Rolando Carrillo -- employee recognition

Rolando Carrillo, left, a 25-year employee with the city of Benson, is presented with a certificate of appreciation plaque by Benson Mayor Joe Konrad at Monday's city council meeting in recognition of his years with the city. 

BENSON — Rolando Carrillo, a 25-year employee with the city of Benson, was recognized for his years of service at Monday’s city council meeting.

The meeting started with Carrillo’s recognition, followed by approval of one agenda item.

Carrillo has lived in Benson his whole life and is a 1994 graduate of Benson High School.

“I started out by working for the city’s water department for 19 years and have been supervisor of the wastewater plant for the past six years,” Carrillo said in a brief interview prior to the meeting. “I’ve really enjoyed working for the city and have learned a lot through my employment here.”

Benson Mayor Joe Konrad presented Carrillo with a 25-year plaque in recognition for his service.

“Rolando (Carrillo) has been employed with the city of Benson since July 1, 1996, where he started as a laborer,” Konrad said. “Rolando has been an integral part of the city of Benson utility department. Today he is supervisor of the wastewater plant and has received many thank you letters from city residents for his ‘above-and-beyond’ approach toward his job.

“His co-workers speak very highly of him, and he’s the one they always respect and admire for his dedication to the job. Thank you, Rolando, for your 25 years of service with the city of Benson.”

When accepting the plaque, Carrillo noted that 25 years may seem like a long time, but it’s been a busy time.

“We’ve done a lot during my time with the city,” he said. “It’s been fun and I’ve learned a lot.”

Council authorized $71,500 for Sunrise Engineering to proceed with design services for a UV replacement at the wastewater treatment plant.

Public works engineer Brad Hamilton said the UV system at the plant is more than 20 years old, and is outdated and failing.

Hamilton said it’s extremely difficult to get parts for the system, and even technical help is challenging.

The $71,500 project has been included in the budget and was approved by council.

Linda Whiteley addressed the council during the meeting’s call to the public with a complaint about the city’s failure to place her on the agenda after she had requested it.

Whiteley had an accident at the traffic light in front of the Benson Walmart in November 2020, and is urging the city to require Arizona Department of Transportation to install turn arrows for traffic in all directions at the light. The arrow installation is the issue she wants placed on the agenda.

“When Ms. Whitely contacted me about this issue, I informed her it was under the jurisdiction of ADOT, and that she would have to contact them,” City Manager Vicki Vivian said. “However, the mayor and I are looking into the issue, we have spoken to ADOT, and are awaiting their reply.”

While she lives somewhat close to Benson, Whiteley does not live within the city limits, but claims Benson as her “adopted town.”

She also questioned the city’s decision to award $3,000 to nonprofit Benson Clean & Beautiful for a car show the organization is holding, while the city does not support the local radio station with advertising dollars. Whiteley noted that Benson is fortunate to have a local radio station and believes it warrants city support.

CAVE 97.7 FM Radio is managed by Paul Lotsof, who attends and records the council meetings.

“Your radio station is your first line of defense in terms of an emergency ... ” said Whiteley, who spoke well beyond the meeting’s five-minute call to the public limit.

She suggested that the town should sponsor a (radio) program to keep “we the people” informed. Whiteley commented on a number of issues she hoped the city would address until Konrad intervened by placing a time limit on her call to the public.

Following Whiteley’s comments, Vivian refuted some of the issues she had with the city, including her dissatisfaction in how she claimed to be treated by Vivian.

In her response to council, Vivian said she has exchanged multiple emails with Whiteley, and all have been both professional and courteous. In addition, those emails have been forwarded to the mayor and council.

“The council and Ms. Whiteley will be informed of ADOT’s decision after we hear from them,” Vivian said. “Again, this issue does not fall under the city’s jurisdiction. Changes at the light will need to be made by ADOT.”

The public is reminded that starting in July, Benson City Council will be meeting once every month instead of twice monthly.

Meetings will be held on the second Monday of every month, with the next regularly scheduled council meeting on July 12 at 7 p.m. in Council Chambers, 599 S. Dragoon St.

“The only exception to the meeting schedule will be when we call special meetings,” Vivian said.