Category Archives: Newsletters

September 2021 • Newsletter

Welcome to September, where we see the end of summer and the ushering in of fall! We began our new fiscal year in July and have great hope for what the next 10 months will bring as the City Council’s conservative fiscal policies continue to serve us well. While we faced challenges last year due to the pandemic, it was still a year of tremendous growth for our city.

FY21 Economic Development Review flyer.We continue to actively recruit economic development opportunities, and this past year was tremendous for business in Surprise. Our Surprise Economic Development Department ended the fiscal year with 875 job assists, initiated 985,000 square feet of new development and $165 million in new capital investment.

The city is in the process of seeking a new City Manager to replace Mike Frazier, who is retiring in January. This position is appointed by the Surprise City Council, and it acts as the Chief Administrative Officer of the city. This position is responsible for providing administrative leadership in the daily operational management of the city. The application period closed on July 30.

A City Council subcommittee, comprised of Councilmember Duffy, Councilmember Remley and me, will review the 59 candidates’ applications and make a recommendation to the full council on which candidates to move forward in the interview process. Interviews are scheduled for September 28 and 29.

For selected finalists, the first day of the interview process will entail an in-person city tour, meet-and-greet with the city’s departments and a group dinner with the council. Day two will begin with a series of interviews with a Stakeholders/City Partnership Panel, a West Valley Mayors and City Managers Panel, and one-on-one interviews with each of the Surprise City Councilmembers.

A Special City Council Meeting on Wednesday, September 29, at 5 p.m., in Council Chambers, will provide finalists an opportunity to present a five-minute live presentation on “Why I Should be the City Manager in Surprise.” Council will then adjourn into Executive Session to ask follow-up questions of the finalists. Council will then debrief and provide instructions to the recruitment consultant, city attorney and human resources department regarding next steps on a possible selection. This meeting will be carried live on Surprise TV and streamed on https://www.surpriseaz.gov/surprisetv.
The city anticipates filling the position in December 2021.

Water availability is always a concern in Arizona. As elected officials, we need to be diligent to ensure we have water for our growth for years to come. As you may be aware, the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation announced a Tier 1 shortage for Colorado River operations for 2022, meaning less water supplies available to Arizona. Due to Arizona’s priority system, our city supplies will not experience a reduction. This shortage declaration does not mean a shortage at your tap.

The city’s water managers, together with the private water companies that operate in Surprise, ADWR and CAP, have been preparing for a shortage on the Colorado River System for years. Surprise has a 100-year assured water supply designation from the State to ensure reliable water supplies that support responsible growth. This designation means that the city has shown continuous, physical, and legal availability of water, along with water quality and financial capability standards, to maintain water supplies. Our city’s private water providers are also required to have a 100-year assured water supply. The city has also built a diverse and robust water portfolio for its water utility, including renewable surface water, groundwater and reclaimed water.

Additionally, Surprise has a comprehensive and strategic Drought Preparedness Plan outlining short- and long- term strategies for managing and sustaining our water portfolio. This plan is currently being updated and will help reduce the city’s vulnerability to supply reductions and increase our portfolio’s resiliency.

While residents will not see a water shortage with this drought declaration, Surprise will likely enact its Drought Preparedness Plan for 2022, when the shortage status takes effect. At this stage, customers can expect to see extensive messaging on ways to help Surprise conserve water.

Conserving water has always been important in our desert community. To ensure sustainable growth, we must continue planning, investing and being efficient with the water we have. The city encourages residents to use water wisely and practice conservation techniques. Here are some ways you can help:

  • Get water conservation resources and learn about water conservation rebates at surpriseaz.gov/waterconservation
  • City of Surprise water utility customers can track their water use through our WaterSmart® portal and set leak alerts. Access the portal through the “pay my utility bill online” option on our website at surpriseaz.gov/utilities
  • Find 100+ water saving tips at wateruseitwisely.com

Learn more about the city’s water conservation program and drought preparedness at surpriseaz.gov/droughtmgmt.

Sunday in the Park is returning to Surprise with music and food trucks this month! The first event in the series will take place on September 19 and will feature live music by Music II Muzic, various food trucks, an assortment of beer and wine, and family-friendly entertainment such as bounce houses, face painting, a trackless train and more! Event admission is free; food and drink will be available for purchase. Dogs are allowed, if leashed. If you can’t make it to this one, join us October 17 for music by Southbound and November 7 for music by Blaine Long and Rosas del Rey. All Sunday in the Park events will be held at Mark Coronado Park, 15850 N Bullard Ave., from 3-7 p.m.

Major League Baseball has released the Cactus League Spring Training schedule. Opening Day is set for Saturday, February 26th at Surprise Stadium. For more information on the schedule, ticket information, etc., please visit surprisestadium.com for more details and to sign up for email alerts.

