Category Archives: Updates

Residents feel safe & love living in Surprise; seek more local jobs & transportation solutions

The 2015 National Citizen Survey (NCS) results are in and nearly 90% of residents rate Surprise as a great place to live and would recommend living here.

The NCS serves as the city’s service report card, and the collected data assists in setting future city priorities.

The survey captures residents’ opinions within three community pillars: Community Characteristics, Governance & Participation. These are broken down into eight categories: Safety, Mobility/Transportation, Natural Environment, Built Environment, Economy, Recreation & Wellness, Education & Enrichment and Community Engagement. Across these eight categories the city’s results were similar to over 200 peer cities across the United States.

According to the survey, the areas that are most important to Surprise residents are safety, mobility/transportation and the economy.

The city rated above the national benchmark in the following categories:
(% selected excellent/good)

88% overall appearance of the city (cleanliness)
86% recommend Surprise as a place to retire
84% Street lighting
83% Street cleaning
82% Sidewalk maintenance
81% Overall built environment
76% Affordable quality housing
74% Public parking
69% Cost of living

Survey results also indicate a need for more public transportation options and local job creation- two areas that rated below the national benchmark.

Residents were asked how likely they would be to support a separate funding source to pay for new Police and Fire-Medical personnel, which would reallocate General Fund dollars towards other projects. Sixty-six percent of residents strongly/somewhat support this proposal.

Nearly three-quarters of the surveyed residents are confident in local government, and 89% are pleased with the quality of city services.

Since the 2012 NCS, residents noted significant improvements in traffic flow, crime and fire prevention, shopping opportunities/economic development, drinking water and overall national environment. Ratings fell in the number of residents who volunteered, visited a park or watched a local public meeting.

The 2015 NCS was conducted by Boulder, Colorado-based National Research Center from October-November 2015. The survey was sent to 1,400 randomly-selected Surprise households. The overall response rate was 26%, which is average for this type of survey. The margin of error is +/- 5%. Results are weighted as to not have one particular demographic (age, sex, race, etc…) skew results.

The City of Surprise would like to thank those residents who participated in the survey. The city’s next NCS is on target for 2017.

To see the complete results visit www.surpriseaz.gov/ncs.

Oct 2015 City Update

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.

City Attorney:

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.

Bell/Grand Intersection:

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.

Voter Outreach:

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.

Storm Water:

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:

Monthly “chats” are continuing on the first Tuesday of each month, 10 a.m., in the Mediterranean Room in the Palm Center.