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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
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.
The Surprise City Council approved a $275.8 million Fiscal Year 2018 Budget, at a Special Meeting Tuesday night.
The budget maintains existing city services and identifies creative options to maximize some resources.
That includes securing outside revenue sources and reallocating the operating budget to provide new positions that address public safety, water and inspection demands. Two public safety grants (SAFER Grant and COPS Hiring Program) will partially fund a five-member Fire-Medical Peak Time Response Unit and two police officers, focused on community policing, through 2019.
This budget maintains the city’s current property tax rate of $0.7591 per $100 of assessed property valuation. Due to new construction and higher property valuations, as assessed by Maricopa County that would generate approximately $380,100 in new money. The primary property tax levy is set to support the uses of the General Fund and provides a more diversified revenue system that protects city services.
The budget also dedicates $49.8 million to support the city’s Capital Improvement Plan (CIP), which is used to maintain, preserve, and/or replace city infrastructure. This includes funding for pavement preservation of city streets, vehicle replacement and aging communications, information technology, recreation and utility infrastructure.
There are also a number of financial policy revisions regarding the level at which Council adopts the budget, who can amend the budget, minimum fund balances for the new Stormwater and Workers’ Compensation funds, and clearer definition of the reserves and their potential uses in the General Fund to strengthen the city’s financial position.
Council will vote to set the property tax levy and revise the financial policies at their June 20 Council Meeting.
The FY18 Budget will be available at www.surpriseaz.gov/budget.
The city of Surprise, in partnership with Valley Metro, will host a public outreach meeting on Tuesday, June 14 to provide current Northwest Valley Dial-a-Ride passengers an opportunity to learn about the new transportation service models prior to the July 1 transition of Dial-a-Ride to RideChoice and Valley Metro Paratransit.
The outreach meeting will be held in the Surprise City Hall Community Room, 16000 N. Civic Center Plaza, on June 14 from 4:00-5:30 p.m. A brief presentation will begin at 4 p.m.
Information about the shared route Senior Bus will also be presented at the meeting.
Following the presentation, city and Valley Metro representatives will be available to answer questions about the transportation services.
Individuals needing reasonable accommodations should contact the ADA coordinator at 623.222.3531 (Voice); or 623.222.3503 (TTY) at least three (3) business days prior to the meeting so arrangements can be made.
Customers unable to attend the meeting can stay informed about the Dial-a-Ride service changes by visiting surpriseaz.gov/transportation.
City staff briefed City Council on three proposed General Obligation Bond questions in the areas of Public Safety, Traffic Congestion Mitigation and Pavement Preservation, at Tuesday’s Work Session.
The three proposed questions and projects, as presented to Council, were determined 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.
Proposed 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).
Proposed 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).
Proposed 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).
Per City Council consensus at the Work Session, staff will bring back a Call to Election action item at the June 6 Regular Council Meeting. If approved, the three separate bond questions would appear on the ballot in a Special Election on November 7. All registered voters in Surprise will receive a ballot by mail.
City Council Work Sessions begin at 4 p.m. and Regular Meetings begin at 6 p.m. They are open to the public and carried live on Surprise TV and online www.surpriseaz.gov/surprise11. All meeting agendas are posted online at least 24 hours ahead of the meeting at www.surpriseaz.gov.