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Special City Council Meeting Minutes – Thursday, November 4, 2004


Call to Order:


Roll Call:


Mayor Shafer called the Special City Council Meeting to order @ 7:00 p.m. at the Surprise City Hall – 12425 W. Bell Road, Suite D-100, Surprise, Arizona 85374.  Also in attendance with Mayor Shafer were Vice-Mayor Danny Arismendez, Councilmembers Martha Bails, Cliff Elkins, Doc Sullivan and Joe Johnson.  Councilmember Thomas Allen was absent.


Staff in Attendance:


Assistant City Manager, Kathy Rice; City Attorney, Jeff Blilie; Budget Director, Doug Sandstrom; Special Assistant to the City Manager, Michael Schrock and City Clerk, Sherry Ann Aguilar.




Michael Price, 15039 W.  Post Drive, Surprise, Arizona commented that he is very upset with the applications process to start a new automotive business in Surprise.  He is concerned about the amount of restrictions that he feels is unnecessary, and has found to be very costly.  He has met with several members of the Planning & Zoning Department and found the meetings were unsuccessful.  He is facing a dilemma with time and money and needs some answers quickly.  Mayor Shafer asked that he see Assistant City Manager, Kathy Rice to set up an appointment to discuss this issue in detail.


Bill Lipscomb, 14976 W. Bottletree, Surprise, Arizona read aloud a hand-out prepared for this meeting  (A copy of this letter is available for review in the City Clerk’s Office).  Mr. Lipscomb addressed the issue of 5 Councilmembers donating $1,000.00 each from their Discretionary Funds to the West Valley Art Museum one day after the issue was denied in a Regular Council Meeting held on October 14, 2004.    He questioned the possibility of an Open Meeting Law violation. 


Mayor Shafer asked that Mr. Lipscomb get together with City staff to discuss the issue. 


Special Agenda items not requiring a Public Hearing:


  • Presentations by eleven (11) applicants requesting non-profit funding through the City of Surprise Non-Profit Grant process – NO ACTION TAKEN.


Richard Miranda, Centro Adelante


Ervin Cutright, Northwest Black History Committee


David Tooker, West Valley Art Museum


Michelle Dionisio, Interfaith Services


Cathy Tomkins, Catholic Social Services


David Seigler, Westside Food Bank


David Shank, Big Brothers/Big Sisters


Raul Sada, Volunteers for Hospice


Leslie Tuohy, Solecito Services


Council Questions/Comments:


Mayor Shafer commented that she has received many phone calls and e-mails regarding the issue of donations to these types of organizations using taxpayers money.  Mayor Shafer advised everyone that the City requires that each non-profit organization that is awarded donations, would have to abide by the contract prepared by the City of Surprise.   She further commented that the City could not afford to have all of these services in-house, it would be too costly.


Vice-Mayor Arismendez thanked all of the non-profit groups for presenting this evening.  He further commented that he will be recommending approval of the entire previously requested $124,300.00, and further commented that he knows the City has the funds to do this. 


Councilmember Elkins thanked the presenters as well and commented that it is not the money that is the issue, but the process.  He supports non-profits but thinks that other means should be considered for donations and that this is not the role of government.   He also commented that he was uncomfortable for the mayor and Vice-Mayor to be brining back recommendations to the Council on how this money should be distributed.


Councilmember Sullivan commented that the City adopted a budget in July that allocated $100,000.00 for non-profit donations and feels that the City needs to stick with this amount. 


Councilmember Johnson commented on what he feels the Contingency Funds should be used for and what is truly classified as an emergency.  He feels that these should be unforeseen expenses.   He further asked the Budget Director, Doug Sandstrom to give a detailed explanation on the application process.


Doug Sandstrom, Budget Director commented that the application process is very detailed which includes a financial audit. 


  • Consideration and action on Awarding Grants to various Non-Profit Organizations, and transferring funds from Council Contingency to Non-Profit Grants in the event the award exceeds $100,000.00 and authorizing the City Manager to negotiate with and enter into grant agreements with the non-profit organizations – APPROVED WITH AMENDMENTS.


