Voters have approved the May 15th Water Election, authorizing City Council to complete negotiations with the Circle City Water Company (CCW) for the possible acquisition of the utility.
According to preliminary results released by the Maricopa County Recorder’s Office tonight 80% (14,676) of registered voters voted yes; 20% (3,615) voted no.
CCW is a small water service company in the northern part of Surprise’s planning area and future water service area. This acquisition, which would require City Council approval, would provide Surprise with the company’s existing water infrastructure and grow the city’s allocation of Colorado River water by more than 38 percent.
Colorado River water is currently the only renewable surface supply available to Surprise. Having a right to more surface water will help the city meet future demands and shortfalls.
The purchase of CCW would be funded through the sale of current and future water portfolio assets.
Official final results are expected from the county by Friday, May 18.
The City Council will meet to canvass the votes at a Special Council Meeting, on Tuesday, May 22. This meeting will begin at 4:30 p.m., and will be held in the Community Room of City Hall, as Council Chambers will be closed for pre-scheduled equipment upgrade work.
Hello to everyone who calls this beautiful city home. Well, it’s March already and time just keeps on flying by. At my first meeting of the month, a couple of folks from a billboard company attended to discuss potential billboard signage in Surprise. I would just like to take an informal survey among our citizens. How do you feel about billboards along Loop 303 or Grand Avenue? I would like to get some feedback from the folks I represent at the table; just call or email me your opinion.
On the evening of Saturday, February, 3, I was at the Wigwam for a Benevilla fundraiser. Benevilla does some great work for our elderly and day care for our young families so our hardworking parents can go to work and put food on the table. It was a very successful event.
Tuesday morning, February 6, found me at my once a month meeting in Phoenix for my Maricopa Association of Governments (MAG) Economic Development Committee meeting. This Committee is made up of elected officials, business leaders, and others from across the valley.
Then that same afternoon, City Council held their Work Session at 4 pm, followed by the City Council meeting at 6 pm. The meeting is where the action is taken.
On Wednesday morning, February 7, Willow Canyon High School hosted a town hall meeting in the auditorium with former Canadian Prime Minister, John Turner. Mr. Turner was visiting Surprise to support the idea of having Canadians come to Surprise during the winter months to have their medical procedures done rather than tough out the snow and cold in Canada, especially when they might have a possibility of slipping on the ice after a knee or hip replacement.
February 9 was my regular 2nd Friday night meeting at 7pm in the Community Center in Arizona Traditions. We had a large crowd (it must have been the cookies). Discussion included questions about the widening of Greenway Road, and if there was going to be a traffic light at the intersection of Greenway and Northwest Ranch Parkway. As I understand, the answer is yes.
Ottawa University Arizona broke ground on the O’Dell Center for Athletics on Friday, February 16 at the University’s newest residential campus here in Surprise; it was made possible by a $6 million donation from alumni Jim and Jeanne O’Dell. The 35,000 square foot, three-story O’Dell Center for Athletics will be designed to house locker rooms, training facilities, coaches’ offices and student support services. The center will be immediately adjacent to the new Spirit multi-sport athletic field, near the Surprise Civic Center and Recreation Campus, and will include a new press box and entertainment area. Officials expect construction on the O’Dell Center for Athletics to be finished in the fall 2018.
The city is currently conducting a transit study. Please go to www.surpriseaz.gov/transitstudy and let us know your thoughts because, as you know, this city has no transit system for a population of almost 140,000 people. For those of you who do use the transportation system we have to offer, you know it is spotty at best. In the city’s last National Citizen Survey in 2015, residents identified mobility as top priority for Surprise, along with safety and the economy. I hope you will also take a few minutes to fill out the 2018 National Citizens Survey, which is open through March 19. It is available at http://bit.ly/surprise2018.
Wednesday, February 21 found me at Surprise Stadium for Mayor Wolcott’s Welcome Back Luncheon for our Kansas City Royals and Texas Rangers. Yes, it’s Spring Training time again, so get your tickets now and enjoy the games. In the afternoon, I had a meeting with some of our Surprise Youth Council and they are a bunch of sharp kids with great questions.
