Tag Archives: veterans

September 2019 • Newsletter

Thank You!

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 skip.hall@surpriseaz.gov 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).

Arizona League of Cities & Towns Conference

The City of Surprise was well represented in Tucson for the League of Cities & Towns Conference. Elected officials statewide mingled and discussed topics that relate to all cities. I was able to meet with representatives from COX, APS, CAP and Swire Coca-Cola as well as attend several conferences that included topics of homelessness, changes in the future of recycling, public safety, retirement system updates and future plans.

Advanced Meter Infrastructure Replacement Project (AMI)

The City of Surprise will replace approximately 16,000 residential, commercial and irrigation mechanical water meters with new automated meters. The new water meters will allow customers to monitor their water usage in real time, allowing them to set usage alerts and detect possible leaks. The $5.474 million AMI project is funded entirely by the city’s water fund. Customers will not see a charge for the meter or installation nor will they see an increase of water rates. Customers will be notified via postcard mailer if they will be receiving a new meter. For more information please visit www.surpriseaz.gov/watermeter.

Recycling Program

The City of Surprise is facing many struggles and obstacles in maintaining its recycling program due to soaring operational costs. The city began curbside recycling in 2004 and the revenue generated by the recyclables helped to offset the cost of providing the service. However, since December 2017, the city has incurred growing expenses to the program which can no longer be absorbed. As city staff research to find a cost-effective solution, they encourage all residents to continue positive recycling behaviors. It is also important to remember that only bagged trash may be placed in the black containers. If you wish to place recyclable materials in the black container, please ensure they are bagged properly.

Surprise HOA Academy

The City of Surprise has opened registration for the 2019 HOA Academy. This five week academy strives to provide expert information for HOA residents, board members and managers. Residents who would like to learn more about living in an HOA community, serving on an HOA board or who just want more information on the laws surrounding HOAs, are encouraged to attend.

Classes are held on Wednesdays from 6:00-8:30 p.m. beginning October 16 at the Public Safety Building Auditorium, located at 14250 W. Statler Plaza. For more information on this academy, the online registration form and the complete list of class dates, please visit www.surpriseaz.gov/HOAacademy.


2019 Summer Youth Employment Program (SYEP)

The City of Surprise placed twenty-five interns in departments all over the city for six weeks this summer. During this time, they worked 20 hours per week and learned about public service careers. The interns learned skills and etiquette from their supervisors as well as received training from the Surprise Youth Services team. We are proud of your participation and thank you for your hard work!

Breakfast with Congresswoman Debbie Lesko

The Chamber of Commerce hosted a meeting with speakers that included Congresswoman Debbie Lesko, Ottawa University President Dr. Dennis Tyner and Dysart Unified School District Superintendent Dr. Quinn Kellis. The topic of discussion was Education: New Direction and New Opportunities. Thank you for the continued focus on Arizona’s education system.

Coming Up

Arts HQ Gallery

The West Valley Arts Council has just opened their newest photography exhibit, Painting with Light. The exhibit will run until October 4. Don’t miss this opportunity to view the latest art in Surprise.

Community Dog Park

The City of Surprise Community Dog Park will be closed from September 9 until October 7 for annual maintenance. This closure will affect both the large and small dog parks. Residents are urged to utilize the Dick McComb Dog Park located at 17894 W. Westpark Blvd.

Estate Planning

The city is offering a free Estate Planning class, taught by Ted Meyer with Coventry Financial Group, which will cover several topics of interest. There will also be time set aside for questions and answers with an estate planning attorney. This class is offered September 12 and 26 from 10:00-11:30 a.m. in the Council Overflow Room at City Hall. For more information or to register, please contact Ruby Sitea at 623-222-3242.

Council Conversation

I was honored to interview Police Chief Terry Young and Fire Chief Tom Abbott regarding overall public safety updates. This taping is currently running on Surprise TV via local cable providers and online at https://surprisetv.surpriseaz.gov/index.php/watch?v=4Q3jnjk5sOg. Thank you to our police and fire departments for their daily efforts to ensure the protection of our residents.

