Following an April 15 live premiere, the 2020 State of the City video is now available for on-demand replay. The video looks at significant achievements that have transformed our city and celebrates the progress we have made over the past six decades – as Surprise turns 60 this year!
We have seen a lot of change in the past few weeks. We went from handshakes and high fives, sports games and festivals, to maintaining six feet of social distancing, cancellations of events and programs, and the closure of schools and many city buildings. I know that all of this COVID-19-related change, on top of concerns about your health, can be very stressful. I want to assure you that the city is mindful of the impact on our residents and our businesses, and we are working tirelessly to ensure that city services are maintained and our community is cared for.
Public health and safety continue to be our top priority, and communication is key in that. That’s why the city has developed a one-stop resource for COVID-19 information on our Surpriseaz.gov website. If you haven’t visited it already, please take a moment to see what information is available to you. There are updates on changes to city business processes, contacts to connect with city services and links to trusted information on the COVID-19 virus.
Community vitality and economic security are also significant priorities, and we have assembled a team to work on support resources for our residents and businesses. The city’s Economic Development department has created a COVID-19 Business and Workforce Resources webpage to provide a comprehensive, one-stop spot for residents and businesses to receive information.
The page can be accessed off the city’s COVID-19 webpage and includes recommendations on how consumers can continue to support local businesses; a list of restaurants in Surprise providing takeout and delivery services; links to financial support for businesses through organizations like the Small Business Association and Arizona Commerce Authority; connections for job seekers, and more.
We have also developed a webpage dedicated to human service needs during this difficult time – whether you are in need of assistance or looking to serve your community. This COVID-19 Community Care webpage includes information about free meals for seniors and access to free essentials like food and diapers. It also provides details on opportunities to donate needed supplies, help our seniors with grocery shopping, or be a phone pal during this time of isolation.
I am already so encouraged by the stories I’m hearing of volunteerism and human kindness; the ways the community has come together. There is joy to be found in the gratitude I see pouring out of people for first responders, doctors, nurses, grocery store clerks and others who are working overtime to provide the essential services we need. Recently, a home in Marley Park decorated their trash bins with colorful, handmade posters to thank their sanitation truck driver. It was a simple, but beautiful gesture of appreciation. While this is a time to be serious about stopping the spread of COVID-19, it’s also a time to get serious about spreading love to our neighbors – and you are really shining at that, Surprise.
On April 15, I invite you to tune into a video premiere of our State of the City at 6 p.m. We’ll take a look at significant achievements that have transformed our city and celebrate the progress we have made over the past six decades – as Surprise turns 60 this year!
The State of the City video premiere will be carried live on Surprise TV, online at www.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.
This live video premiere replaces the State of the City Celebration that was planned for March 26 at City Hall, but canceled due to COVID-19 concerns.
As our community faces unprecedented challenges during this time, I feel it is important to deliver this message of where we’ve been and who we are – united, strong and resilient.
I am proud to be your mayor, and I am here for you if you have any questions or concerns. You can reach me at email@example.com or 623.222.1300.
Thank you for signing up for Mayor updates. It is my goal to email you a monthly newsletter with information regarding current events and items that may be of interest to you. If there is anything I can do for you, please do not hesitate in contacting me at firstname.lastname@example.org or 623.222.1313 or 623.451.3975. Also, please feel free to visit my webpage at https://mayor.surpriseaz.gov/. Please follow me on Facebook (facebook.com/SkipHallD5), Twitter (@SkipHall2), and Instagram (@SkipforSurprise).
Census 2020 Starts This Month
Census 2020 is here and for the first time in the history of the U.S. Census you will be able to respond online!
Between March 12-20, you will receive a letter in the mail with a website address and Census ID number explaining how to respond online. The letter will also offer a toll free number for phone response and describe the process for receiving a paper survey.
The information you provide on the Census counts for jobs, new roads, emergency services and more! Learn additional reasons why you should take the Census and view commonly asked questions at surpriseaz.gov/Census2020.
