Surprise, Arizona

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Elected Officials
Administrative Officials
Permits, zoning
Public Records
Local Taxes

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Transparency grading process

Surprise is a city located in Maricopa County, Arizona. The population was 30,848 at the 2000 census; however, rapid growth has boosted the city's population to 117,517 at the 2010 census, an increase of 281%. As such, it is the second fastest-growing municipality in the greater Phoenix metropolitan area after Gilbert and, between 1990 and 2000, it was the sixth fastest-growing place among all cities and towns in Arizona.

Website evaluation

In 2011 Surprise earned a Sunny Awards for having a perfect website transparency score.

This website was most recently reviewed an unknown date.

The good

  • Budget
    • The most current budget is listed.
    • Budgets are archived for 7 years.[1]
    • Complete salary and financial information is posted.[2]
  • Administrative Officials
    • Department heads are listed for each department.[3]
    • Contact information for administrative officials is provided including a mailing address, phone number, and personalized email.
  • Elected Officials
    • Elected officials are listed with a mailing address, phone number and personalized email.[4]
  • Meetings
    • Meeting minutes are archived for 5 years.
    • Meeting agendas are archived for 5 years.
    • A meeting calendar is available and names the times and locations of public meetings.[5]
    • Meeting video and podcasts are available.[6]
  • Audits
    • The most recent audit is posted.
    • Audits dating back to 2003 are available.[7]
  • Contracts
    • Bids and RFPs are posted online.[8]
    • Approved contract statements are provided for vendors.[9]
  • Public Records
    • The public information officer is identified and maintained by the City Clerk. This person provides a mailing address, phone number and personalized email.[10]
    • A public records form is provided.
    • A fee schedule for documents is provided.
  • Taxes
    • Tax revenues are broken down by federal, state, and local funding in the budget.
    • Local taxes, like property taxes, are available online.[11]
  • Lobbying
    • City has its own intergovernmental relations team for lobbying. The department had a $232,901 budget in 2012.[12]
  • Permits and zoning
    • Zoning ordinances are posted online.[13]
    • Permit applications can be downloaded on the site, along with information on how to apply for the permits.[14]

Sunny Award

During Sunshine Week of 2010, Surprise was given a Sunny Award in honor of their proactive disclosure of government information.[15]

Elected Officials

Surprise is governed on the local level by Mayor Lyn Truitt and a six member City Council. The mayor is elected at large, while the City Council members are elected from the six districts which they represent. All representatives serve four-year terms.[16]

City Manager

Surprise operates under a council-manager form of government. Under this system the city council determines city policy, passes ordinances, and approves a balanced budget each year. The City Manager is responsible for carrying out the council-created policies, and directing the day-to-day operations of city government. The manager reports directly to the city council, and is subject to council performance reviews. The City Manager is responsible for drafting a balanced budget for council review and approval each year.[17]

Surprise is made up of 14 departments and more than 680 full time employees.[17]


The fiscal year 2011 budget for Surprise is $260,535.[18]

ARRA Stimulus Projects

FY 2011 as of Nov. 17, 2010

Division Amount
Community Development $3,139,00
Fire Department $49,999
Police Department $175,856
Public Works $2,382,720
Transportation $44,563,155

Taxpayer-funded lobbying associations

Surprise is a member of the Arizona League of Cities and Towns, a government sector lobbying association.[19] It submitted the graffiti resolution for adoption in the Arizona League.

External links