Public Comments:


Paula Forster – 16333 W. Escondido Ct., Surprise, Arizona questioned the percentage of dollars going towards these non-profits organizations and for the record, wanted to make sure they were non-profit and not for profit organizations.    She fully supports non-profits because she has also has helped with raising funds for the Back Pack Program and assisted with raising funds for the Dysart School District, but the funds were solely for supplies, etc., 


Bob Vukanovich – 15408 W. Jill Lane, Surprise, Arizona reminded Council that they approved $100,000.00 during the City budget process which he was a part of, and feels that that is what Council should stick with.  He thought it was unfortunate that all of these groups had to be paraded up in front of Council when it was already approved.  He also commented that a couple of Councilmembers have their own agendas.  Mr. Vukanovich further commented that he voted to give Council a raise in July 2005, but since Council wants to give authority to staff to handle this, I believe that I would change my mind. 


Mike Woodard – 13488 W. Cottonwood Street, Surprise, Arizona reported that he was part of the Mayor’s Review Committee, and the purpose of this committee was to bring the $124,300.00 proposal down to $100,000.00, and that is what this committee did.  He further commented that he prepared a recommendation for this committee in October. 


Bill Lipscomb – 14976 W. Bottletree, Surprise, Arizona commented that he fully supports non-profit organizations but is concerned with the process, not the funds.  He further commended the non-profits for their efforts in presenting tonight.


Vice-Mayor Arismendez made the motion to approve Awarding Grants to various Non-Profit Organizations, and transferring funds from Council Contingency to Non-Profit Grants in the event the award exceeds $100,000.00 and authorizing the City Manager to negotiate with and enter into grant agreements with the non-profit organizations in the amount of $124,300.00 as previously requested.  Councilmember Johnson seconded the motion.  Two (2) yes votes (Arismendez & Johnson), 4 no votes (Shafer, Bails, Elkins & Sullivan).  Motion denied.


Councilmember Elkins made the motion to approve Awarding Grants to various Non-Profit Organizations, and transferring funds from Council Contingency to Non-Profit Grants in the event the award exceeds $100,000.00 and authorizing the City Manager to negotiate with and enter into grant agreements with the non-profit organizations in the amount of $100,000.00 as recommended by the Not For Profit Committee served by Vice-Mayor Arismendez, Councilmembers Joe Johnson and Doc Sullivan and resident, Mike Woodard and to recommend creating a clear policy regarding the selection process.    


City Attorney Blilie read the requested dollar amounts into the record as follows:


West Valley Art Museum – Education Support ($16,000.)

West Valley Art Museum – Surprise Serenades ($5,440.)

Centro Adelante Campesino  ($14,400.)

Interfaith Community Care ($14,160.)

Catholic Social Services – Housing Program ($13,120.)

Catholic Social Services – Counseling Services ($4,000.)

West Side Food Bank  ($12,000.)

Big Brothers/Big Sisters ($8,000.)

Volunteers for Hospice ($7,200.)

Solecito Services ($5,680.)


Total:    $100,000.00


Mayor Shafer’s Recommendation:  Council will take a look at the structure of the Committee and change the process accordingly. 


Councilmember Sullivan seconded the motion.  Four (4) yes votes (Shafer, Johnson, Elkins & Sullivan), 1 no vote (Bails), 1 abstained (Arismendez), 1 absent (Allen).   Motion carried. 


Councilmember Bails for the record, stated that she is the only Councilmember who voted “no” on the budget because of the non-profits.  She also commented that there was a poll being conducted on the website which showed favorably 80% of Surprise residents do not want us using taxpayers money for donations.  She also commented that the majority of residents in District 2 do not support using taxpayers money for donations. 


Councilmember Elkins also commented that 95% of the residents on District 1 are also in agreement to not use taxpayers money for donations. 


  • Consideration and action on transferring $75,000.00 of the budgeted funds allocated to “Not For Profit” organizations to the Community Initiatives Department for the purpose of providing essential community services for the residents of Surprise – and on directing the department to develop standards and definitions of essential services to determine how these funds will be used and to present these standards to the Council at the December 9, 2004 Council Meeting – THIS ITEM WITHDRAWN.


Councilmember Elkins requested that this item be withdrawn.


  • Consideration and action to move the November 10, 2004 Work Session start time from 5:30 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. – THIS ITEM WITHDRAWN.


Mayor Shafer requested that this item be withdrawn.


No further business.


Mayor Shafer adjourned the Special Council Meeting at 8:38 p.m.



Mayor Joan H. Shafer




                                                            Sherry Ann Aguilar, City Clerk-CMC


I, Sherry Ann Aguilar, City Clerk for the City of Surprise, Maricopa County, Arizona, do hereby verify that these are the true and correct minutes of the Special Council Meeting held on Thursday, November 4, 2004.



                                                            Sherry Ann Aguilar, City Clerk-CMC