District 2 Councilmember Nancy Hayden speaks with Terry Young, Police Chief of the City of Surprise Police Department about the City of Surprise Hands Free Ordinance in relation to the recently passed Arizona hands free law, and Mike Gent, City of Surprise Public Works Director, talks about pedestrian safety and what the city is doing to reduce car and pedestrian incidents.
As we get ready to welcome the heat and say goodbye to our seasonal residents, it seems fitting to look at a brief history to explore the culture that Surprise offers. The beautiful town of Surprise developed its name on a fluke when our founder, Flora Statler, said, “I would be surprised if the town ever amounted to much.” Little did she know, in 1938, that the one square mile piece of farmland would end up as one of the fastest-growing cities in the nation!
It’s hard to imagine the six lanes of Grand Avenue was once a trail called Vulture Road. After harvesting, mule teams would use Vulture Road to take goods to mining communities. In 1868, a stagecoach line began operation, running for 30 years. The railroad was welcomed in 1895 when lines officially opened to the Phoenix area.
In 1941, the City of Phoenix leased 1440 acres of land to Luke Air Force Base for $1 a year which was the beginning of the base. During WWII, Luke was the largest fighter training base in the Army Air Forces. Many residents would be interested to learn that the current City Hall is located on the site of one of Luke’s former auxiliary airfields, to which you are still able to see the runways via aerial view.
Surprise was growing and changing long before it officially became incorporated in 1960. Changing from farm fields to military bases to rows of homes, the land of Surprise has transformed drastically as it grew to be home to the nearly 133,000 residents we have today!
The West Valley Arts HQ, located at 16126 N Civic Center Driver, will hold Lunchtime Theater on April 4 from 12:00 – 1:00 p.m. featuring The Marvelous Wonderettes. Please call 623-584-2626 for more information. The cost is $11.95.
Hop aboard the Public Art Bus Tour to Desert Caballeros Western Museum in Wickenburg on April 13. There is no cost to participate. The bus will depart from City Hall, 16000 N Civic Center Plaza, at 11:00 a.m. with a return time of 3:00 p.m. Museum entry is $9.00. Please call 623-214-7537 for more information.
Come enjoy the spring air at the Sunday in the Park Food Truck Festival on April 14 from 4 – 8 p.m. at Mark Coronado Park, 15960 N. Bullard Avenue. Several foods trucks will be there to satisfy your taste buds. Bring your blanket or chair and enjoy live music by Steven P Project. Admission is always free!
WHAM, located at 16560 N Dysart Road, is hosting Open Mic night for poetry, free verse and storytelling on April 19 from 6 – 8 p.m. Everyone is welcome to participate as performers and/or listeners. This is a free event. If you would like more information, please call 623-334-5271.
Spring Eggstravaganza is scheduled for April 20 from 7:30 a.m. – 12 p.m. at the Kansas City Royals Practice Field, 15850 N Bullard Avenue. Toddlers to 10 year olds are invited to join the search for more than 50,000 candy and toy filled eggs. This is a free event for the whole family that will feature face painters, balloon artists, inflatables, and of course, Mr. & Mrs. Bunny! Gates open at 7:30 a.m.
As always, I invite you to join me at one of my monthly meetings. I meet the second Wednesday of each month from 3 – 4 p.m. in the Arizona Traditions Classroom. Please ask the gate guard for directions upon arrival. Additionally, I meet the fourth Tuesday of each month in the Sun City Grand Palm Center – Mediterranean Room (19726 N. Remington Dr.) at 10 a.m. Please stop by and chat with me about what’s going on in the city!
On Friday, March 2nd, the Surprise City Council and staff participated in Read Across America Day at Countryside Elementary. I had an amazing time reading a book called “I Can Handle It” by Laurie Wright to Mrs. Judd’s first grade class. The book talks about how to overcome tough situations in life, and how positivity is the best tool to cope with the difficulties that we all experience. Mrs. Judd and her students were wonderful hosts, and I enjoyed every minute that I got to spend with them.
It has been an honor to live in Sun City Grand for the past 12 years and now it is my privilege and honor to serve you as District 2 City Council Member. I was appointed by the Surprise City Council to serve the remainder of the term for the District 2 council seat last month. I have had the great pleasure of knowing you or meeting you over the past few months, but for those I haven’t personally met, I’d like to introduce myself.
I served on the Glendale Fire Department as a firefighter and EMT for 22 years. Prior to that I respectfully served our country for 20 years in the United States Air Force where I trained pilots with critical skills needed to survive warlike conditions. Like many of the courageous veterans I have met, I am also a Vietnam War veteran.
I currently serve as Adjunct Faculty at Glendale Community College, teaching Fire Science and Emergency Medical Technicians and serve on the city’s Public Safety Retirement Board.
I look forward to sharing important city news and information with you and would like to remind you of an important transition that began on November 1. Surprise residents that were billed by American Water for water and/or wastewater and solid waste services should now be receiving their bills from the City of Surprise.
Council voted to transition billing for city utility services from American Water to an in-house operation on March 1, 2016. Following months of planning, the new service has begun. Some of the most significant transition changes customers will see include:
- A new account number;
- A new bill statement layout;
- And more options for making utility payments.
To help ease the transition, I wanted to include these detailed FAQs:
Am I going to receive an American Water statement in October? If I do, who should I pay?
Yes. If you previously received a statement from American Water for your water or wastewater/solid waste, you will receive your last statement in October or the first week in November. Please pay this last bill to American Water using the same method of payment you have always used when paying your American Water Bill.
When will I receive my Surprise utility billing statement?
Due to multiple billing cycles and meter schedules, residents will be receiving their City of Surprise utility bill at various times throughout the month of November, however you will receive your first statement about 30 days from when you received your last American Water bill.
Do I still need to pay EPCOR for my water service?
Yes. Customers who are currently served by EPCOR water will continue to receive their water statement from EPCOR. However, if you received a statement from American Water for wastewater and solid waste services, your wastewater and solid waste statement will now come from the city of Surprise.
I’m currently enrolled in auto pay with American Water; what should I do?
When you receive your first statement from the city of Surprise (by mail) with your new utility account number, you will need to go online to http://surpriseaz.gov/waterbill and select the ‘Utility Payments’ button. It will lead you to the City utility payment website where you will select ‘Create Account’ to set up your online payment account. If you are unsure about how to do this or do not have access to the internet to do this, call the City’s customer service staff at 623.222.1900 and they will be happy to assist you over the phone in getting you set up. Just remember, to call them beginning November 1st so they can help you get set up in the “live” system.
I pay all my bills using online banking; do I need to change anything?
Yes. When you receive your first statement from the city of Surprise (by mail) with your new utility account number, you will need to log into your online banking account and update your payment information using your new Surprise account number and the city’s information which can be found on your statement.
Should you have questions, please contact the Customer Service & Utility Billing team at 623.222.1900.
In summary, I have been a public servant my entire life, to me, it is my vocation. There is no greater honor than service and I am overwhelmed with sincere gratitude that I have been given the opportunity to serve you. Please feel free to reach out to me at email@example.com or call 623.222.1322. Thank you!