Tag Archives: city council

March 2019 • Newsletter

Events & Meetings

Meeting with Congresswoman Debbie Lesko

Last week, City Council met with Congresswoman Debbie Lesko. We provided her with a city update and made her aware of Council initiatives and city needs which included support of funding for transit and transportation needs, as well as a future home for our veterans. She was able to provide us with updates on her work in Washington, D.C.

Surprise City Council pictured with Congresswoman Debbie Lesko
Surprise City Council pictured with Congresswoman Debbie Lesko

Sanderson Ford College Baseball Classic

The Sanderson Ford College Baseball Classic returned to Surprise, featuring the 2018 College World Series Baseball Champions, the Oregon State Beavers, along with the Nebraska Cornhuskers, Gonzaga Bulldogs, New Mexico Lobos, and the Minnesota Gophers. It was a great turnout, and I enjoyed recognizing the Oregon State Beavers for their great 2018 season.

Mayor Hall pictured with Oregon State Head Coach Pat Bailey
Mayor Hall pictured with Oregon State Head Coach Pat Bailey

Spring Training Welcome Back Luncheon

We welcomed the Kansas City Royals and the Texas Rangers to Surprise on Friday, February 15. Representatives of the Royals and Rangers gave insight into the season ahead. I wish both teams luck in their upcoming seasons.

City Council pictured at the Welcome Back Luncheon
City Council pictured at the Welcome Back Luncheon

Building Homes for Heroes

City Council had the distinct honor to attend a welcome home ceremony for Staff Sgt. Robles here in Surprise. Building Homes for Heroes and Chase Bank partnered to give this deserving veteran a mortgage free home. Thank you for your service, Staff Sgt. Robles, and welcome to Surprise!

Mayor Hall and Councilmembers Judd, Sanders, Hayden and Winters pictured with Sgt. Robles and members of Building Homes for Heroes and Chase Bank
Mayor Hall and Councilmembers Judd, Sanders, Hayden and Winters pictured with Sgt. Robles and members of Building Homes for Heroes and Chase Bank

New Businesses in Surprise

This month, I had the great opportunity to attend four ribbon cuttings in our city:

On February 1, I was honored to attend the ribbon cutting with Councilmembers Ken Remley, Nancy Hayden, Chris Judd, and David Sanders for My Goodies, located at 15170 West Bell Road.

Mayor Hall, Councilmembers Hayden, Judd, and Sanders pictured with My Goodies owners Jessica and Melissa
Mayor Hall, Councilmembers Hayden, Judd, and Sanders pictured with My Goodies owners Jessica and Melissa

On February 7th, all of City Council attended the Destiny Springs Behavioral Health Hospital ribbon cutting. Destiny Springs is a beautiful, state of the art facility located at 17300 North Dysart Road.

City Council pictured with Destiny Springs owner Dr. Martin Newman and CEO Burton Carriker
City Council pictured with Destiny Springs owner Dr. Martin Newman and CEO Burton Carriker

On February 21st, we welcomed Champs Family Automotive! It was exciting to have Congresswoman Debbie Lesko join us for this event.

Mayor Hall and Councilwoman Hayden pictured with the Champs Family Automotive team and Congresswoman Debbie Lesko
Mayor Hall and Councilwoman Hayden pictured with the Champs Family Automotive team and Congresswoman Debbie Lesko

Mark Your Calendar

State of the City & 10 Year City Hall Celebration

This month, the city is combining the annual State of the City address with a celebration of the 10-year anniversary of the opening of our current City Hall. It’s going to be a fun event for the whole family and an opportunity to learn more about the different ways your city serves you. The event will be held the evening of Thursday, March 28. At 6 p.m., you are invited to the City Council Chambers to watch a State of the City video that will show our accomplishments from this past year and a look forward to what’s coming next. Following the video presentation, from 6:30 – 8:00 p.m., please join us in the outside courtyard of City Hall for food, entertainment, games, a showcase of the city’s programs and services, and more!

This is your opportunity to meet City Council and staff who serve you!

City Center Community Meeting

Please join us on March 7 at 4pm for a Community Meeting at Sun Village to talk about the City Center. The meeting will be held in the Sun Village multi-purpose room located at 17300 North Sun Village Parkway. I hope to see you there. Make sure to keep an eye out for future meetings throughout Surprise.

