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Surprise Council Moves Toward $60M Bond Vote

Surprise City Hall. Photo credit:

By Richard Smith for Daily News-Sun

The biggest hurdle to Surprise calling for a bond election this year may have nothing to do with taxes, projects or finances.

Instead, the city’s snag may be a simple calendar issue. The most likely bond election date is Nov. 10, the same day the Dysart Unified School District is expected to have its override request on the ballot.

That led last week’s discussion of the bond’s prospects during the City Council meeting. Council members debated the realities of low voter turnouts and the chances that competing proposals could lessen both measures’ chance for survival.

The district’s override failed last year, and Surprise’s most recent bond attempt was shot down in 2009.

A little more than 19 percent of Surprise voters south of Bell Road showed up in the 2014 Dysart override election.

The council asked staff to return Feb. 17 with more details for discussion. Last week’s talk was a first pass at what projects could fit on a potential $60M bond proposal.

City staff picked its priorities, and the top 21 projects compose a $61.6M wish list. Parks and recreation projects account for more than half the total, at $33M. Transportation upgrades ate up another $21.4M and public safety projects account for the remaining $7.2M.

While the entire list is not yet available, Surprise provided a couple of projects on it, including an aquatic center, a future fire station and improvements to Reems Road, including a channel, median and sidewalks.

Read more at Daily News-Sun