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.
It is with the most sincere gratitude that I take on a new position after the Surprise City Council unanimously selected me to serve as the city’s next mayor. I will serve in this capacity until December 31, 2020, fulfilling the remaining mayoral term vacated by Sharon Wolcott on November 16, 2018. For those of you who don’t know me, I have served on the city council since 2008 and was most recently re-elected to the District 5 seat in the 2018 Primary Election. I served as Vice Mayor in 2011 and 2014. I also served three years as a city Planning and Zoning Commission member before being elected to the City Council.
It is my hope to accomplish many things with City Council and staff. Some of my goals include: the anticipation of funding through budget priorities for our police and fire to ensure our city remains safe and secure through our next growth cycle; through vigilant budget review and department by department justification, work to insure that our financial strength and sustainability is maintained; and to maximize the education benefit to our youth by encouraging and facilitating, where possible, the cooperation and synergy of our new residential university, Ottawa, as well as West-MEC vocational school, Dysart Unified School District and our several charter schools. I also want us to work with our Economic Development Department to attract private investment to produce an entertainment venue for teens and to attract more entertainment and restaurant operators. We hope to continue to work with City Center landowners and staff on an updated vision that’s unique to Surprise and is adaptable to the market.
Thank you for your continued support and your ongoing trust. I look forward to working with Council, our various partners and serving the residents of this great city.
District 5 Council Vacancy
The city is currently accepting applications for the position of Councilmember for District 5 (Palm) due to my appointment as Mayor earlier this month. All District 5 applicants must reside within District 5 boundaries. The term expiration for the appointment will be December 31, 2020, and the remainder of the four-year term will be placed on the next scheduled Council election in August 20, 2020 per ARS 9-235 (The council shall fill a vacancy that may occur by appointment until the next regularly scheduled council election if the vacancy occurs more than thirty days before the nomination petition deadline. This subsection does not apply to a charter city). The Interview/Selection process is as follows:
Section 2-22 of the Surprise City Code – Council/District Vacancy:
(1) Vacancies in district office will be advertised beginning no later than 14 days from the date the vacancy is created when caused by death, and seven days from the date the vacancy is created in all other cases. The city clerk will advertise all vacancies in at least one newspaper with local circulation, on the city website, and in all designated posting locations during the application acceptance period. (Date of Advertisement – Monday, November 26, 2018).
(2) All eligible persons interested in filling the district vacancy must submit an application to the city clerk’s office prior to the close of the acceptance period. The application acceptance period will end at 5:00 p.m. on the 14th day following the placement of the advertisement as required by subsection (1) of this section. (Monday, December 10th, 2018).
(3) No later than the end of the business day following the close of the application acceptance period, the city clerk will forward to the mayor and council and post on the city website a copy of all applications submitted during the application acceptance period (Tuesday, December 11, 2018).
(4) The council will interview each applicant at a public hearing held no later than ten days following the close of the application acceptance period, followed by a seven-day period during which public comment may be submitted to the city clerk’s office (Interview/Public Hearing – Thursday, December 20, 2018 – 4:00 p.m. & Close of Comments (Thursday, December 27, 2018 – 5:00 p.m.).
(5) No later than the end of the business day following the close of the public comment period, the city clerk will forward to the mayor and council and post on the city website a copy of all comments submitted during the comment period (Friday, December 28, 2018).
(6) A district candidate must be selected no later than the second regularly scheduled council meeting following the public hearing (Thursday, January 3, 2019 or Tuesday, January 15, 2019 – 6:00 p.m.).
Applications are available for pick up the City Clerk’s Office, 16000 N. Civic Center Plaza, starting on Monday, November 26, 2018 – 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday – Friday, and the closing date will be Monday, December 10, 2018 – 5:00 p.m.
Interviews will be scheduled for Thursday, December 20, 2018 at a Special Council Meeting (4:00 p.m.).
Selection of the applicant will take place on Thursday, January 3, 2019 or Tuesday, January 15, 2019, 6:00 p.m. Regular Council Meeting. Applications are also available online @ www.surpriseaz.gov, under City Clerk section. Please submit applications to the City Clerk’s Office.
