City Council received the $294.7 million Fiscal Year 2016 City Manager Recommended Budget, Tuesday night, which was crafted to shore up immediate operational needs, continue service increases and prepare for the future.
The recommended budget includes funding for the following:
Maintaining mid-year Dial-A-Ride service expansion
18 new full time positions (Public Safety, Utility Operations, general government operations)
Surprise Regional Library operations (as required by previous agreement with the county)
Continues Express Route 571
It also includes policy recommendations to increase fund balance reserves. As a result, the General Fund balance reserve will increase by over 14% from the prior fiscal year to $17 million.
“The budget focuses on shoring up operational areas in need; pursuing higher levels of maintenance and replacement of vehicles, equipment and buildings; and continuing the service level increases and capital improvement plans outlined by City Council over the last fiscal year,” says City Manager Bob Wingenroth.
Council is scheduled to take action on a tentative budget May 5, with a final budget vote on June 2. FY16 begins on July 1, 2015.
Please note that Low Mountain Construction, on behalf of Paradise Schools, is beginning a median redesign project at the intersection of 175th Avenue and Waddell Road. This long awaited project will create a dedicated left turn lane to allow westbound traffic on Waddell Road to safely turn south onto 175th Avenue. Construction will begin on Monday 3/30/15 and is expected to be completed no later than Friday 4/3/15. Roadway restrictions to complete the project are listed below:
East & west bound Waddell at 175th will be restricted to a single lane each direction. This will be a 24hr setup.
South bound traffic on 175th Ave between Boca Raton & Waddell will be closed during the work hours of 8:30am to 3:30pm. Verde Vista would be used to access Waddell during this time frame. North bound traffic will remain open.
If you have any questions, please let me know. A special thank you to Public Works Director Mike Gent and the many residents who I’ve met with over the last few months that helped initiated this project!
Super Bowl weekend brought excitement to Surprise with the Celebrity Flag Football Challenge taking over the field at Surprise Stadium. Vice Mayor Williams enjoyed the game and the opportunity to spread the word about Surprise! The game benefited the Wounded Warrior project.
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:
Makenna Breading-Goodrich, Canyon Ridge
Taylor Gage, Western Peaks
Macy Stewart, Imagine Prep
I am excited to announce that I will be hosting bi-monthly cabinet chats starting November 20. It will be a great way for me to connect with you on important issues facing the city and I hope you will consider attending.
Surprise Police will discuss holiday safety tips and the latest crime prevention trends and strategies. Economic Development Department will provide us with an update on economic development in our City.
Surprise youth and families are encouraged to attend.
Please check back for additional meeting dates coming soon.
I believe that engaging young people in civic leadership roles can revolutionize a city. It helps to create interest in future service, and it allows current leaders to understand how to better meet the needs of the city’s youth. Here are some of the ways we are engaging youth in Surprise:
Youth Leadership Commission(YLC): Open to all Surprise High School Students. This program is designed to improve the level of activity and engagement among youth and all Surprise residents with the City of Surprise. The YLC is not a formal commission, therefore has no limitations on participation, but selection into the program is based on specific criteria outlined in detail on the YLC application and the completion of a panel interview with members of the Surprise City Council.
Here are some of the initiatives that our Youth Leadership Commission members can participate in:
Scholarship to National League of Cities Conference The youth leadership scholarship provides outstanding young Surprise citizens the opportunity to attend the National League of Cities Conference in Washington, DC as youth representatives for the City of Surprise. Participants in the Youth Leadership Commission program must meet the following criteria to qualify for the scholarship:
Participation as an intern for the Mayor and Council for a period of no less than one month. Students serve on the dais with City Council members during all regularly scheduled meetings and Council Workshops. Students can actively participate and engage in discussion items, but cannot vote or attend executive sessions.
Demonstration of their engagement in volunteer work within the community, school and at home.
Student in good standing at their school.
Resume and two references (one scholastic/professional and one personal).
Completion of the Surprise Youth Leadership Scholarship Application.
Completion of a community service project or initiative.
Surprise Community Service Project Initiative
Students work on a project team that will be responsible for initiating and implementing a community service project.
Students will work with an adult mentor whom will help facilitate and guide the project Community service hours will be logged for their participation and will be submitted as part of the scholarship application.
Once the project is implemented each group will give a formal presentation that describes the entire planning and implementation process including project preparation, implementation, the collaborative process they went through, road bumps along the way and how they were managed, and an assessment on the success or failure of the project.
As part of the program students will participate in quarterly leadership training sessions. Students whom complete all leadership training sessions will receive recognition in May for their efforts.
As Surprise has grown in population, it has grown in offerings. We have ballpark that attracts spring training visitors from all over and one of the largest public tennis facilities in the country. We have attracted great restaurants and shopping, and now, we are seeing more big businesses making Surprise their home. It’s an exciting time for the city!
In the last couple of years, we have seen business that have located here, grow! Southwest Products, an industrial diesel engine company, finished construction of 165,000 square feet of headquarters and manufacturing facilities in 2013. They have grown their number of employees 50% since then!
And new businesses are moving in. Cobalt Medical Development is constructing a 50,000 square foot advanced rehabilitation facility that is expected to create 125 jobs. Cobalt’s CEO Richard Fiske said, “As we looked nationally for a location, Surprise stood out due its collaborative approach to business development.”
Surprise also supports early-stage technology-based companies. The city’s AZ TechCelerator is designed to help these types of companies reach the next stage in their business plan businesses by providing affordable space and the tools and resources needed to help businesses grow.AZ TechCelerator, a four-building campus, totaling nearly 60,000 square feet is designed to accommodate your needs and provide you with the affordable space, tools and resources to grow your business.
If you would like to find out more about the city’s economic development incentives, click here. And if you are interested in learning more about AZ TechCelerator, click here.AZ TechCelerator, a four-building campus, totaling nearly 60,000 square feet is designed to accommodate your needs and provide you with the affordable space, tools and resources to grow your business.
It’s an exciting time in Surprise! You can feel the city coming into its own. We are growing into a well-rounded community where families can enjoy a healthy lifestyle, find and keep good jobs and build a sense of home and community.
It’s clear that now is the time to reach out to our young people. Young people are the foundation of a growing city, and it’s important that they get engaged early. That’s why I think it’s vital to have a Surprise Youth Master Plan. This strategic plan will help guide youth services, projects and initiatives now and in the future. The best part about the plan— students will lead the development process.
The long term vision, through the successful implementation of this student lead planning process, is for the City of Surprise to become the leader in youth opportunities, services, and programs for the Valley. The development and implementation of this document will integrate youth into the formal planning process, and incorporate shared leadership opportunities for youth within our growing city.
Recently, we conducted several youth surveys as preliminary research for the Youth Master Plan. See the results here: