Hello fellow neighbors of District 6,
There are some amazing things happening in our wonderful hometown of Surprise… As your D6 Councilmember and Vice Mayor, I wanted to update you on the latest news and information. Here we go…
City Manager FY18 Recommended Budget
Fiscal Year 2018 City of Surprise Budget and Finances
Your City Council, for the last few months, has held public meetings to discuss the city budget and its priorities. During our most recent City Council meeting, the City Manager provided his “Recommended Budget.”
The City Council discussed not only what priority expenditures to include, but also, the funding sources including tax rates to fund the budget items. The Final Budget and Tax Rates will be adopted in June, and your City Council requests and encourages your input.
During my first year on Council, we voted unanimously to LOWER the Primary (Operational Funds) Property Tax Rate, and it remains among the lowest in the Valley. Since then, the City Council has voted unanimously to hold that lower rate at the same level, and also hold the Sales Tax Rate the same. In case you were not aware, the City of Surprise currently has NO Secondary Property Tax Rate, which typically is voter-approved to fund (General Obligation Debt / Capital Project Financing). That means we have been financing limited Capital Projects through the main city banking account, the General Fund, which is also used to pay for everyday operational costs. City Tax Rates compared to other cities can be found on this link: http://d6.surpriseaz.gov/your-city-by-the-numbers/.
Using our current rate multiplied by the assessed value of your home has most Homeowners likely paying less than $152 per year, or less than $12.70 per month, for city operations (Police, Fire-Medical, Parks, Public Works, City Administration, etc) through the Primary Property Tax Rate. In many cases, that is lower than what most homeowners are paying for their own Neighborhood HOA assessments, with rates which are set by your neighborhood HOA Board Members.
Those with higher assessed values would pay a bit more, and those with lower assessed values would pay a bit less. You can see your Detailed “CITY OF SURPRISE” portion of your property taxes online by starting at the Maricopa County Assessors website and clicking through to your parcel and then “detailed taxes” at this link: https://mcassessor.maricopa.gov/
My first Agenda Item, when I joined Council, was to implement a new Financial Policy that requires City Staff to take the actions necessary for the City to strengthen our City Finances and strive towards the Top Credit Rating. Our City Council unanimously approved my New Financial Policy, and the City Management has been successfully working towards that goal. Since the approval, our City has received many Credit Ratings Upgrades and is now at AA+ or just one level below the top rating of AAA. I previously served as Finance Director for the State of Indiana, at the time Indiana achieved its first ever AAA credit rating.
View the Credit Rating Agency’s Detailed News Release about City of Surprise Finances that shows all but one assessment factor is now at AAA level in this RARE “two ratings step” increase announcement.
2017 General Obligation Bond Discussion Coming May 16
The Surprise Capital Improvement Funding Exploratory Committee was briefed late last month by city staff on proposed capital improvement projects that may be included in three separate bond questions this fall.
Staff will present the proposed projects to City Council at the May 16th Work Session. Pending Council consensus, a Call to Election vote would be scheduled at a Regular Meeting in June. If approved, Surprise voters would decide on three possible General Obligation Bond questions in the areas of Public Safety, Traffic Congestion Mitigation and Pavement Preservation in a mail-ballot only Special Election on November 7, 2017.
Proposed Question #1: Voters in Surprise are asked to consider a $35 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 $29 per $100,000 in Limited Property Value (LPV).
Proposed Question #2: Voters in Surprise are asked to consider a $22.9 million street bond proposal to provide funds to plan, design, construct and improve Waddell, Greenway, Litchfield and Cactus roads. The annual cost for a homeowner would be approximately $19 per $100,000 in Limited Property Value (LPV).
Proposed Question #3: Voters in Surprise are asked to consider a $24 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 $20 per $100,000 in Limited Property Value (LPV).
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.
