Tag Archives: veterans

November 2021 • Newsletter

Now that we have turned our calendars to November, we are preparing for our fall traditions and anticipating the holidays. For our city, this month begins planning for our next fiscal year and fairly soon, we will begin the process to update our General Plan 2035.

Council Conversations Show

The overall housing market and affordable housing, in particular, has been discussed at great lengths over the last few months. To help provide insight for residents on the situation, I interviewed Arizona Department of Housing Director Tom Simplot about the current housing status and potential solutions for the state and our city. In addition, I interviewed Community Development Director Chris Boyd regarding the local development process and much more. My latest Council Conversations show can be found at https://surprisetv.surpriseaz.gov/watch?v=k-TZU5dr08w.

2022 Redistricting

The Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission (IRC) is responsible for re-drawing maps for congressional and legislative districts every decade. The Commission was created by voters in 2000 to limit political influence by the legislature in re-drawing congressional and legislative district maps. It consists of two democrats, two republicans and one independent.

The IRC has been hosting meetings across the state as part of a listening tour, and they have been gathering information from the public via their website in order to prepare draft maps. I contributed my thoughts at their meeting in Surprise on October 7. If you would like more information on the process, meetings or maps, please visit the IRC website at https://irc.az.gov/.

Veterans Day Parade

Our 7th Annual City of Surprise Veterans Day Parade will be held on Thursday, November 11. The parade begins at 10 a.m. and will be routed along Bullard Avenue between Paradise Lane and Tierra Buena Lane. It will feature community entries honoring the men and women in uniform who have selflessly served our country.

The morning starts with breakfast from 7:30 – 9:30 a.m. at Surprise Stadium in the centerfield plaza and will feature pancakes, choice of sausage or bacon and breakfast refreshments. Tickets for the breakfast will be sold the day of the parade for $6 per plate and $2 for refreshments (Cash only).

Parking will be available for parade attendees at the Surprise Community Park and Surprise Aquatic Center parking lots, located at 15953 N Bullard Avenue.

In preparation for the parade, the following roads will be closed at 9:30 a.m. and will reopen shortly after the conclusion of the parade:

  • Paradise Lane between Bullard Avenue and Buck O’Neil Way
  • Bullard Avenue between Paradise Lane and Tierra Buena Lane

We hope to see you there!

Sci-Tech Festival

The Surprise SciTech Festival will occur on November 6 from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m. in the Surprise City Hall outside courtyard at 16000 N. Civic Center Plaza. This free, fun-filled educational event features interactive science, technology, engineering, art and math exhibits and demonstrations. There will also be a variety of food trucks, music, and a gaming trailer!

Demonstrations and displays include:

  • Dysart Unified Electric Karts and Robotics Team
  • Surprise Police, Fire-Medical, Water Conservation and other City Departments
  • Business and Higher Ed Institutions
  • Plus, Dino Crew, 30-minute Mad Science Shows (10 a.m. & 12 p.m.), a Virtual Gaming Truck and more!

For more information on the event, please visit surpriseaz.gov/scitech

Surprise Care & Share Expo

The Care & Share Expo is a free community event that will help create connections to human service organizations, health resources and medical checks. It’s a one-stop source for accessing programs and services that promote health, financial growth and self-empowerment. Plus, there will be fun events for the entire family to enjoy!

Here’s a look at some of the services and activities you can expect:

  • Food pantry
  • Pet wellness services and supplies provided by Chance Shelter (dogs & cats only)
  • Dental screenings and fluoride varnishing for kids aged 0-5 and expectant mothers, provided by First Teeth First
  • Health screenings
  • Utility assistance for Surprise & El Mirage residents
  • Veteran & Disability Services Info
  • Kids’ Zone with activities
  • Free lunch (while supplies last)
  • Raffle prizes
  • and more!

The Surprise Care & Share Expo is Saturday, November 13, 2021 from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. in the City Hall Courtyard at 16000 N. Civic Center Plaza. This event is hosted by the City of Surprise Veterans, Disability and Human Services Commission and is presented by First Things First and Health Choice Arizona.