The city will host a 9/11 Remembrance Ceremony on Saturday, September 11, 2021 at 8:30 a.m. This ceremony will commemorate the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks and will honor the victims, survivors, and heroes of that day.

The event will be held in the central outdoor courtyard of Surprise City Hall, 16000 N. Civic Center Plaza. See the parking and event location map, here. For those wishing to watch online, the ceremony will be carried on Facebook LIVE at Facebook.com/CityofSurprise.

West Valley Arts Council, in partnership with The Vista Center for the Arts and Ground Floor Artists, is presenting an inaugural Surprise Mayor’s Exhibit titled, “A Tribute to Our Heroes.” I look forward to jurying the exhibit, along with a panel of partners and community members.

The exhibit runs September 3 – November 11 at The Vista Center for the Arts, 15660 N. Parkview Place in Surprise. There will be an opening reception on September 3 from 4-7 p.m. For more information, please visit westvalleyarts.org.

It continues to be a privilege to serve you. I look forward, with great anticipation, for what this new fiscal year will bring us.

August 2021 • Newsletter

Neighborhood Grant Program

I am pleased to announce that City Council recently approved the funding for the Surprise Neighborhood Grant Program. This program provides funding to eligible neighborhoods for neighborhood functions, community improvements and events. This program also allows City Council to foster partnership with our local neighborhoods.

All applications are due on Monday, September 27 at 5 p.m. For more information on how to apply please, visit surpriseaz.gov/NGP.

Surprise Mayor’s Exhibit: A Tribute To Our Heroes

West Valley Arts Council, in partnership with The Vista Center for the Arts and Ground Floor Artists, is working on an inaugural Surprise Mayor’s Exhibit. The theme, “A Tribute To Our Heroes,” marks the 20th anniversary of the tragedy of 9/11 and aims to reflect on how the heroes of this day have shaped, and continue to shape, our nation into one of support, togetherness, and collective endurance. Individual artists are invited to submit works thematically tied to the events of September 11, 2001 and/or works remembering and celebrating those who gave their lives through heroic acts. I have the honor of jurying the exhibit, along with a panel of partners and community members.

The exhibit opens September 3, 2021 at The Vista Center for the Arts, 15660 N. Parkview Place in Surprise, and will coincide with performances to be held at this location through November 11, 2021. For more information on how to submit an entry, please visit westvalleyartscouncil.submittable.com/submit.

General Obligation Bond Update

City of Surprise voters approved the General Obligation (G.O.) Bond in November 2017. All 10 of the voter-approved projects are expected to be complete by the end of 2021. The city has already completed Fire Station 304, the Public Works Operations Facility, improvements to Waddell and Litchfield roads, and the majority of the pavement preservation.

The new Public Safety Evidence & Readiness Center will be able to support additional space for police evidence and property storage and accommodate overall public safety tactical storage in one logistics center. The facility will be 29,000 square feet and is designed to accommodate 30 years of growth. Construction began in November 2020 and is expected to be complete in fall 2021.

We are modifying an existing city building on the same site as the Public Safety Evidence and Readiness Center to create a Police Training Facility. The building will accommodate a defensive tactics room, firearms simulation room, classroom, locker rooms and other support spaces. This project is expected to be complete in fall 2021.

To meet the growing service call demand, a new Fire Station 308 is being built on city-owned land located on the southeast corner of Litchfield Rd. and Cactus Rd. Construction began in December 2020 and is expected to be completed in late 2021.

Greenway Road improvements, from Cotton Ln. to Sarival Ln., are expected to be completed by the end of August 2021, weather permitting. Work is underway to add two more travel lanes, turn lanes, bicycle lanes, and sidewalks. A traffic light is now operational at Greenway Rd. and Northwest Ranch Pkwy.

City staff is in the process of exploring potential options for a local park in the southwest region of the city, as well as acquiring 16 acres of land for a shared Police Substation and Fire Station. For more information on the G.O. Bond, please visit surpriseaz.gov/DecideSurprise.

SK Lounge Ribbon Cutting

On July 9, I attended the ribbon cutting for SK Lounge, along with other councilmembers and Dennis Tran, owner of SK Lounge and Saigon Kitchen. SK Lounge is located at 14071 W Bell Rd.

Surprise City Council and the economic development department join Saigon Kitchen to cut a ribbon for the opening of SK Lounge.

Safe Digging Day

National Safe Digging Day is August 11th, and it’s a great time to brush up on tips for safe digging. Natural gas, electricity, sewer and water utility lines can be buried anywhere underground, so it’s important to know before you dig. Striking one of these lines poses a safety risk and can also cause an interruption of service to customers.

The City of Surprise encourages you to call 811 or visit arizona811.com two full working days prior to digging to request a utility line locate.

