Category Archives: D6 News

Surprise Students Participate in Mock Legislative Session

Students from Imagine Prep Surprise and Arizona Charter Academy participated in a mock legislative session at City Hall on September 26. I had the pleasure of sitting on the panel and listening to the incredible ideas these young people had for new bills.

The session was the capstone of the Capitol Scholar Program, which was developed based on an idea from Rep. Rick Gray to teach the state legislation process to high school students. City Hall hosted program workshops that students started attending in April. Topics of discussion included writing, research, transforming bills into ideas, debating and public speaking.

You can watch the students present their final bills here:

Fire Hydrant Testing and Painting

The Surprise Fire-Medical Department is the overseer of fire hydrants in the City. Fire hydrants throughout the City are served by several water companies. Each water company is responsible for the operation and maintenance of its own fire hydrant system on a regular rotating basis.  The largest water companies are Epcor Utilities, Inc., the City of El Mirage and the City of Surprise.

The water system served by the City of Surprise includes 2,800 fire hydrants and 7,800 street valves. This infrastructure is maintained by the City’s Water Division, in Public Works. Fire hydrants in District 6 are all maintained by the City. The Water Division’s work plan is based upon a 5-year cycle for repainting.  Recently, 140 hydrants around the City Hall campus were repainted.  Hydrants are required by the Fire Department to be tested every year. At this time, Water management is evaluating the best management practices for hydrant (and valve) preventive maintenance strategies given the available resources.

Linked below are maps of fire hydrant ownership (for maintenance responsibility) and water service providers, by Council District.  Water Operations has prepared a fire hydrant maintenance plan which has been provided to Public Works management for their consideration in preparing the department’s budget for Fiscal Year 15/16.

S&P upgrades Surprise bond rating

Standard & Poor’s (S&P) Ratings Services announced today that it has raised the City of Surprise General Obligation (GO) Bonds rating from “A” to “AA-” while affirming the stable outlook.

In releasing the information, S&P stated the rating reflects the following positive attributes of Surprise:

  • Adequate economy, which is part of a broad and diverse economy;
  • Strong management conditions, with good financial policies;
  • Adequate budgetary performance;
  • Very strong budgetary flexibility;
  • Very strong liquidity, providing very strong cash levels to cover both debt service and expenditures; and
  • Very strong and contingent liabilities position.

“This is very welcome news which solidifies that the fiscal policies set by this City Council and carried out by our management team have indeed put our fiscal house in order,” said Mayor Sharon Wolcott. “Hard work, dedication and sacrifice have set the stage for our city to begin moving forward again.”

“Credit ratings are extremely important to a community as they determine interest rates in the bond market,” said City Manager Bob Wingenroth. For example, if a city goes to sell bonds to finance capital improvement projects the higher the bond rating the lower the interest payments to bond purchasers, lowering the overall cost of borrowing.”

Today’s announcement follows an upgrade by Fitch Ratings in February of this year. Citing “sound internal controls” and “solid fundamentals,” Fitch upgraded City of Surprise General Obligation (GO) Bonds and series 2003 Municipal Property Corporation (MPC) bonds from ‘A+” to ‘AA-‘.

F-35 Lightning II Unveiling Ceremony

I had the honor of attended the unveiling ceremony for the new F-35 Lightning II. We even had the opportunity to take a quick photo in front of the first F-35 that was delivered to Luke AFB just in time for the air show and open house at the base. Also attending the ceremony, which was held at Luke Air Force Base, were General Robin Rand, commander of the Air Education and Training Command for the Air Force; Brigadier General Michael Rothstein, commander of the 56th Fighter Wing at Luke AFB; Eric Fanning, Under Secretary of the Air Force; U.S. Representative Trent Franks; and Governor Jan Brewer.

Wolcott, Hall and Tande at F-35 Unveiling Ceremony
Mayor Wolcott, Hall and Tande at F-35 Unveiling Ceremony

Todd Tande Sworn in as District 6 Council

Todd Tande was elected in the newly-configured District 6 (Palo Verde) on August 27, 2013 to a four-year term beginning January 1, 2014.

Todd is a local Realtor and a business owner of Education Connection Solutions, LLC. He received his Bachelor of Science degree in Management and his MBA from California State Polytechnic University, Pomona. Todd’s career in the private sector includes many years in the theme park and defense industries.

Todd also has experience in public service in California and Indiana. He served as Chief Financial Officer for Indianapolis-Marion County DPS until he joined Indiana State Government as Deputy Director for the Department of Natural Resources. Todd also served in the Indiana State Capitol as Finance Director responsible for Statewide Finances.

Todd and his wife Blossom have been married since 1980 and they have two children and one grandchild who call Surprise home. Todd’s parents, Paul and Lois Tande, live in Sun City Grand – making it four generations of Tande’s in Surprise.