On Thursday, February 22, I attended the Northwest Valley Connect Advisory Committee meeting. We received some good news that Northwest Valley Connect clients were happy with the service that they are getting. If you ever need a ride and can’t get one, call Kathy Chandler at NWC, maybe she can help. There is no charge for service. NWC will call two days before the ride to let you know if they have a driver because all of their drivers are volunteers. I have had good reports from my constituents on their service. They ask for donations, so just mail them a check for whatever you want. Mail any donations to Kathy Chandler, Northwest Valley Connect, 9445 N 99th Ave Peoria, Arizona 85345. You can call (623)282-9304 for a ride. Please let me know about your experience if you try it.
Later that same afternoon, I met with Kendra Pettis, our city’s first Sports and Tourism Director. The new Sports and Tourism Department was launched last fall. I believe this was a really good idea by our City Manager, Bob Wingenroth. The mission of the department is to make Surprise a destination city and not just another city people go through to get to Las Vegas.
I believe I have mentioned previously that I have been working on getting the Vietnam Wall to Surprise, and I finally got a date. It will be here July 5 – July 9. I am hoping to have an opening ceremony with some guest speakers, but we are still putting this all together. We will need some volunteers to build the base for it. I would be remiss if I did not thank Jodi Tas for all the work she has put into this project. I want to thank Donna Miller and the CRS team, and all the folks that have helped from the city. I have used my contingency funds to help pay for the Wall, and I would like to thank Councilmember Hall and Councilmember Duffy for donating some of their contingency funds for this project as well.
Just a reminder to vote! We have Congressional District 8 seat election on April 24. There’s a Special Election on May 15 seeking authorization to purchase a water company. You can get all the details on that election at www.surpriseaz.gov/waterelection. Plus, we have a local election on August 28. The voter registration deadline for the August primary election is July 20. This election will not be a mail ballot only election, but 80 percent of our residents receive mail in ballots now.
Well until next month so long and be good to yourself and be good to others.
The City of Surprise Fiscal Year 2019 budget-building process kicked off at the City Council’s Work Session, 4 p.m., Tuesday, February 6.
This was the first in a series of presentations regarding the overall development of the budget. The first presentation provided a general overview of the city’s budget, including revenue sources, city funds and expenditures.
The presentation also highlighted outside issues that influence the outcomes of the budget process. View presentation.
Future Council Work Sessions and Regular Meetings will include additional presentations related to budget development, including topics on Capital Improvement Projects and continued operating budget discussions. The Recommended Budget is scheduled for release in April, followed by months of Council and public review that will result in the adoption of a balanced FY2019 budget in June. FY2019 begins July 1, 2018.
Council agendas are posted online at http://agenda.surpriseaz.gov 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.
Council Conversations with District 1 Council Member Roland F. Winters, Jr. In this episode he speaks with David Kohlbeck with the City of Surprise Public Works Department for an update about the Northwest Valley Paratransit services. In the second part, the Councilmember speaks with City of Surprise Public Works Director Mike Gent about the Public Works projects occurring in District 1.
A big shout out to my friends in District 1 and to all of the Surprise residents. September started off with a bang and found me at our local Wal-Mart store on Bell Road at 7:30 a.m. for a great need, and that is to help our public schools with donations because they are underfunded. The program that is done every year is called “Fill the Bus.” A school in Surprise is chosen to be the recipient. The Surprise Youth Foundation was there to help with its President Jim Conner and Vice President Ken Johanson. Surprise City Manager Bob Wingenroth was also there. David Hamiam is the manager of that Wal-Mart which donated a lot of school supplies, including a computer. Also present, was the Principal of Kingswood Park School, Jeremy St. Jermain. This school was chosen to receive the school supplies this year. I would be remiss if I did not thank the Wal-Mart customers who donated many school supplies. There were 10-15 baskets filled before we were finished. Thanks to all who made this possible. See you next year!
Tuesday, September 5 was the first Tuesday of the month, so there was the City Council Work Session at 4 p.m. followed by our Council Meeting at 6 p.m., where we take action.
