City Manager Bob Wingenroth presented a $336.5 million Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 Recommended Budget to City Council at Tuesday’s Work Session.
The Recommended Budget maintains existing city services and identifies creative options to maximize some resources.
That includes securing outside revenue sources and reallocating the operating budget to provide new positions that address public safety, water and inspection demands. Two public safety grants (SAFER Grant and COPS Hiring Program) will partially fund a five-member Fire-Medical Peak Time Response Unit and two police officers, focused on community policing, through 2019.
The Recommended Budget also includes $49.8 million to support the Capital Improvement Plan (CIP), which is used to maintain, preserve, and/or replace city infrastructure. This includes funding for pavement preservation of city streets, vehicle replacement and aging communications, information technology, recreation and utility infrastructure.
There are also two recommended financial policy revisions regarding the Minimum Fund Balance Policy for the General fund and the Stormwater and Workers’ Compensation funds that will provide clearer definition for the reserves to strengthen the city’s financial position.
Happy April to the residents of District 1 and all of Surprise! March was a very busy month for everyone at City Hall. April began with a great start for me. I was invited to attend the Asante community picnic at Southwind Park. It was a great gathering of a lot of our homeowners there. We had a visit from our firefighters from Fire Station 304 with one of their fire trucks. The kids really enjoyed it! Thank you to our firefighters for stopping by.
On March 7, I attended a meeting with Mayor Sharon Wolcott, Councilman Skip Hall and staff from Valley Metro to discuss upcoming changes to the Dial-A-Ride system. As I mentioned in last month’s newsletter, the current Dial-a-Ride name and program will discontinue and the new service models will begin July 1, 2017 with three different transportation options depending on the user. For all my friends that utilize the current system, we know there have been some problems with Discount Cab service, but I will reserve my judgment until after a few months of operation. Some of you may have read about the new service in the last issue of our Progress Magazine. City and Valley Metro staff will present the new model (s) at our City Council Work Session on April 18.
I hosted a meeting for residents located in the northern area of District 1, near 163rd Avenue, on March 9. The residents expressed their concerns regarding the conditions of the roads in their area. We have a few obstacles to overcome. First and foremost, we need to acquire some right-of-way from private land owners and have made progress on that since our meeting. We’ve created a network to communicate information to the residents on the progress. I am optimistic we can make some improvements for these residents.
Northwest Valley Connect (NWVC) held a fundraiser, Motors on Wheels, in Sun City West on Saturday, March 11. For those of you who are not familiar with NWVC, they are a non-profit 501(c)3 organization that provides transportation services for seniors and people with disabilities to overcome existing service gaps. This marked their first fundraiser that included a car show, food trucks, a live DJ and much more. Northwest Valley Connect recently completed their second full year of operation, responding to more than 3,500 calls for service.
On Sunday, March 12, I left for Washington D.C. to attend the National League of Cities Conference and meet with our Congressional representatives to discuss our city’s needs. US Senators John McCain and Jeff Flake hosted a joint meeting for the Arizona delegation at the US Capitol. The trip was very productive, and I am optimistic after having receptive meetings with our representatives.
The City’s Economic Development team hosted an appreciation tent event at Surprise Stadium on Friday, March 17 for our businesses, prospective development opportunities and local partners. I look forward to this event each year as it provides us with an opportunity to network and build on the relationships with our economic drivers to continue to be a self-sustaining city.
On March 22, I attended one of several Citizen Review Hearings on the city’s Sign Code update. Updating the Ordinance is a difficult task as it includes changes regarding A-frame signs many of our businesses utilize. We are not anti-business, but we also want the city to look clean and beautiful for our residents.
Christopher Todd Communities broke ground at the future Christopher Todd Communities on Greenway project. The area is located on the southwest corner of Greenway and Litchfield roads. This unique project will offer 136 one and two-bedroom private rental residences with a gated entry, charming detached homes with front and backyards, optional detached garages, community park with a pet washing station and a community pool.
Representative Tony Rivero invited me to attend a reception at Phoenix Country Club to meet with ten leaders from the Sonoran Legislature. District 21 Representative Rivero is building relationships in Sonora, Mexico as he realizes it is imperative to have strong relationships amongst elected officials and our trade partners. The reception was successful with several elected officials on both side of the border present.
City Council will soon discuss another general bond initiative that may be on the next ballot in November. You should expect changes to the initiative compared to last year. I believe residents will feel better about the changes. More information and discussions are expected at upcoming City Council meetings.
Please don’t forget my next monthly meeting on Friday, April 14 at the Retreat Community Center, 18250 W. Weatherby Drive. Upon arrival at the gate, please let the guard know you are there for my meeting. I’d like to talk to you, hear your concerns and comments.
Until next time, please be good to yourself and be good to each other!