Category Archives: Newsletters

Vice Mayor Williams’ District 3 newsletter

D3 Quarterly Newsletter – May 2017

This year is certainly passing quickly. There are so many exciting things happening in Surprise! I’m grateful to be part of it.

Budget

We are rapidly approaching the end of our (FY) 2018 budget discussion. At the City Council meeting on May 2, City Council adopted the tentative budget for the upcoming fiscal year (FY) 2018 in the amount of $336.9 million. This includes $276.2 million of expenses and $60.7 million of transfers between different funds within the City. This represents an increase of $0.4 million from the City Manager’s recommended budget presented on April 18.

Operating expenses account for $162 million or 48% of the total budget. This includes a Peak Time Response Unit to strengthen Fire response times and two community policing officers, both programs partially funded by grants. A third ambulance will be brought into service funded through transport revenues. Capital Improvement expenses total $49.7 million, a large portion of which is dedicated to maintaining or replacing infrastructure and equipment.

The FY2018 tentative budget also includes $56.6 million in contingency that is set aside for future planned or potentially unforeseen purposes. In addition to the budgeted amounts, the City will have $37.2 million held in reserve. The budget is balanced, meaning that the sources of funds is greater than or equal to the uses of funds for FY2018. This is the first step in adopting the fiscal year budget and sets the maximum expenditure limit for the upcoming fiscal year that starts on July 1. The Council will look to finalize the process by adopting the final budget on June 6 and the property tax levy on June 20.

Council to vote June 6 on potential bond election this November

City staff briefed City Council on three proposed General Obligation Bond questions in the areas of Public Safety, Traffic Congestion Mitigation and Pavement Preservation, at the May 16th Work Session.

The three proposed questions and projects, as presented to Council, were determined based on community needs, comments received from residents during the 2016 bond election outreach process, and input received during and after the Surprise Capital Improvement Funding Exploratory Committee’s April 19 meeting.

Proposed Question #1: Voters in Surprise are asked to consider a $34 million public safety bond proposal to: build a Public Safety Evidence & Readiness Center; renovate an existing city facility into a Police Training Facility; acquire Land for Future Fire Station/Police Substation & Park; build a new Fire Station at Cactus and Litchfield roads; build a new Fire Station along 163rd Avenue, south of Happy Valley Road, to replace the current temporary station; and build a Public Works Operations Facility to centralize operations. The annual cost for a homeowner would be approximately $26 per $100,000 in Limited Property Value (LPV).

Proposed Question #2: Voters in Surprise are asked to consider a $15.5 million street bond proposal to provide funds to plan, design, construct and improve Waddell, Greenway and Litchfield roads. The annual cost for a homeowner would be approximately $12 per $100,000 in Limited Property Value (LPV).

Proposed Question #3: Voters in Surprise are asked to consider a $10 million street pavement preservation bond proposal to plan, design, construct, replace and improve deteriorated street pavement citywide. The annual cost for a homeowner would be approximately $8 per $100,000 in Limited Property Value (LPV).

Per City Council consensus at the Work Session, staff will bring back a Call to Election action item at the June 6 Regular Council Meeting. If approved, the three separate bond questions would appear on the ballot in a Special Election on November 7. All registered voters in Surprise will receive a ballot by mail.

View the May 16 Work Session bond discussion

City Council Work Sessions begin at 4 p.m. and Regular Meetings begin at 6 p.m. They are open to the public and carried live on Surprise TV and online www.surpriseaz.gov/surprise11. All meeting agendas are posted online at least 24 hours ahead of the meeting at www.surpriseaz.gov.

Community Development

Surprise is most definitely growing and District 3 can personally attest to it. We’ve recently approved the annexation of Magnolia Farms which was formerly Maricopa County land and many new developments are moving along.

Zanjero Trails located on the northwest corner of Peoria Avenue and Perryville Road is under construction with parcels 12A, 12B and 13A. The current home builders are Gehan, Beazer, and Meritage Homes. Currently, the developer is proposing a preliminary plat for parcel 16 & 17, consisting of 103 single family homes and is scheduled to go before Planning and Zoning on May 2.

Magnolia Development will be moving forward with rezoning and preliminary plat for 175th Avenue and Sweetwater Avenue, for approximately 55 single family homes. The development is located west of Cotton Lane between Waddell Road and Cactus Road just south of the Sweetwater alignment. The remaining parcels should follow shortly after that but at this time, we do not have a timeline.

Acoma Court located between Custer Lane and Acoma Drive west of 157th Lane is under construction. The home builder is Garrett Walker Homes.

Prasada Development at the Walmart Center is proposing an 8,300 square foot Multi-Tenant Retail Building, currently under site plan review.

Toll Brother’s Proposed Development is a masterplan concept on 765 acres with a modified 18-hole championship golf course surrounded by residential homes.

Sierra Montana Crossing – The developer has submitted a site plan for an 8,000 square foot multi-tenant retail shop building that will be facing Cotton Lane. The retail shop building can accommodate a mixture of future retail tenants, such as a drive-thru coffee shop or fast food or a restaurant with an outdoor patio.

Greenway Crossing is located on the northwest corner of Greenway Road and Loop 303. The developer is proposing a project to divide the existing single lot into four separate parcels with a new Plat. It is proposed that the three new parcels on the front (south) part of the lot will be developed with a mix of retail and restaurants with drive-thru facilities. The site plan request was heard by the Planning and Zoning Commission on May 18 with the final plat to be heard by City Council on June 6.

National League of Cities Conference

I recently returned from the National League of Cities (NLC) Congressional Conference in Washington, D.C. This annual conference brings more than 1,000 elected and appointed city leaders together to discuss local, state and federal policy issues, establish and further develop relationships with our Congress and discuss best practices with similar municipalities throughout the country.

In addition to attending a session on the economic forecast, funding infrastructure, youth programing and discussions on the Affordable Care Act, I attended meetings as a member of the NLC Human Development Committee. This year was hyper-focused on the federal budget and the potential impact of funding changes. Here is a summary of some of the issues:

  • The current administration has considered more than $6 billion in cuts at the US Department of Housing & Urban Development this upcoming budget cycle. The plan would tighten public housing support and terminate most federally funded community development grants which provide services such as meal assistance and clean-up of housing in low-income neighborhoods.
  • The proposed EPA reductions that could cut back more than two dozen programs that allow city leaders to protect resources, prepare for natural disasters and promote healthy/strong communities. The reductions also include a 20 percent downsizing of the EPA’s 15,000 workforce and a 25 percent reduction of its $8.1 billion budget. The plan would require congressional approval.
  • FEMA cuts that reduce potential disaster relief funding.
  • Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) Program could be eliminated.
  • The pros and cons to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA) were discussed. Advocacy for a non-partisan health care plan, either maintaining ACA or providing a replacement that will enhance the strengths of the ACA, without impacting health care coverage to our residents and ensuring that the cost of repeal is not shifted to local municipalities were part of the discussion.
    • Concerns were shared regarding mental health coverage, as well as treatment for drug addiction, specifically opiod addiction.
    • Current proposal from the White House eliminates Medicaid. Cities need to be proactive as to who will resume those services.

NLC encouraged local municipalities to focus on public safety, infrastructure, and the economy and to continue discussions with local officials to focus on supporting infrastructure projects that produce jobs, specifically in transportation, water, and fiber.

Ottawa University

Surprise is a college town! Earlier this year, Ottawa University announced that they are transitioning into a 4-year residential college in Surprise with classes beginning this fall. Ottawa will offer a full complement of academic, athletic and student activity programs including multiple undergraduate and graduate degree programs. Furthermore, the university will be home to 21 varsity men’s and women’s sports teams including baseball, basketball, golf, and soon football. The university is a member of the National Christian College Athletic Association and will be working toward a National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) designation. Upon award of the designation, OUAZ would be one of only four NAIA programs in Arizona. The school mascot is a grey wolf and the sports teams are called the Spirit.

City Council and Ottawa senior staff in front of the new campus in Surprise.

Ottawa University President Kevin C. Eichner announced the university aims to enroll 250 students for its first semester of classes at the new campus, with a target of up to 3,000 residential students over 10 years, adding to its current 8,300 alumni roll in the Arizona market.

The future 35-acre OUAZ campus will be embedded within the Surprise City Center, integrating with the existing 250-acre City of Surprise Civic Center and Recreation campus. The school will also launch out of existing space within the Civic Center. Expansion plans for the campus include the development of residential housing, an indoor activity center, dining and conference space, and new athletic fields, including a stadium with artificial turf for football and soccer.

Economic Development

Our Economic Development Department continues to work hard to bring more business to Surprise. While District 3 has seen the opening of Subaru Superstore of Surprise, Panda Express and Goodwill this last quarter, more will be coming. Most recently, Planning and Zoning approved a conditional use permit/site plan for a Sonic drive in restaurant. Over the last three months, we’ve seen the openings of Firehouse Subs, Dairy Queen, Arizona Federal Credit Union, and Luv 2 Play.

Image of the Subaru Superstore of Surprise facility

Thanks to our engaged city, we were able to collect data that helped identify the city’s retail strengths as well as opportunities to bring additional amenities closer to home. Some of our desired restaurants include In-N-Out Burger, Portillo’s, Sweet Tomatoes, Pita Jungle and El Pollo Loco. Some of our top ten desired retailers include Costco, Hobby Lobby, Whole Foods and Home Goods.

Residents also voted for their local favorites which included Jim’s Burgers and Eggs, Babbo’s Italian Eatery, Rio Mirage, and Saigon Kitchen. Local favorite retailers included Kimbur’s Pet Wash, Kohl’s, Musical Surprise, Target, Son Glow Boutique and Walmart.

West Valley Youth Leadership Initiative

Over the last six months, I have been meeting with executives from Leadership West to develop a West Valley youth leadership initiative. The program would involve high school students from Surprise and our surrounding cities and provide them with opportunities to partner and collaborate with their peers, elected officials and other leaders in the West Valley. Empowering youth to serve as advocates to local issues, fostering pride in community service and emphasizing the value of civic engagement are some of our goals we will accomplish.

I recently hosted a passionate discussion with other elected officials that was very successful. We hope to begin the program this fall! For more information, please contact me.

Surprise Youth Council Update

Level 4

On the night of Saturday February 25, you may have seen an array of multi-colored lights in the sky and heard the sound of laughter and dance music cascading down from the 4th floor of the Civic Center parking garage. This was Level 4; the first annual social event planned and executed by the Surprise Youth Council, featuring music, dancing, a host of games like air hockey and old school arcade favorites, live art, food, and much more. From 6 to 9 p.m., more than 220 teenagers from high schools all around Surprise came to dance, eat, and socialize with friends in a positive and unique environment unlike any other in the City. Part dance club, part rooftop party, Level 4 provided teens with the experience of an exciting big city event here in their hometown. The City of Surprise’s Youth Services Division is committed to developing Level 4 into one the City’s signature youth events, growing our youth’s sense of connection to their community and the City’s reputation as an innovative and forward thinking organization which is truly invested in the quality of life of our youth. Stay tuned for more exciting events, programs, and initiatives coming out of Surprise’s Youth Services Division.

General Recap

The Surprise Youth Council has been busy delivering valuable programs and services to our local high school students. Over the course of three weeks in March, four SYC members put on a 7-part BLOOM 365 workshop series dedicated to promoting healthy relationships and combating teen dating violence at Paradise Honors High School. The response to this training series has been overwhelmingly positive, with students engaging one another in important conversations around consent, abuse, and healthy boundaries. Many of the students who attended the trainings have shared that the information they received changed their perspective on what it means to be in a healthy relationship and said it has encouraged them to stand up for themselves and others. The SYC is currently in negotiations with the Dysart Unified School District (DUSD) and plans to run the BLOOM 365 workshop in DUSD schools this fall.

The SYC is dedicated to supporting the academic success of local students and has worked hard to provide our community with opportunities for developing academic skills. Most recently, SYC members organized and helped facilitate a free SAT preparation course at one of our local Surprise libraries. The course was taught by an experienced SAT tutor and allowed more than 25 students to learn best practice strategies for taking the test, as well as ask questions pertaining to their personal academic needs.

One of the SYC’s other recent priorities has been to ensure that the Council’s makeup accurately represents the makeup of our community as a whole. The months of February and March are the Council’s recruitment period and SYC members explored new strategies for recruitment which would ensure that they were able to reach a wide range of candidates whose diversity in background, experience, and skills would deepen the impact made by the Council. They utilized social media, school counselors, local affinity groups, and passed out flyers in underrepresented neighborhoods in order to achieve these goals. These efforts were largely successful. SYC membership has now significantly increased. With new members come new ideas and new opportunities to do meaningful work for the youth in our community. The Surprise Youth Council is excited for bright days ahead.

New SYC Members and City Council in Surprise City Hall Council Chambers.
New SYC Members were sworn in at the City Council meeting on May 2.

Dysart Unified School District Recent Athletic Wins

Earlier this spring, Ottawa University Arizona head baseball coach Tim Montez announced his first signing class that consisted of four players from Surprise! Please join me in congratulating Outfielder and Pitcher Dylan Chelini from Valley Vista, Catcher Eric Ramos and Outfielder and Pitcher Lester Acoba from Willow Canyon High School, and Outfielder and Pitcher Adam Bronston from Shadow Ridge High School!

City Council recognized the Valley Vista High School Girls 6A State Champion Basketball team at a March meeting. The team is led by coach Rachel Matakas who was named 6A Coach of the Year! Teammates told us that they won because they worked hard on building a true team, one that was committed to each other and understanding of each other both on and off the court. Congratulations to the team on a 26-6 winning year and a state title!

Surprise City Council member with Valley Vista High School Girls 6A State Champion Basketball Team at Surprise City Hall Council Chambers.

