Summer is quickly approaching. As we wrap up the spring season, I hope everyone had an opportunity to attend a Spring Training game, the State of the City, Taste of Surprise, the Egg-stravaganza and other city-hosted events.
The Surprise Regional Chamber of Commerce Convening Breakfast, hosted on March 1, allowed me and fellow councilmembers to meet with other local Mayors and connect with community leaders, stakeholders and business owners. We were able to learn and discuss the challenges and opportunities facing the business community as well as build networks.
In honor of Dr. Seuss’ birthday, I was able to read in two different classrooms at Countryside Elementary School. I would like to thank the staff, teachers and students for the invitation and allowing me the opportunity to participate.
The National League of Cities Conference (NLC) was held in Washington D.C., and I was honored to be able to attend on behalf of our city. During the trip, I had several productive meetings focusing on the city’s priorities. I was able to meet with important members of our congressional delegation, including Senators Sinema and McSally’s office: Congressman Stanton, who sits on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee; Congressman Gosar; and Congresswoman Ann Kirkpatrick’s staff. Additionally, I met with U.S. Department of Transportation Deputy Assistant Secretary for Congressional and Legislative Affairs, Anthony Bedell. Also, I was able to meet with seven of the West Valley cities and U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) to discuss regional routes of significance and to gain DOT’s support and insight. This experience allowed me to bring educational information back that we can use to focus on our city’s success and future.
The State of the City and City Hall 10 Year Anniversary Celebration was held on March 28. This event brought residents and elected officials together to watch a State of the City video in the Council Chambers before enjoying festivities in the courtyard. The festivities included music and food, as well as a showcase of city departments. Residents were able to get department updates while enjoying the night air.
The Grand Avenue and Bell Road bridge was renamed to Veterans Bridge on April 26. The celebration brought Governor Doug Ducey, Congresswoman Debbie Lesko, and Senator Rick Gray, as well as other elected officials, to our beautiful city. This event was a gathering for many veterans to mingle and be recognized for their service and dedication to our country. This bridge acknowledges the men and women of our Armed Forces past, present and future. The City of Surprise welcomes Veterans and offers many resources for them.
Economic Development Update
Over the past few months, our city has welcomed two new health care businesses. The Avenir Behavioral Health Center, located at 16561 N Parkview Place, celebrated their ribbon cutting in March. This behavioral health center offers private and semi-private rooms for patients aged 65 or older. They specialize in psychiatric and medical evaluations with individualized treatment plans. They support calming and soothing environments with a personalized care approach.
The Colonnade New Assisted Living/Memory Support Center celebrated their ribbon cutting in May. This new facility offers independent, assisted and memory support living. The 40-acre area that spans the heart of Sun City Grand and Surprise boasts a Mediterranean style landscape with exciting settings and countless amenities and social activities.
The City of Surprise also welcomes Primerica Financial Services. The Surprise location marks the 38th office opened for this growing company. Primerica is an insurance and financial services company that specializes in several areas of assistance.
Christian Brothers Automotive is proposing a new 5,495 square foot light automotive repair facility to be placed between Walgreens and Autozone at the northwest corner of Reems and Waddell Roads, while a tractor supply company is proposing a 21,700 square foot retail building just south of the Fry’s shopping center on Greenway and Cotton.
Ryder Ranch is currently still in the preliminary stages of planning and developing, however, this new community plans to bring Surprise families together. This family-friendly community will be located between 175th Ave and Cotton Lane, north of Cactus. It will offer many community gathering areas to include tot land, basketball and several green belts.
Hayden Farms Townhomes has formally submitted a final plat and a site plan for a 174-unit townhome development just south of Ryder Ranch on Cotton Lane and Cactus Road.
The Toll Brothers project has changed its name to Sterling Grove and has submitted the clubhouse site plan.
The City of Surprise is rapidly growing and expanding from new businesses and restaurants to many new homes. As we welcome the newcomers, city staff are working diligently to ensure we provide safe and reasonable accommodations. Our city is moving forward with the ever-changing growth, and I look forward to the future of Surprise.
Public Works Update
The new Public Works Operations Facility, which will be located on the Southwest corner of Cactus Road and Litchfield Road, is well underway with its construction. This facility will bring together Fleet, Streets and Solid Waste Operations within the Public Works Department. Construction is slated for completion in February of 2020.
The widening of Waddell Road from SR303 to Reems Road has completed its design stage and is currently preparing for the construction phase. The construction is scheduled to start soon with a completion of summer 2020.
As with Waddell Road, Litchfield Road widening has also completed its design stage. The scheduled construction will include Litchfield Road from Waddell Road to Peoria Avenue. This project will begin this fall and finish in summer 2020.
