Smart water meters arrive for Winnsboro customers

WINNSBORO – After waiting more than a year for the much anticipated smart water and sewer meters for the town’s water customers, Winnsboro Town Manager Jason Taylor announced during the Monday night council meeting that the new meters have arrived and will be installed starting sometime in the next two weeks.

Previously, Taylor had informed council that the new meters could help stem as much as 50 percent of the town’s revenue loss in water through leaks and usage reporting, and provide customers with more accurate and timely billing.

“I’ve heard the public speaking loud and clear about getting their bills on time,” Taylor said. “No longer will workers have to physically open the meter boxes full of water and fight with spiders,” he said.

Utility Director Tripp Peak told The Voice following the meeting that he is asking customers to be patient, that it will take a little time to get all the meters installed.

“Blythewood has 1,500 customers and it took four months to replace all of those meters,” he said. “In Fairfield County we have 2,906 customers so it will take longer to replace the meters in Winnsboro than it did in Blythewood.”

Peak said he knows customers will be glad to have 30-day billing cycles with the new meters rather than the current 40 days.

Taylor said that due to supply chain issues he’s not sure how long it will take to receive the gas and electric meters. 

Boil Water Advisory Ends

The boil water advisory has been lifted system wide after the many water line breaks due to the severe cold weather Christmas Eve and New Year’s day. The loss of water caused tanks to empty and the water system pressure to drop below 20 psi.

Mayor John McMeekin said the lines have been repaired and water service has been restored.

“The water supply has been thoroughly tested and boiling water is no longer necessary,” he said.

McMeekin said that during the freeze, water to Blythewood was supplemeted with Columbia water. 

“We’ve turned that off now and we are serving Blythewood,” he said.

Record Gas Use

He also said there were no gas issues, other than a record use of gas on Christmas day. 

“Last year we used 600 decatherms of gas and this year we used 2,600 decatherms,” he said. 

Workers Praised, Paid

McMeekin also praised the above-and-beyond effort utility crews in the town went to battling the elements over the Christmas holiday to fix breaks in water mains.

“Some of our men worked straight through the better part of two days repairing lines without rest or sleep,” McMeekin said. “Plus there were 200 service cut offs at residents’ request because they had leaks at their homes. Then we had a lot of calls on Tuesday after things started thawing out and people discovered leaks.”

 “We are indebted to you and your crew,” McMeekin told Peak. “You all deserve the accolades.”

McMeekin then asked Taylor to pay those workers time-and-a-half for their work during the freeze. 

Peak explained that even though the utility workers missed the holiday time off they were only paid straight time. Council voted unanimously to pay the workers time-and-a-half after researching the labor laws regarding the situation.

Redistricting Passed

Following a public hearing, Council passed a redistricting ordinance that will not effect where people will vote in the April 4 council election.

“We will do our best to have new voter registration cards mailed out in the next 30 days,” Debbie Stidham, director of voter registration said. “It’s a process to go through to see that this house is in a new district and this one is not.  If anyone is interested in running for one of the two council seats up for re-election they can call our office to make sure they are in the correct district.” 

Stidham noted that the new cards are only for citizens whose voting district changed.  If there is no change for residents, they would not get a new voter registration card. 

The new census prompted the district changes. Ideally, each district should have 890 voters.  Prior to redistricting District 1 had 738 voters, District 2 had 1,017 voters, District 3 had 644 voters, and District 4 had 816 voters.  The new districts have the following number of voters: District 1, 889, District 2, 922, District 3, 887, and District 4, 857. The Department of Justice allows less than a 10 percent deviation in the total number of voters in each district. 

More Annexations

In other town business: Council passed first reading to annex the following pieces of property into the town at the request of the property owners:  435 A and B Pine Street, owned by Donald J. and Carol H. Anderson; 355 Cedar Street, owned by Sandra P. Durst; 120 Dunn Street, owned by Maureen Lewis;  608 Washington Street, owned by Don Cathcart Powell;  750 8th Street, owned by Beacon Real Estate Investments; LLC, in Fairfield County; 540 A Poplar Street, owned by Robert J. Ford, et al; and 540 B Poplar Street, Owned by Robert J. Ford, et al. 

Councilman Jae Burroughs left the building during this vote to avoid any conflict of interest. Burroughs submitted a rescusal form to the Clerk to Council that states he owns or has a vested interest in Beacon Real Estate Investments.


  1. Debby Stidham says

    Just a clarification.
    The town redistricting ordinance will NOT affect where voters would cast their ballot. The precinct districts have not changed.

  2. John McMeekin says

    Thank you, Debby!

  3. Barbara Ball says

    Thanks, Debby…we made the correction in the story.

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