Dedication of Ottawa University’s New Buildings
February 21 was a special day in Surprise as City Council helped dedicate three new OUAZ buildings – the O’Dell Center, OUAZ Student Union and Scholars Hall! The new buildings and amenities, coupled with OUAZ’s world-class education, are sure to bring more vitality and award-winning talent to Surprise City Center.
Texas Rangers Player Housing Ribbon Cutting
Rangers Village in Surprise City Center is officially open! Surprise City Council joined the Texas Rangers for the official ribbon cutting on Friday, February 21. The 68,280 square foot facility provides year-round housing for up to 180 Texas Rangers organizational players and staff. Thanks to the Rangers for their continued commitment to Surprise!
Spring Training Welcome Back Luncheon
We welcomed Spring Training back to Surprise during the Spring Training Welcome Back Luncheon on February 14. We spent a wonderful afternoon at Surprise Stadium learning about what’s in store for the Texas Rangers and Kansas City Royals ball clubs this season.
If you haven’t been to a Spring Training game at Surprise Stadium, then you are striking out! Surprise Stadium has several promotions on tickets, food and drinks for families, military, and residents of Surprise, Sun City, Sun City West, Youngtown, El Mirage and Waddell.
Tickets are available online and in person by visiting the Surprise Stadium Box Office. For a complete list of scheduled games, special events and ticket options, please visit www.SurpriseStadium.com.
Surprise Retail Survey
Have you taken the Surprise Retail Survey yet? Your input helps the city identify retail strengths within the community, as well as opportunities to bring additional amenities closer to home. Every response helps the Surprise Economic Development Department better reach the retailers you want the most.
It’s important to us that we attract businesses you want, because the money you spend here, stays here. In fact, local sales tax makes up nearly 40 percent of our city’s General Fund revenues which support public safety, clean parks and street maintenance.
The city of Surprise is recruiting new members for the Surprise Youth Council (SYC) – a group of impactful teens who are making a difference in their community!
SYC members serve the community by collaborating with local leaders, including the Mayor and City Council, to give youth a voice in city issues and to help solve youth issues through awareness campaigns, service projects, and community-building events.
Students who are currently in grades 7-11 may apply, as long as they are attending a middle school or high school within the Surprise city limits, attending a Dysart Unified School District high school, or reside within Surprise city limits.
The City of Surprise FY2021 budget building process is underway. A series of presentations to Council will take place over the next few months. The recommended budget is scheduled for release in April, followed by public review and a final adoption in June. Please stay tuned to the upcoming Council Meetings for the overall development of the budget and upcoming annual process. You can watch previous preservations at www.surpriseaz.gov/budget.
Babe Ruth League registration open; volunteer coaches needed
Surprise is now offering registration for the West Valley Babe Ruth Baseball League! Both individual and team registration is available; league play begins in late April.
Resident and non-resident registration will be held through March 20 at the Parks & Recreation Office, located at 15960 N Bullard Ave. Registration is also available online at www.surpriseaz.gov/recreation.
We are in need of volunteer coaches for the 13-15 Babe Ruth Division! If you are interested, stop by the Parks & Recreation Office to complete a volunteer application. For more information, please contact Jason Bond at 623.222.2238 or visit www.surpriseaz.gov/recreation.
Expanded Surprise Resource Center Hours
The city’s one-stop-shop for social services has expanded its evening hours. The Surprise Resource Center has extended its closing hours from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Wednesdays and Thursdays. The new hours are: Monday & Tuesday: 8 a.m – 5 p.m.; Wednesday & Thursday: – 8 a.m – 7 p.m.; Friday: 8 a.m. – 12 p.m.
Through strategic partnerships with a growing number of community-based organizations and government agencies, the center offers Surprise and Northwest Valley residents connections to human services that include everything from rent and utility assistance to employment support to food and nutrition resources.
The Surprise Resource Center is located within the city’s AZ TechCelerator campus at 12425 W Bell Road, Bldg. A, Ste. 124. For more information about the Surprise Resource Center, including a list of programs and partners, please visit www.surpriseaz.gov/ResourceCenter.
