The Rocky Mount Public Works Department is in need of additional funds to complete its yearlong project of installing new water meters throughout the town.

An additional $130,000 in funds was requested to complete the project at Tuesday’s Rocky Mount Town Council meeting. Town Manager James Ervin said more meters than estimated were outdated and required the entire service connection to be replaced.

“We got a lot more older installs than we originally estimated,” Ervin said.

The price of copper used in the project also has risen considerably, which further increased the overall cost, Ervin said.

The $1 million project began last January. The new meters are able to remotely report water usage data to town hall, unlike the previous boxes that required someone to physically go to each box and read them.

Nearly 85% of the estimated 3,000 meters have been replaced so far. Brian Schofield, public works superintendent, said additional funds are needed in the next few weeks to complete the remaining meters or the project could run out of money.

“This problem didn’t just crop up in a short time,” said council member Bobby Cundiff. “It was there from the beginning. Why is it now we are being informed of it?”

Ervin said it took time for the department and contractors replacing the meters to come up with an accurate idea of how much money would be needed to complete the task. “I don’t think they could have given you that answer 30 days ago,” Ervin told Cundiff.

Mayor Steve Angle said the town had few options other than to provide the additional funding. Vice Mayor Billie Stockton agreed, making the motion to move the request to the town’s public works committee for final approval. The motion was unanimously approved by the council.

Also on Tuesday, town council approved two road races planned for this year. The Chug for the Jug 5K set for April 11 and the Eagle Strut 2020 set for Sept. 12 were both unanimously approved.

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