The Dick McComb dog park light installation project is nearing completion. The addition of lights will allow residents to utilize the park later in the evening during the summer. The Surprise Tennis and Racquet Complex will also be lighting the remaining courts which will allow our staff to maximize the facility for programming, leagues and tournaments.
The Asante Library construction is underway and will be complete by the end of the year with a grand opening planned for January 2020. This new library will serve our growing city for years to come.
The 36th Annual 4th of July Celebration events will be held at Mark Coronado Park this year, due to renovations at the Surprise Stadium. This annual celebration features music, food and fun. Don’t forget your chairs and blankets for the showcase of fireworks that are sure to light up the evening sky as we salute our nation’s Independence Day. The gates will open at 5:30 p.m. with fireworks starting at 8:40 p.m.
The Recommended Budget continues to focus on the Council’s commitment to maintain quality public services and infrastructure our residents value most, while also addressing the needs of our growing community. It remains important that public safety services keep pace with the city’s growth to ensure our community remains safe and secure. The FY2020 Recommended Expenditure Budget is $414 million and includes $106.3 million for voter approved General Obligation (GO) Bond projects in the areas of Public Safety, Traffic Congestion Mitigation, and Pavement Preservation. These projects will be spread over four more years, but significant progress will show this fiscal year with the completion of the Public Works Yard, Fire Station 304 and Pavement Preservation scheduled for the end of 2020. These projects are investments in our city and reflect our city’s commitment to address growth while maintaining a responsible fiscal approach when allocating resources. The recommended budget goes to Council for action tonight (6/4) during a 6 p.m. Special Meeting. Come out and be part of the process, or check www.surpriseaz.gov tomorrow for news on the final, adopted budget.
Water Resource Management
In September 2015, EPCOR was required to file a rate case for all Arizona water districts, according to Arizona Corporation Commission (ACC) Decision #75268. EPCOR filed it August 2017. Seventeen months later, the ACC failed to reach a decision and the ACC Chairman ordered EPCOR to file for Interim Rates. Interim Rates were approved March 28, 2019, effective April 1, 2019, and the ACC also ordered EPCOR to file a new water rate case. City of Surprise residents in the Agua Fria water district will see a credit on their bills. The credit is calculated based on the amount of water customers personally use, and the district where they live and receive service. The interim rate surcharge is in effect until a decision on new, permanent rates is made. EPCOR is required to file a new rate case by May 1, 2020 and a decision is expected to be made in mid-2021.
Customers can also take advantage of EPCOR’s ongoing and new customer assistance programs. Effective April 1, any eligible water customer who has a monthly household income at 200% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines or lower may receive a $10 monthly credit. If you’re an EPCOR customer and you’re away from home protecting our country’s freedoms, there’s a program designed to help give you some extra peace of mind at home. Active-duty service members who are away from their homes serving the United States, and who meet the program’s eligibility requirements, may have their monthly water bill waived while on deployment. Once you return home from deployment, your bill for service will resume.
EPCOR also offers a program to assist disabled American veterans with a $10 credit on their monthly water bill. If you are a disabled veteran, you can sign up as long as you can show proof through proper documentation and have an EPCOR account. Even if you’re already receiving EPCOR’s low income assistance credit, you can still qualify to receive this new monthly credit.
For more details on these programs, please visit EPCOR’s at https://epcor.com/assistance.
Things to do this summer
The City of Surprise offers various activities at the Surprise Aquatic Center and Hollyhock Community Pools, which are now officially open! Be sure to enjoy as many of the special water events as possible, such as the 4th of July Pool Party and the Dive-in Movies, plus many more.
Summer sports camp registration has begun, however, it’s not too late to sign up. The City of Surprise offers Softball, Baseball, Basketball, Volleyball, Football and Cheerleading camps. For more availability and registrations, please visit www.surpriseaz.gov.
The City of Surprise is breaking ground on an outdoor memorial in honor of the late Surprise resident and combat wounded veteran Brian Mancini, who spent his life serving his country and helping other wounded veterans find healing. The indoor ceremony will begin at 9:00 a.m. on June 24 at the Northwest Regional Library, 16089 N. Bullard Ave, followed by the outdoor ground breaking.
As a reminder, City Council agendas are posted online at www.surpriseaz.gov/agendas at least two business days before the meeting. City Council meets the first and third Tuesdays of each month. Work Sessions are at 4 p.m. and Regular Meetings begin at 6 p.m. All meetings are carried live on Surprise TV for cable customers and streamed online at www.surpriseaz.gov/surpriseTV.