Registration Underway for Several CRS Activities

The City of Surprise Community & Recreation Services Department has opened registration for the following youth sports activities:

Summer Youth Basketball League: Recreational leagues for boys and girls ages 5-15, and competitive leagues for 14U & 17U boys and girls. The summer basketball season will start in early June and run until the end of July. Games are played on Saturdays and/or weeknights. Practice times are up to the volunteer coach, but are usually once a week at 5:30 pm, 6:30 pm or 7:30 pm for one hour. Age is determined on or before July 31, 2017.

Summer Break Sports Camps: Surprise is also offering a number of Summer Youth Sports Camps in June and July, including basketball, football, baseball, softball, volleyball and soccer. Flag football and soccer registration starts in July. For a list of camp dates and details, please visit www.surpriseaz.gov/2017/Sports-Camps-and-Clinics or call 623.222.2000.

With summer around the corner, I wanted to share a summary of recreation events as well.

Aquatics
May 25 – Itty Bitty Beach Party 10am-12pm @ Surprise Aquatic Center
May 27 – Open Swim begins at Surprise Aquatic Center and Hollyhock Pool
June 10 – Dive In Movie “Disney’s Moana” 7:30 – 9:30 pm
July 4 – Pool Party @ Aquatic Center
July 22 – Dive in Movie “ The LEGO Batman Movie 7:30 – 9:30 pm
May 30 – Recreation Swim & Dive Team practices begin at Surprise Aquatic Center and Summer Swim Lessons begin at Surprise Aquatic Center and Hollyhock Pool.

Youth/Teens/Adults
May 19 – Rec Night for Teens from 7-10 pm @ Sierra Montana Recreation Ctr
June 16 -Rec Night for Teens from 7-10 pm @ Sierra Montana Recreation Ctr
July 14 – Rec Night for Teens from 7-10 pm @ Sierra Montana Recreation Ctr
May 30 – Summer Camp at Countryside Recreation Center and Sierra Montana Recreation Center begin

Drop in Recreation is available at Sierra Montana.

Open Gym is available at Countryside and Villanueva Gym from 5 pm until 9 pm Monday-Friday, and 12 pm-5 pm on Saturday.

Adaptive Programs
Tuesdays in May Adaptive Buddy Bowling, Uptown Alley

Events
May 27 – Memorial Day Wreath Laying Ceremony 9 am @ Community Park
July 4 – Baseball and Fireworks Surprise Recreation Campus

Adult Sports
Coed Indoor Volleyball
Basketball
4 on 4 Flag Football
Softball

Of course there are a variety of special interest classes and tennis classes to choose from this summer. For more information on these events, programs or classes, please visit www.surpriseaz.gov/recreation.

District 3 Community Meeting

Please mark your calendars for my next community meeting – May 24 at 6 pm! The meeting will be held in the Community Room of City Hall. Everyone is welcome to attend. This is our time together to talk about what interests, ideas or concerns you have for our city. You can RSVP to Jodi Tas at Jodi.tas@surpriseaz.gov.

I hope to see you there!

D3 Quarterly Newsletter – January 2017

Happy New Year and thank you! With the beginning of a new year and the closure of another year that just passed, comes reflection. I feel an overwhelming abundance of gratitude to my district for their confidence in re-electing me to my third term. As I took my Oath of Office earlier this month, I can’t help but express my gratitude for all of the experiences, opportunities and friendships that this position has afforded me.

This past year was quite busy and successful for Surprise. Last year began with residents and businesses enduring an eight-month closure of Bell Road. Lucky for us, Bell Road re-opened as promised and on-time. While construction on Grand Avenue continues, the project is scheduled to be completed by the end of February! Final paving is still being done on eastbound Grand Avenue which will require simultaneous closures of Towne Center and Bell Grande Drives at times over the next few weeks; businesses in the area can still be accessed using Bell Road during the intermittent closures. Next weekend, pavement work on Bell Road will require westbound Bell Rd to be closed between 134th Avenue and West Point Parkway from 9 p.m. Saturday, January 28, to 5 a.m. Monday, January 30; eastbound Bell Road will be open.

The city created a map so you can familiarize yourself with the Bell Road Bridge and Grand Ave Traffic Patterns before the project is complete in February! You can also view the ADOT Bell-Grand interchange animation to better understand how movements will occur using the Grand Avenue ramps.

Within District 3, Cactus Road was a huge improvement for folks on the southwest side of town. Residents of Sara Ann Ranch will benefit greatly from this roadway improvement as they are no longer limited to one access point in and out of their subdivision. This also adds another path to access Shadow Ridge and Paradise Honors High School. Development is on the move in this area, and we look forward to continued roadway improvements in and around this area, as well as an increase in residential and commercial development.

Another success this past fall was the successful partnership endeavor between the City and Gateway Community College. The new 13,100 square foot facility officially opened its doors in October. The observation-centric training facility provides individuals interested in pursuing careers in the water and wastewater professions with new opportunities for hands-on learning in the West Valley. It also provides mission critical labs and assembly facilities for city water professionals. The center is located on the grounds of the South Plant (SPA1) Water Reclamation Facility – a facility that currently processes over 8 million gallons of water per day.


Economic Development Update

Over the last few months, you’ve probably noticed several new businesses and restaurants opening across our city. Some of our District 3 openings include Surprise Honda, Rodeo Hyundai and our soon-to-be-opening businesses include a new Subaru dealership.

Other new businesses and restaurants include State 48, Oregano’s, Dunkin Donuts (Waddell and Litchfield Roads) CrossFit SPADE, Redline Grill and Mom’s Fixins (northeast corner of Bell and Reems roads), Dickey’s Barbecue Pit (Bell Road and Loop 303) Caliber Collision (southwest corner of Bell and Dysart roads). Panda Express (northwest corner of Waddell Road and Loop 303) and Firehouse Subs (northeast corner of Bell and Litchfield roads) will be opening soon.


District 3 Pavement Preservation

Sierra Montana is scheduled to receive Crack Sealing and a Type II Slurry Seal on the residential roads of Parcels 1-3, 8-12, 14-16, and 18-20.

Sierra Montana is additionally scheduled to receive Crack Sealing and a Type II Rubberized Micro Surfacing on the collector roads of Verde Vista Drive and Sierra Montana Loop.

Current status shows Crack Sealing has commenced and is progress in the residential areas and will continue through the winter. Residential Slurry Sealing will commence in spring 2017. Upon completion of the Residential Slurry Sealing, Rubberized Micro Surfacing will follow on the collector roads scheduled.

Greer Ranch is scheduled to receive Crack Sealing and a Polymer Master Seal on the residential roads of Parcel 12,14,15,18-21, and Phase 1 and 2 North.

Current status shows Crack Sealing has commenced and is in progress in the residential areas and will continue through the winter. Residential Polymer Master Sealing will commence in late Winter 2017.

Greenway Parc/Legacy Parc is scheduled to receive Crack Sealing and a Type II Rubberized Micro Surfacing on the collector roads of Custer Lane from Reems Road to Legacy Parc Blvd and 156th Avenue from Acoma to Custer Lane.

Current status shows Crack Sealing and Rubberized Micro will commence on these collector roads in late spring 2017.


Community Development Update

Annexation/Magnolia

The City of surprise received a request to Annex approximately 203 acres of property within a County island generally located between Cotton Lane, 175th Avenue, Waddell Road and Cactus Road, along with the request for a Planned Unit Development neighborhood known as Magnolia. The proposed Magnolia project, if approved, will accommodate up to 900 residential lots with an overall density of approximately 5 dwelling units per acre which is consistent with development in and around the area. This project was recommended for approval by the Planning and Zoning Commission and will be on the agenda for consideration by Council on the January 17, 2017 City Council meeting.

Prasada Lake Village

The City of Surprise approved the 3,355 acre Prasada Planned Area Development (PAD) on June 22, 2006. The Prasada development included three distinctive areas: the 1,225-acre Gateway Village along the Loop 303 corridor; the 530-acre Urban Village located between the Gateway Village and Marley Park; and the 1,600-acre Lake Village west of Cotton Lane straddling Cactus Road. The Prasada Lake Village plan included lakes, themed parks, three elementary schools, and a “rural edge” concept along Waddell Road to provide a transition between the rural nature on the north side and the more suburban nature of the Prasada Lake Village. At the time of the Prasada Zoning, there was a development partner that would master develop the Prasada Lake Village; they have since moved on from this project and are no longer the master developer. In order to market the property to prospective developers, the property owner requested minor changes such as removal of the themed parks but maintaining the minimum 15% open space; addition of four additional architectural types to the architectural theme: Craftsman, Ranch, Cottage, and Farmhouse; and possible dedication of lands for a City-owned and maintained park in accordance with the Surprise Parks and Open Space Master Plan as well as other minor modifications. This project was approved by staff.

Zanjero Trails

The developer is proposing to amend the zoning of just over 29 acres of the 879-acre Zanjero Trails Planned Area Development (PAD) located near Peoria Avenue and Perryville Road. The amendment will modify the land use of two parcels from Multifamily Residential Commercial to Single Family Residential. A Citizen Review meeting was held at City Hall on January 12 for resident input. Along with this proposal, a preliminary plat is intended to initiate the platting process of the proposed amendment for Zanjero Trails. The plat encompasses just over 30 acres and proposes 103 residential lots over 6 acres of open space.

Sycamore Farms

The developer is proposing to amend the zoning of the Sycamore Farms Planned Area Development generally bounded by West Cactus Road to the North, North Sarival Avenue to the east, West Peoria Avenue to the south, and North Cotton Road to the west. The amendment encompasses just over 266 acres of the overall 637-acre development. On September 14, 2016 the developer held a citizen review session for residents to attend and provide comments on the proposal. The changes requested are located in the southeastern corner of the development and involve the reorientation of the large commercial land use (Sarival Ave and Peoria Ave). The applicant has proposed to reorient the commercial parcel to face Peoria Avenue instead of Sarival, reallocating open space and modifying commercial setback lines. The open space modifications include reorienting the proposed 50-acre park to be relocated closer to the northwestern corner of the development (Cactus Road and Cotton Road). Public trails and neighborhood parks will be located throughout the eastern half of the development to provide pedestrian connectivity and adequate amenities for the residents.

The northeastern corner is proposed to be redesigned to provide a diverse land use (including commercial, medium-density and low-density residential) that work together around a proposed central park that will provide many opportunities for recreation. Currently, much of this land is designated as mixed-use and is loosely defined in a way that provides flexibility that could either increase creativity of design or allow land uses to locate next to each other with little concern with compatibility. At the January 19 Planning and Zoning Commission meeting, the project was recommended for approval to the City Council. The City Council will hear this item at the February 21 City Council meeting.


Surprise Police Department Information

Surprise Police Department Neighborhood Watch Programs

Neighborhood Watch groups can be a powerful tool for combating crime in one’s neighborhood. The program teaches citizens crime prevention techniques to reduce the risk of being victimized at home or in public. Additionally, Neighborhood Watch encourages residents to form a group of concerned residents who work together to become the eyes and ears of the police department.

The first step in putting together a neighborhood watch is to talk with your neighbors and gauge the level of interest they have in forming a group and seeing it through. Neighborhood Watch is only as effective as the residents make it. If there are 10-15 interested residents, you may have the strong core of a Neighborhood Watch. Your next step would be to contact the Surprise Police Department’s Community Relations and Crime Prevention team at 623-222-4422 to setup a time and place for the training.

Additionally, the social media site Nextdoor (www.Nextdoor.com) is a virtual extension of the Neighborhood Watch program. Nextdoor allows residents to communicate amongst themselves and allows your police department to share important messages. Signing up for Nextdoor is a great way to meet other safety conscious residents in your community.

Crime Prevention

Unlocked cars and homes continue to be the leading factor in property crimes throughout the city. More than 60% of all burglaries from vehicles are the result of doors being left unlocked or windows being left down. Here are some quick tips to help reduce your likelihood of becoming a victim of these types of crimes:

  • Lock your vehicle door and take keys with you
  • Park in secure/well lit location
  • Don’t leave valuables out in plain sight. Lock them in a trunk or take them with you
  • When at home, park in your garage

Surprise Police Host Shred-a-Thon and Drug Take Back

Surprise Police Department will host a Shred-a-Thon and Drug Take Back Event on Saturday, January 21, 2017 from 7 until 10 am. This event will be held at the Surprise Public Safety Building located at 14250 West Statler Plaza.

During the event, public will be able to bring up to 3 boxes of documents per vehicle to be shredded. Additionally, unused prescription and over-the-counter medications can be brought and dropped off for destruction. There is no cost for the shredding of documents or destruction of medications.

Please note that we are unable to accept sharps (to include insulin syringes/needles) or inhalers of any kind. Additionally, the shredding event will continue until 10am or until the shred trucks have been filled up.


Human Services & Community Vitality Update

The public is encouraged to attend the AZ Military/Veteran Resource Navigator training February 9 in Surprise City Hall Community Room. The training, conducted by the Arizona Coalition for Military Families, is meant to train all people who wish to help service members, Veterans and their families by connecting to a network of services. There are two trainings on Feb 9. The first is from 9 a.m. to noon, and the second is from 1:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. Registration is required. To register, please email deborah.perry@surpriseaz.gov.

The City will be hosting another City Academy beginning March 6, 2017. The Academy is an opportunity for residents, students and business owners to learn about our city directly from City Council and city management. Classes meet weekly from 6 until 8:30 pm in the Surprise Public Safety building (14250 W. Statler) through April 17. For more information or to register, please contact Ruby Sitea at ruby.sitea@surpriseaz.gov.

Free Tax Assistance is available through the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program run by New Leaf, and we will have these services open to the public beginning the week of January 23. Tax assistance will be offered at the Surprise Resource Center on Mondays from 4-8 p.m. and Thursdays from 9 a.m.-1 p.m. and at Riverboat Bingo on Wednesdays from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Free tax services will also be offered at the Surprise Senior Center on Tuesdays, from 4-7:30 p.m.