Did You Know?
Surprise Youth Services College Readiness Summit
The first annual Surprise Youth Services College Readiness Summit was held on Saturday, November 17 at the Ottawa University campus here in Surprise. The 40 attending high school seniors were treated to a variety of workshops focused on helping them gain tools for success in college or trade school next year. Attendees learned about budgeting and how to be money smart in the Financial Literacy workshop facilitated by a financial advisor from Mid-First Bank. They engaged in thoughtful conversation about how they spend their time and learned how to break down big goals into smaller, easy to manage steps in the Time Management and Goal Setting workshop. In the Physical Wellness workshop, facilitated by doctoral students from Mid-Western University, they created a personal wheel of wellness and examined how all of the various parts of life such as nutrition, sleep, stress, finances, and more, work together to contribute to overall wellness. Lastly, in a workshop facilitated by two students who currently attend Northern Arizona University, attendees heard the inside scoop about “Things They Don’t Tell You About Your First Year of College.” They learned the importance of making connections on campus, how to deal with the inevitable homesickness, how to maintain a healthy relationship with family as they work to be independent, resources for first-gen students, and more. Lunch was catered by Lolo’s and Papi’s Tacos, a local mobile taqueria. Attendance at the summit was a qualifying step in the application process for the first ever Surprise Youth Services Scholarship where three winners will share a total of $7,000. Stay tuned as winners will be announced in mid-February!
Surprise Fire Station 305 Holiday Celebration
Residents from the community gathered together at Surprise Fire Station 305 to celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday on Monday, November 19. Residents wanted to ensure the firefighters working on the holiday had time to celebrate the holiday in advance. Many thanks to our generous community members who contributed!
My Surprise Community Engagement App Now Available
The city has launched a new way for residents to connect with city services and reminders, the My Surprise app! When you download My Surprise, you’ll join our community of vigilant residents who want to help Surprise be one of the cleanest, most well-maintained cities in Arizona.
My Surprise transforms your smart devices into tools that assist with reporting city-maintained service requests such as broken street lights, potholes on city streets, graffiti, flooded roadways and more! The app also provides users a way to connect with City Council members and receive refuse reminders, such as changes to the schedule due to holidays. Plus, My Surprise is easy to use! Reporting a concern is as simple as logging in, typing a brief description of the issue and pressing send; you can even upload video, audio and image files! My Surprise even allows you to pinpoint the exact location of your service request.
My Surprise was designed for a community who cares about the appearance and functionality of city-maintained spaces. Join us, and let’s build a beautiful, safe city we can all enjoy; download the app now and show your love for My Surprise! The My Surprise app is now available for download in the Apple Store and Google Play Store. Learn more about My Surprise at www.surpriseaz.gov/mysurprise.
Bullard Ave traffic signals at Acoma, Sweetwater intersections active week of Dec 3
The traffic signals at the Acoma Drive and Sweetwater Avenue intersections will be activated on Monday, December 3.
Barring changes to the schedule, signals will flash red for 48 hours through Tuesday, December 4. Motorists are reminded to treat the intersections as four-way stops while the signals are flashing red.
The new traffic signals, featuring flashing yellow arrows on north and south signal pole masts, will be fully operational on Wednesday, December 5. Surprise police officers will assist with traffic control during the signal activation.
Work hours for this week are Monday – Saturday, 6 a.m. to 4 p.m.; traffic barricades along the roadway are scheduled to be removed on Sunday, December 2.
Crews are scheduled to stripe lanes along Bullard Avenue on Monday, December 3 and Tuesday, December 4; thermoplastic striping will be placed late December.
The speed limit in the construction area remains 25 mph except in school zones where the speed limit is 15 mph. Please proceed with caution through the project area and remember to Drive Wise, Surprise!
For project-related questions, contact Suneel Garg at 623.222.6130. To learn more about the Bullard Ave project, visit www.surpriseaz.gov/bullard.