Get more information on safe digging at arizona811.com.

Drop-Off Recycling

Drop-off recycling is available at the Public Works North Yard, located at 17274 N Litchfield Road. Hours of operation are Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.

Accepted materials are:

  • Plastic bottles #1 and #2 (including milk gallons, soda bottles, condiment bottles, water bottles, shampoo bottles, and detergent containers). Please be sure to screw all lids on the bottles or remove them completely
  • Cardboard
  • Aluminum and tin cans

A city staff member will be present to assist in sorting recyclable materials and help ensure the recyclables are not contaminated. Please ensure your recyclables are clean and dry. Residents are encouraged to arrive to the recycling center with their recyclable materials pre-sorted to help expedite the process. For more information, please visit surpriseaz.gov/dropoffrecycling.

Council Conversations Show

Please take a moment to view my new Council Conversations show, where I interview new City of Surprise Police Chief, Benny Pina, and former Police Chief and current Assistant City Manager, Terry Young. We had a great discussion about the policies and practices that keep our Surprise Police Department operating at a standard of excellence. To watch, please visit https://bit.ly/2TtEb1z

City Council Meetings

The next regularly scheduled City Council meeting will be August 17 at 6 p.m. Please join us in-person or tune in on surpriseaz.gov/surprisetv, the Surprise City Gov Facebook page at facebook.com/cityofsurprise, or Cox channel 11.

July 2021 • Newsletter

4th of July Celebration

The City of Surprise will host the 38th Annual 4th of July Celebration on Sunday, July 4 at Mark Coronado Park from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Admission is free with the donation of a canned food item. This event will feature live music from Steven P and Music II Music, as well as a variety of food trucks.

The city will host a 20-minute firework show at approximately 8:40 p.m. on July 4th, weather permitting. The display will be staged in the area around Bullard Avenue and Paradise Lane.

Physical distancing is recommended at all Independence Day celebrations.

Arizona Fireworks Laws

With the Fourth of July right around the corner, it is important to review the laws regarding the use and sale of fireworks within Surprise city limits.

  • The sale of permissible consumer fireworks will take place from May 20 through July 6 with the minimum age to purchase fireworks being 16 years old.
  • Consumer firework use is permitted June 24 through July 6, on private property within city limits with owner consent. It is still illegal to use consumer fireworks on public property; this includes streets, sidewalks, and parks.

It is also important that you research your HOA community guidelines to understand their restrictions in relation to firework use in your driveway and yard. For more information regarding the sale and use of consumer fireworks please visit, surpriseaz.gov

APS West Valley Central 230kV Connection Project

Arizona Public Service’s (APS) mission is to provide clean, reliable, and affordable electric services to support and deliver for their existing customers, and their future growth. APS is planning on adding three new 230kV power lines that will connect a new Contrail Substation (located on the southeast corner of Olive Avenue and Dysart Road) to existing transmission facilities, Future TS-2 Substation and El Sol Substation.

APS needs community input to help identify the locations for the new power lines. Citizens are encouraged to visit the Public Information Virtual Open House online any time through July 10 by visiting, apswestvalleycentral.com. Through this, you will be able to view project information, provide your input, and request to speak with one of APS’ subject matter experts.

Heat Relief Stations

The City of Surprise has collaborated with Heat Relief Network to provide hydration and refuge situations to those in need of a place to cool off during the summer months. The city has three Heat Relief stations:

  1. Surprise Resource Center, Refuge & hydration – 12425 W. Bell Road, Building A, Suite 124
  2. Surprise Fire-Medical Station #301, Hydration – 16750 N. Village Drive East
  3. The Salvation Army, Refuge & hydration – 17420 N. Avenue of the Arts Boulevard

You can help those in need of relief by donating sunglasses, sunscreen, hats, and water bottles at either the Surprise Resource Center or Surprise Fire Medical Station #301.

The Surprise Police Department wants to remind you that, hot cars can kill! Never leave a child alone in a car, and always check for kids, pets, and vulnerable persons before you lock your vehicle. If you see a child alone in a vehicle please call 911.

Surprise Day of Service

The City of Surprise Human Services and Community Vitality Department will be hosting a Day of Service at St. Mary’s Food Bank. This event will take place on Wednesday, July 21. Volunteers assist with sorting bulk food items, creating food baskets and loading food into vehicles; helping in the process of providing food for families in need. To volunteer, contact Larry Garcia at 623.222.1522 or larry.garcia@surpriseaz.gov.

Traffic Signal Project

A new traffic signal is being installed at Waddell Road and 145th Avenue. As a result, drivers can expect intermittent lane restrictions. The signals are tentatively scheduled to be fully operational by the end of August 2021. For more information, please visit surpriseaz.gov

Floyd Gaines Park

Councilmember Ken Remley and I are proud to announce that Floyd Gaines Park is back open after it’s relocation to 16001 N. Nash Street. The newly relocated field includes a lighted youth baseball field, netting, fencing, restrooms, and a lighted paved parking lot.