Grant applications for the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) are now available on our city’s website for non-profit organizations who wish to seek funding to support Surprise residents through a variety of public services. Applications are due on January 25. For more information, please visit www.surpriseaz.gov/2616/CDBG-Public-Service-Grants.

Get Fit in 2017 at the Surprise Senior Center! Did you know that the Surprise Senior Center has a Health & Wellness Initiative that includes a gym membership and exercise classes? Annual Fitness Memberships at the Surprise Senior Center are $30 per year for residents. Senior Center membership is only $12 per year. Come enjoy programs like Silver Sneakers, Fitzi with Mitzi exercise classes, Stepping It Chair Exercise, the Walking Club and Coed Volleyball for Seniors. The Surprise Senior Center is a hub for activities and programs for adults, age 50 and better. The Center offers a place for people to gather, learn, exercise, socialize and enjoy a delicious and healthy hot lunch. For more information, call 623-222-1500.

Please remember that the block party trailer is available to reserve at no cost! If you are interested in hosting a block party and would like to utilize the trailer, information can be found at www.surpriseaz.gov/869/Block-Party-Trailer.


Surprise Youth Council Update

This October, seven members of the City of Surprise Youth Council (SYC) attended the National League of Cities Summit in Pittsburgh, PA. This event allowed them the opportunity to learn from national leaders and experts on issues of economic development, technology, and sustainability, as well as important cultural and social issues. Through a series of workshops and seminars, SYC members were also able to share their own experiences and perspectives with other youth councils from around the country. This exchange of ideas had a major impact on our youth and allowed them to bring home a host of new ideas and best practice strategies which will help them develop their leadership skills for the betterment of our Surprise community. They performed so well during these sessions that they have been asked to nominate an SYC member to serve on the National League of Cities Youth Planning Committee; a great honor for the youth of Surprise.

Over the last few months the City of Surprise Youth Council has been working hard to help local youth expand their opportunities, develop their leadership skills, and prepare for successful and healthy futures. After undergoing a series of trainings with BLOOM 365, a nonprofit dedicated to fostering healthy relationships, SYC members are now ready to begin delivering peer-to-peer dating violence awareness trainings in local Surprise high schools. With the support of local schools, this project has the potential to positively impact thousands of local teenagers. Dating violence is an unfortunate, but important, issue that the SYC is willing to address directly, in order to help prevent local teenagers from being victimized or abusing others.

The BLOOM 365 project is just one of the many creative ways the SYC is seeking to expand its impact beyond its own membership. The group has shown its support for local veterans and teachers by marching in the Surprise Veterans Day Parade and holding a school supply drive for local teachers. The SYC will also be hosting a free SAT training for local high school students at the Surprise Library on January 28, and is currently developing a blog that will allow local teens to share resources and discuss important local issues with one another. All of these endeavors help us to reach our goal of helping local youth find greater success in the classroom, in the workplace, and in the community.


Community & Recreation Services Update

Check out the following lessons and classes available through the Community and Recreation Services Department, and get additional information at www.surpriseaz.gov/recreation.

Mommy & Me Tennis – NEW PROGRAM
Register for this 4-week session that meets on Tuesdays at 1 p.m. in February and March for 45 minutes each week. Class will focus on FUN interaction between parent and child. Perfect way to spend quality time with your child and meet new friends while developing the love for tennis. This program is for ages 2-4 years old.

High School Drop – In – NEW TEEN PROGRAM
Calling all HIGH SCHOOL Tennis Players both Varsity and JV! Are you ready for the 2017 Season? Do you need to tune up your game? Then play at the Surprise Tennis & Racquet Complex on Tuesday nights from 4:30-6:30 p.m. Each week, 3-time AZ State Tennis Champ Max Schell will run half-hour drills to get you warmed up. Then, put your skills to the test in doubles or singles play against other local players. ALL LEVELS are welcome, and the fee is $2 for Surprise Residents and $3 for non-Surprise residents.

Racquetball Lessons
Looking to learn a new sport or just get in shape? Then try racquetball! The cardio benefits are excellent! This new program is for adults 18 & over. Classes are forming now.

Drop-in Paddleball – Monday Nights!
Paddleball Drop-in is every Monday night from 5-7 p.m. Not sure what paddleball is? Don’t worry! All levels are welcome, and equipment is available for you to try it! This fun game and great workout is for adults 18 & over and the fee is $2 for residents and $3 for non-residents.

Adult Development – NEW TENNIS CLINIC on SATURDAYS at 9 a.m.
This 90-minute well-rounded clinic is for the 3.0 and “returning to the game” players who are looking for a coherent path to better tennis. Players will work on skill development and then learn how to utilize it in game situations.

Girls Volleyball League – NEW SEASON DATES The youth girls’ volleyball season will teach the game of volleyball in the spirit of sportsmanship, fun and wholesome competition. An emphasis is placed on the development of skills and the value of teamwork.

Cal Ripken Youth Tee-ball, Baseball and Babe Ruth Girls Softball Leagues
The road to the “Big Leagues” starts here! This program offers youth the opportunity to learn the basic fundamentals and skills associated with the game of baseball and softball in an atmosphere where participation and fun are top priority.

Youth Competitive Leagues
The City of Surprise has designed the Competitive Sports Program to provide youth athletes with the opportunity to participate in an organized, local league that will introduce them to the competitive side of sports relative to playing time, rules, standings and player development. While emphasis will remain on basic fundamentals, sportsmanship, and cooperative participation and socialization with peers, this program differs from recreational sports in that there are NO MANDATORY PLAYING TIME RULES. The Competitive Sports Program will follow modified NFHS rules, and is intended for experienced players only. Participants will go through a skills evaluation and will be drafted onto a team. Special requests are not honored in competitive programs. Teams will play 7 league games and participate in a single elimination tournament to conclude the season.

Bicycle Safety
Geared for beginner to advanced bike riders. This course will cover proper helmet wearing, mounting / dismounting, braking techniques, riding on the road, setting up your bike, chain resetting, basic maintenance, and shifting techniques. Course is taught by a Police Department Bicycle Safety Course graduate. This course is best suited for multi-gear bikes, but can be used for BMX and single gear as well. Bring a bike, helmet, and wear closed toed shoes and wear appropriate clothing. Riders must be able to ride a bike well before entering this class.

Beginning to Advanced Bass Guitar
Learn beginning to advanced techniques for the 4 and 5 string bass guitar and how to utilize them in a band situation. Students must provide their own bass guitar.

Self Defense Class
Defense is much more than knowing how to fight back against a physical attack. Our class will encourage participants to think about their choices, help them develop awareness, and provide a friendly environment for practice of physical self-defense techniques. We will help participants expand the way they think about violence prevention, help them confront their fears and enable them to be more empowered and assertive.

Ukulele 101 Teen/Adult
The class will teach students the basics that they need to begin playing the ukulele. They will focus on chords, single notes and rhythms. Students will learn the parts, care and notes on the ukulele and how to read rhythms and chord charts. By the end of class, students will have learned techniques and information that will allow them to play 3 chord songs and continue learning on their own. Please bring a notebook and ukulele.

Laser Tag Teen Tournament
Join the biggest game of outdoor laser tag in Surprise. Teams are encouraged to crawl, scoot, sneak, hide and move throughout the park to claim the title of laser tag champion. All participants must have a participation waver completed and turned in before being eligible to play. Teams of 6 or free agents welcome.

Ultimate Capture the Flag with Bubbles
Compete with teens from all over Surprise in the classic P.E. game Capture the Flag, except you will be wearing a bubble. Be prepared to knock your opponent out of the way and roll down the field to glory in the ultimate game of capture the flag! All participants must have a participation waiver completed and turned in before being eligible to play. Teams of 8 and free agents can register. The tournament will be co-ed.

Wonderland Tea Party

April 8 – Children will enjoy dancing, crafts, stories and a tea party with storybook characters. Tickets may be purchased at the Community & Recreation Services Department for $5.

Surprise Talent Show

May 12 – The City of Surprise is looking for its most talented residents! If you can sing, act, play an instrument or perform what you think is a talent (must be safe) then come and show off your skills. Registration forms must be received by April 7. Those that make the cut will perform in the Talent Show on Friday, May 12 at Valley Vista Performing Arts Center. The show will be split into age groups: youth, teen and adult. The audition forms are on the following website: www.surpriseaz.gov/recreation or can be picked up at the Surprise Community and Recreation Services Office. There is no fee to audition or be in the talent show, and friends and family are welcome to purchase a ticket. Admission tickets for the Talent Show are $3 advanced purchase and $5 at the door.

Taste of Surprise

The 4th Annual Taste of Surprise will showcase some of the West Valley’s best local restaurants. Several bands and a former American Idol contestant are part of the music line-up. This year’s event will take place at our very own Surprise Stadium on Saturday, April 8 from 4 until 9 p.m. All proceeds from the event will benefit selected Surprise non-profit organizations.

You can purchase your tickets for $25 each at www.tasteofsurprise.com.


Mark Your Calendars

I will host quarterly community meetings throughout the year. The format will allow residents to engage in conversations with various departments and, in some cases, businesses and developers, and it will ensure we are all in the “know” on how our city is progressing. The first meeting of the year will be held on February 22 at 7 p.m. in the Community Room at City Hall. Developers from Prasada will be in attendance, as well as various city departments! I hope to see you there!

This year promises to be exciting in Surprise!

D3 Quarterly Newsletter – September 2016

As September rolls in, I hope everyone is enjoying the final days of summer. School recently began and fall is rapidly approaching! It’s hard to believe we have completed two months of fiscal year 2017.

I am hosting a District 3 Update meeting on September 13 at Surprise Honda, located at 13270 N Autoshow Ave. I appreciate my constituents and thank you for sharing your thoughts and ideas on future development! I share your passion for growth and I would love to see many of the amenities discussed. Please join me on the 13th from 5 pm until 6 pm as we will receive an Economic Development update from City staff, a Prasada update, and bond information. A tour of the new dealership has also been offered by Surprise Honda General Manager Leon Lee.


Transportation Update

Completion of Cactus Road

After meeting with constituents and members from our schools over the last year, I am happy to report the completion of Cactus Road from 175th Avenue to Cotton Lane is complete! This pavement project provides additional east/west connection, in addition to Waddell Road, for the neighboring communities of Sara Ann Ranch and Sierra Montana as well as Shadow Ridge and Paradise High Schools.

Bell Road/Grand Avenue Update

Construction on the Bell Road bridge project continues and Bell Road is on schedule to open as originally planned in November 2016. Current work includes the building of the retaining wall panels of the bridge over Grand Avenue and the reconstruction of the eastbound Grand Avenue roadway. Grand avenue traffic is temporarily sharing westbound lanes while the old asphalt pavement on the east side has been removed and the utility relocation occurs.


Budget Approval FY17

The Surprise City Council approved a $271.9 million Fiscal Year 2017 Budget, at a Special City Council meeting this past May. Council approved a formula to fund 22 new public safety positions by maintaining the city’s property tax rate of $0.7591 per $100 of assessed property valuation. Due to higher valuations, that would generate approximately $165,000 in new money. The remaining funds would come from vacancy savings. The positions are as follow:

Police: 13 Fire-Medical: 7 Court: 1 City Attorney: 1

This budget also dedicates $53 million for capital improvements to preserve and/or replace aging infrastructure, such as increasing funding for the Pavement Preservation Program to $4.5 million.

Investments in communications, facility, information technology, recreation and utility infrastructure amount to $6.8 million. And $10.5 million will support replacing aging vehicles to enhance service and lower maintenance costs.

Beginning in November, the city will assume responsibility for billing the water, waste water and sanitation utilities. By removing these operations from a third-party vendor, the city will be able to provide more efficient operations and provide an improved customer experience. This service will result in an additional 11 positions. The ongoing utility billing budget of $1.7 million that had been paid to the third-party vendor will remain the same once the city transitions to the billing responsibilities.

The FY17 Budget also provides funding to add Sunday Dial-A-Ride service and continue Saturday and holiday pick-ups.


New Businesses

Great things are happening in Surprise and that includes several new businesses that have recently opened or are opening soon. Surprise Honda opened its doors last month in the Prasada Automall and Hyundai and Subaru dealerships are under construction now. Burger King opened a few months ago in the Walmart Plaza on Greenway, west of Loop 303.

Other businesses scheduled to open include the new Babbo Italian Eatery, Oregano’s Pizza Bistro, Dickey’s Barbeque, Ono Hawaiian BBQ, Firehouse Subs and a few more.


Shop Surprise

By now, you’ve probably noticed some important enhancements to the ShopSurprise digital marketing campaign! With more than 2,000 ShopSurprise subscribers and nearly 123,000 messages and deals announced, you are doing your part to support our Bell-Grand area businesses during the Bell Road bridge construction!

The Surprise Regional Chamber of Commerce text message service provider, Dex media, recently scheduled a service upgrade to keep this successful campaign up and running, with a new feature- coupons sent directly to your email, no more having to click a link. That required a new text opt-in number, which is 85100.

Here are all the ways you can check out the daily deals:

  • Text ‘ShopSurprise’ (one word) to 85100 to have daily deals sent to your phone;
  • Visit shopsurpriseaz.com to view the daily deals online;
  • Like the Shop Surprise, Arizona Facebook page and have the deals appear in your timeline; or
  • Follow @ShopSurpriseAZ on Twitter to have deals tweeted to you daily.

A Construction Business Access Map is also available online to help you find the best ways to enter the shopping, dining and service centers to claim your deals. The Bell & Grand ShopSurprise daily deals are only available during the Bell Road full closure. The Chamber will consider a more comprehensive, citywide campaign in the future.

