.

Voter registration for this election closes on October 9. You can register online by visiting:  https://recorder.maricopa.gov/elections/registrationform.aspx, or stop by the Surprise City Clerk’s Office in person Monday thru Friday 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.