Friday night, September 8, found me at my regular second Friday of the month meeting for my constituents to visit, ask questions, or just chat. It is very informal, and we have good cookies. My next meeting will be October 13 at 7 p.m. in The Retreat Community Center at Arizona Traditions, 18250 W. Weatherby Drive. At the gate, just press “0” four times and tell the guard you are there for my meeting.
There was a meeting and tour of Central Arizona Project’s (CAP) headquarters in North Phoenix on September 13, and it was amazing to see the way water is brought out to Arizona from the Colorado River. The control room shows the entire process as the water rolls down the canal, through the pumps, to get here, Tucson and beyond.
Thursday, September 14 found me in a meeting with our staff and some residents who live north of Jomax Road, where our roads are in a miserable state, and I understand their frustration. The problem in that area is that it has a lot of private land owners, and it is very difficult to get right-of-way to put good roads in and to maintain the roads that are there. Maricopa Association of Governments (MAG) has a grant program that I am trying to get some money from, but unless, and until, some of the folks up there give the right-of-way to the city, we can’t do much. We have to obtain a number of right-of-ways, and there are a few hold outs, so if you are one of these owners who has not given the city right-of-way yet, please reconsider. Your property will increase in value with those roads there.
I visited Fire Station 305 on Saturday, September 16, to say hi to our great first responders. Each fire house is hosting an open house this fall, and there are a couple left to attend; so take some time and visit your local fire house, and say hi to these men and women who protect your life and property. Here is the schedule: http://bit.ly/2cofigc.
Later that same day, I attended the picnic at the Senior Center to enjoy hamburgers and hot dogs. That event was put on by Councilman Ken Remley whose district it is in. Thanks Ken! It was a great time.
I met with staff and the folks who wrote our Library Study, so in the future we might see a remodeled library on Bullard Ave and a new branch library in the Northwest area of my district.
On Thursday, September 21, I was honored to be at the Veterans of Foreign War Post 96 meeting. The post sent seven young men from Willow Canyon High School to Boys State, where they learn about civic engagement and go through scenarios in civic government. These classes are held at Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff. These seven high school students were very polite and very grateful to post 96 for the opportunity.
Wednesday, September 27 found me at a ribbon cutting for Sycamore Farms at Cactus Road and the 303. Richmond is the builder and had three models on display that looked really nice.
On September 28, I had a meeting at Benevilla since I am on the Northwest Valley Connect Advisory Committee. This 501(c)3 organization finds rides for folks to doctor appointments, dental appointments, etc. who cannot get a ride for whatever reason. This organization is headed up by Cathy Chandler.
Friday, September 29, I was at the award luncheon for the people who volunteer to work for Benevilla to help in every way they can, like bringing lunch and dinner to the elderly and infirmed, volunteering at Benevilla, and driving people if they need a ride. It was a chance to thank all these folks who give their valuable time.
It was a great day in Surprise on Saturday, September 30 when we dedicated the park in Surprise Farms as “Dick McComb City Park” in honor of all the work that Dick McComb did for this city in the ten years that he was city manager. I want to thank my fellow council members; the vote was unanimous. I also want to thank our Community and Recreation Services team, including Director Donna Miller and Assistant Director Paul Frie, for their work; and I want to thank Public Works Director Mike Gent and his crew. It was great to see all of the support from our great staff in Surprise. Now, we also have some shade structures up which will make it more pleasant for kids to play in the park.
Before I close this month, how about our 8-Acre Park on Bullard Avenue? The fence is going up, and I think it looks great! It is almost finished. All these improvements are a matter of quality of life for our residents. We had a little money left over last year, and the Council said: what better way to use it, if not for the betterment of our neighborhoods.
Until next month, be good to yourselves, and be good to each other.
Following City Council’s direction to honor the city’s longest-tenured City Manager Dick McComb (1990 – 2000), the city will officially rename Surprise Farms Community Park, to Dick McComb City Park, at a public ceremony, Saturday, September 30, at 9 a.m.