Fire-Medical Assistant Chief Johnston Retires
Surprise Fire-Medical Assistant Chief Darrell Johnston retired in February after 30 years of fire service. It was my honor to present him with an Employee Appreciation Proclamation at our February 18 Regular Council Meeting. Thank you Chief Johnston for your dedication, leadership and service!
State of the City
The Surprise City Council invites you to attend the 2020 State of the City video presentation and 60th Anniversary Celebration on March 26 from 6-8 p.m.! We’ll take a look at significant achievements that have transformed our city and celebrate the progress we have made over the past 60 years.
Following the video presentation, city council will reveal a new history wall that tells the story of Surprise from founding day to modern day. This artistic mix of story and photograph is a must-see art piece.
After the reveal, we invite you to stroll the courtyard and city hall for a showcase of the city’s programs and services, including police and fire vehicle displays! We also have live entertainment planned, with performers from some of our local schools and city-run specialty classes. Plus, we’ll have free desserts and finger foods.
If you love baseball memorabilia, you’ll want to swing by city hall for the “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” art reception! The Surprise Arts and Cultural Advisory Commission has a collection of baseball art and collectibles on display, as well as a few fun pieces from other sports.
The exhibit is in the Surprise City Hall art gallery and Mayor’s Atrium, 16000 Civic Center Dr., and runs through April 23. A free reception will be held Thursday, March 12 from 5 to 7 p.m. Come enjoy sports-themed artwork; historic, autographed Sports Illustrated covers; replica jackets; historic artifacts; and light refreshments.
Residential Waste Cleanup Event on March 14
Now is the time to prune your landscape and clean out your garage! The city’s annual Spring Cleanup Event is on Saturday, March 14.
Surprise residents are permitted to drop off up to 2,000 pounds of non-hazardous residential waste free-of-charge at the Northwest Regional Landfill, 19401 W. Deer Valley Road, from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. There is a limit of one load per household.
Acceptable items include lawn waste and other household refuse.
Remember, you will be required to show proof of Surprise residency, via a driver’s license and utility bill showing the same home address.
For more information about the Spring Cleanup Event, call the Surprise Customer Service Line at 623.222.1900, or visit surpriseaz.gov/sanitation.
Household Hazardous Waste Collection Event
Surprise offers Household Hazardous Waste Collection events to help protect the environment by properly disposing items which may contain harmful chemicals. Scheduling will begin on March 9. Residents are able to request an appointment through the My Surprise app, or by calling Customer Service at 623.222.1920. For a complete list of acceptable items, please visit www.surpriseaz.gov/hhwevent. I encourage you to take advantage of this free collection service!
Teen College Tours
Surprise Parks and Recreation has scheduled field trips to several Arizona universities for teens ages 13-18. Teens can sign up to tour the campuses of the University of Arizona (March 16), Arizona State University (March 17), Grand Canyon University (March 20) and Northern Arizona University (April 24). Spots are limited. Learn more at surpriseaz.gov/recreation.
Sunday in the Park Food Truck Festival
Spend an afternoon enjoying delicious food and listening to live music at the March 29 Sunday in the Park Food Truck Festival! Southbound will perform (Country/Southern Rock) while you enjoy a variety of delicious food trucks, as well as an assortment of beer and wine. This family-friendly event will also have various yard games, inflatables and face painting. Event admission is free; food and drink will be available for purchase. Don’t forget a blanket or lawn chair! Dogs are welcome as long as they are leashed.
Public Art Bus Tour
Join us on April 18 for a Public Art Bus Tour to view the “Cowgirl Up!” Exhibition at Desert Caballeros Museum in Wickenburg! The bus departs from City Hall, 16000 N. Civic Center Plaza, at 11 a.m. and returns at approximately 3 p.m. The bus ride is free; participants must pay the $9 museum entrance fee. Reserve your seat by calling 623.214.7537
Festival of the Arts at Valley Vista High School
On March 28, the Dysart Unified School District will be holding the second annual Dysart Festival of the Arts. The festival will take place from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. at Valley Vista High School. This event will showcase the visual and performing arts programs from all twenty elementary schools and four high schools in the Dysart Unified School District.
