Category Archives: Newsletters

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.

August 2020 • Newsletter

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

Primary Election Results

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

Mayor:

Skip Hall, 24,784 Votes (96.92%)

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

District 2:

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

Wendell Fountain, 2,683 (35.85%)

District 3:

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

Greg Norberg, 1,316 Votes (31.1%)

District 4:

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

District 5:

Jack Hastings, 2,063 Votes (59.15%)

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

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

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

Amazon Building in Surprise

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

Virtual Ribbon Cutting Contest Finale

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

The finalists are:

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

Surprise Community Outreach Program

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

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

Water Resource Management Director Named

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

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

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

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

Water Resource Management Director Lee Lambert

Planning & Zoning Commission Vacancy

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

COVID-19 Update

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

July 2020 • Newsletter

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

May 2020 • Newsletter

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Budget FY21 built with flexibility in mind

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

City prepares for COVID-19 financial impacts in current budget

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Veterans Reflection Circle wins national and state awards

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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