Economic Development Update
District 6 has recently celebrated the ground breakings of a few new businesses. Milam Glass is a new company that will be located at 10801 N. 132nd Ave Surprise AZ 85379 (Located in the industrial park at approximately 132nd and Peoria). Milam Glass will be developing a 22,000 SF facility which will become their new headquarter location and employ around 45-50 people. Locating in Surprise will allow a significant portion of their workforce to work closer to home as many of them reside in the West Valley. As a glass company, their new facility will have a front façade made almost completely of glass. Read more about their new facility in their press release
Phoenix Distribution Center also celebrated with a groundbreaking last month. The distribution center is located just north of the Milam Glass site. The 12,000 square foot center will be located at the southeast corner of Desert Cove Road and 132nd Avenue. They will employ approximately 30 people.
Additionally, Legacy Traditional School is currently under construction with a 36,000 square feet expansion for a middle school.
Across the city, there are several new businesses that have recently opened or will soon. The Subaru Superstore of Surprise opened in the Prasada 303 Auto Park. The two-story, 60,000 square foot, seven-acre complex represents a state-of-the-art facility. They will be hosting a community event on Saturday, May 13 from 6 am until 9 am. The facility is located at 13090 N. Autoshow Avenue.
Salad and Go will soon open just north of Bell Road on Litchfield Road.
It was recently announced that BASIS Schools is considering a campus in Surprise. BASIS was recently recognized as having the top 3 schools in the US along with the 5th and 7th top ranked schools in the US and all of those are in Arizona!
2017 Retail Results Are In!
The City of Surprise launched a retail survey in March that garnered more than 3,000 responses! With many thanks to our engaged community, we were able to collect data that helped to identify the city’s retail strengths, as well as opportunities to bring additional amenities closer to home. I’m happy to report that Nick’s Diner II and Vogue Bistro, both District 6 restaurants, made the list of favorite local restaurants!
Top 10 Desired Restaurants
El Pollo Loco
Top 10 Desired Retailers
Bath and Body Works
Top 10 Local Favorites – Restaurants
|Babbo Italian Eatery
Nick’s Diner II
State 48 Brewery
Jim’s Burgers and Eggs
Top 10 Local Favorites – Retailers
|Kimbur’s Pet Wash
Son Glow Boutique
The city would like to thank everyone who participated in the survey! The Surprise Economic Development team will now use the results to guide their retail recruitment efforts.
Community Development Update
Mini Business Warehouses and Storage is working on their due diligence, which is the first step in determining if your project is feasible, and assuring the stages of your project occur in the proper sequence. The project would consist of three phases of construction on the existing 8.1 acres with each phase utilizing approximately 2.6 acres.
Filberto’s at Surprise Pointe received an approval for their Conditional Use Permit for a drive-through dining facility.
Empire Residential Communities Fund II, LLC is requesting Final Plat approval for a 24 lot detached single family residential subdivision on a 10.47 acre parcel located at the northeast corner of 114th Avenue and Waddell Road.
Health for Life at Surprise Point is requesting a Conditional Use Permit to accommodate a Medical Marijuana Dispensary at 13431 N. Litchfield Road. A Citizen Review Hearing will be held on May 17 at 6 p.m. at Countryside Recreation Center, 15038 N. Parkview Place.
Dial-A-Ride Changes Effective July 1, 2017
Beginning July 1, Valley Metro will discontinue the current Northwest Valley Dial-a-Ride service model to provide more service options and standardized regional transportation for seniors, Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) eligible and income-qualified riders. Three transportation options will be available to customers when the new model begins: the Senior Bus, Paratransit Shared Ride and RideChoice Taxi Service.
Seniors who frequently visit the Surprise Senior Center, on average 3-5 days per week, can catch a ride on the city’s shared route Senior Bus. The Senior Bus will follow a dedicated route to the Senior Center and provide door-to-door pick-up and drop-off service; fare for the bus will remain $2 per one-way trip. The bus will be available Monday through Friday, 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., excluding city holidays.
Paratransit Shared Ride is recommended for ADA certified customers, seniors and income-qualified general public who schedule rides for local medical and works trips greater than 7 miles and, generally, outside the city of Surprise. ADA certified riders may also use the service for medical and work trips anywhere within Maricopa County up to ¾ miles of bus service. Multiple vehicle options will be available for customers when booking their trips; the service contractor will schedule vehicles accordingly based on customer needs.