The event takes place at the southeast corner of 175th Avenue and Surprise Farms Loop South. The park features a playground, splash pad, basketball court, skate park, restrooms and other park amenities.
McComb began his city government career in 1976 and became City Manager for the City of Surprise in 1990. During McComb’s tenure the city’s population grew from 7,122 people to nearly 31,000. This was a period of commercial growth for Surprise with Surprise Towne Center then under development and the Target opened at Surprise Marketplace.
Another big change was the evolution of policing in Surprise under McComb’s leadership. The Surprise Marshal’s Office evolved into the Surprise Police Department in November 1991, following McComb’s 1990 hiring of Garvin Arrell as the new Police Chief.
McComb served in the United States Marine Corps during the Korean War.
Following his retirement McComb remained an engaged Surprise resident. He passed away in 2016 at the age of 81.
For more information on the event please call Community and Recreation Services at 623.222.2000.
At their June 6th Regular Meeting, City Council approved sending three General Obligation Bond questions in the areas of Public Safety, Traffic Congestion Mitigation and Pavement Preservation to the ballot in a Special Election on November 7, 2017. All registered voters in Surprise will receive a ballot by mail.
The projects included in the following questions were 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.
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).
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).
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).
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 all three questions are approved, the annual secondary property tax could be up to $46 per $100,000 in Limited Property Value, or approximately $4 per month. ($92 per $200,000 in Limited Property Value, or approximately $8 per month). You can determine the exact cost to your property by following the steps listed at www.surpriseaz.gov/decidesurprise.
Educational public meetings will be scheduled ahead of the November 7 Special Election. Meeting dates and locations will be posted at www.surpriseaz.gov/decidesurprise.
The Surprise City Council approved a $275.8 million Fiscal Year 2018 Budget, at a Special Meeting Tuesday night.
The 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.
This budget maintains the city’s current property tax rate of $0.7591 per $100 of assessed property valuation. Due to new construction and higher property valuations, as assessed by Maricopa County that would generate approximately $380,100 in new money. The primary property tax levy is set to support the uses of the General Fund and provides a more diversified revenue system that protects city services.
The budget also dedicates $49.8 million to support the city’s 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 a number of financial policy revisions regarding the level at which Council adopts the budget, who can amend the budget, minimum fund balances for the new Stormwater and Workers’ Compensation funds, and clearer definition of the reserves and their potential uses in the General Fund to strengthen the city’s financial position.
Council will vote to set the property tax levy and revise the financial policies at their June 20 Council Meeting.
Happy June to my friends in District 1 and to all of the residents in the beautiful city of Surprise!
I attended the National Prayer Day Ceremony at City Hall on Thursday, May 4. I would like to extend my gratitude to Ray Grim for all of his efforts organizing this event. Thanks, Ray!
Maricopa Association of Governments (MAG) hosted a public hearing May 9 on the draft 2040 MAG Regional Transportation Plan, draft FY2018-2022 MAG Transportation Improvement Program and Draft FY17 Transit Program. This hearing provided an outlet for the public to provide comments on transit. To my frustration, there appears to be no plans for any kind of public transportation for Surprise, so we will need to advocate and lobby for transit on our own.
To my friends in Desert Oasis, I know you have a new Community Management Company (AAM) and a new Community Manager. I understand you had a meeting on Wednesday, May 10, and I checked to see if my attendance would help, but I was told it would not be necessary. I had wanted to report that I have been talking to the folks at the “Surprise Today” newspaper trying to find some alternatives to deliver the paper there once a week.
Arizona Charter Academy hosted their annual appreciation lunch on May 18. The school hosts this event annually to thank everyone for their support each year. Due to the lack of space, the school made a very difficult decision to eliminate their high school beginning this fall. ACA CEO Melissa Holdaway and staff have done an exceptional job with the students.
