Surprise spent $16M in CARES money plugging revenue loss. Its biggest loss? Spring training

City of Surprise photo

By Taylor Seely | Arizona Republic

After city officials pushed Gov. Doug Ducey last April to more quickly distribute federal coronavirus relief funds to local governments, they used the money first to offset reduced city revenue. Then, most sent it to residents and local organizations in need.

The most generous cities, such as Chandler and Scottsdale, gave their communities between 30% and 40% of their state funds. 

But in Surprise, a northwest Valley suburb of 140,000 residents, city leaders gave 3% to community needs. It totaled $555,000 of the city’s $16 million portion. 

By comparison, neighboring Peoria gave 25% of its $20.2 million to community needs. Peoria spent $5.1 million on rent and utility assistance and business grants. 

Some West Valley cities, such as Goodyear and Glendale, gave nothing to their communities from their shares of thestate-distributed federal CARES funding. 

Surprise leaders say other funding from the county and federal government has allowed them to adequately address the community’s needs, and they did not feel additional funding beyond 3% from the city’s portion ofCARES funding wasnecessary. 

Instead, city leaders plugged holes in its budget, including for spring training baseball.

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