Mayor Hall, Councilmember Judd and other valley mayors at the Skyline Regional Park.

Councilmember Chris Judd’s Newsletter • May 2021

Thank you for signing up to receive my newsletter and updates. It is my goal to ensure you receive a monthly newsletter containing important city updates as well as upcoming events. You can also find me on Facebook for frequent notifications. I am always available to hear your comments, questions, concerns, or complaints! You may reach me anytime at chris.judd@surpriseaz.gov or 623-222-1326.

White Tank Proclamation

I joined Mayor Skip Hall, Buckeye Mayor Eric Orsborne, Youngtown Mayor Mike Levault, and several other elected officials to celebrate White Tank Wild Day at the beautiful Skyline Regional Park. Proclamations were given by Surprise, Buckeye, Goodyear, and Peoria, declaring “White Tank Wild Day” on April 22. It was undoubtedly fitting on Earth Day!

Water Wise

Surprise Water Resource Management logoYou may have heard talk in the news media recently about the Colorado River and a potential shortage declaration. The Western United States, including Arizona and the Phoenix metropolitan area, has been experiencing a drought for more than a 20 years, with an official drought declaration in June 1999. Drought is a normal occurrence in the desert southwest. However, as the drought in the Colorado River Basin continues to extend, the Lower Basin States of Arizona, California, New Mexico, and Nevada along with Mexico may face reductions in their Colorado River water deliveries through a “Tier 1” declaration by the Bureau of Reclamation.

What does this mean for Surprise’s water customers? A Tier 1 shortage declaration will have no effect on Surprise’s water allocation or its deliveries to customers. Although there will be no immediate impact to municipal water supplies, Surprise remains committed to water resource management and its water conservation measures. Shortage on the Colorado River does not mean shortage for Surprise’s customers at the tap. Being efficient with water has been part of our long-term water management strategy, and our water conservation program provides resources to assist customers.

Furthermore, Surprise is not directly delivering its Colorado River allocation, instead, we use our Central Arizona Project (CAP) water allocation to recharge the aquifer, storing water for future groundwater pumping. As always, it is important for water users to follow water efficient practices to protect our precious resource. For more information about drought and how it affects Surprise’s water customers on our Drought Resiliency and Preparedness website: surpriseaz.gov/3867/Drought-Resiliency-Preparedness.

If you would like to learn more about this or have any other questions about Surprise Water, please Join me for my Meet and Greet on May 25 at 6 p.m. at Venue Taproom, 13699 N. Litchfield Rd. Staff from the City’s Water Department will be joining me to have your questions answered about Surprise water.

You may be wondering how you can save water. Here are some water-saving tips:

  • Visit Surprise’s water conservation page surpriseaz.gov/waterconservation for water saving guides, tips, and advice.
  • Surprise customers can track their water use through a WaterSmart portal and use real-time tracking to establish a water use baseline and set leak alerts. Customers can access the WaterSmart portal through the “pay my bill” option on Surprise’s Utility Billing website surpriseaz.gov/1503/Utility-Billing-Rates.
    WaterSmart Software logo

The Boyer Bakery Ribbon Cutting

Mayor Skip Hall and I joined Jim and Liz Boyer, owners of The Boyer Bakery, for the ribbon cutting of their new bakery in Surprise. It is located at 13681 N. Litchfield Rd., Suite #136. Please join me in congratulating them on their Grand opening, and best wishes for much success!

Ranked #6

The City of Surprise is ranked the #6 safest city in Arizona according to a new SafeWise report. Congratulations to our community on this accomplishment, and a big thanks to Surprise PD for helping keep us safe! Here is a list of Arizona’s 10 Safest Cities: safewise.com/blog/safest-cities-arizona/.

Local Economic Activity

As Amazon completes construction on its 143,000 square foot last-mile delivery station in Surprise, the project is a capstone to a more than five-year run of development in the city’s two square miles suburban industrial park. The railplex is bounded to the north at Waddell Road, south at Peoria Avenue, east by Dysart Road, and west by Litchfield Road. The amenity-rich Surprise Railplex development has Arizona’s first and only BNSF Railway-certified sites totaling over 250 acres. The Surprise Railplex recently welcomed JBugs, SeaCa Packaging, Trimaco, National Indoor RV Centers, Skyway Commons, and Milam Glass, as well as the Level Crossing speculative flex industrial development – in just the past few years. In addition, IRIS USA is celebrating its upcoming 5th anniversary in Surprise! The US-headquartered operation of the Japanese-owned company located off Cactus Road along the rail, built over 400,000 square feet on 45 acres, allowing additional land to expand into the future. IRIS USA also donated more than 30,000 masks to the community in 2020. The Surprise Economic Development Department is actively marketing the BNSF certified sites for large employment-generating projects and just completed a virtual tour video being promoted across their international industry network. The video can be viewed by visiting: youtube.com/watch?v=jiK2i1gIrZg

A map of the Surprise Railplex area.

Small Business Resources

The City of Surprise Economic Development Department has teamed up with the Arizona Small Business Association (ASBA) to offer even more support to the Surprise small business community. In recognition of the continued small business recovery process resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, Surprise small businesses can sign up for a free year of membership with ASBA. Benefits include connections to thought leaders and entrepreneurs throughout the state, business education opportunities, professional connections, mentors, marketing tools, access to data, discounted business benefits, and advocacy for a pro-business environment. Please visit asba.com/surprise before May 10 to claim your membership.

City of Surprise Property Tax Rate

We’ve been receiving some question about the City tax rate. It has not increased. The primary tax rate in the City of Surprise is $0.7591 per $100 of assessed property value, plus the secondary property tax rate (from the voter-approved 2017 GO Bond) of $0.3880 per $100 of assessed property value. These rates multiplied by the assessed value of your home determine what you pay in property taxes. If the value of your home increases, you will see an increased tax bill; however, that is not due to an increase in the property tax rate but rather an increase in the assessed value of your home.

