McIntosh looks to diversify business, grow community engagement in bid to serve Casper - Casper, WY Oil City News
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McIntosh looks to diversify business, grow community engagement in bid to serve Casper

(Photo courtesy of Michael McIntosh)

CASPER, Wyo. — Michael McIntosh is running for a Ward III seat on the Casper City Council. One seat is available this year. McIntosh was born in Casper and is a member of a large family.

“My parents raised twelve children here in Casper, and the majority of us are still here,” he says. “I started my first business in Casper at the age of 14, and was running two additional businesses while attending Kelly Walsh High School.”

McIntosh says he was “brought up knowing the importance of serving people” and that his decision to run for city council is a “natural progression” stemming from that up-bringing.

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“I have always been a very service-oriented person,” he says. “I’ve served on the boards of both Joshua’s Storehouse and Wyoming Housing Network, for example, and I have been active in The Rotary Club of Casper since 2008.”

“I started my business consulting work to help small business owners better manage their businesses, because I saw a need in the community.” Why [run] this year? Mainly because I found myself with a little more time on my hands than I have had in past years, and I truly believe that I can make a difference.”

McIntosh says his work experience includes time in the oil field, work in restaurants, retail and sales management, banking management and more.

“I have a degree in business with a focus on finance and accounting, and have many years’ experience running businesses,” he adds. “Currently, I run a business management consulting and tax business where I focus on the small businesses that are the backbone of our country, because I have a passion for supporting budding entrepreneurs.”

“I have very deep roots in the Casper community and have always done my best to be of service where I can. My wife, Sonalva, and I raised two children in Casper – Rebecca and Mikhail – and enjoyed watching them as they participated in music, theatre, writing, church, and other activities that gave them a stronger love for their community while they grew in their talents. Getting to raise my children in the same city where I was raised was truly a blessing.”

McIntosh says he would like to see Casper “maintain the closeness of a small town so we can continue to serve each other and encourage others to serve.”

“I would like to see Casper diversify in the types of businesses that we have here so that we do not have to rely so heavily on the energy industry to fuel our economy,” he adds. “I would love to see some manufacturing jobs come to Casper.”

“Most of all, I would like to see better communication and better participation in the way the local government is run. I believe in being an active listener, and encourage the citizens of Casper to voice their opinions on these pursuits; by putting our voices together, and striving for these missions together, we can make these goals a reality. This is our city, and we need to be active in making sure it stays our city.”

McIntosh points to the COVID-19 pandemic and says that the city “has its hands full trying to maintain basic services, while also balancing the health and safety of our citizens and the viability and strength of our local economy.” 

“Focusing on these as the major priorities will require significant financial maneuvering, which, fortunately, I have experience doing,” he adds. “We need to comb through the variety of projects that are currently at the beginning stages of implementation, and see if any of those could be put on hold in order to reallocate those funds for the basic, crucial services that have been cut.” 

“We also need to look at bringing more diverse businesses into our city, which will help us to better combat the ‘boom and bust’ cycles that have always been a part of life in Wyoming. The future of business has drastically changed over the years, and even more drastically just this
year. We need to be able to make adjustments quickly and not be afraid of change. We need to encourage non-profit organizations to help with more of the services that are needed, such as mental health, food pantries, and feral animal management, to name a few.”

He adds that the city may need to consider making temporary cuts to staff salaries to address the city’s financial outlook amid the pandemic and economic crisis.

“Another thing that should be looked at is the salaries of some of our public servants, and consider making temporary, minor cuts to help with the budget deficits,” McIntosh says. “The city should always be looking at ways to save the community money and be fiscally responsible with the budget, regardless of whether money is tight or not, and should always follow sound financial practices.”

“Additionally, I would like to see the city do more to involve the youth of the community in service as well as how the city is run. We are in an unprecedented time, and involving every citizen in the decision-making process is crucial as we work through the tough decisions that we need to
make.”

McIntosh points to the city’s new “unsafe structures” ordinance, which the city council passed in June, as an example of the importance of community engagement with council decisions. That ordinance initially contemplated making the rules apply to both renter-tenant situations as well as to homeowners. 

“I was happy to see that, after many comments from local homeowners, the council removed private residences from the ordinance they passed,” he said. “It was upsetting that private homes were included in that ordinance to begin with; thankfully, there were concerned citizens that made their voices heard, and who were finally listened to.”

“During those discussions, it did not seem to me that the council members were taking the people’s opinions seriously, which was truly disheartening to see. As council members, it is their responsibility to listen to the people and make decisions based on what the majority of citizens want, and not what the council members themselves want.”

McIntosh says that he’d like to see more citizens engaged in the city council’s process.

“I would like to see people be more aware of what is happening in the management of the city because it affects everyone,” he says. “I hear a lot of people who complain about what is happening, but they do not take the time to go to the meetings and voice their opinions, or they do not actually research to better understand what the ordinances actually say before being against or for something.”

“I have been guilty of this myself; I am a very busy person so it is easy to let others do that and hope that they do what is right. I hope to change that in myself and be more involved with the goings on of our city council, whether I become a council member or not.”

Another area where he would like to see some action is in regard to policing.

“I also see that we have issues with petty crimes, which have been linked to the drug problems in our community,” McIntosh says. “I would like to see the police department work with other law enforcement agencies and crack down even harder on the illegal drug trade in our community.”

“I would also like to see more avenues for those who have become addicted to illegal drugs to receive help to kick those habits. Finding ways for law enforcement and rehabilitation services to work together will be crucial for bettering this situation that has ravaged so many families in our city.”

McIntosh says that both of his children are artists. Because of this, he is “a big supporter of the arts, and have always enjoyed the many ways that the arts have been involved in our community.”

“If elected, I will do everything I can to continue to champion the many wonderful artists in our community, and help them to find ways to further enrich our wonderful city with their gifts,” he adds.

Candidates chosen to serve on the Casper City Council are elected to four year terms. McIntosh is running for the one seat available in Ward III. Candidates for the contests in each of Casper’s three wards are as follows (links to Oil City’s coverage of each of the candidates will be added as we complete those):

Casper’s Ward boundaries are available in a map online.

NOTE: Oil City has reached out to all city council candidates via email. We will provide profiles of each of the candidates in the order that we receive their responses.