Customers booking Paratransit Shared Ride are required to schedule trips 1-14 days in advance; same day booking is not available. The service will operate daily 5:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.; trip fares are $4 each way.
Similar to the current Dial-a-Ride program, RideChoice Taxi Service provides 24 hours per day, 365 days per year service for riders with the ability to self-book and choose from multiple service providers. Riders will be allotted 16 trips per month however customers needing more trips are able to work with city staff to review monthly trip allowances on an individual basis.
RideChoice trips are managed on a RideChoice card that must be renewed each month; unused trips do not carry over. Customers can choose to load money to the RideChoice card to pay for trips however cash and credit cards are still accepted. RideChoice accounts can be self-managed online and by smart phone. Fares are $3 per one-way trip for riders. Riders will be responsible for any fare amounts that exceed $21 (city’s match is up to $18 per trip).
|SERVICE MODELS AT A GLANCE|
|Senior Bus||Seniors||Rider cost: $2 per one way trip; Avg. city cost per trip: $12.50||Shared route public transportation for frequent Senior Center visitors|
|Paratransit Shared Ride||ADA certified, seniors, income- qualified general public||Rider cost: $4 per one way trip; Avg. city cost per trip: $36||Shared ride for work and medical trips greater than 7 miles|
|RideChoice Taxi Service||ADA certified, seniors, income-qualified general public||Rider cost: $3 per one way trip up to $21; rider responsible for fares that exceed $21; Avg. city cost per trip: $17.50||Similar to Dial-a-Ride; trips generally within city limits, less than 8 miles|
Valley Metro will contact current Northwest Valley Dial-a-Ride customers directly to educate them on the changes to the program and the new options. The first mailing goes out in May, with more detailed information going out in June.
Surprise staff and representatives from Valley Metro will schedule a public meeting in May to discuss the service models and answer questions.
Surprise will continue to share information about changes to Valley Metro’s Northwest Valley service model at www.surpriseaz.gov/transportation as it becomes available.
Registration Underway For 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 5:30pm, 6:30pm or 7:30pm 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 http://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 recreations events as well.
May 1 – Swim & Dive Team Registration Begins
May 6 – Safety Day @ Surprise Aquatic Center 8 am – 11 am
May 15 – Summer Swim Lesson Registration Begins
May 25 – Itty Bitty Beach Party 10 am-12 pm @ 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.
Youth / Teens/Adults
May 12 – Surprise Talent Show 6-9 pm @ Valley Vista Performing Arts Center
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 5pm until 9pm Monday – Friday, and 12 pm – 5 pm on Saturday.
Tuesdays in May Adaptive Buddy Bowling, Uptown Alley
May 12 – Adaptive Family Fun Night, Senior Center
May 27 – Memorial Day Wreath Laying Ceremony 9 am @ Community Park
July 4 – Baseball and Fireworks Surprise Recreation Campus
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.
Arts & Culture Master Plan
Surprise is developing its first Arts & Culture Master Plan, and we need your help shaping it! The master plan will help us to better express the uniqueness and artistic vitality of Surprise by setting the standard and strategic direction for how we continue to implement and enjoy arts and culture in our community.
The city’s Community Development Department and Arts & Cultural Advisory Commission will be working with consultant, Designing Local, throughout the 18-month development process.
The initial phase is about capturing the essence of Surprise. If you live, work, or invest in the city, we want you to tell us what makes Surprise interesting, unique, a great place to visit or a great place to call home. Share your thoughts by taking a survey and sharing images, stories, sketches and more on the Arts and Culture Master Plan webpage at www.surpriseaz.gov/artsplan.
The information we gather will be used to create a draft Arts and Culture Master Plan. That plan will be available online and presented at public and stakeholder meetings for input. In fall 2018, the plan will go before the Arts and Cultural Advisory Commission for review and comment, and subsequently to the City Council for potential adoption.
For more information, please contact Joshua Mike at firstname.lastname@example.org or 623.222.3134.
Do you have any questions for me? Please reach out to me, together we will make Surprise an even better place to live and work and play! Here are the best ways to reach me: email at email@example.com or call 623.222.1326.
Thanks for being a part of what makes our city great!