The relocation of the field allowed for some additional amenities to be brought to the Original Town Site, in addition to the construction of an affordable housing project. For more information on Floyd Gaines Park and all Surprise city parks, please visit surpriseaz.gov/parks

Floyd Gaines Park baseball, sign, and commemorative plaque.

City Council Meetings

City Council is on recess in July. The next regularly scheduled City Council meeting will be August 17 at 6 p.m. Please join us in-person, or tune in on surpriseaz.gov/surprisetv, the Surprise City Gov Facebook page at facebook.com/cityofsurprise, or on Cox channel 11.

May 2021 • Newsletter

Surprise Retail Survey

The last day to take the 2021 online retail survey is May 9! We utilize the survey to see what local retail and restaurant spots you love most, and what new shopping and dining destinations you want to see in Surprise. Please help Surprise stand out as we market our community to new retailers and recognize local places doing a great job! To take the survey, please visit surpriseaz.gov/retailsurvey.

FY2022 Budget

The City Manager’s Fiscal Year (FY) 2022 Recommended Budget, was presented at the Special City Council meeting on April 16. The budget continues to focus on our commitment to maintain quality public services and infrastructure. The Recommended Budget includes $118.7 million for planned Capital Improvement Projects (CIP). These funds support infrastructure, renovations and construction of a police substation, fire stations, municipal art projects, water and wastewater treatment facilities, as well as improvements to the quality of the City’s recreation centers, fields, parks, roadways and drainage.

Final budget adoption is scheduled for the June 1 Regular Council Meeting. To follow the budget process, please visit surpriseaz.gov/budget.

Donna Miller Retirement

It saddens us to announce that Parks and Recreation Director Donna Miller, has retired after 19 years with the city. She joined the Community & Recreation Services (CRS) team in 2002 as a Recreation Coordinator, rose to the rank of Assistant Director in 2011, and Director in 2017. A big “Thank You” to Donna for her dedication to the City of Surprise, and well wishes as she enters retirement!

White Tanks Wild Day Proclamation

Surprise partnered with the White Tanks Conservancy and other West Valley cities to proclaim April 22 White Tanks Wild Day. We are encouraging citizens to visit the White Tank Mountains; to learn more about our local history to educate themselves regarding the imperative for protecting place and passage for wildlife and people; and to support the White Tank Mountains Conservancy in its mission to conserve, connect and collaborate, so all future generations may enjoy the natural and cultural resources of the mountains.

The White Tank Mountains are an ecological, aesthetic, and economic asset for the nearly 5 Million Maricopa County residents, as well as public and private sectors across the State of Arizona.

City Libraries Enter Next Phase of Re-opening

Maricopa County Library District, the operator of our three city libraries, has moved into its next phase of reopening. Visitors now have full browsing access to library shelves, along with already-implemented contactless and limited contact services. There will not be indoor library events/programming at this time, but they may offer small programs outdoors, if weather permits. This phase does not allow for public access to the computers. Learn more at www.mcldaz.org.

West Valley Hub for Military & Veteran Resources and Support Services

In partnership with the Arizona Coalition for Military Families (ACMF), Arizona Department of Veterans’ Services, Northern Arizona University (NAU), Maricopa Community Colleges Foundation, and Rio Salado Community College, the City of Surprise is proud to offer the West Valley Military and Veteran Success Center a new location within the Surprise Resource Center at the AZ TechCelerator Campus, located at 12425 W. Bell Road, Suite 124.

The center includes a variety of military and veteran support services and resources. Support services at the Surprise Resource Center will be implemented in phases. The first phase of services are now available and include a part-time Be Connected navigator and full-time AmeriCorps member provided by ACMF and NAU.

The second phase is expected to be implemented this fall, and will include the deployment of an Arizona Department of Veterans’ Services Veteran Benefits Counselor (VBC) by establishing a satellite office and creating access for service members residing in the West Valley.

For more information on the West Valley Military and Veteran Success Center, please visit the City of Surprise website at surpriseaz.gov/veterans.

Surprise Day of Service

Mayor Hall fills bags with pinto beans.City Council volunteered at a Seeds of Hope Ministries event on April 24 to fill bags of beans for ease of distribution to those in need through the Valley View Community Food Bank. City Council and other volunteers helped to bag 6,000 lbs of beans!

The next Surprise Day of Service will be held on May 26, 2021 from 8:30 a.m. to 11 a.m. For more information, please visit www.surpriseaz.gov/dayofservice or contact larry.garcia@surpriseaz.gov.

