Blog Posts Tagged ‘prescott’

Alison Zelms

Deputy City Manager
City of Prescott

Alison Zelms - Prescott

Many city or town employees have positions that require them to “wear many hats” in their day-to-day responsibilities. For some, the idea of taking on multiple projects and job titles could seem overwhelming. But Prescott Deputy City Manager Alison Zelms knows a thing or two about variety and tackles multiple projects like a pro.

Having grown up on Air Force bases around the world as a child, Zelms had the opportunity to move to different places, see the world and gain perspective. She spent time in West Germany and saw first-hand the vast differences in lifestyle from each side of the Berlin Wall. It was her experience witnessing West and East Berlin that inspired her interest in the importance and daily impact of public policy.

Taking these early-learned passions, Zelms went on to receive her bachelor’s degree and Master in Public Administration. During graduate school at the University of Arkansas, she began her work in local government, starting at the state’s Bureau of Labor Market Information. From there she became an assistant to the city manager in University Park, Texas, followed by a position in Evanston, Illinois as management analyst in charge of a $175 million operating budget.

Alison was brought to Arizona through an assistant city manager position with the City of Sedona. It was there that she honed her skills in multi-tasking as she oversaw the finance, economic planning, information technology, arts and culture, communications and public works departments. She also started the City of Sedona’s first intergovernmental relations program, serving as their legislative liaison in addition to her regular duties.

In December, Alison celebrated four years of service with the City of Prescott. Drawing on her experience in legislative work from Scottsdale, one of her “many hats” in Prescott also includes serving as the city’s intergovernmental affairs liaison. Within this role, she monitors legislation, develops the city’s annual legislative policy with the city council and communicates the city’s positions during the legislative session. Multitasking is essential for Zelms and any “part-time intergov,” whose full-time positions only offer them minimal time to work on legislative issues, as she is also responsible for oversight of seven operational areas and is engaged in budget development, personnel management, policy implementation and day-to-day operations.

Zelms thrives in the variety of her multi-faceted position. Though it can be a challenge to cover so much ground, she appreciates the combination of broad supervisory duties and leadership on complex policy issues, in addition to continuous education on new issues and making new connections between people and topics.

“This position is never boring,” said Zelms. “There are always opportunities for even small gains to be made in gaining an audience for an issue or creating solutions.”

Downtown Prescott: From Territorial Capital to Community Gathering Place

A birds-eye view of Downtown Prescott.  Photo from the City of Prescott

A birds-eye view of Downtown Prescott. Photo from the City of Prescott

In the center of Prescott’s picturesque downtown area is the historic tree-lined Yavapai County Courthouse Plaza, around which the town was designed and built.  Known as the “jewel” of downtown Prescott, the plaza is a majestic, man-made urban forest in the heart of a historic commercial district. For more than 140 years it has served as a gathering place for celebrations, commemorations, campaign kick-offs, concerts, movies, and festivals.

Yavapai County Courthouse in Downtown Prescott.  Photo from the City of Prescott.

Yavapai County Courthouse in Downtown Prescott. Photo from the City of Prescott.

Adjoining the courthouse plaza are fine establishments including a large assortment of locally owned and operated bars, breweries, coffee shops, restaurants, art galleries and museums.  The main street in town, Montezuma Street, includes a one block historic area known as “Whiskey Row,” the town’s center of recreation during the early days of the wild west, when cowboys, miners, gamblers and brawlers reigned over the cluster of rustic saloons and put the “wild” in Wild West.

The Wild West will always be part of Downtown Prescott.  Photo from the City of Prescott

The Wild West will always be part of Downtown Prescott. Photo from the City of Prescott

The City of Prescott's famous Whiskey Row.  Photo from the City of Prescott

The City of Prescott’s famous Whiskey Row. Photo from the City of Prescott

City of Prescott Receives WIFA 2014 Clean Water Project of the Year Award


The Water Infrastructure Finance Authority of Arizona (WIFA) selected the City of Prescott to receive WIFA’s 2014 Clean Water Project of the Year award. WIFA will present the award during the City of Prescott Council Meeting on Tuesday afternoon.

The 2014 Clean Water Project of the Year was for the Airport Water Reclamation Facility Expansion, a $42 million infrastructure project to expand treatment capacity to accommodate current and near-term needs of the community. Prior to the upgrade, the facility’s technology and design limited the Prescott’s ability to support a higher level of treatment and capacity. The expansion and renovation project began in November 2012 and was recently brought online. The City of Prescott now has the ability to treat increased future wastewater flows and produce more Class A+ reclaimed water.

The WIFA Board of Directors selected the project for award based on Prescott’s focus on fiscal sustainability, exceptional project management, and commitment to improving Arizona’s quality of life through wastewater infrastructure upgrades.

“Treating wastewater to a Class A+ level allows for Prescott to reuse the water for beneficial purposes, such as irrigating sports fields, golf courses, and commercial landscapes, restoring riparian habitats and recharging groundwater aquifers,” said WIFA Board Chairman Henry Darwin, who is also Director of the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality. “The City of Prescott is to be commended for successfully completing this project, which protects water quality for Arizonans.”

Planning for such an extensive and important project involved anticipating system users’ future needs and demands, as well as setting user rates appropriately. This foresight and planning allowed Prescott to complete this essential infrastructure improvement project effectively and efficiently.

“City of Prescott staff was exceptionally well-organized and managed this massive project with impressive skill,” said WIFA Executive Director, Sandy Sutton. “We’re very pleased to acknowledge their achievements and hard work with this award.”

WIFA is a state agency dedicated to protecting public health and promoting environmental quality through financial assistance for water and wastewater infrastructure. WIFA offers funding for drinking water, wastewater and stormwater projects designed to ensure safe, reliable drinking water and proper wastewater treatment. Over the last 25 years, WIFA has invested over $2 billion in Arizona’s communities.

City of Prescott Utility Billing Crew

Prescott- Utility Billing

Many times, a resident’s main interaction with their city or town will involve making a  telephone call or taking a trip to a city facility to pay a bill. In the City of Prescott, there are five women who make sure this is always a pleasant experience for their residents.

The City of Prescott’s Utility Billing Crew is made up of four employees and a supervisor. Becky, Denise, Janne, Kim and Patty make themselves available all day, every day, to explain the services Prescott offers. They help residents set up accounts, let them know what can be done if there is a billing problem and explain how to look for water leaks.

Citizens who may be grumpy about their bills are welcomed with the kind, patient and compassionate voices on the other end of the phone. The Utility Billing Crew helps them through their problems; even offering staff to help find solutions to water overuse issues and leak detection. A smile can be heard in their voices, as well as seen on each of their faces daily.