Hazardous Household Waste Collection

The City of Surprise will continue the scheduled appointment format to make Household Hazardous Waste Collection events more convenient for residents. Pickups will occur from September 30 until October 11. To scheduled your appointment, please call 623-222-1920 beginning September 9.

Care & Share Expo

The Veteran, Disability & Human Service Commission is pleased to announce the first Care & Share Expo scheduled on Saturday, October 5. This is a free community event creating connections to human service organizations, as well as disability, veteran and health resources. It’s a one stop source for accessing programs and services that promote health, financial growth and self-empowerment. There will also be fun events for the entire family. For more information please visit www.surpriseaz.gov/careshareexpo.

Day of Service

The City is seeking over 200 volunteers to participate in the Fall Day of Service on Saturday, October 19. This event helps to promote community pride and engagement. There will be several indoor and outdoor service projects, including painting, sorting, yard work and more.

Following the community service project completion, an island party will be held with a BBQ, live music, games and fun!

For more information or to register, please email Ervin.Cutwright@surpriseaz.gov. Groups of 10 or more must RSVP with a group name.

Veterans Day Parade

The City of Surprise is now accepting parade entries from clubs, organizations, groups and residents who want to show their patriotic spirit and honor those who bravely served our country. The parade will be held on Monday, November 11. Entry forms are available online at www.surpriseaz.gov/specialevents or at the Parks and Recreation Office, 15960 N. Bullard Avenue. Entries are due by October 27.

City Council Meetings

As a friendly reminder, City Council Meetings will be held on Thursday, September 5 and Tuesday, September 17 this month. City Council Work sessions begin at 4:00 p.m. while City Council Meetings follow at 6:00 p.m. We hope to see you there.

Did You Know?

The City of Surprise is considering Major Amendments to its General Plan 2035 in relation to transportation and growth. The public has until October 7 to review the proposed amendments and comment online by visiting www.surpriseaz.gov/GeneralPlan. Comments may also be mailed to City of Surprise Community Development Services, c/o Joshua Mike, 16000 N. Civic Center Plaza Surprise, AZ 85374.

June 2019 • Newsletter

Meetings & Events

Sun City Lodge Elks Youth Awards Dinner

On May 6, it was an honor to attend the Elks Youth Awards Dinner hosted by the Sun City Elks. It was a night of celebrating the accomplishments of young students throughout Surprise. I issued a proclamation declaring the first week of May as Elks National Youth Week to support the great work the Sun City Elks and our youth provide. The Sun City Elks have connected with over 10,000 students, parents, and teachers who reside in Peoria, El Mirage, and Surprise. Elk members bring so much to the community with their investment in programs that help children grow up healthy and drug-free, meet the needs of veterans, and improve the quality of life. Thank you to the Sun City Lodge Elks for inviting me!

Sun City Elks Lodge list of student winners

EPCOR Interim Rates

Residents in Surprise who have EPCOR have probably noticed a change in your water rates. On March 28, 2019, the Arizona Corporation Commission approved interim rates to recover changes in operating costs since rates were last set in each district. Current rates remain in effect and will continue to appear on your bill as they do today. Interim rates will appear as a surcharge on your bill, calculated based your individual usage.

The Arizona Corporation Commission ordered EPCOR to file a new rate case by May 1, 2020. To share your perspective on the interim rates, you can contact the ACC and reference Docket #WS-01303A-19-0011. You can call 602.542.4251 or mail to:

Arizona Corporation Commission
Consumer Services Section
1200 West Washington Street
Phoenix, Arizona 85007

Wyland National Mayor’s Challenge for Water Conservation

While we didn’t take first place in the National Mayor’s Challenge for Water Conservation, we came in second place! We were part of a national campaign that pledged to save three billion gallons of water. Congratulations to Athens, Georgia for beating us out in the 100k-299k population category.