Shop Surprise


Bond Election

City Council approved sending a $63 million General Obligation Bond initiative to the voters when we met last month. Following public input and weighing community needs, Council approved the following nine projects that, if voter-approved, would be included in the bond:

  • Two fire stations
  • Police evidence storage facility
  • Land purchase for a future southwest Surprise Fire Station/Police Substation/Park
  • Public Works maintenance facility (frees up existing city locations to meet Police and Fire-Medical storage needs)
  • Road improvements to portions of Greenway and Litchfield Roads
  • Aquatic Center Expansion
  • Land purchase for regional rec complex (sport fields, playgrounds, future rec center)

General Obligation Bonds are sold to investors who are repaid with interest. The repayment comes from a secondary property tax, which Surprise does not currently have. If approved, the secondary property tax could be up to $0.50 per $100 of limited property value, which on a home with an assessed value of $200,000 would be a yearly maximum increase of $100, or $8.33 per month.

Additional educational public meetings will be scheduled ahead of the November 8 General Election. Meeting dates and locations will be posted at www.surpriseaz.gov/surpriseforward. You may also visit the website for a complete list of projects, renderings, financial impact information and public survey results.


Neighborhood Grant Program

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.

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


Fall CRS Line-up

Registration for City of Surprise Fall Youth Sports, including girls’ volleyball, Babe Ruth softball and Cal Ripken tee-ball and baseball, began this week. Registration will be offered through September 24, with a special Saturday registration on September 24 from 8 – 11 a.m. at the Community and Recreation Services office, located at 15960 N. Bullard Ave. Office hours are Monday – Friday, 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. Registration will also be available online at www.surpriseaz.gov/recreation.

Here’s a look at the programs being offered:

Fall Girls Volleyball League

Teaches the game of volleyball in the spirit of sportsmanship, fun and wholesome competition. An emphasis is placed on the development of skills and the value of teamwork. Age: Girls 7-15. (Age determined on or before December 31, 2016)

NEW Girls Competitive Volleyball League (15u and 17u Divisions)

While emphasis will remain on basic fundamentals, sportsmanship and cooperative participation, this program differs from recreational sports in that there are NO MANDATORY PLAYING TIME RULES. The competitive sports league will follow modified NFHS rules and is intended for EXPERIENCED PLAYERS ONLY. Participants will go through a skills evaluation on Friday October 14, 2016 and will be drafted onto a team. Special requests will not be honored in competitive programs. Any player that is not selected in the draft is guaranteed a spot in the recreational volleyball league. All teams will compete in an end of season, single elimination tournament.

Fall Babe Ruth Girls Softball League

Teaches the game of softball in the spirit of sportsmanship, fun and wholesome competition. An emphasis is placed on the development of skills and the value of teamwork. Age: Girls 7-16. (Age determined on or before December 31, 2016)

Cal Ripken Youth Fall Tee-ball

The road to the “Big Leagues” starts here! The Cal Ripken tee-ball program will offer separate 4-year-old and 5/6-year-old divisions. Boys and girls have the opportunity to learn the basic fundamentals and skills associated with the game of baseball in an atmosphere where participation and fun are top priority. Age: Boys and girls 4 – 6. (Age determined on or before December 31, 2016)

Cal Ripken Youth Fall Baseball League

Concentrates highly on instruction and emphasizes the development of fundamental skills over wins and losses. Participants registered in the Major Division will go through a skills evaluation and will be drafted to a team. Age: Boys and girls 7 -12. (Age determined on or before December 31, 2016)

The City of Surprise invites you to volunteer for the upcoming fall sports season as well! The Community and Recreation Services department is dedicated to providing our volunteers the information and confidence they need to have a fun and successful season. If you are interested, please complete a volunteer application at the Community and Recreation Services Office. For more information, please contact the Sports Division at 623-222-2000 or visit www.surpriseaz.gov/recreation.


Veterans Day

America’s Mighty Warriors (AMW) will host the 2nd Annual Marc Lee Fitness Challenge in Surprise at Surprise Community Park on Saturday, November 5. The fitness challenge will include a 5K run/walk which will begin at 7 a.m. and the fitness challenge portion will begin at 8 a.m. For more information, please visit www.americasmightywarriors.org/fitness-challenge/.

The City’s 2nd Annual Veterans Day Parade is scheduled for Friday, November 11. This parade will travel along Bullard Avenue in front of Surprise Stadium. This year, the event will kick-off with a pancake breakfast and Veteran art show prior to the parade start at 9:30 am. I hope to see you there!

The City is currently looking for patriotic-themed parade entries for the parade. We are seeking clubs, organizations, groups or residents who would like to participate. There is no fee for participation. Interested parties may obtain an entry form online at www.surpriseaz.gov/specialevents or at the Community & Recreation Services offices at 15960 N. Bullard Avenue.


Arizona League of Cities and Towns

The Arizona League of Cities & Towns Conference began on Tuesday, August 23. This conference is a great opportunity to reconnect with other Council Members throughout the state, network with agencies who work with Surprise and help build the momentum the City Council has been able to achieve.

Part of this year’s conference included meetings with Cox Communications regarding digital contour and EPCOR regarding their plans to combine their water districts. In addition, I was able to attend several sessions including the impact of military bases in Arizona, education initiatives and much more.

City Council attended a focus group discussion on why our youth leave the State; Surprise was represented by our very own Surprise Youth Council (SYC) Member Samantha Salazar. Following the youth session, members of SYC competed in the Democraseed Challenge and placed third. The Center for the Future of Arizona and Arizona State University’s Office of Entrepreneurship partnered with the Challenge to foster creative civic engagement projects. Congratulations to our SYC team!

Councilman Skip Hall and I received service awards during the Legislative and Service Award Luncheon on Thursday, August 25. Congratulations to Skip on his years of service. I have enjoyed serving with you!


Luke Air Force Base Celebrates 75 Years!

Luke Air Force Base is the largest fighter-training base in the entire world, with thousands of military personnel working diligently to protect us. Luke AFB is one of the largest employers in Arizona with approximately 6,000 employees. It is estimated that the families and personnel of the Base contribute an overall impact of over $2.15 billion to our economy.

We are very fortunate to have this asset, not just in our State, but in the West Valley. As a resident and as an elected official, I am grateful! Happy anniversary to Luke Air Force Base!


I will be taping another Council Conversation regarding an upcoming education initiative. Keep your eyes on Surprise TV for more information!

In closing, it has been an honor to serve you the last four years. I am grateful, honored and humble to serve you for another term.

D3 Quarterly Newsletter – May 2016

It has been an exciting year for Surprise, and I believe the future is more promising than ever before!  Why?  The entire City Council, along with City Manager Bob Wingenroth, has strategically positioned the city for that success.  We continue to see our city grow, not just in population, but in economic development projects.  Several new businesses have opened, broke ground or announced their desire to be here!  With the completion of Loop 303 last year and the construction of the Bell Road bridge, I anticipate Surprise will become more and more attractive for other future businesses.

Several restaurants have or will soon open their doors.  Newly opened restaurants include Biscuits Café located off Bell Road near Grand Avenue, Jamba Juice located east of Litchfield Road on Grand Avenue, and Under Review is open next to Uptown Alley at Waddell and Litchfield roads.  State 48 Brewery and Oregano’s, both located on Bell Road should be opening soon!

As for District 3, we have three new businesses under construction.  Those businesses are Aspen Dental, Surprise Honda and Surprise Hyundai.  I look forward to having our new additions soon!

Surprise Honda
Future home of Surprise Honda
Future home of Surprise Hyundai
Future home of Surprise Hyundai
Future home of Aspen Dental
Future home of Aspen Dental

The city also welcomed a new international business in May – IRIS USA.  IRIS USA built a 400,000+ square foot building on 30 acres to serve as its North American Headquarters in Surprise’s Southwest Railplex Industrial District.  They are employing 100 people.  The city is expecting $800,000 in revenue during IRIS’s first year of operation.  Additionally, Mainstreet, a $20 million hotel-like medical recovery facility will open their doors this year bringing additional head-of-household jobs to our city.

IRIS Ribbon Cutting

IRIS USA

We are also working hard to grow our downtown at City Center!  Earlier this year, City Council voted unanimously to negotiate a formal settlement agreement with Surprise Center Development Company (SCDC).  In a May 5 Special Meeting, the Surprise City Council unanimously approved a settlement to end litigation between the city and (SCDC), which owns most of the land around the Civic Center Campus at Litchfield and Bell Roads.

Both parties are pleased to have come to terms on a settlement which achieves a full and final release of claims and believe this solidifies a partnership that will result in the development of a vibrant and engaging city center in Surprise.

The city, in partnership with Gateway Community College broke ground on the future-site of the Surprise-Gateway Training Center, a facility that will provide new, mission critical labs, assembly facilities and classrooms for the city water professionals and individuals interested in water resource management careers.  The 13,100 square foot training center is being constructed on the grounds of the South Plant (SPA1) Water Reclamation Facility, located near the intersection of Cactus and Litchfield roads.  SPA1 currently processes over 8 million gallons of water per day.  Construction of the Center is anticipated for completion this summer and training opportunities should begin as early as this fall!

SPA1

City Transportation Update

City transportation projects continue to progress this spring and into the summer.  For your reference, below is the most updated status for the projects impacting District 3.

  • Greenway Road Widening – This project is 85% complete. The first lift of asphalt paving is complete. The final paving cap will be placed following the completion of the landscaping. The landscaping and decorative paver placement is estimated for completion in late May. All of the contractors’ activities are being closely coordinated with the Bell/Grand detour plan in an effort to minimize traffic interruptions. The westbound lanes will be open in June.
  • Cactus & Litchfield – Construction on Litchfield Road is complete and the road is open to the public. Cactus Road construction is expected to start at the end of June once APS relocates 69KV power poles.
  • Landscape Medians – Construction has begun on Bullard and should be complete by the end of May. Reems Road construction has begun and should be complete by July.
  • Peoria Avenue (south half) – Plans are still in final stage of revision.  Once plans are approved, bids will be advertised. Construction is expected to begin in late June and should be complete by end of August.
  • Cactus from Cotton to 175th – Construction will begin in early June and should be complete by the end of July.

 

Bell Road Closure Update

Bell Road at Grand Avenue officially closed on April 1 which kicked-off Phase 3 of the project which is expected to conclude in spring 2017.  Bell Road is scheduled to re-open in November 2016 prior to the holiday shopping season.  Access to businesses next to the project area will be maintained throughout the project.

The main detour from Bell Road is southbound Dysart Road, to Greenway Road, and north again on Litchfield Road to re-access Bell Road. Our transportation team tells me this is the quickest and most efficient way around the Bell closure at Grand. Driving through the nearby neighborhoods will not save you time.

There has been an abundance of activity and progress since the closure.  For continued updates or questions, please contact ADOT’s project hotline at 855.712.8530 (Press option one), or email at bellandgrandinfo@azdot.gov.

Shop Surprise

The city, Surprise Regional Chamber of Commerce, and local businesses have partnered to give you even more reasons to ShopSurprise during the Bell Road full closure. The Bell & Grand ShopSurprise campaign is helping to promote businesses in the Bell Road construction area by offering daily deals for shoppers so they continue to spend money in their hometown.

Businesses on all sides of the Bell Road and Grand Avenue intersection are open and have created incentives so that you ShopSurprise!

Already daily deals have included food specials, discounted prices and a flat-screen TV giveaway! What are you waiting for? There are multiple ways for you to participate; just pick the one, or two, that are right for you:

  • Visit shopsurpriseaz.com to view the daily deals online;
  • Text ‘ShopSurprise’ (one word) to 40518 to have daily deals sent directly to your phone;
  • Like the Shop Surprise, Arizona Facebook page and have the deals appear in your timeline; or
  • Follow @ShopSurpriseAZ on Twitter to have deals tweeted to you daily.

Shop Surprise

Surprise Youth Council (SYC)

Eight members of the City of Surprise Youth Council attended a week long immersive civic education program in Washington, D.C. (March 13-18) with over 250 other students from across the U.S.  The program is done in partnership with Close Up.  Close up has a successful 45 year history leading thousands of students from across the nation each year by turning the nation’s capital into a living classroom.  Our youth council members discussed current controversial public policy issues (border security/citizenship, criminal sentencing guidelines, related services to pregnant & parenting students, teen voter registration, gun violence in schools, youth obesity, bullying) with peers that have differing viewpoints from their own, learned to gather information from a variety of sources to make informed decisions, and participated in a mock congressional session.  The students visited numerous monuments and memorials and talked about how the people and events represented impact their lives today.  The program has been proven to positively impact student achievement in standardized testing and encourages long term involvement in activities such as voting, media consumption, and informed political participation.

The timing of the trip could not have been better as we find ourselves in a very contentious presidential election.  In addition, students were right in the middle of the action when President Obama named his Supreme Court nominee as reporters swarmed around the Supreme Court building while we were there.  Another highlight of the trip was the opportunity to visit with various congressional leaders from Arizona including Senator Jeff Flake, Congressman Ruben Gallego & Congressman Trent Franks.  It was an honor for me to join our youth council members for this special Day on the Hill.

Youth Services Administrator, Members of SYC and I with Senator Jeff Flake
Youth Services Administrator, Members of SYC and I with Senator Jeff Flake

 

SYC Campaign

The Surprise Youth Council (SYC) has launched an awareness campaign “Be Yourself. Find Your Crowd. Get Along.” for teens to help spread the message that everyone belongs.   The campaign promotes the idea of finding your crowd and encourages students to break out of their comfort zones and expand their horizons when it comes to making friends.

The students are taking their message to local high schools with posters and a video that illustrate the slogan, as well as on-campus activities that encourage teens to live out the campaign concept  – such as pledging their support.

The campaign message is also creatively displayed in the community. In February, the youth council spray painted a mural themed after the slogan onto a wall near Surprise Stadium. They worked with local muralist Hugo Medina to design the vibrantly-colored public art piece, which depicts human forms participating in diverse activities – activities that represent the “Be Yourself” concept.

The council plans to measure the results of the campaign through a student survey that was distributed before the campaign launched and that will be retaken after its conclusion.

Follow Surprise Teen Programs on Facebook and Twitter for more information and engagement opportunities throughout the campaign.  To learn more about the Surprise Youth Council, visit www.surpriseaz.gov/syc.

