By Jason Stone, INDEPENDENT NEWSMEDIA
Surprise’s fiscal year 2020 budget features the addition of three EMT workers, three paramedics, five firefighters, one community risk professional, five sworn police officers and one court clerk position.
Mayor Skip Hall hopes that will help the perception of some Surprise residents that the city isn’t doing enough to fund public safety.
The Surprise Fire Fighters Association has been active on Facebook lately, contending the city is falling behind on its commitment to address response times.
But Mr. Hall made sure to address those concerns on June 4 before the Council approved the $412.7 million budget that goes into effect Monday, July 1.
“They’ve done some speaking on Facebook,” Mr. Hall said after the meeting. “I’ve gotten some feedback from residents who read that and were concerned. They had a perception after reading. And I wanted to clear up that perception.”
The city’s budget also includes money for nearly a dozen workers to perform services in the city’s water, sewer and sanitation areas.
Most city departments are also dealing with increased personnel costs thanks to the increase in the minimum wage statewide.
There is also more money in the budget for service-related increases such as medical premiums, cost of living, pension contribution rates, software licenses, water user rates and library intergovernmental agreements.
Capital Improvement Projects make up about $105.8 of the budget.
Those projects include operations at the new Asante Library and widening of Waddell and Greenway roads near the Loop 303 later this year and early next year.
The Council will next vote to set the primary and secondary property tax rates at its Tuesday, June 18 meeting at City Hall, 16000 N. Civic Center Plaza.
The group has already indicated it would keep the main rate at $0.7591 per $100 of assessed valuation as of the day of the meeting.
The secondary rate is expected to remain at $0.3880 per $100 of assessed valuation on June 18.
Although the two rates are remaining the same, Mr. Hall stressed residents likely will see a slight increase in their tax bills because Maricopa County is expected to raise the valuations.
That is something the City Council can’t control.
To view the progress of setting the tax rates, meetings can be seen on Surprise TV or streamed at surpriseaz.gov/surpriseTV.