CASPER, Wyo. — Election season is underway and Oil City News has sent a list of questions to each candidate seeking office in Natrona County who has filed to run in the primary election in August.
These questions are designed to give our readers a better understanding of the people behind the names on the ballot. Below, get to know Paul Bertoglio, who is running for reelection to a four-year seat on the Natrona County Commission:
1. Who are you? (Name, where you’re from, employment, hobbies, etc.)
My name is Paul Bertoglio. I was born and raised in Deer Lodge, Montana. After graduating from college with a Petroleum Engineering degree, I moved to Casper in 1981 and saw the highs of the oil boom and the lows of the bust in 1986 that sent me away. The desire to be independent of the corporate life and the ability to enjoy life with my family brought me back to Casper in 1995. Since returning, I have spent most of my professional career as a co-owner in several oilfield companies. In my free time, I enjoy golfing, yard work, gardening and especially spending time with my four grandkids.
2. Why have you decided to run for office and what do you hope to accomplish should you be elected?
I want to continue to work with our legislators, the Department of Revenue, and the County Commissioners Association to come up with workable solutions to the soaring property taxes. Also, I want to continue working on several key projects that will have long-term positive repercussions on Natrona County’s citizens. These projects include a new County Health building and the library. Both pose funding problems, but with careful planning, should not cost the citizens of Natrona County any additional taxes. Finally, this current economic environment creates challenges that need to be carefully navigated, and my experience and knowledge is of value to the BOCC.
3. How do you plan on accomplishing your goals?
On the issue of property taxes, the knowledge all the commissioners have gained through the process of the Board of Equalization hearing gives us a unique perspective of how the deck is stacked against the taxpayer. We will all be sharing our ideas of what can and should be changed with our legislators and the Department of Revenue who writes the rules. Concerning fiscal issues, one of the keys to accomplishing these goals is the passage of a constitutional amendment that will be on the general ballot in November. This amendment would allow local government to invest cash reserves like what the state does with the Permanent Mineral Trust Fund and pension dollars. For Natrona County, this would mean the proceeds the county received from the sale of the Wyoming Medical Center could be invested with professional money managers with limitations set forth by the state legislature. The returns the county would receive under this scenario would allow for funding of a large project like the library. In addition, the returns would give the Commissioners more flexibility in dealing with other fiscal challenges and not have us rely so much on the legislature for funding.
4. What experience do you have that qualifies you for the office you are seeking?
I have been in the trenches of local government for over 20 years in both City Councilman and County Commissioner roles, serving three times as the Mayor of Casper and currently the Chairman of the Board of County Commissioners. In the past four years, I participated in hundreds of hours of taxpayer appeals, the sale of the Wyoming Medical Center, and successfully help navigate the county through the COVID pandemic.
5. Do you feel you could be a good steward with taxpayer dollars? Why or why not?
I have a proven track record of being a fiscal conservative. Focusing on needs rather than wants and ensuring the basic purposes of local government are met. I have voted no many times on expenditures when I felt they were too expensive or were simply a waste of taxpayer dollars.
6. On the issue of transparency, where do you stand on ensuring all public business is conducted openly and in a manner that encourages public attendance?
I believe the public has a right to know what their elected officials are doing. All discussions need to meet the Open Meetings laws, and the public needs to know they can speak to us on any issue.
7. How have you made your office or board more transparent and open with the public?
As the Chairman of the Board of County Commissioners, I have sought to have the public feel they are free to engage the commissioners at our meetings and tell anyone they can give me a call. Often at our meetings, I will let citizens speak outside of what our rules dictate.
8. If you were presiding over a meeting and a topic was being discussed that you didn’t fully understand, would you ask for a more detailed explanation during the meeting or would you seek the information after the meeting?
On any issue, I try to be prepared. If I don’t understand and a more detailed explanation leaves some questions unresolved, I will typically recommend the topic be tabled in order to have additional information be provided before making any decision.
9. Should you be elected, or reelected, do you plan on seeking any major policy changes in your chosen office? If yes, what would those changes be? If no, why not?
Currently, I do not see the need for any major policy changes. There are challenges such as property taxes that we need to press harder with our legislators, but in general, the county is functioning well.
10. Is there anything the above questions didn’t ask that you would like to comment on?
One of the things I have been most proud of is bringing civility to the public discourse — something that is sorely lacking at both federal and state levels. It is the issue you are debating and not the person.
NOTE: All primary candidates who filed to run for the Natrona County Commission were sent questionnaires at the same time and Oil City News will publish responses in the order they are received. Candidate responses are only edited for clarity and style.
If you are a candidate and did not see the questionnaire in your inbox, please email email@example.com. Oil City News sent questionnaires to Natrona County candidates running in the primary for municipal, county office or a seat in the Wyoming Legislature based on email addresses shared by the Natrona County Clerk’s Office; if you would prefer the questionnaire sent to a different address, please let us know.