Memorial Day Ceremony

The American Legion Post 96 and Marine Corps League WTMD will host a ceremony at the Army Air Corp Memorial, located on the west side of Surprise Lake at Surprise Community Park, on Saturday, May 29 at 9 a.m. For more information please visit the city website at surpriseaz.gov/.

Volunteer Income Tax Assistance

IRS trained volunteers are offering free income tax assistance at two Surprise locations. A New Leaf’s VITA Program provides free tax preparation services, ensuring that hard-working individuals receive the maximum benefits available without losing hundreds of dollars in paid-preparer fees. Households who make $57,000 or less are eligible for this free service.

Surprise Locations:

  • Surprise Resource Center
    12325 W. Bell Road, Bldg. A, Suite #124, Surprise, AZ 85378.
    Offered now – April 15, 2021, Mondays and Tuesdays from 4:00pm – 6:00pm, Thursdays from 9:00am – 11:30am.
  • Riverboat Bingo
    18300 W. Bell Road, Surprise, AZ 85374.
    Offered now – April 14, 2021, Wednesdays from 11:00am – 1:30pm.

For more information, please visit www.irs.gov/individuals/free-tax-return-preparation-for-qualifying-taxpayers or www.turnanewleaf.org/services/financial-empowerment/vita-program.html.

April 2021 • Newsletter

State of the City 2021

On April 13, I invite you to tune into a video premiere of our State of the City at 6 p.m. We will reflect on the resilience of our community and look forward to what’s on the horizon.

The State of the City video premiere will be carried live on Surprise TV, online at 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.

State of the City thumbnail

Economic Development Update

Crumbl Cookies has signed a lease at the southwest corner of Litchfield and Waddell, the “Marley Park” corner! Founded in Logan, UT in 2017, Crumbl now has more than 75 locations in 11 states. They offer cookie favorites such as chocolate chip and sugar cookies as well as 120 flavors that rotate weekly! More information: https://crumblcookies.com

B&B Appliances is moving into the former Luby’s location on Bell Road, east of RH Johnson Blvd, and is on track to open this month! B & B is a local family-owned appliance retailer that sells “mis-ordered” and scratched and dented appliances as well as brand new appliances. More information: https://bbappliances.com/

Surprise City Council Budget Retreat

The Surprise City Council Budget Retreat will take place on Friday, April 16 and will be open to public attendance. It will also be televised for those wishing to watch remotely. The retreat begins at 9 a.m. in City Council Chambers. There will be a lunch break approximately between 11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

At the retreat, Council will continue the development of the Fiscal Year 2022 City Manager’s Recommended Budget, which is scheduled to be released to the City Council in April. Final budget adoption comes in June, and Fiscal Year 2022 begins July 1, 2021.

In addition to in-person public comment, the public may comment by email prior to the start of the meeting. To submit email comments, please email publiccomments@surpriseaz.gov.

For more information about the budget-building process for Fiscal Year 2022 visit, surpriseaz.gov/budget.

Wyland National Mayor’s Challenge for Water Conservation

Surprise is joining cities across the country in asking residents to make a long-term commitment to manage water resources more wisely by taking part in the annual Wyland National Mayor’s Challenge for Water Conservation. The annual challenge is a non-profit national community service campaign to see which cities can best inspire their residents to make an online pledge at mywaterpledge.com to use water more efficiently, reduce pollution, and save energy.

To participate, residents must make a series of online pledges to conserve water through April 30. Cities with the highest percentage of residents who take the Challenge in their population category are entered into drawings for hundreds of eco-friendly prizes. In 2020, Surprise placed seventh in our population category!

In addition to participating in national and statewide water conservation campaigns, Surprise offers rebates to city-serviced water customers, landscape workshops, school presentations and more. To learn more about the Surprise water conservation program and resources for residents, visit surpriseaz.gov/waterconservation

Surprise Parks & Recreation Commission Hall of Fame

The City of Surprise Parks and Recreation Advisory Commission voted to induct Charley Pride and Buck O’Neil into the Surprise Recreation Campus Hall of Fame. Other 2021 Hall of Fame inductees includes: Gold Glove winners Isiah Kiner-Falefa and Joey Gallo of the Texas Rangers; and Alex Gordon of the Kansas City Royals.

Charley Pride, the legendary recording artist and performer who entertained millions around the world was no stranger to the game of baseball. Pride pitched in both the Negro and Minor Leagues throughout the 1950’s. Buck O’Neil, a Kansas City baseball legend, contributed to the sport of baseball in several ways, including as a player, a manager, and later as a speaker and historian for the Negro League. In 1962, he became the first black coach in Major League Baseball, working with the Chicago Cubs.

The Commission would also like to formally recognize 2020 Hall of Fame inductee Mike Planeta. Planeta advocated to ensure that the quality of recreation facilities and programming in Surprise remained at a first-class level.

