Mangold hopes to represent eastern Park County on commission

Posted 7/14/20

Scott Mangold says it was the very last day of the candidate filing period that his phone began ringing off the hook.

“I had a lot of these Park County Republicans calling me up and saying, …

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Mangold hopes to represent eastern Park County on commission

Posted

Scott Mangold says it was the very last day of the candidate filing period that his phone began ringing off the hook.

“I had a lot of these Park County Republicans calling me up and saying, ‘Well, we only have a couple of incumbents [running for the county commission] and there’s nobody from eastern Park County that have put their name in,’” Mangold recalled.

It took some persuading, but the former Powell mayor and current city councilman decided to make a bid for the Park County Commission. He and fellow Republican Ted Smith of Cody are challenging incumbent commissioners Jake Fulkerson of Cody and Lee Livingston of Wapiti in the Aug. 18 primary election. The commission currently consists of three Cody area residents, with one from Wapiti and another from Clark.

“I think that, if we just have one from eastern Park County at least … it could help quite a bit — you know, open up the communications a little bit,” Mangold said. He’s felt that the municipalities of Powell, Cody and Meeteetse have been overlooked by the commission in the past.

Mangold knows communication, as the co-owner of the Powell radio station KPOW (1260 AM) and as an award-winning broadcaster best known as the voice of Powell’s athletic teams.

Mangold served as mayor from 2004 to 2012, then rejoined the city government as a councilman in 2017; he’s in the middle of a four-year term on the Powell City Council.

Mangold, 63, has also been involved with the Powell Elks Lodge, the Powell Athletic Roundtable, the Trapper Booster Club, the former Park County Boys and Girls Club board and local Jaycees.

He sees the county budget as the big issue facing the commission. Between oil and gas activity sinking (along with the associated tax revenue) and the COVID-19 pandemic “it’s a perfect storm,” he said.

“Money is going to be a big issue in Park County,” Mangold said. “And how can Park County itself survive or maybe not lose so many services? I don’t want to see a lot of the law enforcement cut, I don’t want to see them closing bridges and I don’t want to see them cutting roads.”

In the newly approved budget, commissioners slashed funding for local nonprofits and the county’s parks and recreation board, while several positions have been left vacant. And yet the 2020-21 budget still calls for dipping into reserves.

“What [is] the next part that’s going to be cut?” Mangold asked. “I mean, they can’t keep going into reserve with their money. They’re going to need something coming in.”

The county and Powell, Cody and Meeteetse leaders are asking voters to approve a 1% general purpose sales tax in November to boost funding. Mangold said Park County may need the money more than the municipalities.

“Powell has a balanced budget where we can run ours and we’ve learned how to deal with the tough times and got through it,” he said.

Mangold also would like to see if there’s a way to have the City of Powell’s garbage return to the county’s landfill system. When the county stopped accepting large amounts of household waste at the Powell landfill in 2012 — and after a bitter disagreement with commissioners over rates — the city built a transfer station and now takes the trash to Billings, where rates are cheaper. The city says it’s saving roughly $120,000 a year versus Cody.

However, “I’d like to see maybe opening up that conversation again,” said Mangold. He wants to know if local leaders can find a way to bring the roughly $350,000 a year that the city now pays to Billings back to Park County — and potentially bring down rates for everyone.

He also wants to support events in eastern Park County. For instance, the fair is “one of the big events in Powell; it’s one of the big events in Cody,” Mangold said, but during the commission’s recent budget discussions, he said “it seemed, ‘Wow, it’s a big party. It’s a big celebration. It’s something we can cut out.’”

To win, Mangold will need to at least hold his own in the more populous Cody area. He said he’s already visited with some business owners in downtown Cody, listening to their concerns and “just getting the message out who I am — and for them not to be afraid of a Powell person.” The distrust between the two cities is one of the things “we’ve got to get rid of — except in football,” he quipped.

While the two areas are different, “we have the same idea, the same end goal in place to make Park County the best place to live,” he said.

Election 2020

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