The Dysart Arts Festival will be a day jam packed with performances on multiple stages to include various dance troops, theatre troops, choirs and bands. The elementary and high school visual arts programs will be hosting two showcases to include both 2D and 3D pieces. Learn more about the Festival of the Arts.
The City of Surprise invites interested outreach organizations, promotional vendors and local businesses to participate in the Spring Egg-stravaganza! The event will take place Saturday, April 11, from 7:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. at the Surprise Recreation Campus located at 15850 N. Bullard Avenue.
Spring Egg-stravaganza is a free event featuring fun for the whole family. The event will feature inflatables, face painting, a special appearance by Mr. and Mrs. Bunny and a series of egg hunts filled with fun toys and treats.
As a friendly reminder, upcoming City Council Meetings will be held on Tuesday, March 17, as well as Tuesday, April 7. City Council Work sessions begin at 4 p.m. while City Council Meetings follow at 6 p.m. We hope to see you there.
It was a night of celebration on March 28, as I had the opportunity to host the 2019 State of the City video premiere, which highlighted the city’s most shining moments over the past year.
The video captured the city’s incredible commercial and industrial growth, with two new manufacturing facilities and more than 1.3 million square feet of new commercial space added last year.
Viewers learned about the growing partnership between the city and Ottawa University and the opportunity residents will have to use some of the school’s state-of-the-art recreation space that opens this fall.
Future focused, the video highlighted some of the city’s larger building projects, including the Asante Branch Library; Toll Brothers executive housing development; and the advancement of the Decide Surprise bond projects.
The importance of preparation was addressed; planning for water resources and transportation and public safety needs… and how the 2020 Census will play an important part in all of that.
We also paid tribute to the countless volunteers who share their time and expertise in building our community.
After the video premiere, attendees made their way through the first floor of City Hall and the courtyard to celebrate the 10-year anniversary of the opening of the current City Hall building. Participants enjoyed great entertainment from our local schools and recreation programs, fantastic food trucks and plenty of fun activities that helped residents get to know more about the city departments that serve them.
You can help make a difference concerning transportation in our City by taking this survey. Just ten minutes of your time will tell us about your transportation needs and priorities which will help us decide our region’s transportation priorities and system. Your responses will play a critical role and will be utilized in the aggregate, along with the responses of others just like you, to help shape the region’s future.
We understand that everyone leads a busy life and greatly appreciate any time you can give to this research effort. Take the survey.
Events & Meetings
As another Spring Training season concludes, we are grateful to have the Kansas City Royals and Texas Rangers call Surprise their spring home. We are excited to wish them the best of luck on their quests for a World Series Championship.
Thank you to our grounds crew, Sports and Tourism Department, Surprise Sundancers volunteer organization, fans and so many more for making this another successful Spring Training in Surprise. Once again, thank you to the Kansas City Royals and the Texas Rangers for their support in our community.
Read Across America
In honor of Dr. Seuss’ birthday and Read Across America Week, I had the pleasure of reading to the two classes at Countryside Elementary School. I look forward to sharing my love of reading each year with these students.
Speaking on Civic Engagement
Earlier this month, I was invited to meet with Mrs. Beth Hutchens-Maloney and her class to discuss civic engagement and the importance of using your voice. It is always great to be able to speak to our youth about giving back, paying it forward and using your voice and talents for the greater good.
Surprise Literacy Challenge Winners
My sixth annual Literacy Challenge visit took place this past month, where I visited Mrs. Lovely’s 5th grade class along with Ms. Eby’s 4th grade class. Over 2,500 students in 4th-6th grade from 11 schools participated in this two-month challenge to experience literacy in fun and interesting ways. Participating students are given 29 literacy challenges, like visiting their local public library and engaging with librarians. I look forward to this great tradition every year.
