League of Cities:
More than 1,000 city and town officials, legislators, and business leaders from across the state gathered in Tucson for the League Annual Conference. The conference is held annually in the summer and provides a unique opportunity for local officials to attend training sessions designed to aid in more effective management of Arizona’s municipalities, to hear from state and legislative officials, and to share common concerns and ideas for problem solving. Conference highlights included U.S. Senator Jeff Flake as keynote speaker and presentation of awards honoring local government supporters from the state legislature. Another highlight was the review of resolutions submitted by cities and towns. Those that are adopted form the basis for the League’s Municipal Policy Statement and legislative agenda. Surprise submitted a resolution regarding Economic Development Reimbursement Authority (EDRA). This is a mechanism that allows cities to stimulate new development by reimbursing developers for eligible costs within the authority’s boundaries. It is an important economic development tool. The resolution was adopted. Other notable sessions included innovative partnerships between cities and schools, transportation innovation, creating an affordable and sustainable public safety pension system, zoning and code enforcement, helping Arizona’s veteran population, water issues, and community based entrepreneurships.
Sun City Grand Entrance:
A Sun City Grand resident expressed concern about the left hand turn into Sun City Grand from Bell Road, specifically that drivers tend to take the turn into the wrong lane. Following review by the City, it was determined that the concern was valid, and a directional sign has been installed on the median at the entrance.
Council approved a motion in August to bring forward a code change that would place the City Attorney and City Attorney staff under the direction of the City Manager. After careful consideration, I supported this action. As Council Members, we are reminded frequently that the City Attorney’s client is the organization, not a single individual within the organization. Inasmuch as the City Manager is the chief executive within the City responsible for the overall operation and administration of the organization, it seems logical that the City Attorney, who works closely with department directors and in economic development and community development matters should be within the purview of the City Manager. The appropriate code changes will be brought back to Council for a final vote. If approved, they will be effective thirty days from the date of approval.
Veterans Day Parade:
The City will hold a Veterans Day Parade on Wednesday, November 11, along Bullard Avenue. This is the first ever hosted by the City and is part of the continuing commitment to recognize the dedication and sacrifices of our veterans.
ADOT and City Staff have been conducting one-on-one meetings with businesses in the Bell/Grand project area to assess business operations and identify business needs during construction. The team identified 299 businesses located in the project area, made 270 contacts, and collected 190 business questionnaires. The following comments were consistent among the majority of the businesses interviewed: (1) the community generally supports the project and recognizes the purpose and need for moving forward, (2) early and continual communication with stakeholders about what to expect and when with regard to project updates, traffic changes, restrictions, etc. is essential, (3) a point of contact for the community in order to provide feedback, ask questions, and share concerns should be established, (4) businesses should be provided with assistance tools and resources to help mitigate potential impacts during construction.
Traffic Changes in Sun City Grand:
South bound curbside lanes at Reems/Mountain View and Sunrise/Mountain View that had previously been restricted for right turn only traffic movements have been modified. These lanes now allow traffic to continue straight or turn right. According to the City traffic engineer, while the right turn only lane was convenient for some, these changes have eliminated the need for through traffic to merge out of the curbside lane, reducing the risk of accidents and making the roads safer to travel. The corresponding increase in safety and consistency with intersections throughout the community and state justifies the traffic revision. All four approaches at each intersection are now marked with consistent striping options.
A number of voter outreach displays have been placed throughout the City. There are five locations in City Sun Grand, including at the Administrative Center and at the Colonnade. On Monday, October 26, 2 p.m., in the Sagebrush Room, Sherry Aguilar, Surprise City Clerk, will be presenting an information session on the 2016 election process.
Following a presentation at a recent Council meeting by Terry Lowe, Director of the Water Resource Development Department, Council had a preliminary discussion about the possibility of developing a Storm Water Utility to generate a dedicated funding source for the operation and maintenance of the City’s Storm Water Conveyance systems. Six other cities charge residents storm water rates: Mesa, Scottsdale, Peoria, Oro Valley, Flagstaff, and Tucson. As the discussions continue, a number of informational public hearings and open houses will be held throughout the community.
Monthly “chats” are continuing on the first Tuesday of each month, 10 a.m., in the Mediterranean Room in the Palm Center.