Property Maintenance Ordinance

Currently, the City of Surprise follows the 2006 International Property Maintenance Code, or IPMC. The IPMC sets the standards of safety and appearance to all structures and premises within the city. The City of Surprise wants to replace the current property maintenance code, with one that is more specific to Surprise.

The City of Surprise has scheduled two virtual public meetings; the next being on Tuesday, April 13 at 6 p.m. Residents have until May 2nd to comment on the re-write. For more information on the public meetings and 60-day-comment period, please visit surpriseaz.gov/PMO.

Important Information for Southwest Gas Customers

Southwest Gas is transforming their customer information system from the ground up on Monday, May 3, 2021, to provide an improved customer experience along with enhanced security. For important information on how this will impact you and the way your account will be serviced, please visit swgas.com/new4u. The site will provide regular updates and tools to help you navigate the new system.

CARES Act Funding Update

City Council and staff have been intentional in how CARES Act money would be dispersed to help our residents, businesses, and our most vulnerable population. Federal, state and county leadership assisted in helping so many in need through this COVID crisis. Our job, at the local level, was to evaluate and serve the underserved. We focused on where our CARES Act allocations could help those that were not getting help elsewhere.

In September 2020, City Council approved dispersing $430,000 in funding to address COVID-19 community and business needs. $250,000 supported local businesses with fewer than 25 employees, with revenues less than $2 million. The funds helped pay staff, rent, utilities and administrative program costs. We also reviewed other shortfalls in senior meals, homeless outreach and water billing assistance and allocated $155,000 to these resources.

On November 3, City Council voted to disperse an additional $100,000 in Small Business Relief funding, while expecting 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. City Council also approved an additional $25,000 for water utility payment relief (the first round was $15,000).

AZ Cares Act dollar allocationl

The fully-utilized $350,000 Surprise Small Business Relief Grant was dispersed over two rounds, retained 483 local jobs, and helped 79 eligible local small businesses in the community. Eligible small business grant applicants fell into five categories ranging from $1,500 to $10,000 and had experienced either a mandatory business closure or severe capacity modification due to Governor Ducey’s Executive Orders during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Surprise small business relief distribution.

Community Outreach Grant Program

The City of Surprise is pleased to announce the Community Outreach Program. The major purpose of the program is to provide funding assistance to organizations within the City of Surprise for programs, events, and activities to enhance the overall lifestyle of the community. Council has set aside up to $100,000 for FY2021-2022 for the Surprise Community Outreach Program in an effort to support and grow qualified local programs and events to improve the health and welfare of Surprise residents. For more information on how to apply, please visit surpriseaz.gov/communityoutreachprogram

March 2021 • Newsletter

Surprise Day of Service

The City of Surprise Human Services and Community Vitality Department is seeking volunteers for Day of Service events on March 20 and March 31. On Saturday, March 20, volunteers will participate in various projects throughout the city including landscaping, painting, trimming of shrubs, debris removal, and more. On Wednesday, March 31, volunteers will meet at St. Mary’s Food Bank to help in the process of providing food to families in need. Registration is required for both events, and COVID-19 protocols will be in place.

For more information, please visit surpriseaz.gov/dayofservice. To volunteer, contact Larry Garcia at 623.222.1522 or larry.garcia@surpriseaz.gov.

National Community Survey

It’s time to share your thoughts on living in Surprise! In February, select households received a mailed invitation to take the 2021 National Community Survey, and this month the entire community will be invited to take part online. Survey responses will be collected on various topics ranging from traffic flow to public safety to senior and youth services. Results will be used by city officials to prioritize projects for Surprise and indicate where limited city funding should go based on services most desired.

Details on how to participate in the survey will be provided at surpriseaz.gov in the next couple of weeks. Results are expected to be shared on the city website, surpriseaz.gov, in May. To view previous results to the National Community Survey, please visit surpriseaz.gov/ncs

Greenway Road Expansion Project Update

The work on the 10 voter-approved Decide Surprise General Obligation Bond projects continues; several of these projects are projected to be completed this year. The Greenway Road improvement project will add two travel lanes and eliminate areas of the roadway that have multiple lanes merging into one lane. As part of this work, a hard closure of Greenway road is in place through Sunday, March 14, from Northwest Ranch Parkway to Legacy Park Boulevard. The project is estimated to be complete by November, weather permitting.

Drivers can expect roadway restrictions, traffic control changes, and reduced speed limits throughout the duration of the project. Learn more about the Greenway Road project and view a complete list of voter-approved Decide Surprise General Obligation Bond Projects online at surpriseaz.gov/decidesurprise.

Parks & Recreation Awarded “Better Sports for Kids Quality Program”

The Parks and Recreation Department has achieved the “Better Sports for Kids Quality Program Provider” designation, by the National Alliance for Youth Sports!