Wishing you and your families a happy Thanksgiving!

May 2021 • Newsletter

Surprise Retail Survey

The last day to take the 2021 online retail survey is May 9! We utilize the survey to see what local retail and restaurant spots you love most, and what new shopping and dining destinations you want to see in Surprise. Please help Surprise stand out as we market our community to new retailers and recognize local places doing a great job! To take the survey, please visit surpriseaz.gov/retailsurvey.

FY2022 Budget

The City Manager’s Fiscal Year (FY) 2022 Recommended Budget, was presented at the Special City Council meeting on April 16. The budget continues to focus on our commitment to maintain quality public services and infrastructure. The Recommended Budget includes $118.7 million for planned Capital Improvement Projects (CIP). These funds support infrastructure, renovations and construction of a police substation, fire stations, municipal art projects, water and wastewater treatment facilities, as well as improvements to the quality of the City’s recreation centers, fields, parks, roadways and drainage.

Final budget adoption is scheduled for the June 1 Regular Council Meeting. To follow the budget process, please visit surpriseaz.gov/budget.

Donna Miller Retirement

It saddens us to announce that Parks and Recreation Director Donna Miller, has retired after 19 years with the city. She joined the Community & Recreation Services (CRS) team in 2002 as a Recreation Coordinator, rose to the rank of Assistant Director in 2011, and Director in 2017. A big “Thank You” to Donna for her dedication to the City of Surprise, and well wishes as she enters retirement!

White Tanks Wild Day Proclamation

Surprise partnered with the White Tanks Conservancy and other West Valley cities to proclaim April 22 White Tanks Wild Day. We are encouraging citizens to visit the White Tank Mountains; to learn more about our local history to educate themselves regarding the imperative for protecting place and passage for wildlife and people; and to support the White Tank Mountains Conservancy in its mission to conserve, connect and collaborate, so all future generations may enjoy the natural and cultural resources of the mountains.

The White Tank Mountains are an ecological, aesthetic, and economic asset for the nearly 5 Million Maricopa County residents, as well as public and private sectors across the State of Arizona.

City Libraries Enter Next Phase of Re-opening

Maricopa County Library District, the operator of our three city libraries, has moved into its next phase of reopening. Visitors now have full browsing access to library shelves, along with already-implemented contactless and limited contact services. There will not be indoor library events/programming at this time, but they may offer small programs outdoors, if weather permits. This phase does not allow for public access to the computers. Learn more at www.mcldaz.org.

West Valley Hub for Military & Veteran Resources and Support Services

In partnership with the Arizona Coalition for Military Families (ACMF), Arizona Department of Veterans’ Services, Northern Arizona University (NAU), Maricopa Community Colleges Foundation, and Rio Salado Community College, the City of Surprise is proud to offer the West Valley Military and Veteran Success Center a new location within the Surprise Resource Center at the AZ TechCelerator Campus, located at 12425 W. Bell Road, Suite 124.

The center includes a variety of military and veteran support services and resources. Support services at the Surprise Resource Center will be implemented in phases. The first phase of services are now available and include a part-time Be Connected navigator and full-time AmeriCorps member provided by ACMF and NAU.

The second phase is expected to be implemented this fall, and will include the deployment of an Arizona Department of Veterans’ Services Veteran Benefits Counselor (VBC) by establishing a satellite office and creating access for service members residing in the West Valley.

For more information on the West Valley Military and Veteran Success Center, please visit the City of Surprise website at surpriseaz.gov/veterans.

Surprise Day of Service

Mayor Hall fills bags with pinto beans.City Council volunteered at a Seeds of Hope Ministries event on April 24 to fill bags of beans for ease of distribution to those in need through the Valley View Community Food Bank. City Council and other volunteers helped to bag 6,000 lbs of beans!

The next Surprise Day of Service will be held on May 26, 2021 from 8:30 a.m. to 11 a.m. For more information, please visit www.surpriseaz.gov/dayofservice or contact larry.garcia@surpriseaz.gov.