Youth Council

Surprise Literacy Challenge

Thirteen schools and 124 classrooms from across Surprise accepted the Surprise Literacy Challenge, a five-month reading challenge last fall.  The Challenge, created by Councilman Skip Hall and me, asked students in 4th-6th grade to track the number of hours they read outside the classroom over a three month period. Teachers then reported those numbers back to the city.

The winners in each grade were as follows:

4th Grade

Ms. Gore’s class – Arizona Charter Academy

5th Grade

Ms. Frazier’s class – West Point Elementary

6th Grade

Ms. Daniel’s class – Paradise Education Center

The winning 4th and 5th grade classrooms were treated to a pizza party and also received a trophy for their room and individual medals for each student at a City Council meeting in April.  The winning 6th grade class accepted their accolades on the field at the Spring Training game on March 25 at Surprise Stadium.

 Youth Sports

Sports Registrations

Swim & Dive Teams

The City of Surprise is offering registration for two recreational Swim and Dive Team programs for youth ages 5 to 17. The Swim and Dive Team program is designed to improve and develop swimming strokes and techniques while offering a fun competitive environment.   You can register for either morning or afternoon practice sessions; new participants will be required to try out prior to registration.

 

Drop-in tryouts for new members are being held Monday – Thursday, 4-8 p.m., through May 27 at the Surprise Aquatic Center, located at 15831 N Bullard Ave. Swimmers will be required to swim 25 yards freestyle and backstroke and must demonstrate all four competitive strokes during their tryout. Divers must be able to tread water and demonstrate strong swimming abilities within diving well area.

Individual registration fees for swimmers and divers are $80 for Surprise residents and $110 for non-residents.  Swim and Dive Team meets will be held at the Surprise Aquatic Center and various Peoria pools.

Basketball

The City of Surprise is hosting a “SCHOOL’S OUT! 3-on-3 Youth Basketball Tournament” on May 13 and 14.

Team registration is available for the following youth divisions: 10-12 years old, 13-14 years old and 15-17 years old. Registration forms are available at the Community and Recreation Services office, located at 15960 N Bullard Ave.

Team registrations may be submitted by mail or in person to the Community and Recreation Services office, along with a tournament fee of $60 per team of three.

Tournament brackets will be available Thursday, May 12 at 5 p.m. Games will begin at 6 p.m. on Friday and 8 a.m. on Saturday. Tournament play will take place at the Countryside Recreation Center, located at 15038 N Parkview Place.

For more information on this tournament or additional City of Surprise competitive youth sport league opportunities, please contact Ian Wallace at 623.222.2271 or ian.wallace@surpriseaz.gov.

And there is much more!  Please visit http://www.surpriseaz.gov/17/Community-Recreation-Services for a list of events.

Growing Community

The Council had a detailed discussion on the upcoming budget and how to strategically plan for the ongoing growth of our community.  To support our strengths we need to continue to emphasize public safety.  Earlier this spring, Public Safety presented to council our anticipated gaps and needs in both Police and Fire.  To bring these departments up to standard, staying on top of calls for service and crime mitigation, we will need to infuse $2.4 Million this coming fiscal year.  This is a heavy load on our current budget, but with some fine tuning we were able to meet these needs in addition to over $4 million being pumped into pavement preservation.

So the real question is, what is “fine tuning?”  The council was able to eliminate a contingency fund which opened $1 million, as well as $500,000 in savings from planned personnel savings.   This left a gap of $900,000 thousand.  As a result, for the first time in nearly a decade residents will see a modest increase in the local property tax (should the council formally adopt its proposed property tax rate on June 21).  What does this mean in real dollars? If your home is worth $200,000 you will see an increase of $13.00 annually.  If your home is worth $400,000 you will see a total increase of $26.00 annually.  There will be no change to sales tax, and our food tax will remain at zero.  We felt as a majority that this modest increase, $1-$2/monthly for most residents, will be well invested in a tremendous boost to public safety. For more detailed information on the recommended budget, click here.

We next need to consider going to bond for public safety, transportation and recreation infrastructure.  Our facilities have not been able to keep up with the growth we’ve sustained.  Many of us purchased homes with a promise of what’s to come, and while we’ve grown leaps and bounds, we continue to strive to meet the needs of families and live up to the mantra of live, work, and play in Surprise.  On June 21, City Council will vote on whether or not to recommend a $60 million bond package for the November 2016 ballot. I look forward to the discussion and encourage you to get involved. You can attend several Surprise Forward bond meetings in May to learn more. Get meeting dates, a list of potential projects and bond information at www.surpriseaz.gov/surpriseforward. Please stay tuned, and send me your feedback!!

My best,

Councilman John Williams

john.williams@surpriseaz.gov

623.222.1323

Twitter: @SurpriseD3

Councilmember John Williams’ Quarterly Newsletter – Jan. 2016

As we begin this new year, we have so much to be grateful for. I am grateful for the support of each and every one of you. It has been an honor and privilege to serve the City as Vice Mayor in 2016 and my constituents in District 3 as Councilman for the last seven years. I am also grateful for all of the fantastic things happening in Surprise. I wanted to share some of the news with you.

Bell Road/Grand Avenue Intersection Project

City Council thoroughly discussed the Bell Road/Grand Avenue intersection project in an interactive conversation with representatives for Maricopa Association of Governments (MAG) and ADOT during a City Council Meeting on October 20. At that time, City Council moved to proceed with the project.

City Council and staff continue to meet with ADOT concerning the communication roll-out of the Bell Road/Grand Avenue Intersection project to help mitigate the concerns of our residents and business community. ADOT, in partnership with the City, has developed a comprehensive outreach and communications program for the residents and businesses in Surprise. A Public Information Advisory Team comprised of representatives from ADOT, the City, Maricopa County, businesses and residents will assist with developing messaging, disseminating information and facilitating business outreach.

ADOT representatives are scheduled to provide an update at the City Council Work Session on Tuesday, January 19 at 4 pm in the City Council Chambers.

Upcoming Traffic Construction

There are so many Capital Improvement projects scheduled to occur in the next few months that you should be aware of. Those projects include:

Waddell Road Median (Litchfield Road to 1200 feet west): Construction began this month.

Landscaping Median (various locations): The project currently focuses on completing medians in the following locations:

  • Reems Road—Peoria to Cactus (1 mile)
  • Bullard Avenue—Peoria to Cholla (1/2 mile)
  • Waddell Road—175th to Citrus (1/2 mile)
  • Sarival Road—Bell to Northwest Ranch Parkway (900 ft)

It is expected that the request for bid public bid will close in January. Construction is expected to begin in the March/April timeframe with the individual sections prioritized as listed above.

Cactus Road (south side) from Litchfield Road to Rail Road Tracks and Litchfield Road (east side) from Cactus Road to Desert Cove Road: It is expected that the construction of the project will go out for a public bid that will close in January. Construction is expected to begin in the March/April timeframe.

Peoria Avenue (Reems Road to Sarival Avenue): Lennar has begun construction. Project is complete.

Peoria Avenue (south side) from Greer Ranch Parkway to Reems Road:Construction will commence after Lennar completes the construction on the north side.

Bullard Avenue Task Force Meeting: The community is invited to attend the next Bullard Avenue Task Force meeting on Monday, Jan. 25, 6 p.m., at the Northwest Regional Library, 16089 N. Bullard Avenue. The city worked with a grant-funded Safe Routes to School design team to create a plan that incorporates the recommendations decided on by the task force this past fall. The recommendations included retaining the 35 mile-per-hour speed limit and restoring two travel lanes in each direction. Also, due to heavier pedestrian crossings at the intersections at Acoma and Sweetwater, the group requested some traffic signals be added, along with crosswalks.

Cactus Road (north half) from 143rd Avenue to Bullard Avenue: This project includes half street improvements with a median. DMB is the project owner, with the City contributing to median costs. The project is expected to be completed in the spring of 2016.

Greenway Road (Bullard Avenue to Litchfield Road): This project is anticipated to be completed in summer 2016. The project includes intersection dip improvements.

Greenway and Dysart Intersection: This project will improve the existing dip section and is anticipated to be completed prior to Spring Training 2016.

A full closure of the intersection is planned for Friday, January 15 at 7:30 pm through Sunday, January 17 at 8 pm. Following full closure, there will be some finishing work that will require lane restrictions through January 24, pending no weather-related delays.

Neighborhood Grant Program

The Surprise City Council has approved funding to support a new 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 this new grant program.

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 17, 2016

• Involve the benefiting neighborhood in project identification, planning and execution

• Emphasize neighborhood self-help; or be educational, community-building, or a public physical improvement

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, February 26.

An information session will be held Saturday, January 30 at 9:00 a.m. at Surprise City Hall, 16000 N. Civic Center Plaza in the Council Overflow room.

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

Recent Changes in City Ordinances

On December 4, 2015, the City of Surprise adopted several changes to ordinances related to animal ownership. In an effort to ensure all citizens are made aware of the new changes, the Surprise Police provided the following review of the affected ordinances or city codes.

To begin with, the definition of “at large” was changed in Surprise City Code 10-19. The code also requires a dog owner to contain their pet within a structure (home), an enclosure (fenced rear yard), or restrain and control the animal (leash) at all times. While away from their premises, the dog owner has the same requirements; however, there continues to be an exemption for a dog park.

Within the same city code, there was also a change for homeowners in gated communities. A previous exception stating dogs were not at large anywhere within a gated community has been deleted. At this time, gated communities are treated the same as any other location within the City of Surprise.

Surprise City Code 10-24 also was modified. The code penalizes all owners who: do not get their dog licensed, counterfeit a dog license, remove a valid license from a dog, or place a license for another animal on their dog which is not valid.

Also, the Surprise Police would like to remind citizens of Surprise City Code 10-26. This code states an owner who wants to continue keeping an animal previously declared vicious by a court must obtain liability insurance, have the animal spayed or neutered, and muzzle the animal when taking it off the owner’s premises.

Other changes were also made to Surprise City Code 10-56. The change states an animal found running around a neighborhood may cause the owner to have to pay food and housing charges, if the owner was negligent in allowing the animal to get out. Proof of negligence is more than just a dog getting out – it would come from the dog getting out multiple times or proof the owner is not taking reasonable steps to keep the animal contained.

Additionally, in regard to Surprise City Code 10-79, the code now requires only one person to file a formal complaint with the police about a barking dog prior to enforcement action being taken.

If you have additional questions in regard to these city ordinances, please contact the Surprise Police Department at 623.222.4000.

For more information or to review current Surprise City Ordinances, visit: http://ow.ly/VlWvV

Economic Development Update

The City’s Economic Development Department continues to be busy with inquiries. This past October, they had inquiries from 3 large businesses, 1 small business and 2 for the AZ TechCelerator. There were 2 large business site visits, 12 small business assists and 14 AZ TechCelerator tenant requests.

Cobalt Rehabilitation Hospital held their ribbon cutting and open house on November 19. The hospital will officially open its doors this month. The $17.5 million rehabilitation hospital with 40 beds is specifically designed for treating devastating head injuries that general hospitals may not be equipped to handle. The hospital brings 140 jobs to Surprise! The hospital recently hired Dr. Raj Singh as its medical director. He is also the medical director for the Barrow Neurosurgical Associates NeuroSpine and Rehab Center and the Rehabilitation Institute of Scottsdale.

Great news! Oregano’s is coming to Surprise! I am thrilled to have this popular eatery available for our residents! More details will be available soon!

Oregano’s coming soon sign

Construction will soon begin on a new Honda dealership in Prasada. The company is in the final permitting stages now.

Pet Club is now open at the corner of Greenway and Cotton in District 3.

General Plan Summit

Surprise City Council and Surprise Planning and Zoning Commissioners hosted the 2015 Annual General plan Summit on December 4 at City Hall. Department Directors presented the City’s progress toward achieving the Surprise General Plan 2035 goals and policies, discussed the Economic Development Strategic Plan, provided an update to the OTS Heritage District and conversed about City Monument Gateways.

John Lenio, with the commercial real estate firm CBRE, served as the guest speaker and provided a private sector point of view to Economic Development.

Eric Fitzer speaks at General plan Summit

City Council approved several amendments to some land-use elements of the Surprise General Plan 2035 at the Special Council Meeting on December 19.

Key changes include replacing the Village Plan requirements from the development process, with a “Character Area” approach, to provide more flexibility in establishing land-use concepts and building forms to create a unified city. Wildlife Corridors remain within the conservation element and the overall General Plan. Open space is designated within the land-use element.

Prior to the council vote, Community Development hosted a 60-day review period allowing for public input on the proposed changes and hundreds of you helped via an online survey. Public Hearings were held before the Planning & Zoning Commission and the City Council.

New Parks in Surprise

The City held a ribbon cutting celebration for our two newest parks, Veramonte Community Park and Surprise Farms Park, on November 14. Veramonte Community Park located at 12741 N. 140th Avenue, features restrooms, a splash pad, a parking lot and other new park amenities. Surprise Farms Park, located at the southeast corner of 175th Avenue and Surprise Farms Loop South, features a playground, splash pad, basketball court, skate park, restrooms and other park amenities.

children at play on slash pad children skating at skate park

1st Annual Veterans Day Parade

The City hosted its first inaugural Veterans Day Parade on Wednesday, November 11. There were approximately 70 parade entries and 4,500 attendees. I was extremely proud to walk alongside Debbie Lee who is an accomplished author, public speaker and political activist who has traveled the nation telling her son, Marc Lee’s, amazing story and advocating for our troops, their families and the families of our fallen soldiers. Marc Lee was killed in action and became the first Navy SEAL killed in Iraq in August 2006. Ms. Lee founded America’s Mighty Warriors (AMW). AMW is a registered 501(c)3 non-profit organization that honors troops, the fallen and their families with programs that improve their quality of life, resiliency and recovery.

