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Surprise posts surplus, makes improvements

PHOENIX -- From first being dangerously low on cash to now posting a surplus, the city of Surprise, Ariz., could be a model of recovery.

It was only last year that a budget crisis revealed the city only had $500,000 in its general fund reserve, forcing the city to make drastic cuts.

"We did a lot of things -- mostly cut expenses," said Vice Mayor Skip Hall. "Seventy percent of our expenses are personnel."

The city had to lay off 19 people as a result and postpone numerous maintenance projects for the city.

Hall said now that the city is posting a surplus, that money will go those long-overdue city improvements.

"We've got a couple of road issues we need to finish, like Mountain View Boulevard," Hall said.

Other proposed improvements include work to city parks and roadways, new youth and sports programs, expansion to the Surprise Stadium and the city's first Boys and Girls Club.

"We really kept our eye on the ball, and our employees kept their eyes on the ball," Hall said. "It hasn't been easy."

About the Author

A southern California native, Mark Remillard began working in radio in 2010 while in community college as a host of late night and weekend programming for publicly supported 88.5 FM KSBR. While working through college, Mark also interned for the Bill Handel Radio Program at Los Angeles' KFI AM640, where he began his work in journalism. Mark moved to Arizona in August 2012 to finish his bachelor's degree at Arizona State University's Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication and graduated in August 2014. Mark began working as a reporter for KTAR in November 2012.


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