The Surprise City Council is postponing paying for full-time maintenance and operations of a new traffic signal at Peoria Avenue and Reems Road because it wants Glendale to pay its share of it.
The council voted Aug. 18 to postpone a deal with Glendale and Maricopa County, each of which has a stake in the corner.
The intersection is currently a four-way stop where Glendale is building its Red Bull and Red Claw warehouses.
District 4 City Councilman Ken Remley argued that since Glendale is getting the taxes from those factories, it should “paying for the entire streetlight.”
“We’re being nice by allowing them to put a streetlight there,” Mr. Remley said. “The traffic and the reason for the streetlight is the traffic that they have added with their factories. They should pay for the whole deal, and the maintenance in perpetuity.”
At least one other councilman, and Mayor Skip Hall, indicated they wanted to see Glendale pay for at least a quarter of the cost to maintain it because it’s on a quarter of land belonging to Glendale. Its jurisdiction includes the south half of the east leg and the east half of the south leg.
The county’s jurisdiction includes the west half of the south leg.
Surprise’s jurisdiction includes the west leg, the north leg, and the north half of the east leg.
Kristin Tytler of Surprise Public Works said Glendale’s work to widen the intersection and realign it is about 90% done. The traffic signal will soon be installed while the three sides work out who will be paying for that installation and future maintenance and service.
The agreement the Surprise council decided to postpone called for each side to pay the proportion of what it controlled for the installation, while Surprise would be responsible for all the future costs.
“To be clear, we absolutely want 100% of the responsibility for maintaining, coordinating it, maximizing it,” Public Works Director Mike Gent told the council. “All we’re talking about is splitting the bill up at the end of the year.”
The council indicated it wants to have that control without having to pay full price for it.
Surprise officials estimate the cost of the signal at $270,805.
Ms. Tytler pointed out that the agreement the council postponed was similar to IGAs already in place along Peoria at Litchfield Road and Loop 303.
City officials said the agreements allow the city to best manage the traffic signal timing and operations across Peoria.
“This enables Surprise to have full maintenance ownership of that Peoria Avenue all the way across,” Ms. Tytler said.
A future agreement is probably for Peoria at Cotton Lane once its improved, she said.
Mr. Hall and Vice Mayor Chris Judd took Glendale to task for its past strip annexing of land around the intersection.
“Part of annexing is you take responsibility for what’s there,” Mr. Judd said. “In my opinion, they should be paying 25% of ongoing maintenance costs.”
The mayor put it more succinctly.
“Since [Glendale] did all that strip annexation all the way to the White Tanks, they should pay their freight, don’t you think?” Mr. Hall said. “It just makes sense.”
Editor’s Note: Jason Stone can be reached at email@example.com.