Memorial Day Ceremony

The American Legion Post 96 and Marine Corps League WTMD will host a ceremony at the Army Air Corp Memorial, located on the west side of Surprise Lake at Surprise Community Park, on Saturday, May 29 at 9 a.m. For more information please visit the city website at surpriseaz.gov/.

Volunteer Income Tax Assistance

IRS trained volunteers are offering free income tax assistance at two Surprise locations. A New Leaf’s VITA Program provides free tax preparation services, ensuring that hard-working individuals receive the maximum benefits available without losing hundreds of dollars in paid-preparer fees. Households who make $57,000 or less are eligible for this free service.

Surprise Locations:

  • Surprise Resource Center
    12325 W. Bell Road, Bldg. A, Suite #124, Surprise, AZ 85378.
    Offered now – April 15, 2021, Mondays and Tuesdays from 4:00pm – 6:00pm, Thursdays from 9:00am – 11:30am.
  • Riverboat Bingo
    18300 W. Bell Road, Surprise, AZ 85374.
    Offered now – April 14, 2021, Wednesdays from 11:00am – 1:30pm.

For more information, please visit www.irs.gov/individuals/free-tax-return-preparation-for-qualifying-taxpayers or www.turnanewleaf.org/services/financial-empowerment/vita-program.html.

November 2020 • Newsletter

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.

December 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).

Shared Active Transportation Vehicles (SATV)

The SATV (E-Scooter) pilot program has begun and the city is looking for your feedback. The SATV survey will be available during the SATV Pilot Program, November 1 until April 28. The purpose of the SATV Pilot Program is to gather and evaluate information pertaining to the use and deployment of SATVs as a transportation option in Surprise. Your opinion is important to the city and will help shape the future city codes related to the SATVs. The survey is located online by visiting http://surpriseaz.gov/satv.

Home Modifications

The City of Surprise Neighborhood Services Division has now partnered with Ability 360 to assist low to moderate income people with disabilities, or senior citizens, to get modifications to their home which would improve accessibility and safety. Typical modifications would include ramps, widened doorways, grab bars, modified sinks and toilets and more. Ability 360 is a non-profit corporation that promotes programs to continue independent lifestyles. If you would like more information on this program, please contact Neighborhood Services at 623-222-1550.

Fire Station Open Houses

The City of Surprise Fire-Medical Department (SFMD) is opening its doors for a series of fire station open houses. Residents are invited to meet the firefighters, check out the living 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. Open houses in January include, FS 302 (18600 N. Reems Road) on January 4, FS 307 (16171 W. Cactus Road) on January 11 and FS 301 (16750 N. Village Drive) on January 25. All open houses are held from 9:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m.. For more information or any questions please contact the SFMD at 623-222-5000.

Surprise Spring Training 5K

The 3rd Annual Spring Training 5K/1K will be held on Friday, March 6 at 7:00 p.m. This evening fun run will take you on a scenic city route before heading to the ballpark. All runners will receive a Jimmy John’s Spring Training Race shirt, finisher medal and a buy one get one free coupon for select sections of the Kansas City Royals vs. Cincinnati Reds game on March 7. Early registration is now open and offers discounted rates. Please visit SurpriseStadium.com/events for more information and registration forms.

MLK Day of Service

The City of Surprise is seeking event sponsors and community service volunteers for its 4th Annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Celebration and Service on Saturday, January 18, 2020. The Day of Service is the perfect time for you to gather your groups, teams, clubs and families to join with other residents in taking on service projects to help our community. This annual program celebrates the life of Dr. King with a light breakfast and musical performances at 8:30a.m. and a ceremony at 9:00 a.m. in the City Hall courtyard. If you are interested in getting involved, please contact Seth Dyson at seth.dyson@surpriseaz.gov.

National Guard

The Arizona National Guard made a special trip to Surprise to conduct a workshop with students from Ottawa University’s School of Business. This partnership helps to support a growing community and a positive outreach for staff, students and military members.

Mayor Hall, Surprise City Managers, Ottawa University students and the Arizona National Guard.