623strong was honored to host their 1st Annual America’s Mighty Warriors Challenge fundraiser at DreamCatcher Park on Veterans Day. This competition is unlike any other and represents the heart and dedication of what AMW stands for and strives to instill in the community. The female and male winner of this cross fit style competition had the honor of riding with Debbie Lee in the Surprise Veterans Day parade.

Surprise Dial-A-Ride

With demand for the City’s Dial-A-Ride service increasing, the City Council recently voted to fund an increase in the number of weekday trips offered by the service.

These additional funds have increased the weekday trip cap from 140 to 160 one-way trips per day through the close of the fiscal year in June. A request to sustain the increase will be submitted to the City Council during the FY2017 budget process.

This increase comes after the recent announcement that Surprise Dial-A-Ride now offers holiday service, which is capped at 30 one-way trips per day.

Dial-A-Ride’s regular hours of operation are Monday through Saturday, 5 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturdays have a cap of 30 one-way trips.

As a reminder, Dial-A-Ride offers advanced reservations. Certified ADA, seniors and others with disabilities can schedule advance reservations up to 14 days prior to the trip. To make an appointment for Dial-A-Ride service, please call 602.266.8723.

All Dial-A-Ride service requirements remain the same and can be viewed at www.surpriseaz.gov/dialaride.

Spring Training

The 14th annual Surprise Spring Training Season will kick off on Wednesday, Mar. 2 at the Surprise Recreation Campus – The Campus of Champions – featuring Surprise’s home teams: the Kansas City Royals – 2015 World Series Champion and Texas Rangers – 2015 American League Western Division Champion.

The box office is now open! Tickets can also be purchased over the phone with Tickets.com at 888.755.2583 or online at www.surprisespringtraining.com. Service charges may apply to online and phone orders.

Individual tickets and season packages are available. Individual game ticket prices range from $8 in the lawn to $30 in the premium lower dugout and include free parking. Four premium games (see schedule below) have been designated with individual ticket pricing ranging from $13-$35.

Ticket packages available include Full Season, Home Team Half Season, and Home Team 7-Packs. All packages include priority seating and VIP Parking. Full Season and Half Season packages include a VIP season ticket reception.

For questions or more information, please check our website at www.surprisespringtraining.com or call 623.222.2222.

2016 Spring Training Schedule
*Schedule subject to change | Premium Games

Mar 2 Texas Rangers vs. Kansas City Royals 1:05 p.m.
Mar 3 Texas Rangers vs. Kansas City Royals 1:05 p.m.
Mar 4 Los Angeles Dodgers vs. Texas Rangers 1:05 p.m.
Mar 5 Chicago White Sox vs. Kansas City Royals 1:05 p.m.
Mar 6 Seattle Mariners vs. Texas Rangers 1:05 p.m.
Mar 7 San Francisco Giants vs. Texas Rangers 1:05 p.m.
Mar 8 Colorado Rockies vs. Kansas City Royals 1:05 p.m.
Mar 9 Milwaukee Brewers vs. Kansas City Royals 1:05 p.m.
Mar 10 Chicago White Sox vs. Texas Rangers 1:05 p.m.
Mar 11 Arizona Diamondbacks vs. Kansas City Royals 1:05 p.m.
Mar 12 Oakland Athletics vs. Texas Rangers 1:05 p.m.
Mar 13 Cleveland Indians vs. Kansas City Royals 1:05 p.m.
Mar 14 Chicago White Sox vs. Kansas City Royals 1:05 p.m.
Mar 15 Cleveland Indians vs. Texas Rangers 1:05 p.m.
Mar 16 Chicago Cubs vs. Kansas City Royals 1:05 p.m.
Mar 17 Milwaukee Brewers vs. Texas Rangers 6:05 p.m.
Mar 18 Los Angeles Angels vs. Kansas City Royals 1:05 p.m.
Mar 19 Seattle Mariners vs. Kansas City Royals 1:05 p.m.
Mar 20 Los Angeles Angels vs. Texas Rangers 1:05pm
Mar 21 Colorado Rockies vs. Texas Rangers 1:05 p.m.
Mar 22 Los Angeles Dodgers vs. Kansas City Royals 6:05 p.m.
Mar 23 Chicago Cubs vs. Texas Rangers 1:05 p.m.
Mar 24 Cincinnati Reds vs. Texas Rangers 1:05 p.m.
Mar 25 San Diego Padres vs. Texas Rangers 6:05 p.m.
Mar 26 Oakland Athletics vs. Kansas City Royals 1:05 p.m.
Mar 27 Arizona Diamondbacks vs. Texas Rangers 1:05 p.m.
Mar 28 San Diego Padres vs. Kansas City Royals 1:05 p.m.
Mar 29 San Francisco Giants vs. Kansas City Royals 6:05 p.m.
Mar 30 Kansas City Royals vs. Texas Rangers 12:05 p.m.

Shop Surprise!

Please remember that when you choose to shop in Surprise, you are helping shape our community. The money you spend here, stays here. In fact, local sales tax makes up nearly 40% of the city’s General Fund revenues. This money is used for Surprise Police, Surprise Fire-Medical, street maintenance and our parks!

Shop Surprise

Registration for Youth Sports Programs is open

Registration is open through Jan. 23 for a variety of City of Surprise youth sports programs, including softball, tee-ball and baseball.

The final registration day, Jan. 23, is a special Saturday registration, which will be held from 8-11 a.m. at the Community and Recreation Services office, located at 15960 N. Bullard Ave. Normal office hours are Monday – Friday, 8a.m. to 5p.m. Registration can also be completed online at www.surpriseaz.gov/recreation.

The following sports are open for registration:

Babe Ruth Girls Softball League (Girls, 7–16 years old) – Teaches the game of softball in the spirit of sportsmanship, fun and wholesome competition. An emphasis is placed on the development of skills and the value of teamwork.

12U, 14U & 16U participants will undergo a skills evaluation to be drafted to a team. The skills evaluation will be held Saturday, Feb. 27. Age is determined on or before December 31, 2016.

Cal Ripken Youth Tee-ball – NEW 4-5 year old division! (Boys and Girls, 4 – 6 years old) – The road to the “Big Leagues” starts here! The Cal Ripken tee-ball program will offer separate 4-5 year old and 5-6 year old divisions. Participants will have the opportunity to learn the basic fundamentals and skills associated with the game of baseball in an atmosphere where participation and fun are top priority. Age is determined on or before April 30, 2016.

Cal Ripken Baseball League (Boys and Girls, 7-12 years old) – This league will concentrate highly on instruction and will emphasize the development of fundamental skills over wins and losses. Participants registered in the Major (10-12) American League 46/60 or National League 50/70 division will undergo a skills evaluation and will be drafted to a team. The skills evaluation will be held Saturday, Feb. 27. Age is determined on or before April 30, 2016.

The City of Surprise welcomes you to volunteer for the upcoming Spring Sports Season. The Community and Recreation Services Department is dedicated to providing our volunteers the information and confidence they need to have a fun and successful season. If you are interested, please complete a volunteer application at the Community and Recreation Services Office.

For registration or program fee information, please contact the Sports Division at 623.222.2000 or visit www.surpriseaz.gov/recreation.

Opinion Piece

Being a school administrator and working in education for the last few decades, I’ve personally witnessed the effect that social media has had on students. Students have more information at their fingertips now than ever before. Think about this – According to Pew Research Center, 73% of wired American teens (ages 12-17) utilize social networking sites! While the ease of mobile social media can be utilized as an educational tool and assist with our youth’s studies, it is also damaging. It has been used as a haven for bullying and utilized for schools, specifically colleges, as a source for viewing applicants’ online profiles.

Social media is also distracting! According to CommonSense Media, a nonprofit group that studies children’s use of technology, 69% of American high schools have banned use or even possession of mobile devices on school grounds.

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the danger of social media as well. Schools and parents need to continue to monitor, to the best of our abilities, the social networking sites of our youth not only because it distracts them for their schoolwork but to also keep them safe!

In closing, I wish you and your families a wonderful, safe, happy, healthy new year!

My best,

Councilman John Williams
District 3

Vice Mayor John Williams’ Quarterly Newsletter – Sept. 2015

It is hard to believe that fall is upon us as is the last quarter of 2015. As we move into the last three months of the year, I want to reiterate just how deeply committed your Council is to Surprise’s youth, veterans, community engagement and economic development.

Voter Engagement

The City of Surprise has been designated as an Early Voting Site for the Northwest Valley for the November 2015 election. All registered voters within Maricopa County will be able to vote at City Hall, including voters from Surprise, El Mirage, Waddell, Wittmann, etc. With that being said, there will be no voting at City Hall on Election Day since the site has only been designated as a satellite early voting location.

Please make note of these important dates:

  • Monday, October 5th – Voter registration closes
  • Wednesday, October 7th – Early voting begins at Surprise City Hall (City Clerk’s Office)
  • Friday, October 23rd – Last day to request an Early Ballot be mailed to you
  • Friday, October 30th – Early voting ends at City Hall at 5 p.m.
  • Tuesday, November 3rd – General Election Day

If you are not voting early, please go to your designated polling location to vote in person. Polls will be open from 6 a.m. until 7 p.m. on November 3. For more information, please feel free to call the Maricopa County Elections Department at 602.506.3535, or you can visit our website at www.surpriseaz.gov/electionnews.

Veterans Day Events

The City of Surprise will host its First Annual Veterans Day Parade on Wednesday, November 11 at the Surprise Recreation Campus. The parade will honor the men and women in uniform who have selflessly served our country. The parade will begin at 9:30 a.m. and run along Bullard Avenue.

I hope to see you there!

America’s Mighty Warriors (AMW)

623Strong is hosting the 1st Annual America’s Mighty Warrior Fitness Challenge on Saturday, November 7, 2015 at the Surprise Recreation Campus. The fitness events will include a 5K run/walk around the Campus, a Splash and Dash event, and two versions of a fitness competition, called the Mark Lee Challenge, that requires participants to swim 150M, run 1 mile, and complete a series of fitness moves that include 14 rounds of 8 cleans, 2 push press, and 6 burpees (representing Marc Lee’s call number Charlie One Four, and the date of his passing on August 2, 2006). The event will support America’s Mighty Warriors (AMW), a 501c3 founded by Marc Alan Lee’s mother, Debbie Lee, after Marc was killed in combat in 2006. Marc was the first Navy SEAL killed in Iraq, and Ms. Lee, a resident of Surprise, continues to support families of our fallen through her non-profit. To learn more about Debbie and her mission, visit www.americasmightywarriors.org.

The winner of the competition will be honored, along with AMW Founder Ms. Debbie Lee, in the City’s first annual Veterans Day Parade. For event details or to register go to http://www.active.com/surprise-az/running/distance-running-races/america-s-mighty-warriors-fitness-challenge-2015.

Anthony Bates Cardiac Screenings at Willow Canyon High School on October 3

DYSART UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT – On Saturday, October 3, the Anthony Bates Foundation will offer cardiac screenings at Willow Canyon High School from 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM. A High School athlete dies every three days from sudden cardiac death (SCD) in the United States. SCD is the single largest killer in the United States with symptoms including shortness of breath, chest pain, heart palpitations and lightheadedness. The screenings are a preemptive approach to often hidden ailments and will be available for a tax-deductible donation of $65 per student or $75 for adults.

The Anthony Bates Foundation is a 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization formed in 2002 and is dedicated to save young lives through early detection of Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy. The Anthony Bates Foundation is actively promoting public outreach programs through education and awareness for the need to provide heart screening events.

For an appointment, interested participants should call (602) 482-5606 or email appts@anthonybates.org. Appointments will be held at Willow Canyon High School located at 17901 W. Lundberg St. Surprise, AZ. Additional information available at www.anthonybates.org.

Cactus Road Update

For residents in the southwest portion of District 3, including students and faculty of Paradise Honors High School and Shadow Ridge High School, Cactus Road improvements are coming! The hold-up has been gaining right-of-way along the portion of Cactus between Cotton lane and 175th Avenue. While there is no timeline to date, we are working hard on this and have high hopes that this can be completed within the next few months. If you have any questions or concerns, please shoot me an email or give me a call!

Surprise Youth Update

The Surprise Literacy Challenge kicks off in October and runs through February. The literacy challenge is open to all schools in the Surprise area for grades 4th – 6th. Last year, nine schools competed with 70 classrooms participating. The purpose of the reading challenge is to build upon the emphasis in reading that typically takes place with younger students and their development and to encourage reading outside of the school day. The overall winning 4th & 5th grade classrooms citywide will get a special pizza party where they will be awarded medals and also get recognized at a City Council meeting where the Mayor will present the class with a trophy. The overall winning 6th grade classroom citywide will be recognized down on the field at a Spring Training game where they will receive their medals and trophy. Tickets will be provided for the game along with a food voucher for each student.

The elected officers of the Surprise Youth Council attended the League of AZ Cities & Towns Conference in Tucson on August 19. Youth Mayor, Nithya S., represented the City of Surprise in the opening Ceremonies and Parade of Flags. Nithya S., Jada H. , & Anthony C. along with Youth Services Administrator, Paul Bernardo, and I presented a session with the Globe City Manager, Brent Billingsley, and Goodyear City Council Member, Joanne Osborne. The session topic was Innovative Ideas and Strategies for Successful Partnerships. We talked about the SYC Strategic Plan and variety of programs the City of Surprise is doing with Youth. Twenty other Youth Councils were in attendance and guest speakers presented sessions on the Entrepreneurial Civic Leader and 101 Ways to Change the World. The officers also networked with the other Youth Councils, shared information, and enjoyed lunch with me and Surprise City Council Members Jim Biundo & Skip Hall.

Youth Council members will be volunteering at the City G.A.I.N. Night on October 3 as well as the Senior Idol event on October 14. Watch for more news about the Surprise Youth Council in the coming months as they begin to implement various aspects of their Strategic Plan including a public awareness campaign around a teen issue, a teen special event and partnership with the West Valley Art Council and City’s Arts and Cultural Advisory Commission on a mural project.

