Originally Published: September 5, 2018 9:56 p.m.
Even though the area needs more affordable housing and higher-paying jobs, Prescott Valley officials seemed to be in agreement Wednesday regarding the town’s overall appeal.
“More and more people are moving here. More and more people want to live in Prescott Valley,” Richard Parker, PV’s longtime community development director, said at the semi-annual “Manager’s Smorgas-board” presentation held Wednesday morning at the Prescott Valley Library.
Parker was among a handful of town officials making short presentations at the meeting, which drew a crowd of about 40 local movers and shakers, including current town council members, Mayor-elect Kell Paguda and three other newly elected town councilors slated to take office in January.
Town Manager Larry Tarkowski kicked off the meeting by thanking outgoing Mayor Harvey Skoog for his “many contributions” to Prescott Valley. Skoog did not seek re-election and is retiring at the end of his current term.
“You’ve provided a steady hand on the tiller,” Tarkowski told the mayor, who then spoke briefly himself, thanking his fellow council members and city staff for making his many years of public service “so enjoyable.”
“We’ve had a good council and we’ve got a lot done,” Skoog said. He also gave a tip of his hat to town staff, calling PV’s various departments “smooth-running and rock-solid.”
During his comments, Skoog said Prescott Valley needs to make a stronger effort to attract higher-paying jobs.
“We’ve been getting them but we need more,” the mayor said. “The average family here now needs to make about $70,000 a year just to be able to afford to pay the mortgage on a house.”
The area’s rising cost of living was also addressed by Parker, who noted the PV’s median home price has climbed to $265,000. “That’s a big hurdle to homeownership for most people,” he said. “I remember when you could buy a real nice house in Prescott Valley for $50,000 or $60,000.”
Noting that he sees “at least 15 or 20 out-of-state license plates” on his drive into work every morning, Parker said Prescott Valley also needs at least 500 more individual new apartments “just to meet current pent-up demand.”
Other PV officials making short presentations at the meeting included Ben Hooper, economic development coordinator and Casey Danner, IT manager. In his introduction of Danner, Tarkowski gave kudos to PV’s cyber-security expert: “Clearly, you are doing your job because there was no Russian interference in our recent election.”
Dan Streeter, Humboldt Unified School District superintendent, also provided a brief update on Yavapai County’s largest school district’s most recent initiatives and enrollment numbers. HUSD currently serves some 5,700 students, down by about 100 students from 2017.
“This is a pretty transient area and we have a lot of kids that move around from school to school,” Streeter said.
The meeting agenda noted the goal of the Manager’s Smorgas-board was to “exchange information and ideas between the citizenry, town council and town staff (resulting in) a more informed partnership between members of the community and town government.”
At one point during Wednesday morning’s session, Tarkowski asked Mayor-elect Paguda if he would like to address the gathering.
“I’m just happy to be here,” Paguda said. “I want to build off of what Mayor Skoog has done.”