Councilman Asks: Is Smithfield A City Or Town ?

Dr. David Barbour asks town to either stick with ‘city’ or ‘town’ 

Newly elected Smithfield Town Councilman Dr. David Barbour had several questions this month during his first board meeting for Town Manager Mike Scott.

Barbour, who represents District 4 in West Smithfield, had one question Scott could not immediately answer. Is Smithfield a city or a town?

Councilman Barbour said he had read through the 181 page agenda packet for the January 2nd meeting and throughout the pages of documents and notes there were references by town staff calling Smithfield both a “city” and a “town”.  Barbour ask, “Are we a city or a town?”

Barbour said he would appreciate officials either sticking with “town” or “city” and not using both names in the city, or is it, town council agenda.

In an email to WTSB Town Manager Scott said, “The Town Charter is specific that the Town of Smithfield is a body politic and corporate and the name is the ‘Town of Smithfield.’”

“Originally the term “Town” in North Carolina was considered to be based on population and was something larger than a village but smaller than a city. Today however, the terms “city” and “town” are legally interchangeable. Therefore, all municipalities in North Carolina are covered by the same exact laws, regardless as to whether its charter designates it as a town or a city,” Scott said in his email.

Scott said he prefers the Town of Smithfield versus the City of Smithfield.

“I personally like the title of “Town” as to me it brings with it sense of community, family and continuity, neighbors helping neighbors and neighbors knowing neighbors. We have certainly witnessed this these last few days with the arrival of the cold weather and the snow, not unlike we saw during the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew just over one year ago.”

Councilman Barbour and Town Manager Scott may need to redo the green entrance signs coming into the Town of Smithfield. All say the Smithfield City Limits.

A similar name controversy occurred many years ago when US 301 through Smithfield was renamed Brightleaf Boulevard…. or is it Bright Leaf Boulevard?