This honor demonstrates that the city has taken steps to ensure a safe and quality playing environment for children by meeting key requirements in five categories: Written Policies and Procedures, Volunteer Screening, Coach Training, Parent Education, and Accountability. Congratulations to the Parks & Recreation team!

Spring Training 2021

Spring Training is in full swing here in the Surprise for the Kansas City Royals and the Texas Rangers! We worked in collaboration with local and state health authorities, the Cactus League, Major League Baseball, Texas Rangers, Kansas City Royals and other destination partners to develop protocols to protect the health and safety of our fans—all while maintaining the fun and unforgettable experience of Spring Training.

Some of those protocols include reduced touchpoints, contactless ticketing, new intensified cleaning protocols, and reduced seating capacity for social distancing. For more information about Spring Training, please visit SurpriseStadium.com or call 623.222.2222.

Resident Recognition

Surprise resident, Ken Johanson, repairs and refurbishes bikes and provides them to at-risk children through schools and local non-profit H.A.R.T. Pantry. In the last two years, Ken has fixed and refurbished over 160 bikes! Congresswoman Debbie Lesko recently recognized this Surprise resident for his servant heart.

Surprise resident Ken Johanson receiving a certificate.

January 2021 • Newsletter

As we enter the new year, I would like to extend warm wishes and gratitude to our community. I am continually in awe at our capacity to imagine, create and act. Thank you to each and every one of you who has made this community what it is, including our staff who have gone above and beyond. Individually and as a city we have experienced many changes in 2020, and despite the unexpected detours we’ve faced, we have reasons for optimism.

The City of Surprise is entering into a solid financial position in 2021, which is largely due to our strong economy, our approach to COVID and conservative decisions. We have endured revenue losses mainly in two of our departments, Sports and Tourism and Parks and Recreation due to cancelations of a full Spring Training season, tournaments, and recreation programs.

Earlier this year, we asked you to participate in the 2020 Census. An amazing 71.2% of our households self-responded, that’s higher than the 65.8% self-response rate in 2010! After Census workers visited homes, 99.9% of households in Arizona were counted. This participation makes a tangible difference for our city and state, as an accurate count helps attract federal dollars to Surprise to support a variety of programs and helps our city get its share of funding and resources for the next 10 years.

This was a banner year for capital improvements, though due to focus on COVID and reducing in person events and celebrations, some in our community might have missed these milestones. The year began with the February dedication of our third library located in the Asante community. Just up the road and a few months later, the Surprise Fire & Medical department moved in and began operations from the permanent Fire Station 304, located at 163rd Avenue and San Ysidro. The 44,000 square foot Public Works Operations Facility built at Cactus and Litchfield roads is now complete and under full operation. Two sorely needed road-widening projects were completed (Waddell Road & Litchfield Road), significantly improving traffic safety, while also igniting economic development of adjacent properties. We also saw the first “Flashing Yellow” turn signals introduced to our city with this modification planned at many other intersections moving forward.

Meanwhile, several projects are underway with completion expected this coming year. This includes the full buildout of Greenway Road between Cotton Lane and Sarival Avenue. The new Fire Station 308, which will be the City’s first fire station located in the southeast portion of Surprise. And 2021 will also bring the completion of the Public Safety Evidence & Readiness Center as well as the Police Training facility, both of which are critical to meeting the public safety needs of our growing community. These represent some of the most noteworthy city projects; however, growth is occurring in nearly every corner of the city with improvements added almost every month.

While unprecedented challenges may linger, I know we will continue to remain strong and resilient. I think about all that has happened in 11 months. I would like to personally thank everyone for their patience, flexibility, understanding, innovation, respect for each other’s health and forward thinking as we collectively work through unprecedented times. We still have things to learn, overcome and accomplish, but I am beyond grateful to serve a community that unites through tough times. Residents can rest assured that your Surprise City Council will continue providing the best services possible during this pandemic.

Wishing you a new year full of peace, health, abundance and prosperity.

December 2020 • Newsletter

As 2020 draws to a close, I wanted to take this last opportunity of the year to publicly thank you – the residents of Surprise – for your patience and support this trying year. We have had some challenges that none of us could have ever predicted, but we’ve been able to accomplish so many great things despite those obstacles.

Surprise Party 2020 Coming to You!

While the 19th Annual Surprise Party may be going virtual or remote this year, our holiday spirit remains alive and well with a festive lineup of holiday themed programming that can be enjoyed from the comfort of your home or car! From cookie decorating with Mrs. Claus, to a video tree-lighting event and a Santa drive-thru, Surprise Party – At Home has something for everyone December 4 – 13!

