The Smithfield Town Council has increased water and sewer rates across the board.
In response to concerns from the NC Local Government Commission (LGC) about the financial stability of the Water and Sewer Fund, the town council discussed in January a rate hike. Town leaders were concerned a $1.4 million loan request might be denied if rates were not raised, but voted on Jan. 5th to keep the current rates unchanged until a rate study could be completed.
However, at a special called meeting on January 14th, the board voted 4-to-2 to increase rates and not wait for the rate study to be completed.
The base water rate for in-town customers will increase from $6.02 to $9.00. Out-of-town water customers will see the base rate jump from $12.00 to $15.00. Sewer rates for in-town customers will rise from $7.98 to $10.00 and out-of-town customers will remain at $15.00. The increases are expected to generate $324,073.68 in revenue that will go towards the payment of debt services in the water and sewer fund.
The higher rates will take effect with the March 2016 billing cycle.
Councilmen Marlon Lee and Travis Scott casts the two votes against the rate increase.
At their meeting this week, the town board awarded a contract to The Wooten Company to complete the rate study.