Few people in Prescott Valley are as familiar with or have had more of a hand in the community’s direction than current Mayor Harvey Skoog, who will retire in December after 19 years in the mayor’s seat and 26 total years of service on the Town Council.
Mayor Skoog began serving on the Town Council in April 1984. He then served for five years as mayor, from March 1993 to January 1998. His current run as mayor began when he won a recall election in November 2004. He was re-elected three times, making his tenure a total of approximately 14 consecutive years as mayor.
He has seen Prescott Valley grow to a current estimated population of nearly 46,000. When he looks back on his years of service, he talks about some of the accomplishments he’s most proud of, but he certainly doesn’t take the credit for himself.
“To be truthful, there is little if any great thing that I can personally claim,” he said. “Every accomplishment can be traced back to an outstanding staff that did all the work and our very positive Town Council that guided an effective and positive policy-making process. Another important factor is the encouragement, suggestions and support of our citizens.”
- Prescott Valley grew from 1,520 residents in 1978 to approximately 46,000 on its 40th anniversary in 2018. It is now the largest municipality in Yavapai County and has the youngest population.
- Prescott Valley’s crime rate is the lowest of any Northern Arizona municipality.
- Private and public sector employment in Prescott Valley is about 16,000.
- In 1989, the town had about 240,000 square feet of commercial space. This grew to 4.4 million square feet in 2018. Sales tax revenue for the same period went from $915,342 to $22.8 million.
- As of May 2018, the town was growing at the rate of 50 to 60 new homes per month, plus duplexes, triplexes and apartment-house complexes.
- In the mid-90s, Prescott Valley completed the largest improvement district in the state’s history, giving the Town a communitywide sewer and natural gas system.
- An up-to-date water system serves every family in town.
- The community boasts the 5,200-seat Prescott Valley Event Center, which can seat nearly 7,000 for concerts and rallies.
- A 14-screen Harkins Theatre is here for the enjoyment of our residents.
- Several hiking trails have been added, including the Iron King Trail and the Glassford Summit Trail.
- Prescott Valley has 28 beautiful parks, including a community swimming pool, numerous ball fields, fishing, gold panning, walking paths and more, providing enjoyment for families, seniors and children.
- A twice-a-year Citizens Academy shares the details of government operations with residents.
- Police officers, staff and volunteers provide people with outstanding police service and continued high safety, along with providing a Citizens Police Academy and a new Youth Police Academy.
- The Prescott Valley Chamber of Commerce promotes knowledge by providing a Business Academy and overall support for the businesses in Prescott Valley.
- Advanced-degree programs are offered by a joint Northern Arizona University and Yavapai College effort. Yavapai College has added expanded facilities, learning programs and academic opportunities.
- Medical services include the excellent Yavapai Regional Medical Center, the award-winning Mountain Valley Rehabilitation Hospital, the Yavapai Guidance Clinic, plus a myriad of medical clinics, dental offices and other health services.
Mayor Skoog is quick to point out the growing community has not been without its challenges through the years. Growth has provided its own obstacles in water and wastewater management, affordable housing, infrastructure and jobs. The recession that began in 2007 necessitated a hiring freeze and deep budget cuts. Prescott Valley has faced all of these challenges with sound financial practices, innovation and the collective wisdom and skills of its citizens.
As he steps down, Mayor Skoog typically does not rest on past accomplishments. He outlines the issues Prescott Valley still must continue with or strive for. Among them are continued infrastructure upgrades, job opportunities, sound financial audits with a fiscal reserve of 25 percent of the Town’s budget, workforce development and education, preservation of water and open space resources, entertainment opportunities and civic engagement, especially with the younger demographic.
He is quick to thank all who have supported him through 26 years on the Council or as mayor of this still-burgeoning community.