The challenge took place over the entire month of April and Surprise had nearly 13,500 pledges from our residents committing to conserve a total of 56 million gallons of water. Thank you to everyone who took the pledge, and make sure to keep an eye out in April 2020. We have our eyes on the grand prize!

Memorial Day Weekend

During Memorial Day Weekend, City Council and I attended many events honoring the service of our veterans who are no longer with us. Saturday, May 25, Marine Corps League and the American Legion hosted a wreath laying ceremony at the Northwest Regional Library on the World War II Memorial. Thank you to Mike Elliott for saying a few words and Reverend Bob Can Allen for the opening prayer.

On Monday the 27th, Northwest Valley Veterans Association hosted a moving service at the Sunland Memorial Park. Our very own Councilman Ken Remley was the keynote speaker. He talked about his time in the service and honoring fallen veterans. We are all forever grateful for the service these men provided to our country.

The Nicky D. Bacon VFW Post 285 hosted a wreath laying ceremony at the Nicky Bacon Memorial outside of City Hall. The Surprise Police Department Honor Guard was on hand as well as the family members of Nicky D. Bacon. For those who do not know, Nicky D. Bacon was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for his service in the Vietnam War. Nicky was a longtime resident of the West Valley and served as Town Manager for Surprise from 1987-1990. After his passing in 2010, VFW Post 285 did not hesitate to rename their post for him.

Nicky Bacon Memorial outside of City Hall

Sun Village hosted a Memorial Day Service “Honoring our Fallen Heroes” outside Peter’s Bistro. Councilman David Sanders gave the keynote speech. I had the great honor to post the POW Flag. It was a remarkable event, and thank you to the many sponsors who made this wreath laying ceremony possible.

Celebrating Our Military

On May 22, the Surprise Senior Center hosted a Celebration of our Military for the upcoming Memorial Day Weekend. The event hosted Army Sergeant 1st Class Madison and Petty Officer Michael Ferrar. The two discussed the military from then and now with the Surprise Senior Center Members.

The Surprise Senior Center has a variety of activities to participate in; from daily activities, to the fitness center, and a hot lunch program. Membership for residents is $12 per year and $15 for non-residents. For more information about the Surprise Senior Center, please call 623.222.1500.

Arizona Charter Academy Breakfast

On Thursday, May 16, the Arizona Charter Academy hosted their annual volunteer appreciation breakfast. Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction Kathy Hoffman was in attendance to recognize the hard work the students and volunteers put into the Academy. Thank you to the Arizona Charter Academy for the invite! Congratulations to all who were recognized!

Congratulations to the following:
ACA Volunteer of the Year: Karen Cassidy
Community Members of the Year: Gary Smith, Kenny Dobbs, Jacob DiMartino of Bully RAADR and Relentless Athletes
Community Partner of the Year: WHAM

Surprise Police Department Annual Appreciation Celebration

Friday, May 17, the Surprise Police Department hosted their annual appreciation celebration. City Councilmembers Remley, Judd, Duffy, Hayden, Sanders, Vice Mayor Winters, and I were on hand to congratulate the personnel for their outstanding achievements.

Please join me in congratulating these outstanding individuals: Officer of the Year: Corbin Claxton
Detective of the Year: Lucas Jensen
Rookie of the Year: Dillon Bleicher
Civilian Employee of the Year: Erin Rivera
Supervisor of the Year: Michael Robbins
Volunteer of the Year: Barbara Jones
Citizen Patrol Volunteer of the Year: Marylene Cayron

Lifesaving Awards: Officer Gerald Graziosi, Officer Fredrick Cuthbertson, Officer Joshua Bucur, Officer William Bisson, Officer Shawna Ebey, Officer Tyler Johnson, Sergeant Garrick Boxberger

Unit Citation- Traffic Unit: Sergeant Michael Robbins, Leonard Collins, Drew Persha, Richard Malone, Steven Shernicoff

Thank you all for your service. It was a pleasure to attend and see these dedicated members receive the recognition they deserve.

