Master's Degree, Special Education Curriculum and Instruction, National Louis University
Bachelor's Degree, Special Education, University of Wisconsin - Whitewater
High School, Marian Central Catholic High School
Retired Special Education Teacher
Bethany Murgatroyd, 42
On the Record
What experiences do you have that make you a good candidate for office?
I have served my community as Mayor for the past ten years. I served as Alderman of Ward 3 for four years prior to being elected Mayor. During my first two years as an appointed Mayor, elected by the city council to serve the remainder of Pam Althoff’s term, I continued to serve as Alderman of Ward 3. This unique experience allowed me to gain a great understanding of the role of the Aldermen in addition to my role as Mayor. I have served on many boards and committees over the years and developed strong leadership and communication skills through those experiences.
What are your top two or three priorities if elected?
1>Economic Development. Retaining our current businesses as well as attracting new ones to our community. Maintaining a strong commercial and retail base while continuing to attract and accommodate new business has always been a top priority. 2>Downtown Revitalization. McHenry is unique in that it has three distinct businesses districts in our historic downtown. The Fox River provides a natural connection between the Green Street and Riverside Drive businesses. Our train station is located in the Main Street district. Making our downtown more accessible by boat and making it more pedestrian friendly with our Riverwalk will help us to become a destination. We are the Heart of Fox River. 3>Overall quality of life. By developing strong partnerships with our other taxing bodies, the Chamber of Commerce, our service organizations, and our Veteran’s organizations, there is always something to do in McHenry, either at no cost, or affordable cost to our residents and our guests. Through our Parks and Recreation department we need to continue to expand the recreational opportunities we offer our residents. Coming together in good times has led to an environment of support and concern for each other during bad times. This is what makes us a “community”, not just a town.
Would you support freezing your taxing district’s levy until housing prices rebound? Why or why not?
Our levy has been frozen for the past three years. We are very cognizant of the burden taxing districts can place on residents by increasing their levy each year. Even though we are now home rule, we continue to follow PTELL guidelines even though we are not required to. Part of our annual review of city finances has to take into consideration the cost of city services and the cost of things that are not within our control. I believe the responsible thing to do is make this decision on an annual basis.
What one decision by the city council do you most disagree with and why?
I admire anyone who is willing to serve their community. I also respect the decisions that they are called upon to make. We are elected to represent a constituency and make decisions on their behalf that we feel are in the best interest of our community. That is why there is a process. That is why we are presented with different points of view. While we may not always agree, our council always respects that process and I applaud them for that.
What was the biggest accomplishment of the board in the past year?
Continued fiscal responsibility. We have maintained a balanced budget. We did not increase our levy. We have utilized partnerships with other taxing bodies, as well as with neighboring communities to maximize our efficiency while maintaining the high level of services that our residents have come to expect. We partner with other entities whenever possible. Because of this we are still able to offer our residents things like weekly band concerts in the park, Fireworks, and holiday decorations that enhance our town.
Why should voters elect you to office?
I love McHenry. I am so proud to serve as Mayor. I am a third generation born and raised resident . I truly care about how we develop as a community. While growth is inevitable, we have managed to maintain the hometown feeling that I have enjoyed in McHenry all of my life. I am a retired Special Education teacher, having taught for 33 years. In the 12 years that I have served on city council I have only missed one council meeting, and that was when I traveled to Florida to accept our first national CALEA accreditation with our police department. I now devote full time to my job as Mayor and I am an active participant in our community. I believe that I have a great understanding of our town and what makes it so desirable to live, work, and play here. If voters re-elect me they will continue to have a full time Mayor.