Photo by Les Stukenberg.
Originally Published: August 31, 2017 5:57 a.m.
Once his term is finished in Dec. 2018, Prescott Valley Mayor Harvey Skoog said he’ll be retiring, citing his age and some health issues. Skoog said he’ll be 79 next year.
Appointed to the Prescott Valley Town Council in 1985, Skoog’s first term as mayor was from 1993 to 1998. One of the reasons he got involved in politics in the first place was out of a desire to reform the police department, Skoog said, commenting that when he moved to the area in 1982, Prescott Valley had about 3,000 people and a small police department which has grown over the years.
Following his first term, Skoog said he unsuccessfully ran for the stage legislature and wasn’t planning on running for mayor again. However, there was a recall election in 2004. He ran, was successful and has been mayor ever since, he said.
During his time as mayor, Skoog said he’s proud of how the public works department has gotten the town’s roads up to speed and that the town is in financially strong shape with a little more than $17 million in reserves and a bond debt that’s down about $40 million to $50 million, which is pretty good for a community of Prescott Valley’s size.
Skoog also said he takes pride in the employee pension plan. By the time a 20-year-old hire retires, they’ll have about $1 million put away for themselves, he said.
“That’s a good feeling,” Skoog said. “I want our employees not only to have a good time when they’re working here, but when they retire, they can retire.”
Looking back, there some things that could have been done differently, but the key is in looking forward and making progress, he said. The town has come a long way and continues to progress in its regional cooperation, Skoog said. Prescott Valley has been able to do quite a bit jointly with its neighbors and it’s nice to have good relationships with them, he said.
In his nearly 20 nonconsecutive years as Prescott Valley’s mayor, Skoog said he’s had a good run with a good council, outstanding staff and a really good community.
“Our community is kind of conservative and kind of religious and that suits me just fine,” he said. “I think as a mayor, I sometimes think I’m the luckiest mayor in the state. I talk to the other mayors and find out what they go through. Some have divided councils, some have staff issues … it’s not been perfect, we’re not a perfect government, but overall we’ve done a good job.”
Prescott Valley has had nine mayors, two of which have been recalled, Skoog said, mentioning the fact that the community is touchy about what the mayor does is a good thing. Whoever the mayor is, they should keep in mind who they work for, he said. The office belongs to and has to serve the community, Skoog said.
Once he retires, Skoog said he plans to be done with politics and wants to spend more time with his wife.