Benting named acting president in DeLand

As the Village of DeLand’s $2.33 million water project wraps up, so does the tenure of George Long, who presided over his last meeting of the village board on Monday.

Long, who will move to Savoy this weekend, gave notice in April that his last meeting as village president would be in August.

Board member Todd Benting was voted as acting village president. Long had recommended Bill Schmidt for the post, but board members opted for Benting since he had filled that role before.

“I think Todd needs to have it. He has the experience,” said Matthew Karnes in making the motion to nominate Benting, who was approved on a 4-0 vote with two abstentions.

“I’ve done it before, so I already know what the job entails,” said Benting, who has been on the village board since 2012 and served as acting president between November of 2013 and May of 2015.

“I’m glad to do it again,” added the acting village president.

A contractor who has lived in DeLand for 18 years, Benting also served as village treasurer for a year prior to his current village board run.

Long had already been a village board member when he followed Benting as acting president of the village in 2015, then was elected as president two years later.

Although he called the job somewhat thankless, he was proud of DeLand residents for stepping up to help fund the water system upgrade.

“They stepped up when we had to implement the capital improvement fee of $35 a month, and I thought we’d have a lot more complaints than we did. If it wasn’t for the residents here we wouldn’t have the water project.”

That effort, which included drilling two wells into the Mahomet Aquifer five miles outside of town and piping water into the village, is nearly complete.

Engineer Christy Crites of Crawford, Murphy & Tilly told the board Monday that the system is up and running, with just small items remaining to completely wrap up the project.

“There is a light needed at the well. They have some labeling, a ladder that got damaged they need to do a little work to, and they have a lockable cover on the aerator tank that will limit access,” she said.

High capacity pumps for the new water tower are also on order and should be shipped Aug. 17. The existing pumps were having difficulty filling the new, larger tower. A temporary pump was installed, which will serve as a backup when the new ones arrive.

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