Mark your calendars and tune in for the virtual tree lighting that will kick off these events on Friday, December 4 at 7 pm. The video events will be aired on Surprise TV online and the City of Surprise Parks and Recreation Facebook Page. On-demand video playback will be available for recorded events. Just visit surpriseaz.gov/surpriseparty and view the video recording at your convenience.

City of Surprise Annual DECK THE HOCK Event

The city’s annual Deck the Hock on Hollyhock Street will be a drop-off / pick-up style celebration this year! You are invited to drop off ornaments for three holiday trees on display in front of the Surprise Senior Center and leave gifts under them for three local families in need. We will also have a drop-box for our Surprise Police Department’s annual toy drive available. While you are there, you can pick up a hot cocoa and cookie to-go!

Deck the Hock will be held Friday, December 11 from 12-5 p.m. at the Surprise Senior Center, 15832 N. Hollyhock St. This is not a stay and gather event. Please stop by during that timeframe to drop-off gifts and ornaments and pick-up treats only. Masks are required, and social distancing measures will be in place.

Greenway Road Expansion Project Update

Construction of the voter-approved Greenway Road improvement project will begin December 3. The project will finish the south half of Greenway Road from 800 feet west of Loop 303 to 1600 feet east of Loop 303 (approximately Cotton Lane to Sarival Avenue), adding two travel lanes and eliminating areas of the roadway that have multiple lanes merging into one lane. In addition to more travel lanes, the project includes turn lanes, drainage infrastructure, sidewalks, bicycle lanes, street lighting and landscaping.

There will be lane restrictions on Greenway Road east and westbound approaching the Loop 303. One lane in each direction will be maintained and turning movements will not be affected. From Monday, December 7 until Friday, April 2, 2021, left turns will be restricted from Greenway Road onto Northwest Ranch Parkway and from Northwest Ranch Parkway onto Greenway Road. During this time, the access point at Northwest Ranch Parkway and Greenway Road will be right-in/right-out only.

Drivers can expect roadway restrictions, traffic control changes and reduced speed limits throughout the duration of the project, which is scheduled to be complete in November 2021, weather permitting. Learn more about the Greenway Road project and view a complete list of voter-approved Decide Surprise General Obligation Bond Projects online at surpriseaz.gov/decidesurprise.

Surprise Police Department Awarded Reaccreditation

Congratulations to the Surprise Police Department for achieving accredited status with the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies, Inc. (CALEA®) for the fifth consecutive time since 2007!

The purpose of the accreditation program is to improve the delivery of public safety services, primarily by maintaining a body of standards developed by public safety practitioners. To receive accreditation, agencies participate in a four-year process during which there is a comprehensive examination of all aspects of the agency’s policies, procedures, management, operations, and support services.

City of Surprise Public Meetings have Reclosed to In-Person Attendance

In an effort to protect public health amidst rising COVID-19 case numbers, City of Surprise public meetings have reclosed to in-person public attendance until further notice. This includes meetings of City Council and all city boards and commissions. Virtual viewing and public comment options are available, and instructions can be found on the meetings agendas at www.surpriseaz.gov/agendas.

City Bond Projects Breaking Ground

Work to complete the 10 voter-approved Decide Surprise General Obligation Bond projects continues. Construction has recently begun on the Public Safety Evidence and Readiness Center at 134th and Foxfire drives, and the Police Training Facility is in for permit for the same site. Both are expected to be complete next fall. This week, the widening of Greenway Road near the Loop 303 begins, and next week Fire Station 308 at Litchfield and Cactus roads breaks ground. The fire station is estimated to be complete in late 2021, and the road project should be complete by November 2021. With the start of these projects, all building and road construction projects planned as part of the bond have been completed or are underway.

Spring Training 2021

Spring Training season is just a few months away and the Texas Rangers and Kansas City Royals have released their 2021 Spring Training schedule, revealing their game times and season opener featuring the Texas Rangers vs. the Kansas City Royals on Saturday, February 27.

At Surprise Stadium, we’re working hard to develop protocols to protect the health and safety of our fans—all while maintaining the fun and unforgettable experience of Spring Training. Your safety is important to us! We have been working to develop health and safety measures specific to the Spring Training experience after considering guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, local and international health authorities, Major League Baseball, and destination partners.

The next time you visit Surprise Stadium, you will notice that we have taken additional steps to protect your safety, including reduced touch points, contactless ticketing, new intensified cleaning protocols and reduced seating capacity for social distancing. We look forward to sharing additional details as they become available.

For questions or more information about Spring Training, please visit SurpriseStadium.com or call 623.222.2222.

May you enjoy all the simple gifts the holiday season brings to us – the gift of happiness, the gift of joy, the gift of gratitude and the gift of love. Wishing you the very best gifts this Christmas and many better tomorrows with the New Year.

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.