Category Archives: District 3 News

City celebrates reopening of Bell Road

Commuters were able to cruise over the new Bell Road Bridge at Grand Avenue on their way to work this morning, as the Arizona Department of Transportation officially opened the road at 12:15 a.m.

The city of Surprise hosted a pre-celebration on Monday in the Surprise Marketplace parking lot to officially kick-off the 2016 Holiday Season and to thank the area businesses, residents and drivers for their patience during the seven-month closure of Bell Road.

“To the customers that continued to shop these businesses, thank you for realizing that they were ALWAYS open and for supporting them,” said Mayor Sharon Wolcott. “And to those that took a different commute during the closure, I invite you to come back to this area. No more stopping for the train and three new businesses have opened since the closure began in April, with two others opening this fall. Come check them out!”

Representatives from the Arizona Department of Transportation and the Surprise Regional Chamber of Commerce also spoke at the event that was attended by neighboring elected officials, residents and local businesses.

As a “thank you” for supporting the businesses around the Bell and Grand intersection attendees received Surprise shopping bags, filled with vendor coupons and promotional items. A perfect reminder to Shop Surprise this holiday season!

The Bell Road closure was part of the ADOT US 60 (Grand Ave) and Bell Road Interchange project which began in January 2016. By closing Bell for 7 months, construction delays were avoided during two Spring Training Seasons and this year’s holiday shopping season.

The entire Bell-Grand project, including the ramps connecting Grand Avenue to Bell Road, is scheduled to be complete prior to Spring Training 2017 at the Surprise Recreation Campus. In the meantime, your Bell to Grand Avenue access remains on Dysart Road, east of the intersection and Bell to Reems to Grand, west of the intersection.

Fitch upgrades Surprise revenue bond and long-term default ratings to ‘AA+’

City Manager Bob Wingenroth announced Tuesday night that Fitch Ratings, one of the “Big Three” nationally recognized credit rating agencies, has upgraded the city’s Excise Tax and State-Shared Revenue Obligation (ETRO) bond rating to ‘AA+’ from ‘AA-’.

Fitch stated the “rating reflects a solid coverage cushion and expectations for strong pledged revenue growth.”

Fitch also upgraded the city’s Long-Term Issuer Default rating (IDR) to ‘AA+’ from ‘AA-’.

In reviewing the city’s economic base Fitch noted, “The city’s 2015 population of 128,422 has realized a rapid 10% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) over the past 15 years and its median household income exceeds that of the U.S. by 16%.”

In commenting on the city’s operating performance Fitch reported, “Fitch expects Surprise to maintain a high level of financial flexibility through economic downturns based on its ample revenue raising capacity and solid financial flexibility, supplemented by its ample reserves.”

“We are very pleased with this news,” says Finance Director Lindsey Duncan. “In following the financial policy direction as set by City Council, we have been able to do an amazing job of managing city revenues in a responsible manner and these favorable ratings verify that.” A city’s credit rating is important due to its impact on interest rates in the bond market. A better rating means the city can sell bonds to finance capital projects and pay a lower interest rate to the buyer.

The agency also issued a rating outlook of Stable.

View Fitch’s news release.

D3 residents receive update on city’s economic development plans; Prasada & bond election

On September 13, 2016, I hosted a District 3 Update meeting at the new Surprise Honda to update my constituents on Economic Development, Prasada and the upcoming bond ballot initiative.

Economic Development Director Jeanine Jerkovic provided a community profile about Surprise. Surprise’s planning area is approximately 309 square miles which provides us plenty of room to grow. See Presentation

Our population has exceeded 127,000 with a median age of 38.7 and a median household income of $60,000. Our development areas are split between three main areas which consist of City Center, the Southwest Railplex and Loop 303 development. Our economic engines consist of Prasada Automall, Spring Training, AZ TechCelerator (our business incubator) and multiple international headquarters and businesses.

Strategic Plan development, a higher education initiative, retail attraction, small business retention and workforce development are among some of the highlights our Economic Development team diligently works on for our residents. We want more head-of-household positions! We’ve also heard our residents loud and clear with recent results from our retail survey – residents want Costco and In-N-Out Burger and we are working our hardest to bring them here!

Jack Rasor, Partner of WDP Partners LLC, discussed the current Prasada development. Three new auto dealerships have opened or will soon be opening. Prasada is also working with developers to bring higher-end homes to the area which will increase overall property values and increase dispensable income which retailers research prior to solidifying locations for their companies. Due to evolving changes in the economy and consumer shopping strategies, bringing retail to Prasada has been slower than anticipated. With that being said, the future looks bright.

Staff was present to discuss the upcoming bond initiative. Your November 8, 2016 General Election ballot will feature one question regarding the $63 million General Obligation Bond. It is your decision to choose whether or not the selected projects will be funded.

The projects include:

  • Fire Station 308 (SW Surprise)
  • Permanent Fire Station 304 (NE Surprise)
  • Police Property & Evidence Facility
  • Land for Police Substation/Fire Station/Park (SW Surprise)
  • Public Works Operations Facility
  • Greenway Road Improvement (East and West of Loop 303)
  • Litchfield Road Improvement (Sweetwater – Desert Cove)
  • Regional Recreation Complex (Location TBD)
  • Aquatic Center Expansion

Surprise does not currently have a secondary property tax. If the bond is approved, it will result in an estimated average secondary property tax rate of $0.4642 per $100 of assessed property valuation. For a $200,000 home, that would equal $93 per year. Learn more about the projects, the cost to you and election information at www.surpriseaz.gov/surpriseforward. A reminder that the last day to register for this election is October 10!

Williams hosts meeting to update bond initiative and Prasada development

Join Councilmember John Williams and city staff at a D3 Update meeting, Tuesday, September 13, 5 p.m. – 6 p.m.

Where: Surprise Honda, 13270 N. Autoshow Avenue, Surprise

City staff will be on hand to talk about the November 8 General Obligation Bond Election; a current Prasada development update and a tour of the car dealership. This meeting is open to all city residents, not just those living in District 3. Questions? Call 623.222.1323.

Neighborhood Grant Program application now available

The Surprise City Council approved funding to support the Neighborhood Grant Program that provides eligible neighborhoods with small grants to fund neighborhood events, functions or even some community improvements.

Recognizing an opportunity to encourage community engagement and further build strong relationships with communities in Surprise, the city designated $10,000 to support the grant program for FY17.

To be considered, projects must meet the following program criteria:

  • Provide a public benefit
  • Result in a product, which benefits a neighborhood or the larger Surprise Community
  • Be feasible for completion by June 2017
  • Involve the benefiting neighborhood in project identification, planning and execution
  • Emphasize neighborhood self-help; or be educational, community-building, or a public physical improvement
    • Final report to due and presentation to the Sub-Committee on Community Outreach, Partnerships and Grants on June 15, 2017

Additionally, a minimum of 5 neighbors within the residential area must sign the application and support the idea; neighborhoods governed by a homeowner association (HOA) must have HOA approval.

Interested communities should deliver the complete Neighborhood Grant Program application to City Hall, attention Jodi Tas, by 5:00 p.m. on Friday, October 5.

An information session will be held September 7, 2016 at 5:30 pm at Surprise City Hall, 16000 N. Civic Center Plaza in the Council Overflow room.

For more information about the grant, visit Neighborhood Grant Program or contact Jodi Tas, 623.222.1330.