Mark Your Calendar
Annual Surprise Party
Come celebrate with the City of Surprise at the 17th annual Surprise Party on November 30 and December 1 at the Surprise Recreation Campus! This fun-filled event offers a variety of activities and entertainment experiences, and admission is free with a canned food or toy donation benefiting Sanderson Ford Operation Santa Claus. Here’s what you can expect:
Friday, November 30 (5 p.m. – 9 p.m.) will include a traditional tree lighting ceremony, a hot air balloon glow, Arizona Skyhawks Skydivers, great food, live musical performances from “The Chadwicks” and “SMASHED,” fireworks and ice skating. Plus, Santa’s Workshop offers a free opportunity for youth of all ages to visit with Santa and Mrs. Claus while enjoying arts and crafts, cookies, and fun! Friday’s event will be held at the Surprise Recreation Campus – Stadium Plaza, located at 15850 N. Bullard Avenue. Fireworks will begin approximately at 8:55 p.m.
Saturday, December 1 (11 a.m. – 5 p.m.) will include an arts and crafts festival, classic car show, interactive games, camel rides, a petting zoo, clowns, face painters, inflatables, gingerbread house contest, ice skating and much more! Throughout the day, enjoy a variety of entertainment, including performances by the City of Surprise dance programs. Concessions will be available for purchase. Saturday’s events will be held at the Surprise Recreation Campus – Mark Coronado Park, north of Surprise Stadium.
For additional event information, please contact the Surprise Community and Recreation Services Department at 623.222.2000 or visit www.surpriseaz.gov/surpriseparty.
Ottawa University Victory Bowl
The OUAZ football team has accepted an invitation from the National Christian College Athletic Association (NCCAA) to serve as host and participant in the 2018 NCCAA Victory Bowl Invitational. The Spirit will welcome Olivet Nazarene to Spirit Field on Friday, November 30 at 7 p.m.
The 2018 Victory Bowl will mark the 21st straight year the NCCAA will award a Victory Bowl champion. Fox 10’s Cory McClosky came out today to preview the game, so I hope we will have a big crowd tomorrow night to cheer on our home team! Best of luck to our OUAZ football team and Coach Mike Nesbitt!
Surprise Fire Medical Open Houses
The Surprise Fire-Medical Department is holding a series of open houses at city fire stations. Residents can come out and meet the firefighters, check out the living and eating quarters, walk through the bays and see the fire trucks! Attendees will also get a look at the medical equipment, firefighting gear and tools used on emergency calls.
Dates for the open houses are as follows:
Saturday, December 8 – Station 307, 16171 W. Cactus Rd.
Saturday, January 5 – Station 302, 18600 N. Reems Rd.
Saturday, January 19 – Station 304, 24900 N. 163rd Ave.
Saturday, February 2 – Station 305, 15517 N. Parkview Pl.
Saturday, February 16 – Station 306, 16645 W. Clearview Blvd.
Saturday, March 2 – Station 303, 15440 N. Cotton Ln.
All open houses will be conducted from 9 a.m. to noon. For more information, please call the Surprise Fire-Medical Department administration line at 623.222.5000.
City of Surprise “Deck the Hock” Event
Please join us for the city’s 2nd annual “Deck the Hock” event on December 11, and help set the holiday spirit by bringing an ornament to decorate one of eight themed trees! “Deck the Hock” is a free, family-friendly event that will be held on Tuesday, December 11 from 5 – 7 p.m. at the Surprise Senior Center, 15832 N. Hollyhock Street. It includes performances by local school choirs, hot cocoa, tree decorating and more.
You can also join in on the tree decorating by bringing a new or handmade ornament that fits one of the following tree themes: Candy Canes; Legos; Sports; Patriotic; Animals; Snowflakes; Red; North Pole. In addition, you can also decorate a luminaria bag for the event. Simply pick up a blank luminaria from the Surprise Senior Center, take it home to decorate it, and then return it by 4 p.m. on Friday, December 7 so it can be displayed.
I would like to wish you and your families a wonderful holiday season. Moving forward and as your Mayor, I will be issuing a monthly newsletter beginning in January. I look forward to serving you in this capacity and keeping you updated. Thank you!