Republican Scott Mangold wants more Powell representation on the Park County commissioner’s board.
“It’d be good to give a voice not only to municipalities but to eastern Park County,” he said.
With only hours remaining before the deadline to file for this fall’s commissioner race, Mangold decided to make his move.
“I got a bunch of phone calls from Republicans in the area who encouraged me to file because no one else had filed and wanted a choice,” Mangold said. “I was sort of hesitant because the City of Powell has a balanced budget so to go to a place that doesn’t have a balanced budget is sort of crazy.”
Mangold was Powell mayor from 2004-2012 and currently sits on the Powell City Council. After stepping back from politics following his mayorship, Mangold felt the urge to serve once more when the late Powell Mayor Don Hillman died in 2017. Hillman’s departure left an open city council seat to which Mangold was appointed. He was elected by the voters to his current seat in 2018.
The county’s current budget struggles remind Mangold of a time when Wyoming’s municipalities were hurting around eight years ago. Now the budget is much improved.
“We kept fighting and clawing for a balanced budget,” he said. “Maybe I can help out in that direction if elected.”
Mangold said he would relish the challenge fixing the budget may bring. Although the commissioners recently completed an improved budget for the upcoming fiscal year with more than $2 million in carryover funding, the economic downturn will almost certainly spell decreasing revenues for the county in the long term.
“It almost turned out to be the perfect storm,” Mangold said, “with coal departing, the downturn in oil and gas, now with the pandemic. It’s just everything going against dollars into the county.
“It’s going to be very difficult so (I’d) do our best to cut and still make it a great place to live.”
Mangold said he is leaning toward supporting a fifth penny tax but is not familiar enough with the county’s budget picture to take a stance at this time.
He did say county employees should not be given raises in the form of cost of living adjustments until the economic picture clears. The commissioners recently approved one-time bonuses for employees.
As mayor, Mangold was elected vice president of the Wyoming Association of Municipalities.
He said the commissioners of years past could have done a better job planning for the long term in their support for municipalities.
“I could contribute a little bit on city talk,” Mangold said. “Being a part of municipalities, I could help people who actually live inside of (cities) and give a voice to people who live inside of Meeteetse and inside of Powell, and open up communications with the municipalities.”
Specifically, he said certain decisions regarding the Park County Fairgrounds could have better served the interests of the City of Powell.
Also, in 2014, Powell opted to transport its municipal solid waste to Billings, costing the county expected revenue from this service. Mangold said better communication between the municipality and county could have avoided this move. He said Powell spends more than $500,000 a year on the transport costs alone.
“Things just sort of broke down,” he said.
Mangold said, vice versa, he could help municipalities include the county more on decisions.
He has served on the Boys and Girls Club board of directors, is a Trapper Club booster, and has been an Elks Club member for more than 30 years. He has been a sports broadcaster for KPOW for 40 years and is now a co-owner at the station.
If elected, Mangold would be the first City of Powell resident on the commissioners’ board since Larry Hedderman who served from 1990-1994. Former commissioner Tim French does not live in city limits.
Mangold will be running against challenger Ted Smith and incumbents Lee Livingston and Jake Fulkerson.