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Smithfield water rates increase

Town Council formally approved water and sewer rate increases for Smithfield customers this year.

Under the town’s adopted 2020-2021 fiscal year budget, for water service within town limits, customers will pay $11.47 plus $6.55 per 1,000 gallons of water used during each billing period. Water service outside the town’s corporate limits will be $11.47 plus $8.19 per 1,000 gallons.

Wastewater charges will now be $18.62 plus $3.74 per 1,000 gallons for customers in town and $18.62 plus $4.67 for customers outside of town. The sewer fees do not include additional charges that may be levied by the Hampton Roads Sanitation District.

Smithfield has about 3,136 water and sewer customers, according to Town Manager Michael Stallings. Under the bimonthly billing system, customers receive a bill every other month — or six bills a year for water and sewer. The rate adjustments are effective retroactively to Jan. 1. The increase equates to a 3.6% change for the town’s adopted budget for the 2020-2021 fiscal year.

The town’s drinking water source is groundwater originating from drilled wells. That water is pumped to the town’s reverse osmosis plant, treated, tested and distributed to customers, according to Smithfield’s website.

Also at the meeting, Jack Reed was introduced as the town’s new director of public works and utilities. Reed officially joined the town this month. Wayne Griffin had been serving as interim director of public works and utilities. Stalling said Griffin is staying on in his original position as town engineer.

The council approved the utility rate change at its Jan. 5 meeting. The move was approved unanimously as part of a package of consent agenda items, which are typically routine business matters and usually approved without substantial public deliberation.