Schedule of Existing Primary and Secondary Property Tax

   Current Rate  Current Levy  Proposed Rate  Proposed Levy  
 Property Tax          
 Primary Property Tax Rate $0.7591 $9,135,500 $0.7591 $9,974,200 Per $100 assessed value
 Secondary Property Tax Rate $0.3880 $4,669,500 $0.3880 $5,098,200 Per $100 assessed value

Veteran Resources & Support Services

Veterans, service members (active duty, Guard, and Reserve), and their families now have a new place to access resources, support, and assistance in the West Valley. The City of Surprise is proud to offer the West Valley Military and Veteran Success Center a new home within the Surprise Resource Center at the AZ TechCelerator Campus, located at 12425 W. Bell Rd., Suite 124. The center includes various military and veteran support services and resources, made possible by the generous support of partner organizations and all West Valley cities. For more information on the West Valley Military and Veteran Success Center, call 623.222.1658 or visit the City of Surprise website at surpriseaz.gov/veterans.

Surprise Day of Service

Vice Mayor Duffy and Councilmember Judd get bags to fill with pinto beans.The City of Surprise Annual Bean Bag Day event was held during National Volunteer Week on Saturday, April 24. Volunteers helped to bag 6,000lbs of loose pinto beans for distribution to those in need through the Valley Community Food Bank. A big thank you to Seeds of Hope International Ministries for purchasing the pinto beans! If you are looking for a way to volunteer in our community, please consider helping out at the next Day of Service event scheduled for May 26. To volunteer, or for more information, contact Larry Garcia at larry.garcia@surpriseaz.gov, or call 623.222.1522.

Surprise Retail Survey

Surprise retail survey thumbnailThe 2021 Surprise Retail Survey is now open! Tell us what shopping and dining establishments you want to see in Surprise – plus, vote for current favorites so we can recognize the local businesses you love! Click on the link to take our 2021 Retail Survey by May 9: surpriseaz.gov/retailsurvey.

Passport services return to City Hall

Passport services return to Surprise City Hall by appointment only. Regular business hours for passports will be Monday – Friday, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the City Clerk’s Office. To make an appointment, or for questions, please visit surpriseaz.gov/passport or call the City Clerk’s Office at 623.222.1200.

District 6 Roadwork

  • Public works will begin sidewalk repair and maintenance in the Veramonte subdivision the first week in May. The project is expected to take approximately two weeks.
  • Waddell Rd. (the north half from 140th Ave. west to Bullard Ave.) was milled and re-paved in early April. Permanent pavement markings will be installed by the second week of May to complete this roadway project.

Itty Bitty Beach Party

Surprise Beach Party thumbnailThe Itty Bitty Beach Party is back! It will be on May 28 at the Surprise Aquatics Center. This party offers guests games, prizes, crafts, and more, for children ages 10 years and younger! Enjoy the slides, cool off in the water, and hang out with our resident mermaid! The cost to come party is $5 for residents and $10 for non-residents. Event registrations are accepted in-person at the Surprise Parks & Recreation Department office, 15960 N. Bullard Ave., online, and over the phone. For more information, contact the Parks & Recreation Department at 623.222.2000.

Surprise FY 2022 Budget

The City of Surprise proposes a budget focused on maintaining our current level of service as the city continues to grow. The budget continues to focus on Council’s commitment to maintaining quality public services and infrastructure. A public hearing and tentative Budget adoption are scheduled for the May 4 Regular City Council Meeting, with final budget adoption planned for the June 1 meeting. To learn more about the budget process, please visit surpriseaz.gov/budget.

Property Maintenance Ordinance (PMO)

Thank you to those who have submitted comments for the draft Property Maintenance Ordinance (PMO). The goal of the PMO is to keep the City of Surprise safe, healthy, and blight-free. Public comment was requested & accepted from March 3 through May 2, 2021. If you would like to learn more about the document, please view the March 2 City Council Work Session.

A presentation and vote on the item is scheduled for June 15, 2021, at Surprise City Council Meeting. If adopted, the PMO will be effective that day.

State of the City Video

State of the City thumbnailCOVID-19 impacted so many last year, and in this video, we highlighted the resilience of our community. It captures how our strength, effort, and strategic planning place the city’s trajectory toward future success. Watch the video here: surprisetv.surpriseaz.gov/watch?v=-KGUE2MFrlc

Connect with District 6

Please check out my new District 6 Facebook page at Councilmember Chris Judd! Be sure to click the “follow” button to get District 6 news and updates. Please also visit my District 6 webpage at d6.surpriseaz.gov where you can subscribe to my Notify Me email list to receive important District 6 updates.

Council Meetings and Agenda

The next regularly scheduled City Council Meeting will occur on Tuesday, May 18 at 6 p.m. and will be open to the public for in-person attendance. You can also watch live at surpriseaz.gov/surprisetv, or the Surprise City Gov Facebook page at facebook.com/cityofsurprise. Cox channel 11 also carries the meetings live. Agendas are always posted online at a minimum of two days prior.

If you see something on the agenda that concerns you, please reach out before the meeting, so I have time to address your concern. I may even ask your questions during the City Council presentation. The best way to reach me is chris.judd@surpriseaz.gov.

Meet and Greet

Please join me for my Monthly Meet and Greet on May 25 at 6 p.m. at Venue Taproom, 13699 N. Litchfield Rd. I look forward to discussing the latest City issues and answering any questions you might have.

Please check my webpage at https://d6.surpriseaz.gov/ for updates to my meeting schedule.