SYC logo

Surprise Competitive Sports

The City of Surprise is now accepting team registrations for its competitive youth soccer league this fall. The fall competitive youth soccer league includes 10U, 12U and 14U competitive divisions for boys and girls. The league will begin in early November. Games will be played on Tuesday nights and Saturday mornings at local Surprise venues.

Registration is open now through September 26 at the Community and Recreation Services Office located 15960 N. Bullard Avenue. Office hours are Monday through Friday from 8 am until 5 pm. A special Saturday registration event is also scheduled onsite for September 26 from 8 am until 11 am.

The City has designed the competitive sports program to provide youth athletes with a wide range of organized sports activities that assist with skill development and personal growth while providing the atmosphere and fundamental tools to compete at a high level. This league encourages sportsmanship, enjoyment, cooperative participation and socialization with peers.

For additional information regarding youth competitive sports opportunities, please visit www.surpriseaz/recreation.

Upcoming Registration Dates:

Registration for fall youth sports including girls’ volleyball, Babe Ruth softball and Cal Ripken tee-ball and baseball began on September 8. Registration will be offered through September 25, with a special Saturday registration on September 26 from 8 am until 11 am at the Community and Recreation Services Office located 15960 N. Bullard Avenue.

Fall Line-Up of Teen Events – The City of Surprise is thrilled to offer teens a full lineup of fun and exciting things to do this fall! Here’s a look at what’s happening:

Sierra Montana Open Recreation

Foosball, karaoke, video games and so much more are available all month long. Monday through Friday from 3:30-6:30 p.m. at the Sierra Montana Recreation Center, located at 14821 N Spring Lane. Open Recreation is free to join with a completed registration form. Ages 11 and up are welcome; children 10 and under must be accompanied by an adult.

Teen Pool Party

It’s the end of summer in Surprise, but only the beginning of fun planned for the aquatic center! The Surprise Aquatic Center will be making a splash Friday, September 18 from 7-10 p.m. with the Surprise Teen Pool Party for ages 13-17. The $5 entry fee includes night swimming, contests, inflatables, music and prizes! Food and drinks will be available for purchase.

Dodgeball Tournament

Duck, dip, dive and dodge! Gather your friends for a friendly co-ed dodgeball competition on Saturday, September 26 from 5-9 p.m. at Countryside Recreation Center, located at 15038 N. Parkview Place. The $5 entry fee includes individual tournament participation, food, drinks and fun. Youth ages 13-17 can participate.

Teen Night

A cool event for 6-8th graders featuring music, dancing, dodgeball, video games and more. It’s happening October 9 from 7-10 p.m. at Sierra Montana Recreation Center, located at 14821 N Spring Lane. The entry fee is $5.

Haunted Maze

Find your way through a spooky maze at Sierra Montana Recreation Center this fall. The maze will be open nightly October 29 – 31 from 6-9 p.m. Sierra Montana Recreation Center is located at 14861 N. Spring Lane. $5 entry for screamers of all ages. Children under age 11 must be accompanied by an adult.

Bubble Soccer Tournament

Put on a bubble and bash into your friends at the upcoming co-ed Bubble Soccer Tournament on Saturday, November 21 from 5-9 p.m.! The tournament will take place at 8 Acres Park, located at 15960 N. Bullard Avenue. The tournament is open to teens ages 13-17. The individual cost to participate is $10 for residents and $15 for non-residents. Teams of five are welcome.

Jr. Sundancer Volunteer Program

The City of Surprise Junior Sundancer Volunteer Organization offers cool ways for youth to give back to their community while completing community service hours! The Community and Recreation Services Department offers a wide range of volunteer opportunities at its events and community programs. For more information regarding volunteer opportunities, please contact Tim Manley at 623.222.2264 or timothy.manley@surpriseaz.gov.


Be sure to follow Surprise Teen Programs on Facebook at www.facebook.com/surpriseteenprograms to keep up with exciting events and opportunities! For more information regarding Surprise Teen Programs or other programs offered by the Community and Recreation Services Department, please call 623.222.2000.

As always, thank you for your support.

Vice Mayor John Williams


 

 

Mark Your Calendar
Surprise Fiesta Grande
October 17 From 2-10 p.m.
Original Town Site

Vice Mayor John Williams’ Quarterly Newsletter – May 2015

The City has really been moving and shaking this quarter!  It’s hard to believe we are approaching summer already.  With all the activity, I wanted to update you on a few things.

Impact Ed

In my last edition, I briefly mentioned the Educational Opportunities Stakeholders Group now known as Impact Ed.  As the key component to economic development and our State’s future, leaders need collaborate and formulate creative and innovative ways to improve education locally and regionally.  Councilman Jim Biundo and I are diligently working to form this stakeholders group to improve Arizona’s education system.  We have invited other elected officials, business leaders, public safety officials, school administrators and developers to join Impact Ed.

My goal is to meet on a monthly basis and explore ways in which we can retain talented teachers and support vital programs so that our children get the very best education possible.  It is my ultimate goal to form solutions with Impact Ed that can be relayed to our State legislators as they enter the 2016 legislative session.  If you are interested in participating, please feel free to contact me.  I welcome the opportunity to explore our educational concerns and help build a stronger system together!

Voter Engagement

During the 2015 National League of Cities Conference in Washington DC, I attended a dynamic and interactive workshop on community engagement.  This particular workshop provided incredible detail and reaffirmed much of what we are already doing in the City of Surprise; however, there were also some new and innovative strategies discussed.  Keys to engaging citizenry, roadblocks that limit citizen engagement and tips for improvement were shared.

Upon my return from the trip, I met with staff and formed a Community Engagement Work Group that will be led by City Clerk Sherry Aguilar and staff representing each department.  Since the initial meeting, the City has hosted several voter registration events, and the formation of Neighborhood Association Committees (NAC) will be discussed at an upcoming Committee on Community Outreach Partnership & Grants meeting later this month.

Neighborhood associations help identify challenges and concerns, support change and improvement efforts, help resolve conflicts, provide volunteers for community initiatives, represent the neighborhood as a whole to elected officials and find resources to make their respective neighborhoods a better place to live.  In summary, a neighborhood association is a group of neighbors and business owners who voluntarily work together for changes and improvements such as neighborhood safety, beautification and social activities.  They help reinforce rules and regulations through education, peer pressure and simply looking out for each other.

Capital Improvement Funding Exploratory Committee

The Capital Improvement Funding Exploratory Committee met several times this past quarter to review the benefits of funding 11 capital improvement projects through possible General Obligation bonds; welcome public input; identify appropriate communication methods for educating residents and voters; and provide City Council with a written report of their findings this month.  City Council will consider its position relative to a bond ballot initiative in June.

The 17-member committee includes members of the Planning & Zoning Commission and the Community and Recreation Advisory Commission, with two members from the Dysart Unified School District, one Nadaburg School District delegate and a member of the Surprise Regional Chamber of Commerce to serve as the chair.

Specific projects were included in three categories that were evaluated by City staff.  Widening of portions of Greenway, Litchfield and Happy Valley roads, a new fire station, police property and evidence facility, court accessibility and safety items, a regional multi-generational recreation center, aquatic center, and 8 Acre Park improvements are currently on the list.

Surprise Youth Update

The City of Surprise Teen Summit was held on April 23rd in the City Hall Complex.  The purpose of the summit, now in its 8th year, is to provide a venue where teens can get excited about making positive changes in their community, their schools and in their lives.  160 high school students from Surprise were in attendance including public, charter and homeschooled teens.  The summit coordinated by Marla Babb, Recreation Manager, and staff from the City’s Community and Recreation Services department, included breakout sessions on funding your college education, team building, and safe driving habits.  The keynote speaker for the event was Mona Dixon, former Boys & Girls Club of America Youth of the year, who went from living on the streets and in homeless shelters to graduating college.  She delivered a strong message to take control and make things happen for yourself.

The Surprise Youth Council (SYC) has been busy the past month helping at events and providing feedback on city related plans and initiatives.  Members of the SYC led activities at the Teen Summit and volunteered at the WHAM Recycle Arts & Youth Festival.  City Planning staff presented the City’s Art Master Plan, Heritage District Overly Plan & City’s General Plan to the teens to get their input and educate them about what’s planned for their community.  SYC members are also reviewing the City’s potential Capital Improvement Projects in preparation for providing their feedback at an upcoming City Council meeting.  Maricopa County Library System also presented their teen programs to the SYC in an effort to increase participation and recruit potential volunteers.  The SYC is also looking to partner with the Surprise regional library on a Teen Techs program to help older residents understand and better use all of the features on their phones, computers, tablets and other technology.  The SYC is comprised of twenty-five 6th – 11th grade students representing 14 different middle & high schools in the Surprise area.

Surprise Competitive Sports

Competitive Sports was added to the FY14-15 budget. The inaugural offerings for competitive volleyball and basketball did not come to fruition due to lack of interest; however, competitive soccer registered a total of 8 teams, (4 teams in 10u boys and 4 teams in 12u girls) when the season kicked off in mid-March.  The regular season concluded on Saturday, May 2nd and the single elimination league tournament will start on May 5th.

The initial response from players, coaches, parents, and spectators has been overwhelmingly positive.  We have had several players, coaches and parents express their gratitude to the City for “finally offering a competitive league”.

Upcoming Registration Dates:

Competitive Youth Basketball – Separate boys & girls, 10u, 12u, and 14u competitive youth basketball divisions will be offered.  Registration begins July 6th.  Games begin on August 17th.

Competitive Youth Volleyball – Girls 10u, 12u, and 14u divisions will be offered.  Registration begins July 6th. Games will begin on August 17th.

Competitive Girls Fastpitch Softball – Girls 10u, 12u, and 14u divisions will be offered.  Registration begins August 17th. Games will begin on September 21st.

Competitive Baseball – 10u, 11u, and 12u divisions will be offered.  Registration begins August 17th. Games will begin on September 21st.

Competitive Youth Soccer – Separate boys & girls 10u, 12u, and 14u competitive youth soccer divisions will be offered.  Registration begins September 8th.  Games will begin on November 2nd.

 

Vice Mayor John Williams’ Quarterly Newsletter – Feb 2015

Happy New Year to District 3!   At the first regular City Council meeting of the year, I was honored to be appointed as the City’s Vice Mayor.  I look forward to serving Surprise as Vice Mayor and as your Councilman.  This year, 2015, brings with it many challenges, and many opportunities.  My efforts for all projects, initiatives, and issues will be to continue to serve the residents of District 3 and make decisions that serve the greater good for all of our community.

Surprise Youth Council
For the past 8 years I’ve worked on several youth initiatives and projects, attempting each time to engage our youth, battling apathy and encouraging civic engagement.  This year, with the emergence of our Youth Administrator and the adoption of the Surprise Youth Council (SYC), we have taken all these projects and initiatives and built a solid, sustainable youth leadership group.  The SYC is designed to improve the level of activity and engagement among youth and all Surprise residents with the City of Surprise. The group will be advisory to the City Council on issues, initiatives, projects and program implementation citywide.  They will have an opportunity to write their own path for our city, developing projects and programs, and implementing policy and procedures that impact the city as a whole.

The purpose of the city developing, implementing, and enthusiastically supporting the SYC is to provide real-life opportunities for our future leaders to learn, grow, and develop the knowledge and skills necessary to be a civic leader.  SYC is comprised of 25 students representing five of our local high schools and nine of our local middle schools.  Student members were selected through an application and nomination process that included the submission of their own personal introductory video.  The videos were 1-2 minute PSAs on why they wanted to be part of the SYC.  It gave the students an opportunity to demonstrate, in a creative and innovative way, their knowledge of the city, their passion for serving as a voice for all of Surprise youth, and their purposeful commitment to serve the city.

For this group, it is a rare opportunity to build something from the ground up and make a difference in their community.  SYC leadership positions will be modeled after City Council, with a youth mayor, vice mayor and committee chairs.  Officers will take turns holding a non-voting seat at the Dias during City Council meetings.

This diverse group will be challenged by extensive training in how to work together and be leaders in their community.  They will work side by side with adult leaders including our Mayor and City Council.  The SYC will identify issues important to them and implement their ideas to solve problems and make a difference.  This will be done through a variety of events, community service projects and a broad social media and communications/marketing plan.

Due to the timing of the program, this group will serve through next school year.  We will begin the recruitment process for any vacancies around March 2016.

Surprise Youth Council

SYC with Vice Mayor and Council

Community Workshops
The City began the New Year hosting community meetings at various locations in hopes to receive public input for updating key elements of our existing General Plan 2035.  General Plan 2035 is a blueprint for the City’s future growth and development and it provides a means of providing long-range perspective and framework for more specific planning.  It addresses land use, economic development, housing, recreation and open spaces and much more.

Surprise witnessed a 281% increase in population growth from 2000 to 2010.  MAG estimates that our City will see another increase of approximately 30,000 between now and 2020.  The General Plan will help us plan for that growth accordingly.  The data we received from MAG also states that 91.3% of our residents travel outside of Surprise to work.  The City Council and City staff are working diligently to increase our economic development to create more employment here.  As of now, most employment in the City are in the fields of educational services, health care and social assistance.  A large percentage of our residents work in the fields of office management, office support, administrative support and sales.

Growing Surprise
As part of the City Manager’s commitment to increase economic development, he hired Jeanine Jerkovic in December as the new Director to our Economic Development Department.  Jeanine brings incredible experience from working as an Economic Development Administrator for the City of Glendale and the City of Peoria.  She is a fantastic addition to our leadership team.  Jeanine is also a resident of Surprise.

Upcoming Events

Looking back on 2014, there were so many accomplishments that were the result of hard-working City of Surprise staff and our dedicated City Council.

