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.