The expansion of the Smithfield Water Plant will cost taxpayers more than originally projected.
On December 1st, the town council voted 4-to-1 to approve a $17,598,000 bid to expand and upgrade the water plant which will increase water treatment from 6.2 million to 8.3 million gallons per day. The majority of the cost, $12,050,000, will be funded through a NC Department of Environmental Quality (NCDEQ) loan at 1.11 percent interest for 20 years. $3.25 million will be paid by Johnston County, who is the single largest water customer of the Town. The remaining cost will be paid for out of reserve funding and the current budget.
Public Utilities Director Ted Credle told members of the council the cost of the expansion should not require a water rate increase. Credle said the expansion would improve infrastructure to accommodate for future growth.
“By approving this project, the Town Council is staying ahead of ever-growing demand; as the Town of Smithfield undergoes some very exciting times,” Mr. Credle told Johnston County Report. “The construction is set to begin in Spring of 2021. The exact date is yet to be set but I anticipate a March or April start date – depending on product lead time and the supply chains in the era of COVID-19.”
Shook Construction of Columbia, SC was the low bidder for the project.
Mayor Pro Tem John Dunn voted against the expenditure. In 2017 when the water plant expansion was first proposed, the price tag was between $8 and $12 million.
This story has been updated