Household Hazardous Waste

The annual Household Hazardous Waste event will be a little different this year. Starting in 2019, we will be coming to you to pick up your Hazardous Waste. April 1-12 residents can request pickup online at www.surpriseaz.gov/hhwevent, through the My Surprise App, or by calling 623.222.1900. Pickup will occur April 8-19. Residents will place their hazardous waste on the driveway or against the garage, not on the sidewalk or curb. Properly packaged, sealed and labeled items will be picked up between the hours of 6 a.m. – 4 p.m. on the scheduled collection date.

Spring Training Begins

Spring Training is in full swing here in the desert for the Kansas City Royals and the Texas Rangers! Make sure to visit www.surprisestadium.com for tickets, fan promotions, and fan experiences. On Friday, March 22, Surprise Stadium will even have a special Fireworks Night, presented by Jimmy Johns!

Mayor Hall pictured with Royals special assistant Mike Sweeney
Mayor Hall pictured with Royals special assistant Mike Sweeney

City Council Meetings

As a friendly reminder, City Council Meetings will be on March 5 and March 19 this month starting at 6:00 p.m. City Council Work Sessions begin at 4 p.m. The FY20 budget will be discussed at each future Work Session through April 2. We hope to see you there!


Did You Know?

Utility Rate Study Approved by City Council

City Council approved the Utility Rate Study during the February 19th Regular Council Meeting, effectively adjusting the five-year rate schedule for city serviced solid waste customers at the beginning of fiscal year (FY) 2020 which begins on July 1, 2019. Single-family solid waste customers will pay a monthly base rate of $20.70 starting July 1, 2019 and with another scheduled increase to $23.40 on July 1, 2020. The rate schedule will then increase the rate by $0.10 each fiscal year beginning in 2021, bringing the rate to $23.70 on July 1, 2023. Residential water and wastewater utility rates will remain unchanged in FY 2020-2024. This is the first significant solid waste increase since 2010; a $0.33 rate increase did go into effect in FY 2019. For information regarding the Utility Rate Study, it can be found online at www.surpriseaz.gov/utilityratesinfo.

January 31, 2019 • Newsletter

Events & Meetings

New District 5 Councilmember Selected

The Surprise City Council appointed David Sanders to serve as the new District 5 Councilmember at the January 3 City Council Meeting.

Sanders has lived in Surprise for nine years. His professional background is in banking/finance, and he has an MBA in International Business and Finance from the W.P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University and a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from California State University – San Marcos.

He has served on the city’s Community and Recreation Advisory Commission since 2013 and was a member of the Capital Improvement Funding Exploratory Committee in 2015.

The D5 seat was vacated in November 2018 when I was appointed as the new Mayor.

The term expiration for this appointment will be December 31, 2020, and the remainder of the four-year term will be placed on the next scheduled council election in August 2020 per state statute.

The Surprise City Council appointed David Sanders to serve as the new District 5 Councilmember at the January 3 City Council Meeting

Update on the Hands Free Use of Mobile Devices While Driving Ordinance

During the Jan. 15 City Council Meeting, Police Chief Terry Young presented a traffic safety update on the Hands Free Use of Mobile Devices While Driving Ordinance, which went into effect Sept. 6.

For the first month that the ordinance was in effect, the Police Department focused on education rather than enforcement. During that time, there was an effort to communicate the change to the public through warnings, road signs, media, social media and other communications vehicles.

After the first month, Police transitioned to the enforcement side; a violation of the ordinance is a civil offense that includes a $250 fine. From October through December, there were 201 traffic contacts related to this ordinance. Of those, 125 were issued citations, and 76 were issued warnings. Chief Young pointed out that the most prevalent locations for ordinance violations were Bell Road (46%) and Greenway Road (8%); the remaining of 46% of violations were spread throughout the city. He also took the three months of data and multiplied it by four to provide an estimate of yearly numbers in comparison to other traffic violations. In this comparison, violation of the ordinance was ranked number five amongst traffic enforcement efforts in Surprise, following speeding, no proof of insurance, failure to control speed to avoid a collision, and stop sign violations.