DUSD Veterans Celebrations

Dysart Unified School District hosted many events to recognize Veterans as part of their Veterans Appreciation Celebration. I was honored to be invited to speak at two of the events. Kingswood Elementary started off the celebrations by welcoming residents to their amphitheater where all Veterans in attendance were recognized. West Point Elementary hosted a Tribute to Our Veterans which featured their band, choir, students and guest speakers. These events bring our community together and allow the youth to have an opportunity to thank the men and women of our military. I thank Dysart Unified School District students and staff for their outstanding display of patriotism.

Veteran Recognition Event

Solana at the Park hosted the 2nd Annual Veterans Celebration that welcomed many guest speakers who gave emotional tributes to their military experiences. Retired United States Army Chief Warrant Officer Glenn Stark was the Master of Ceremony and guest speakers Debbie Lee, Alysse Jackson, Jessica Roza, and Jaime Wasden-Ryum gave powerful presentations on their lives with the military. Thank you to all who came out to support this event and honor the ones who have served to keep our country free.

Veterans Day Ceremony

Veterans Day began with a ribbon cutting ceremony for the Veterans Reflection Circle, an outdoor memorial built through donated products and services, in honor of late Surprise resident and wounded combat war veteran Brian Mancini. Special guests in attendance were Congresswoman Debbie Lesko, AZ State Senators Rick Gray and David Livingston, as well as State Representatives Joanne Osborne and Frank Carroll. Following the ceremony, our annual Veterans Day parade took place and many residents gathered along Bullard Ave waiting to express their gratitude for our veterans. I would like to thank everyone who participated and all the staff who dedicated so much time into making these events a success.

Congratulations to the following Veterans Day Parade participants for winning in their respective categories:

  • Best Veteran Service Organization Entry: VFW Post 285
  • Best Military Entry: Vietnam Veterans of America West Valley Chapter #1043
  • Best Motorized Entry: Rotary Club of Surprise, honorable mention Surprise Police Department Citizens Patrol
  • Best Non-Motorized Entry: Ottawa University
  • Best Musical/Performance Entry: Valley Vista High School Marching Band
  • Best Youth Entry: Girl Scouts Cactus La Promesa
  • Best Classic Car Entry: Psychedelic Rolls Royce

Ribbon Cuttings


Bonfire Craft Kitchen and Taphouse has opened its doors in Surprise. This family friendly restaurant brings re-inspired American classics to Brookside Village, just north of Bell Road and east of Reems. I welcome you to Surprise and wish you much success.

Vein Envy

Vein Envy is a medical facility that specializes in many different vein disorders. They are located throughout the valley and now here in Surprise off of Grand Avenue. I welcome the Vein Envy team to our city and wish them continued growth.

Ugly Tuna

Located in the SE corner complex of Bell and Reems Roads, Ugly Tuna Sushi has opened its doors to allow residents a fresh new dining experience. This family owned business offers a family atmosphere with a new spin on traditional sushi. Thank you for choosing Surprise as your home and I look forward to your success.

Surprise Health and Rehab

Surprise Health and Rehabilitation offers several types of care for a wide range of needs. They have a full time in house therapy team that offers customizable programs as well as certified therapists in specialty areas of practice. Surprise Health and Rehab also has return home programs. They offer integrated cognitive programs as well as speech and language therapy. Welcome to Surprise!

Richi’s Diner II

Richi’s Diner became a huge success in Surprise and now Richi’s Diner II has found its home. This second location in Surprise offers a wide variety of meals, live music and a full bar. They have every day favorites like hamburgers and traditional American dinners to Greek favorites like gyros, kabobs and more. Thank you for allowing Council to be a part of your newest location!

Coming Up

Surprise Party

There is no better way to get in the holiday spirit than our annual Surprise Party! Mark your calendars for Friday, December 6 and Saturday, December 7 and head to the Surprise Recreation Campus, located at 15960 N. Bullard Ave, for musical performances, skydivers, Santa’s workshop and much more. Gates will open at 5:00 p.m. on December 6 with our tree lighting ceremony at 7:00 p.m. On December 7, the party runs from 11:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. This festival is a great way to kick off the holiday season as admission is free with your donation of a canned food item or a toy for the Sanderson Ford Operation Santa.

