Funds will be utilized for wastewater treatment plant and water/sewer lines.
With the signing of the state budget into law on Thursday, the Town of Benson is set to receive more than $22 million to upgrade and rehabilitate several key areas of town infrastructure.
The funds — $22,733,700 in total — represent nearly two years of planning, extensive assessments, and work from town staff, elected officials, and local representatives to ensure Benson’s needs as a growing town in a growing county were met with adequate funds to enact change and prepare for a future of increased population and commerce.
“What you’re looking at, essentially, is a town with an operating budget of $13 million receiving $22 million to really make a difference,” said Benson Mayor Jerry Medlin on Friday.
The funds will be utilized to expand Benson’s wastewater treatment plant and rehabilitate/replace water and sewer lines throughout town. The focus on these systems has been a top priority for Public Utilities Director Tim Robbins for nearly his entire career with the Town of Benson and with the newly approved funding, much needed expansion can finally become a reality, he said.
“To me, this represents exactly how things are supposed to work,” explained Robbins. “Needs were identified and detailed and the funds were requested and approved. This is a huge thing for the Town of Benson because it gets the ball rolling in finally meeting the challenges of a growing community.”
Robbins noted the positive impact the funds will have on Benson’s sewer treatment capacity and water system improvements — things that are on the frontline of expansion when dealing with incoming residential and commercial interests, in addition to better serving the industry and residents the town already has.
“This is about being prepared for growth, about having the capacity and infrastructure for future generations,” continued Robbins, adding that the recent funding will set into motion an improved process for dealing with infrastructure demands in Benson, “This is a major step forward in being prepared for what the future holds.”
Both Robbins and Mayor Medlin credited local officials Senator Brent Jackson and Representative Larry Strickland for ensuring Benson’s needs were represented in the upcoming budget cycle.
“This is local government working at its best,” said Mayor Medlin. “We brought our needs to them and they listened and made sure we were in the budget. We are so thankful for our representatives Sen. Jackson and Rep. Strickland and what they have done for our town.”
“This is such great news for the future of Benson,” added Town Manager Fred Nelson. “It’s no secret that we are growing and with these funds we can begin to prepare for this growth in a very meaningful and sustained way — with an eye on even more growth and expansion in the coming years.”
Work on Benson’s infrastructure using state funds will likely begin early next year, said Robbins.