2019 PORA/SCHOA Legislative Meeting

Earlier this month, I joined our Legislators from Districts 21 and 22, Maricopa County Supervisor Clint Hickman, Congresswoman Debbie Lesko’s staff and Youngtown Mayor Michael LeVault at a meeting hosted by Sun City West Property Owners and Residents Association (PORA) and Sun City Home Owners Association (SCHOA). Each elected official provided an update on our respective cities, counties and what is expected this legislative session.

Dysart Unified School District Meeting

I had the opportunity to meet with Dr. Quinn Kellis, Superintendent of Dysart Unified School District, to discuss our continued partnership and determine additional ways we can support our youth in Surprise.

New Businesses in Surprise

I love welcoming new businesses and celebrating ones that are expanding; and I was proud to be part of some grand opening events recently.

On December 5, I attended the ribbon cutting for Café Rio’s new location at 13968 W. Waddell Road.

Surprise City Council at the Cafe Rio grand opening

And then on December 14, I had the honor of helping with the ribbon cutting for the newly remodeled Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona Advantage office on 13985 W Grand Avenue.

Mayor Skip Hall helping with the ribbon cutting for the newly remodeled Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona Advantage office


Mark Your Calendar

State of the City & 10 Year City Hall Celebration

This March, the city is combining the annual State of the City address with a celebration of the 10 year anniversary of the opening of our current City Hall. It’s going to be a really fun event for the whole family and an opportunity to learn more about the different ways your city serves you. The event will be held the evening of Thursday, March 28. At 6 p.m. you are invited to City Council Chambers to watch a State of the City video that will show our accomplishments from this past year and a look forward to what’s coming next. Following the video presentation, from 6:30 – 8:00 p.m., join us in the outside courtyard of City Hall for food, entertainment, games, a showcase of the city’s programs and services, and more!

Spring Training Begins February 23

Spring Training is right around the corner, and we are excited to welcome our Spring Training home teams, the Kansas City Royals and Texas Rangers, back to town! If you are looking to catch a game, there are a variety of ticket options to choose from – starting at just $8 for lawn seats! Plus, we have great promotional deals for residents, families and veterans. On Friday, March 22, Surprise Stadium will even have a special Fireworks Night, presented by Jimmy John’s! Get information on tickets, game schedule promotions and more at www.surprisestadium.com.

Artisan Treasures Sweet Spring Festival

Join us for a creative market shopping experience at the “Artisan Treasures Sweet Spring & Food Truck Festival” presented by Wood & Me on Saturday, February 16. The festival will take place from 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. and will feature over 100 local artists and vendors at Mark Coronado Park, located at 15960 N. Bullard Ave. Parking and admission are free. The first 100 guests will receive a treasure bag full of goodies, courtesy of participating vendors and Wood & Me. For information about the event, visit www.woodnme.com or contact Surprise Stadium at 623.222.2222.


Did You Know?

New Council Conversations Show

I have a new Council Conversations show out, and it has details on some exciting changes in Surprise. I talk with Ottawa University Provost Dennis Tyner about the school’s expanding footprint at City Center, and introduce our new City Manager and first-ever Emergency Manager. Watch the Show.

Council Conversations Show image

Volunteer for a Board or Commission

Volunteering on a board or commission is great way to get involved. The city is currently accepting applications for a vacancy on the Audit Committee, but we also accept applications for all boards and commissions on an open basis and will keep applications on file for four years for future vacancies. Applications are available for pick-up from the City Clerk’s Office at City Hall from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday – Friday. Applications are also available online at www.surpriseaz.gov/boards.

Surprise Recreation Campus Hosts Tennis and Pickleball Tournaments

January has been a big month for Tennis and Pickleball in Surprise. The city hosted the Tommy Wong Pickleball Tournament and the Southwest Regional Pickleball Championships – with each drawing approximately 600 players and spectators! Plus, USTA hosted two tennis tournaments, the National Level 3 Jr. Classic and 65 and Over National Invitational, which brought in a combined 642 participants.

If you are interested in watching some exciting court play, there are a few more events coming up in February. The USTA 65 and over National Invitational – 7.0 and 9.0 Men and Women is February 1-3, the USTA Pro Circuit is February 11-17, and the Grand Canyon State Games Pickleball Tournament is February 21-26. Get more information at www.surpriseaz.gov/tennis.

