ROCK SPRINGS — After eight years as mayor, Carl Demshar said he is proud of his accomplishments and is ready to move on.
“It’s been a great ride, let me tell you,” he said.
In April, he decided not to run for re-election, and on Monday his successor and predecessor, Tim Kaumo, will be sworn-in.
Demshar served the city as councilman from 2005 to 2011 and as mayor from 2011 to 2019.
On Thursday, Demshar sat down with the Rocket-Miner to talk about how the city has evolved during his tenure and his appreciation for serving the community.
Demshar said he plans to “decompress” for a year then figure out where to go from there.
Demshar retired from FMC Corp. in 2005 and served the city for the next 13 years, “so I’ve never been retired,” he said.
In the short-term he will be taking time off and traveling with his family, but added that he still enjoys politics and “the feeling I could help people.”
“Could there be political aspirations in the future? There could be,” he said. “I’m not closing that door completely.”
Demshar said he is proud of:
— Bringing national recognition to Rock Springs: “National recognition is an excellent indicator of success in programs you established and are trying to implement,” he said.
During Demshar’s tenure, the city won the Great American Main Street Award, made the top 20 to be featured on “Small Business Revolution — Main Street” and helped bring in the National High School Finals Rodeo.
— Improving relations: Demshar said he helped re-establish relationships between Sweetwater County commissioners, Green River, Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality, DEQ’s Abandoned Mine Land Division, and state legislators.
For example, he said improving relationships between the county and Green River played a role in attracting the National High School Finals Rodeo Association. He said representatives saw how well the local entities were getting along, which went a long way in them deciding to include Rock Springs in the rotation to host the event with Gillette and Lincoln, Nebraska.
— Downtown redevelopment: Demshar said his vision for downtown was to make it look like when he was a kid when it was an area where residents would come down and talk face to face.
“Before the advent of social media and cellphones, the primary form of communication was face to face,” he said.
Through creating new events and activities, “I think we’re starting to get that sense of community back. Main Street/Urban Renewal Agency Manager Chad Banks, the URA’s board members and volunteers have done “a marvelous job in the downtown redevelopment efforts,” Demshar said.
— Working as a team: Demshar said he is proud of how city workers operate together.
“I’m a firm believer in the team concept,” he said. “I’ve always tried to maintain the team concept with the council.”
The City Council along with department heads helped the city battle through declining sales and use tax revenue over the past few years. He said it would have been easy to justify that the city needed to lay off 30 to 35 people in order to help balance the budget. Instead, people sat down and figured out what do to figure out costs without affecting current employees. The department heads did a great job in figuring it out, he said.
The city government’s role is to act as a steward for taxpayer money and do the best job it can to provide services with minimal disruption, Demshar said.
Demshar expressed his appreciation to:
— Rock Springs City Council members: He praised them for for their dedication to the city and working through difficult times.
Everyone may not have agreed on everything, Demshar said, “but the decisions that we made were the decisions that were the best for the citizens and city in general.”
— Department heads: They mayor said they also demonstrated commitment.
“They responded to the challenges during the downturn,” he said.
— Family: The family put in as much of a commitment as the person in office, if not more, Demshar said.
“I thank them for what they did in allowing me to be in politics in general,” he said.
— Rock Springs residents: “I thank citizens for allowing me the opportunity to serve as their mayor for these last eight years,” he said.
ROCK SPRINGS FUTURE
With a turbulent stock market and declining oil prices, Demshar said it is tough to predict the future of the community.
“A lot of it will depend on the economic situation,” he said. “It’s really hard to tell.”
As for the present, Demshar said he is “happy with where we are and what we accomplished.”
“(As) I look back, I don’t know if I would change anything that I did,” he added.