Tag Archives: Surprise Youth Council

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.


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.

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.

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

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

Adult Sports
Coed Indoor Volleyball
4 on 4 Flag Football

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


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!

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.

Surprise Youth Council Induction Ceremony

I was thrilled to be a part of the Surprise Youth Council Induction Ceremony on January 15! I had the opportunity to help choose the 25 Surprise youth who will sit on this council and help guide decisions for our city. Check out the full article on the event below:

New Surprise Youth Council gets sworn in

The Surprise Youth Council (SYC) was brought to life Jan. 15 when 25 Surprise youth were sworn into the new leadership group, which will help guide decisions affecting the city’s young people.

The swearing-in ceremony followed a reception in City Hall where the 6-11 graders heard from Mayor Sharon Wolcott and Vice Mayor John Williams, who both stressed the importance of this new council.

“We want our young residents to enjoy living here not only while they’re growing up, but also in the future as working adults,” says Mayor Wolcott. “Thus, it’s vital that we provide our youth with an active voice in helping shape Surprise for the benefit of future generations. This new group will provide them with that opportunity.”

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.

After City Council approved the formation of SYC in October, the city began outreach to students at local schools and those interested submitted a video application.

“The applications revealed that our youth want to be engaged, want to make a difference, and they see real opportunities to impact our community—from arts to drug prevention to youth engagement to transportation,” says Vice Mayor John Williams, who helped lead the formation of the council. “They want to be part of the decisions; they want a shared role in building our community now and in the future. These bright young minds want that responsibility; we need to give it to them, we need to listen to them! It will be exciting to see how they help shape Surprise.”

The new SYC representatives include:

6th Grade

Makenna Breading-Goodrich, Canyon Ridge
Taylor Gage, Western Peaks
Macy Stewart, Imagine Prep

7th Grade

Jonah Kaplan, Calibre Academy
Sarina Ramirez, Canyon Ridge
Selah Wallace, Imagine Prep

8th Grade

Lucas Cons, Rancho Gabriela
Isabella de Vlieger, Paradise Honors
Jada Henderson, Arizona Charter Academy
Quade Miller-Edwards, Sunset Hills
Bailey Rice, Cimarron Springs

9th Grade

Mikayla Barrera, Arizona Charter Academy
Anthony Canelli, Willow Canyon
Ariel Hatton, Paradise Honors
Kyla Hudson, Shadow Ridge
Mylan Johnson, Paradise Honors

10th Grade

Valeria Ortiz, Paradise Honors
Riley Pollard, Willow Canyon
Megan Ruff, Paradise Honors
Samantha Salazar, Paradise Honors

11th Grade

Eunice Barrameda, Shadow Ridge
Chaunci Hood, Dysart
Grace McDonald, Shadow Ridge
Nithya Satiyaselan, Willow Canyon.
Kyle Shahenian, Dysart

For more information about SYC, please contact Surprise Youth Services Administrator Paul Bernardo at paul.bernardo@surpriseaz.gov or 623.222.1029.