WESTMARC Economic Development Meeting

City officials, members of City Council, and I attended the WESTMARC Economic Development Meeting on May 15 where we had the opportunity to listen to several panels and a keynote speaker – Colonel Robert Sylvester of Luke Air Force Base. The panels had a wide range of discussion topics, including water, transportation, and infrastructure. Colonel Sylvester reflected on his time in the West Valley as he prepares to embark on his next mission.

Veterans Summit Meeting

This past month, our Human Services and Community Vitality Department hosted a Veterans Summit. Local Veteran groups were represented and staff from Senator McSally’s office were also in attendance. Discussions included ways to bring Veterans housing to Surprise and what Veterans are looking for in a Veterans Hall. If you are a Veteran or know a Veteran seeking assistance, please reach out to the Surprise Resource Center located in the AZ TechCelerator building at 12425 W. Bell Road, Suite 124 or by calling 623.222.1600. The Surprise Resource Center hosts Veteran Employment Assistance programs and a Job Club for Veterans.

Grand Openings

LA Fitness

On Saturday May 18, we welcomed LA Fitness to Surprise with a remarkable Grand Opening. We are excited to have a company like LA Fitness represented here in Surprise. The new LA Fitness is located at 16635 W Bell Road.

Surprise City Council attends the LA Fitness grand opening

Lennar-Heritage Homes Groundbreaking

We held the ground breaking ceremony for Lennar homes in the Asante neighborhood. We are thrilled to have such a quality homebuilder investing in Surprise again! Asante is truly a beautiful community and Heritage will live up to its name. Residents will enjoy meeting their neighbors in the Asante Park and at the new Asante library which opens next year.

Mark Your Calendar

Veterans Reflection Circle Groundbreaking

On June 24, from 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.at the Northwest Regional Library (16089 N. Bullard Avenue) we are breaking ground on an outdoor memorial in honor of the late Surprise resident and combat wounded veteran Brian Mancini, who spent his life serving his country and helping other wounded veterans. We hope to see you there!

Poetry Slam at WHAM

On June 21, from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. at WHAM (16560 North Dysart Road) there will be a Poetry Slam that features open mic night for poetry, free verse, and storytelling. All are welcome to participate as performers and/or listeners. Any established or original pieces may be read. This is a free event and open to the public. No registration required.

Dive-In Movie: Aquaman

On June 15, 7:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. at the Surprise Aquatic Center (15831 North Bullard Avenue) residents will have the opportunity to relax in the water or poolside while watching “Aquaman” on the big screen! Concessions will be available to purchase. This movie is rated PG-13, children 12 and under are not permitted without an adult. As always, parents must remain within arm’s reach of all non-swimmers. The cost is $5 for residents and $8 for non-residents.

City Council Meetings

As a friendly reminder, City Council Meetings will be on June 4 and June 18 this month starting at 6:00 p.m. City Council Work sessions beings at 4:00 p.m.

Utility Assistance Application Event

Surprise, in partnership with the city of El Mirage, will host walk-in Utility Assistance Application Events in Surprise during the month of June, to assist eligible households that need support paying gas and electric utility bills. The first-come, first-served event will take place on June 13 from 3:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. at the Surprise Resource Center (12425 W Bell Road, Suite 124). Interviews do not guarantee assistance.

Surprise Public Safety launches veteran preference recruitment policy

The City of Surprise Fire-Medical and Police Departments now offer preference points for military service veterans applying as firefighter and police recruits.

Veterans, those that were on active military duty for at least six months, will be awarded an extra five points to their passing entrance recruitment exam score.

To qualify for the extra points, veteran candidates must have been honorably discharged from military service.

“These brave men and women served and protected our country; this policy is one way we can say thank you,” says Fire-Medical Chief Tom Abbott.

“Helping to employ our nation’s veterans is the right thing to do and we hope this policy in some way honors their service,” add Police Chief Terry Young.

For additional information on eligibility visit the recruitment pages of Surprise Fire-Medical and Surprise Police at www.surpriseaz.gov and click on the Public Safety Veterans Recruitment link.