Bell Road Bridge Name Change

Earlier this month, the Arizona State Board on Geographic and Historic Names unanimously approved the Veterans’ Bridge name proposal for the Bell Road/Grand Avenue Bridge presented by Senator Rick Gray at the request of Councilman Ken Remley and myself. The approved name will be filed with the Secretary of State, as well as the Clerk of Maricopa County Board of Supervisors.

I am happy that our city continues to find ways to honor our heroes.

Council receives FY16 City Manager Recommended Budget

City Council received the $294.7 million Fiscal Year 2016 City Manager Recommended Budget, Tuesday night, which was crafted to shore up immediate operational needs, continue service increases and prepare for the future.

The recommended budget includes funding for the following:

  • Pavement Preservation
  • Maintaining mid-year Dial-A-Ride service expansion
  • Mid-decade census
  • 18 new full time positions (Public Safety, Utility Operations, general government operations)
  • Surprise Regional Library operations (as required by previous agreement with the county)
  • Continues Express Route 571
  • Vehicle replacement
  • Asset replacement

It also includes policy recommendations to increase fund balance reserves.  As a result, the General Fund balance reserve will increase by over 14% from the prior fiscal year to $17 million.

“The budget focuses on shoring up operational areas in need; pursuing higher levels of maintenance and replacement of vehicles, equipment and buildings; and continuing the service level increases and capital improvement plans outlined by City Council over the last fiscal year,” says City Manager Bob Wingenroth.

Council is scheduled to take action on a tentative budget May 5, with a final budget vote on June 2. FY16 begins on July 1, 2015.

The complete FY16 City Manager Recommended Budget is available on the homepage of www.surpriseaz.gov.

Council ok’s formation of committee to vet potential bond projects

The Surprise City Council voted to form the Capital Improvement Funding Exploratory Committee to provide recommendations regarding the use of general obligation bonds in funding capital improvement projects.

The council elected to merge the Planning and Zoning Commission and Community and Recreation Advisory Commission, with two members from the Dysart Unified School District, one Nadaburg School District delegate and a member of the Surprise Regional Chamber of Commerce to serve on the ad-hoc bond committee.

This 17-member committee will meet over the next several months and review the benefits of funding 11 capital improvement projects; welcome public input; identify appropriate communication methods for educating residents and voters; and provide City Council with a written report of their findings no later than May 31.

City Council will consider its position relative to a bond program in June 2015.

Specific projects are included in three categories, that were evaluated by the city staff.

Widening of portions of Greenway, Litchfield, and Happy Valley roads, a new fire station, police property and evidence facility, court accessibility and safety items, a regional multi-generational recreation center, aquatic center, and 8 Acres Park improvements are currently on the list to be evaluated by the committee.

Should all three proposed bond packages go before and be passed by voters the property tax on the average $150,000 home would increase by $99 per year, or $133 increase for a home valued at $200,000.

Additional details about committee meetings will be publicly noticed and promoted to engage resident input. Meeting dates, times, and locations will be posted online at www.surpriseaz.gov.

Surprise honors first graduate from city-run business incubator

MD24 honored

The first graduate from Surprise’s city-run business incubator was recognized at last night’s City Council meeting after growing from just three employees to more than 100 and moving into new, corporate office space within the city.

MD24 House Call was one of the first tenants approved by city council to occupy space in the city’s AZ TechCelerator back in 2010. The company started with an idea of bringing comprehensive at-home health care to people through a network of physicians, specialists, nurse practitioners and physician assistants.

Today, MD24 House Call has more than 100 employees and 10,000 sq. ft. of office space on Mountain View Boulevard near Reems Rd. The company’s Founder and Chief Medical Information Officer, Linh Nguyen, MD, says the AZ TechCelerator was key to their success.

“AZ TechCelerator’s fostering of businesses with a focus on innovation, technology and entrepreneurship allowed MD24 House Call to grow from a small mobile doctor service to a large and ever expanding network of clinicians who bring the best medical care and value to our patients,” says Dr. Nguyen. “We appreciate the opportunity that AZ TechCelerator afforded us in our efforts to continue our growth.”

The AZ TechCelerator was designed to be a place where early-stage technology-based companies could get to the next step in their business plan. The incubator provides support through business coaches and mentors, access to low-cost rent and other important business amenities, such as workforce training opportunities and conference room space.

“MD24 House Call is a great example of why we started the AZ TechCelerator,” says Surprise Mayor Sharon Wolcott. “The company took advantage of all the resources available to them, and now they are growing jobs right here in Surprise! We are very proud to have played a part in their story and congratulate them on their success.”