I attended the Joint Planning Advisory Council (JPAC) Sun Corridor Edge 2017 meeting at Wild House Pass Hotel on Friday, May 19. This is the most recent committee that I have been appointed to serve on. JPAC has a shared vision to jointly coordinate planning efforts for the greater good of the regions and the State. It is the intent of the Maricopa Association of Governments (MAG), the Pima Association of Governments (PAG), the Central Arizona Governments (CAG) and the Sun Corridor Metropolitan Planning Organization to coordinate planning activities and work cooperatively to foster a successful and economically viable Sun Corridor. This Council also consists of Mayors, Councilmembers and business leaders. This particular meeting focused on the importance of export. It behooves businesses to export their services and products in order to have a more stable income. It is an increasing trend to export to Mexico and Canada.
For my friends in Asante, Lennar Homes is planning to release approximately 485 acres for an age-restricted community called Paradise Asante. After reviewing the plans, it certainly appears to be a nice development.
On May 24, I was briefed on the project by Lennar Homes executives. The project will consist of 13 percent of the entire master plan. Lennar Homes anticipates that this project will increase sales. Lennar’s Next Gen product has already surpassed one thousand units sold.
Northwest Valley Connect (NWVC) held their monthly meeting on May 25 with notable attendees that included Senator Debbie Lesko, Former Representative Rich Grey, Glendale Transport Director Matt Dudley, and Valley Metro staff including Ron Brooks, Arlene Schenck, and Steve Henry. We had a good conversation that I hope will someday lead to a transit system for Surprise. TransDev staff Kate Riley and Mike Lee were also present to explain the new paratransit system effective July 1. The new system will have mini buses transporting residents to our Senior Center, a shared ride program and a Paratransit system. I am hopeful that the changes will result in more efficient transportation options for our senior and ADA communities.
The Surprise Community and Recreation Services, in partnership with the American Legion Post 96 and Marine Corps League White Tank Mountain Detachment #1246, held their annual Memorial Day Wreath Laying Ceremony on Saturday, May 27 at the WWII Memorial located at the Northwest Regional Library. This wonderful event truly honors our veterans.
I also partook in a few Memorial Day events on Monday, May 29. VFW Post 285 hosted a wreath laying at the memorial for former Town Manager and Medal of Honor recipient Nick Bacon. Mr. Bacon served in the Army and was well known as one of our great City Managers. If you have not had the opportunity to visit Nick Bacon’s memorial, please do so. It is located outside of the City Clerk’s office at City Hall.
Every year, the Veterans Memorial Hall Committee hosts a Memorial Day Ceremony at Radiant Church. This year was no exception, and we had a good crowd to thank all of our veterans, those still serving and the military families for all of their sacrifices. I would like to extend a big thanks to the Committee for all they do and to Radiant Church for hosting the event. It was a great tribute.
On Tuesday, May 30, I attended a special business forum hosted by the Glendale Chamber of Commerce. Senator Jeff Flake was provided updates on recent topics that have the potential to affect business owners and residents. He also was on hand to answer questions. The event well attended. The Glendale Civic Center is a very nice venue, and I hope someday Surprise has a venue like it.
All my friends in District 1 most likely know by now that we are getting a Wendy’s in front of Winco. That is great because I love their chili. In addition, further East on Bell Road at the corner of Civic Center Drive, there will be an In & Out coming soon.
As a reminder, my next meeting is June 9, 7 p.m., at the Retreat Center in Arizona Traditions, 18250 W Weatherby Drive. This will be my last meeting until August.
Until next month, be good to yourself and to each other.
The city of Surprise, in partnership with Valley Metro, will host a public outreach meeting on Tuesday, June 14 to provide current Northwest Valley Dial-a-Ride passengers an opportunity to learn about the new transportation service models prior to the July 1 transition of Dial-a-Ride to RideChoice and Valley Metro Paratransit.
The outreach meeting will be held in the Surprise City Hall Community Room, 16000 N. Civic Center Plaza, on June 14 from 4:00-5:30 p.m. A brief presentation will begin at 4 p.m.
Information about the shared route Senior Bus will also be presented at the meeting.
Following the presentation, city and Valley Metro representatives will be available to answer questions about the transportation services.
Individuals needing reasonable accommodations should contact the ADA coordinator at 623.222.3531 (Voice); or 623.222.3503 (TTY) at least three (3) business days prior to the meeting so arrangements can be made.