In March, three community meetings were hosted by Scott Phillips of Carefree Partners throughout the city. The purpose of these meetings was to get community input on city center development. Those meetings were held in Sun Village, Sun City Grand and Larry H. Miller Surprise. Our next public meeting will be Monday, April 15th from 7 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. at the Marley Park Heritage Pool House (15210 West Sweetwater Avenue). I hope to see you there!
Cal Ripken Day at Surprise Stadium
Did you know that Surprise’s Cal Ripken, Babe Ruth and Bambino Buddy Ball players make up the largest league in the entire state of Arizona with more than 2,000 athletes? How about that we’re the second-largest league in the country? It was great to welcome and thank the 450-plus coaches who volunteer their time for these amazing kids! Over 2000 kids play a total of 723 games between March and June on fields across our city. Thank you to the youth athletes and their coaches for your participation!
Surprise Regional Chamber Breakfast: Meet the Mayors
The Surprise Regional Chamber of Commerce hosted a breakfast meeting on March 1. Youngtown Mayor Michael LeVault, El Mirage Mayor Alexis Hermosillo and I were asked to provide updates on the current and future plans of our city. It was a well-attended event to let the Chamber and local businesses know our vision for our respective cities.
Nothing Bundt Cakes
On March 7, we welcomed Nothing Bundt Cakes to the city of Surprise! Please make sure to check them out! They are located at 15332 West Bell Road.
Avenir Behavioral Health Center
I had the pleasure of attending and welcoming Avenir Behavioral Health Center to Surprise on March 20. Avenir, a family owned and operated company, has built a state-of-the-art behavioral health facility for people over the age of 65. The health center consists of two separate wings with private and semi-private suites. Welcome to Surprise, Avenir!
Mark Your Calendar
Sunday in the Park Food Truck Festival
The next Sunday in the Park Food Truck Festival will be held on April 14th at the Mark Coronado Park (15850 N Bullard Ave) from 4 p.m. – 8 p.m. This is a fun, family event with live music provided by the Steven P Project and amazing food!
Eager hunters, from toddlers to 10 year-olds, are invited to join the search for more than 50,000 candy and toy-filled eggs as part of the Spring EGG-stravaganza! This is a free, family event that will feature face painters, balloon artists, inflatables and, of course, Mr. & Mrs. Bunny! Gates will open at 7:30 a.m. at the Kansas City Royals Practice Fields, 15850 N Bullard Avenue.
Surprise Talent Show
The city of Surprise is looking for its most talented residents! The Surprise Talent Show will take place on April 26th from 6 – 8 p.m. at Valley Vista High School (15550 N. Parkview Place). The categories are singing, performance, instrumental, dance, and theater/comedy. Tickets are $5 at the door.
Household Hazardous Waste
The annual Household Hazardous Waste event is underway. Now through April 12 residents can make an appointment online at www.surpriseaz.gov/hhwevent, through the My Surprise App, or by calling 623.222.1900 for their household hazardous waste to be picked up. Pick up 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.
City Council Meetings
As a friendly reminder, City Council Meetings will be on April 2 and April 16 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 Work Session through April. We hope to see you there!
Did You Know?
The Surprise Community Outreach Program, a City Council-led initiative to assist community organizations in providing programs and events that benefit City of Surprise residents, is now accepting applications. The purpose of the program is provide funding assistance to organizations within the city of Surprise for programs, events, and activities that enhance the overall lifestyle of the community. Council set aside up to $100,000 for FY2019-2020 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.
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. The application, complete program details, and eligibility requirements are available online at: www.surpriseaz.gov/communityoutreachprogram. Applications will be accepted until Tuesday, April 30, 2019 and should be addressed to:
Human Service & Community Vitality
Attention: Jodi Tas
City of Surprise
16000 N Civic Center Plaza
Surprise, AZ 85374
A pre-application meeting that will include information about the program and the application process will be held Wednesday, April 3, at 11:00 a.m. in the Surprise City Hall Community Room, 16000 N. Civic Center Plaza.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
On February 21st, we welcomed Champs Family Automotive! It was exciting to have Congresswoman Debbie Lesko join us for this event.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.