For more information on the AZ TechCelerator, please visit http://aztechcelerator.com/ or contact Manager Julie Neal at 623.222.3322 or julie.neal@surpriseaz.gov

New Surprise Youth Council gets sworn in

The Surprise Youth Council (SYC) was brought to life last night when 25 Surprise youth were sworn into the new leadership group, which will help guide decisions affecting the city’s young people.

The swearing-in ceremony followed a reception in City Hall where the 6-11 graders heard from Mayor Sharon Wolcott and Vice Mayor John Williams, who both stressed the importance of this new council.

“We want our young residents to enjoy living here not only while they’re growing up, but also in the future as working adults,” says Mayor Wolcott. “Thus, it’s vital that we provide our youth with an active voice in helping shape Surprise for the benefit of future generations. This new group will provide them with that opportunity.”

SYC leadership positions will be modeled after City Council, with a youth mayor, vice mayor and committee chairs. Officers will take turns holding a non-voting seat at the Dias during City Council meetings.

After City Council approved the formation of SYC in October, the city began outreach to students at local schools and those interested submitted a video application.

“The applications revealed that our youth want to be engaged, want to make a difference, and they see real opportunities to impact our community—from arts to drug prevention to youth engagement to transportation,” says Vice Mayor John Williams, who helped lead the formation of the council. “They want to be part of the decisions; they want a shared role in building our community now and in the future. These bright young minds want that responsibility; we need to give it to them, we need to listen to them! It will be exciting to see how they help shape Surprise.”

 

The new SYC representatives include:

6th Grade

Makenna Breading-Goodrich, Canyon Ridge
Taylor Gage, Western Peaks
Macy Stewart, Imagine Prep

7th Grade

Jonah Kaplan, Calibre Academy
Sarina Ramirez, Canyon Ridge
Selah Wallace, Imagine Prep

8th Grade

Lucas Cons, Rancho Gabriela
Isabella de Vlieger, Paradise Honors
Jada Henderson, Arizona Charter Academy
Quade Miller-Edwards, Sunset Hills
Bailey Rice, Cimarron Springs

9th Grade

Mikayla Barrera, Arizona Charter Academy
Anthony Canelli, Willow Canyon
Ariel Hatton, Paradise Honors
Kyla Hudson, Shadow Ridge
Mylan Johnson, Paradise Honors

10th Grade

Valeria Ortiz, Paradise Honors
Riley Pollard, Willow Canyon
Megan Ruff, Paradise Honors
Samantha Salazar, Paradise Honors

11th Grade

Eunice Barrameda, Shadow Ridge
Chaunci Hood, Dysart
Grace McDonald, Shadow Ridge
Nithya Satiyaselan, Willow Canyon.
Kyle Shahenian, Dysart

For more information about SYC, please contact Surprise Youth Services Administrator Paul Bernardo at paul.bernardo@surpriseaz.gov or 623.222.1029.

 

Unanimous approval of FY13 budget

Tuesday night, the City Council unanimously approved a $168.4 million budget for FY13, which begins July 1. The budget includes $4.3 million in expense reductions and puts us firmly in the driver’s seat in getting city finances in shape once and for all.

I am very proud of the unity and diligence shown by the Council.  Under a tight deadline,  we reviewed department budgets line by line and held weeks of public discussion. City Manager Chris Hillman and his staff did an extraordinary job providing us with more data than I have ever seen during a city budget cycle.  Our community can be sure this is the most thoroughly vetted budget Surprise has seen in a long time.

The process was complicated by the results of the FY11 budget audit, which became known in February. Imbalances among internal funds required the City to transfer millions from the general fund, draining our reserves to near zero.  Council set a very ambitious goal for Mr. Hillman:  we want those reserves, which according to our policy represents two months of expenses or roughly $13 million, replenished no later than June 20, 2014.  He crafted an FY13 budget that reduces expenses, including $2.9 million in personnel costs, and is a big first step in meeting our two year goal.

Council also acted responsibly by combining and reducing our discretionary and travel funds for FY13, saving our taxpayers $25,000, a 30% reduction over last year.

It was a rigorous and exciting process which I believe served the citizens of Surprise very well.  Now, I look forward to a very active summer on behalf of our residents!