Deck the Hock

Deck the Hock is a family friendly event that features themed Christmas tree decorations, choir performances, crafts, treats and more. Bring the family to the Surprise Senior Center, 15832 N. Hollyhock Street, on December 10 from 5:00-7:00 p.m. and let get yourself into the Christmas spirit.

Tech the Halls

Join residents and staff at the AZ TechCelerator, 12425 W. Bell Road, on Thursday, December 12 from 5:00-7:00 p.m. for our 4th Annual Tech the Halls event. This family fun event will have tech exhibits, entertainments, games, refreshments, prizes and more.

West Valley Symphony

The West Valley Symphony presents a collection from the Nutcracker Suite, Festive Lights of Hanukkah and holiday selections with the West Valley Youth Orchestra on December 22 at 3:00 p.m. Head over to the Valley Vista Performing Arts Center, 15550 N. Parkview Place, to hear a variety of holiday music.

City Council Meetings

As a friendly reminder, City Council Meetings will be held on Tuesday, December 3 and Tuesday, December 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.

December Office Closure Dates

All City offices will be closed on Wednesday, December 25 in observance of Christmas Day. Offices will resume regular business hours on Thursday, December 26.

November 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).

Surprise Fire-Medical Department

A new federally funded grant awarded eight new firefighters to the Surprise Fire-Medical Department. This grant pays for the majority of training and salaries for the first two years with a little under half paid in the third year. In addition to the eight federally funded firefighters, five new firefighters were funded through the city’s current budget. All 13 new firefighters will graduate the academy and complete training by June of 2020, making them potentially available to staff Engine 305 at Greenway and Parkview. Twelve of these new positions will eventually be assigned to Fire Station 308 once construction is completed in late 2021 or early 2022. Further discussion regarding the full-time operation of Engine 305 will be part of the FY2021 budget process.

Toll Brothers Tour

Toll Brothers is bringing luxury resort-style living to Surprise! This gated community, Sterling Grove, is almost 800 acres and will feature 13 model homes with up to 31 different floor plans. The amenities will include an 18-hole Jack Nicklaus golf course, 3 pools, clubhouses, spas, tennis courts and much more. The models are scheduled to open in January 2020.

Many thanks to Aaron Insco, Director of Land Development, as well as Senior Project Managers Dan Rhea and Devin Hobbs for the tour. We greatly appreciate your time, and we look forward to the grand opening of Sterling Grove.

Surprise Fiesta Grande

The 6th Annual Fiesta Grande brought residents and elected officials together in this celebration of Surprise’s heritage. We were honored to host Barry Wong, Executive Director at Governor Ducey’s Office of Equal Opportunity, who presented a Hispanic Heritage Month Proclamation; as well as special guest Consul Deputy General of Mexico Armando Esparza. Thank you to our Parks and Recreation team for all of their hard work and dedication in putting on this event.

Mayor Hall holds the proclamation presented by Barry Wong at Surprise Fiesta Grande.

The Stable

Shadow Ridge DECA Club hosted a ribbon cutting ceremony for their student run school store, the Stable, on October 1. The DECA program is a non-profit career and technical student organization that prepares youth in marketing, finance, hospitality and management in high schools and colleges around the globe. I was honored to be a part of this celebration and personally thank the staff and students of Shadow Ridge High School for their forward thinking initiative.


Valley Vista Homecoming Parade

Valley Vista High School invited me to participate in their Annual Homecoming Parade. I was honored to ride alongside Superintendent Dr. Quinn Kellis as we made our way through the neighborhood. Families were lined up on the road as their children waited for the candy to be thrown. Thank you to Dysart Unified School District Board, administration, students and staff who continue to make events like this successful.

Mayor Hall alongside Superintendent Dr. Quinn Kellisin in the Valley Vista High School Annual Homecoming Parade.

Auviana Groundbreaking

Auviana Medical Development held a groundbreaking ceremony to celebrate their new Surprise medical and professional offices. This 52,000 square foot project will be complete in 2020 and contain five single-story buildings and one two-story building. They are located just off of Mountain View Boulevard. Welcome to Surprise, Auviana!