February will serve as the kick-off to baseball in Surprise.  You will find collegiate baseball’s finest at Surprise Stadium for the Spring Training Baseball Classic beginning February 13-February 16 as teams from Oregon State, Northwestern University, Michigan State and the University of New Mexico will be competing.  The BIG 12-PAC 12 Spring Training Baseball Challenge will be February 19-February 22 hosting Oregon State, Oklahoma State, Utah, Kansas, Kansas State and Washington State.

Join Mayor Wolcott and the Surprise City Council Monday, February 23, at the 13th Annual Mayor’s Welcome Back Luncheon where guests will have an exclusive opportunity to hear about the upcoming Season directly from Team Staff and members of both organizations.  Tickets for this event are now available for purchase at the Surprise Community and Recreation Services Office located at 15960 N. Bullard Avenue, Monday-Friday from 8:00 a.m.-5:00 pm.

The Texas Rangers and Kansas City Royals are headed back to Surprise for the 2015 Spring Training season! The season will begin Wednesday, March 4 with the 13th Annual Surprise Sundancer Charity Game featuring the Kansas City Royals and Texas Rangers. The Surprise Stadium will continue to celebrate the American League Champions as they prepare and work their way back into the 2015 MLB Post-Season throughout a series of promotional events;  Saturday, March 7th- Kansas City Royals American League Championship Day Celebration; Sundays-Military Appreciation Day and Mondays-Senior Day at the Ballpark.

Be a part of the 2015 Spring Sports Festival and purchase your tickets at the Surprise Stadium Box Office – now open Monday-Friday 10:00 a.m. -5:00 p.m., Saturdays 10:00 a.m.-2 p.m. and Sundays 10 a.m-2 p.m. For more information regarding events and ticket promotions please visit www.surprisespringtraining.com or contact the box office at 623-222-2222.

Competitive Youth Sports:  Hoops, Soccer & Swim!!
The City of Surprise Community and Recreation Services Department is accepting team registrations for the inaugural Competitive Basketball League and Competitive Soccer League!  Boys or girls teams may register in the 10U, 12U or 14U division for a fee of $1,200.00. All three divisions will follow National Federation of High Schools rules and will play a 10-game regular season, followed by a single elimination league tournament. Games will begin in early March and the league tournament will conclude by April 25, 2015.

For more information on any of these competitive leagues, please contact Paul Frie at 623-222-2240 or paul.frie@surpriseaz.gov.

If your children are interested in the water, the Surprise Storm is now the competitive club swim team here in Surprise.  There is room for all competitive swimmers with three separate levels that divide the various ages and skill sets of the athletes.  Swimmers compete state wide, with upcoming events at Glendale Community College and Phoenix Country Day School.  For more information on Surprise swim, contact Head Coach Tim Manley at tim.manley@surpriseaz.gov.

Educational Opportunities Stakeholders Group
This year, I will be forming and leading discussions on ways to support and improve educational opportunities in Surprise.  Working in tandem with Councilmember Jim Biundo, and our local education leaders, this stakeholders group is looking to improve education in our community, striving for Educational Excellence in Surprise.

Why is education a critical issue for a municipality?  As we continue to grow into the future, the economic viability of our community is critically linked to the educational opportunities we provide to our residents.  When businesses, small and large, look to lay their roots in Surprise education is a high-priority.

Safe communities are communities with high-performing educational institutions.  Education is the great equalizer when it comes to affording opportunities to youth that will keep them on a clear path for success.  When this path is obstructed, altered, or derailed, the result may be a path that leads to trouble for our youth.  This will undoubtedly lead to an increase in preventable crime, and diminish the amenities we enjoy in this clean, safe and secure community.

The Surprise Educational Opportunities Stakeholders group will come together to formulate creative and innovative ways to improve educational opportunities at the local and regional levels. This is an opportunity to have a positive impact on providing and improving educational opportunities from Pre-K through Higher Education.

We are looking for parents, business owners, teachers, students, and other community members that are vested in the success of our local schools to participate in this conversation.  If you have any interest please contact me via email at john.williams@surpriseaz.gov.

Get Engaged, Be Active in Surprise
Being active in the community you reside in is such a critical component to a successful neighborhood and City.  The City has several opportunities for you to participate.  Some of our Boards & Commissions currently have openings including the Health Benefits Trust Fund Board and the Building & Construction Review Board.  Please feel free to contact the City Clerk, Sherry Aguilar at 623-222-1000 for more information.

John Williams being sworn in as Vice Mayor

The Surprise City Council appointed District 3 Councilmember John Williams as Vice Mayor at their regular meeting Tuesday night.

Williams has served District 3 since 2008 and previously served as Vice Mayor in 2012. As a teacher, parent and husband, John brings a community perspective to his commitment to serve as a voice for all residents.

John is a certified teacher and for the last several years has been building the Peoria Unified School District’s Career and Technical Education Sports Medicine program.

A graduate of Hofstra University in New York, John also holds a Masters in Health Science from Towson University in Maryland.

John and Melissa have three children, Connor, Ashlyn, and Matthew.

Per city code, City Council must select a new Vice Mayor to serve on an annual basis no later than January 30, and the Vice Mayor acts for the Mayor in the event of absence.

Councilman John Williams’ Quarterly Newsletter – Sept. 2014

What’s Happening at City Hall?

New Leadership Team
As many of you have observed, since City Manager Chris Hillman left us for Irving, Texas, there have been a number of administrative changes. We have a new City Manager, Bob Wingenroth, who brings a positive servant leadership approach to our community. I am very excited to have Bob on board, and I have the utmost confidence that he has the expertise, professional tact, compassion for others, perseverance and tenacity to be a great leader for our City.

City Manager Bob Wingenroth
City Manager Bob Wingenroth
Assistant City Manager Rick Buss
Assistant City Manager Rick Buss
Assistant City Manger April Reynolds
Assistant City Manger April Reynolds

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mr. Wingenroth has chosen April Reynolds and Rick Buss as his Assistant City Managers. Rick Buss is a long-time public servant who brings years of expertise in the area of economic and community development. Formerly, he served as the Town Manager for Gila Bend where he led groundbreaking efforts in sustainable energy and economic development. Mr. Buss is responsible for the Public Works, Economic Development and Community Development Departments.

April Reynolds was promoted to Assistant City Manager after years of serving as our Human Resources Director. Mrs. Reynolds, a four year veteran of the US Air Force, has been employed with our City for 10 years. She is responsible for the Human Resources, Communications and IT Departments.

Youth Services Administrator
I am very excited to announce the hiring of Paul Bernardo in the capacity of Youth Services Administrator. Paul’s resume is very impressive and he brings with him a wealth of knowledge, experience and credentials from previous positions he held with two other municipalities, the Boys and Girls Club of America and the YMCA.

Paul Bernardo
Paul Bernardo

The Youth Services Administrator is a new position within the City that supports and promotes civic engagement for all ages. There are times when we, as a community, are not fully engaged or invested. There are many factors for the apathy that exist, some of which are related to our very busy lives, long commutes and slow-to-recover economy that have forced other issues in our daily lives to take precedence. That said, our duties as citizens are to ensure our leadership is held accountable and to do that, we must activate our civil liberties. To regain this passion and demonstrate the importance of civic engagement, the Youth Services Administrator will be responsible for promoting youth engagement, initiating projects to build a stronger community and utilizing talent and resources to erase the barriers that exist whether age, socioeconomic, or otherwise. I’m excited to have Paul on board, and I’m confident that he will bring passion to the job and model the behaviors reflective of a civic leader in our community.

Youth Master Plan
Over the past several months, I’ve met with a number of school principals and education leaders. The purpose of these meetings is to continue to build relationships with all educational institutions, analyze what we are doing well, and then plan for the future as part of the construction of a Youth Master Plan. The Youth Master Plan will define what we need to plan for to meet the needs of growing families in Surprise. We all know that youth are grossly underserved, and as we climb out of the economic meltdown, we must prioritize and make critical program and development decisions so that we are truly meeting the needs of Surprise youth and families. The Master Plan will be constructed by Surprise youth, so if you have a son, daughter, niece, nephew, grandchild, friend, or neighbor who might want to contribute, send them my way!

Youth Civic Leaders Program
The Surprise Youth Civic Leaders Program (YCLP) is designed to improve the level of activity and engagement among youth and all residents within the City of Surprise. The YCLP is not a formal commission; therefore, it has no limitations on participation. Selection into the program is based on specific criteria outlined in detail on the YCLP application and the completion of a panel interview with members of the Surprise City Council. The program is open to all Surprise high school students. To download the application, please visit www.surpriseaz.gov/yclp.

Education Update

Dysart Unified School District
I am pleased to say that Dysart Unified School District has been representing our City very well over the last year with a variety of awards and accolades. Most recently, the Washington, D.C. Center for America Progress identified Dysart as one of the top districts in Arizona with high achievement despite a low-cost operations budget. The 2014 Return on Educational Investment report compared the District’s operational budget to state test results in math and reading, school enrollment, special education student stats, student poverty numbers and federal cost-of-living information. Additionally, Dysart Unified School District received a 2014 Accountability Profile label of “A” from the Arizona Department of Education.

Shadow Ridge High School
The Shadow Ridge High School Signature Architecture Program is, for the second time, SkillsUSA National Champions for Architectural Drafting. The SRHS Signature Architecture Program is now the top-rated high school architectural drafting program in the nation.

In addition to the aforementioned award, Shadow Ridge High School was also named a 2014 Best High School and earned a bronze medal from U.S. News and World Report. This year’s accomplishments include Signature Architecture Program student Reed Freeman being awarded the prestigious Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute’s Rensselaer Medalist Scholarship, Daniel Cox becoming the school’s first athlete (wrestling) to win a state championship and the boys varsity basketball team advancing to the state playoffs.

Valley Vista High School
Valley Vista High School was also recently named a 2014 Best High School and earned a bronze medal from U.S. News and World Report, a recognized publisher of education news and information.

Sunset Hills Elementary School
Karen Winterstein, Principal of Sunset Hills Elementary School, has earned the prestigious title of 2014 Principal of the Year by the National Association of Elementary School Principals.

Imagine Prep & Arizona Charter Academy
Students from Imagine Prep and Arizona Charter Academy participated in the Capitol Scholars Program over the last few months. I sponsored the awards ceremony for the schools to acknowledge the students who participated and the teachers who guided them. The Capitol Scholars Program was developed a few years ago by Representative Rick Gray. City Hall hosted the program workshops, which began in April. The workshops included discussions on writing, research, transforming bills into ideas, debating and public speaking, and more. The students will travel to the State Capitol on September 26th to present the bills they created and to participate in a mock legislative session.

Image Prep Students
Students participating in the Capitol Scholars Program

The Capitol Scholars Program Awards Ceremony was held in the Mayor’s Atrium on Friday, September 5th. I am so proud of the students who participated. The hard work and creativity of the participants is exceptional!

CM Williams 1
Addressing the reception attendees.
CM Williams 2
Me and Rep. Rick Gray at the reception.

Transportation Update

Waddell & 175th Interchange
Residents, school parents and others have raised the issue of the traffic flowing east and west on Waddell Road between Cotton Lane and Verde Vista, especially during the AM and PM traffic volume peaks. The most common question is why westbound traffic is prevented from turning left onto 175th Avenue. This concern is valid and it clearly impacts traffic negatively in this area.

I recently met with City staff to champion improvements in this area. Our Public Works Department is now in the process of conducting a traffic study, including the redesign of the median and westbound lanes, to allow vehicles to safely turn left onto 175th Avenue. While we are still identifying a construction timeline, the City is targeting winter break as an ideal time to make the improvements since the two nearby schools are not in session at that time. Please do not hesitate to contact me or Mike Gent, Interim Public Works Director, at mike.gent@surpriseaz.gov.

Bell & Grand Avenue Interchange
Big changes are coming to the City’s busiest intersection as ADOT prepares for improvements at Bell Road and Grand Avenue. Plans will allow ADOT to construct a new Bell Road bridge to travel over both Grand Avenue and the adjacent Burlington Northern Sante Fe railroad tracks. The bridge will eliminate the existing intersection where Bell Road is currently located. This option minimizes impact to area businesses. Construction is set to begin in late 2015.

Grand Avenue will connect to the new Bell Road bridge via on and off ramps traveling to and from Grand Avenue’s center median area. This particular option was supported by City Council as well as the majority of residents in a city-wide survey. For more information, you can visit www.azdot.gov/bellandgrand or email projects@azdot.gov.

HOA Information

Requests
If you would like me or any of the City staff to attend your meetings, please let me know. We would appreciate the opportunity to be present and available. You can email me with your request or call me via my contact information below.

Mark Your Calendar!

District 3 Meetings
I am looking for a number of Surprise residents, both young and experienced, that will be willing to meet monthly to provide insight into the growing needs of our City and our District. The only requirements are that you live in, work in, or operate a business in District 3. If you are interested, please email as soon as possible. The first meeting is scheduled for September 18 at 5 p.m. at City Hall. This meeting will be a free-flowing discussion on issues important to those members, as well as an opportunity for me to review some major decisions coming up and gather community feedback. Please RSVP to me, prior to September 15, at john.williams@surpriseaz.gov.

Surprise Fiesta Grande
Mark your calendar so you can attend the Surprise Fiesta Grande on October 4th from noon until 9 p.m. The Surprise Fiesta Grande will be a street-style festival along Grand Avenue and Hollyhock Street. Admission will be free! There will be live music, dancing, a classic car show, a kid zone with piñatas and interactive games, authentic Mexican food, festive beverages, chalk art, a 3-on-3 basketball tournament, an adult softball tournament and much more. We hope to see you there!
Surprose Fiesta Grande
Check Your Email Account
My new City Council website will be ready beginning in October. Please be sure to check it for valuable information affecting District 3 and the City. Additionally, we will be sending updates via email providing you sign up for my newsletter through Notify Me. Please click here to sign-up. I am honored to represent District 3 and I’m always looking for ways to keep you informed!

Please note that I will be sending my newsletters quarterly. Thank you!

Did You Know?

Facts and Figures of Surprise AZ