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General Obligation Bond Election 2017 – Public Safety Question

On November 7, 2017 all registered voters in Surprise will receive a ballot by mail, asking them to decide three General Obligation (GO) Bond questions in the areas of Public Safety, Traffic Congestion Mitigation and Pavement Preservation. Over the next three months, I will explore each of the three questions with you. Let’s begin with the projects listed in the $34 million Public Safety Question.

Public Safety Evidence & Readiness Center (city-owned land at 134th & Foxfire drives)

Project Need: Current Police Evidence and Property facility (Litchfield Rd, north of Bell Rd) is at 85% – 90% storage capacity. Both Surprise Police and Fire-Medical are storing tactical gear at various locations, reducing efficiencies that translate to quick response.

If approved: Design and build a joint facility to support additional space for police evidence and property storage and accommodate overall public safety tactical storage in one logistics center. The overall facility at 29,000 SF is designed to accommodate 30 years of growth. Project Cost: $9 million Project timeline: Jan 2019 – May 2021

Police Training Facility (Litchfield Rd, north of Bell Rd)

Project Need: The Arizona Peace Officer Standards and Training Board requires 8 hrs of continuous education/ 8 hrs of proficiency training every year, per officer. Currently, Surprise Police do not have dedicated training space to meet some of the training requirements.

If approved: The existing 8,500 SF evidence/ property building will undergo an interior reconfiguration to accommodate space for defensive tactics and firearms simulation training, classroom, etc… This meets AZPOST’s proficiency training requirements.Project Cost: $1.9 million Project timeline: Jun 2020 – May 2022

Permanent Fire Station 304 (163rd Ave, south of Happy Valley Rd)

Project Need: Temporary FS 304 has been in operation for 14 years and has overextended its useful life, and will be unable to meet the needs of the nearly 18,000 homes that have been approved for its service area.

If approved: FS 304 will allow Surprise Fire-Medical to increase service levels, as growth dictates, to maintain adequate response times. This 18K SF permanent station will be designed with multiple bays to accommodate an Engine, Ladder Company, Ambulance and a Battalion Chief. Initially, the station will house the existing single engine and crew. Project Cost: $8.6 million Project timeline: Jan 2018 – Sep 2020

New Fire Station 308 (near SE Corner of Litchfield and Cactus roads)

Project Need: Last year, more than 90% of the calls for service in FS 308’s proposed service area were responded to by Surprise Fire Stations 305 & 307; and an El Mirage station. National standards recommend a 6 minute EMT response time/ 6 minute, 20 second fire response time. In 2006, FS 305’s average response time in this service area was 6 minutes, 47 seconds (FS 307: 7 min and 35 sec; El Mirage 7 min and 33 sec.)

If approved: Building FS 308 will lessen the burden on FS 305, the busiest city station in 2016, and reduce travel distance for emergency responders in the new 308 service area. At 14K SF, 308 will house an Engine Co, Hazardous Materials Response Team and future ambulance. Staff will include the addition of 3 captains, 3 engineers, 9 firefighters, and 1support staff. Project Cost: $7.1 million Project timeline: Jan 2018 – Feb 2020

Land for future Fire Station, Police Substation & Park (in southwest Surprise)

Project Need: The city is currently updating the Public Safety Master Plan, which has identified the need for an additional fire station/ police substation in the southwestern region of the city to meet future needs. As new development is already underway, the city wants to secure land while still available at today’s price.

If approved: This project would allow the city to secure 16 acres of land for a future Fire Station, Police Substation, and Community Park for residential use. The purchase of SW Surprise land in advance of the need ensures the capability to provide the highest level of service when demand warrants. Project Cost: $3 million Project timeline: Jan 2018 – Jul 2019

Public Works (PW) Operations Facility (Cactus & Litchfield roads)

Project Need: Currently, PW operations are located at three sites across Surprise that have either overextended their useful life or are inefficient to meet today’s service needs. The Street Maintenance/Solid Waste Facility (134th & Foxfire drives), is overcrowded and over-programmed raising efficiency & safety concerns. Fleet Maintenance (Dysart Rd, north of Grand Ave), is not large enough to perform maintenance on large fire apparatus indoors.

If approved: The facility will consolidate PW operations into one facility to support street maintenance, trash/recycling, traffic signal and citywide vehicle fleet operations. Capable of meeting the next 25 years of growth, this 44K SF project supports public safety and city fleet maintenance and assists with Public Safety storage by vacating space at 134th and Foxfire drives (future site for the Public Safety Evidence & Readiness Center). Design/ build costs are approximately $12 million. The city has $7.2 million in impact fees and $200,000 in solid waste fees to cover the majority of the cost. The remaining $4.4 million requires bond approval by the voters. Project timeline: Jan 2018 – Jul 2020

The Cost to You

GO Bonds are paid back via a secondary property tax. Any collections are required to be used to pay off the bond debt(s). Currently the city does not have a secondary property tax. If any of the three proposed bond questions are voter approved, it would create a secondary property tax for the city.

Should the Public Safety question receive voter approval, the annual cost for a homeowner would be approximately $26 per $100,000 in Limited Property Value (LPV) for an anticipated 22 years, or $0.2623 per $100 in Assessed LPV. That’s approximately $2.16 per month, or $0.07 per day.

Follow These Steps To Determine The Property Tax For Your Home:

  1. Visit http://mcassessor.maricopa.gov/
  2. Enter property address in search box, and click on parcel number for details
  3. Scroll down to Valuation Information
  4. Find the “Assessed LPV”
  5. Divide “Assessed LPV” dollar amount by 100, then multiply that number by the $0.2623 rate

For more detailed information about the projects, please visit www.surpriseaz.gov/decidesurprise. You can also learn more about the costs and election information on that site. The city will schedule a series of public bond education meetings; those dates will be added to the website. Next month, we will explore the Traffic Congestion Mitigation projects and costs. Until then be well my friends.