G.A.I.N. Night

G.A.I.N. Night is the annual public safety event that allows our residents to gather for a night of fun! The Surprise Public Safety Department hosted hands-on activities, displays and information booths as well trick or treating, music and much more. Thank you to the Public Safety Departments as well as our Parks and Recreation team for making this event successful.

AZ TechCelerator Cyber Warfare Range

The City of Surprise welcomed the AZ Cyber Warfare Range (AZCWR) to the AZ TechCelerator with a ribbon cutting ceremony. AZCWR, in collaboration with the City of Surprise, is working to help solve the cybersecurity skills gap by producing competent cybersecurity talent. AZCWR offers training in a hands-on environment that is mentor-led utilizing volunteers from the local cybersecurity community. This initiative focuses on supporting the local veteran community to aid in their transition from service to their country in the armed services to serve their country in the private sector.

Mayor Hall and Arizona Cyber Warfare Range cut the ribbon for their ribbon ceremony at AZ TechCelerator.

City Council Special Recognition

In August, Surprise resident Larry Brown was awarded the 4th Annual Congressional Veterans of Distinction Award by US Senator Martha McSally. City Council wanted to recognize Mr. Brown in front of his peers and Surprise residents so we did so at our City Council meeting on October 15. I would like to thank Veteran Outreach Manager Keith Forte, from Senator McSally’s office, for presenting Larry Brown with the certificate for his outstanding community service in Arizona. Mr. Brown, I thank you for your service and dedication to this country as well as your continued service to our community.

Surprise resident Larry Brown displays his award with Surprise City Councilmembers.

Coming Up

Dysart Veterans Appreciation Kick Off

Dysart Unified School District will host a Veterans Appreciation Kickoff Celebration at Kingswood Elementary School on November 4 at 4:00 p.m. Veterans from across the city are invited to attend and be recognized by DUSD Superintendent Dr. Quinn Kellis as well as students from Valley Vista High School and Kingswood Elementary.

Veterans Reflection Circle Dedication Ceremony

On November 11 at 8 a.m., the City will hold a dedication ceremony marking the opening of the Veterans Reflection Circle, which is being constructed near the north entrance of the Northwest Regional Library in Surprise.

The Veterans Reflection Circle is an outdoor memorial in honor of late Surprise resident and combat wounded veteran Brian Mancini, who spent his life serving his country and helping other wounded veterans find healing. Dozens of construction and landscape companies have donated their time and resources to honor our veterans and bring this incredible project to life.

Prior to the celebration, the city will host a pancake breakfast at the Surprise Stadium, which will run from 7:30-9:30 a.m. Following the dedication ceremony, the Veterans Day Parade will begin promptly at 10:00 a.m. This annual celebration brings veterans from across the city to honor and celebrate the freedoms they have provided us.

Veterans Reflection Circle event map.

West Valley Symphony

The West Valley Symphony will be holding a concert at 3:00 p.m. on November 17 at the Valley Vista Performing Arts Center, 15550 N. Parkview Place. This performance will feature the works of Respighi, Debussy, Rimsky-Korsakov and Strauss. For ticket details, please call 623.707.8844, Option 1.

Surprise Party

There is no better way to get in the holiday spirit than our annual Surprise Party! Mark your calendars for Friday, December 6 and Saturday, December 7 and head to the Surprise Recreation Campus, located at 15850 N. Bullard Ave, for musical performances, skydivers, Santa’s workshop and much more. Gates will open at 5:00 p.m. on December 6 with our tree lighting ceremony at 6:00 p.m. On December 7, the party runs from 11:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. This festival is a great way to kick off the holiday season as admission is free with your donation of a canned food item or a toy for the Sanderson Ford Operation Santa.

City Council Meetings

As a friendly reminder, City Council Meetings will be held on Tuesday, November 5 and Tuesday, November 19 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.

November Office Closure Dates

All City offices will be closed on Monday, November 11 in honor of Veterans Day. Offices will also be closed on Thursday and Friday, November 28-29, in celebration of the Thanksgiving Holiday.

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.