County Manager:
Rick Hester
Send E-Mail
Physical Address:
Courthouse - B-206
207 E. Johnston Street
Smithfield, NC 27577
Mailing Address:
207 E Johnston St
Smithfield, NC 27577
Phone: 919-989-5100
Fax: 919-989-5416
Frequently Asked Questions
The default view (Home and Entire Site categories) show a complete list of all FAQs available on the web site. To view the questions for a particular department only, select a department from the drop-down list below:

Q: Can I take construction materials or yard waste to the convenience sites?
A: No, must be taken to Landfill at 680 County Home Road (off Hwy. 210) in Smithfield.

Q: What do I need to buy a decal?
A: Proof of residence in Johnston County such as a driver's license.

Q: How much land do I need to build a house?
A: There is no minimum lot size for building a house as long as you can meet the setbacks from property lines. A single wide mobile home is the only structure requiring 1 acre.

Q: How do I apply for a Burning Permit?
A: View the information for Online Burning Permits HERE.

Q: Where is the Animal Shelter and Pet Adoption Center located?
A: The Animal Shelter and Pet Adoption Center is located at 115 Shelter Way, Smithfield, NC.

Q: How do I adopt a pet?
A: Want to adopt a pet? Here is the information you need to know.

Q: I want to subdivide my property. What do I need to do?
A: You need to check with Environmental Health to make sure the property will perk and if so then contact a surveyor of your choice to subdivide the property. Notice: You have to have at least 2 acres (with well water) in order to subdivide and 1.33 acres (with county water) in order to subdivide.

Q: What are the setbacks for structures?
A: Setbacks are based on location/street where the property is located. Contact the Planning Department at 989-5150.

Q: What are the Johnston County Animal Laws?
A: To learn about these laws, please visit the Animal Laws Page.

Q: Why can I put a doublewide on less than an acre but not a singlewide when a singlewide is smaller?
A: When our ordinance changed in 2000 this was a recommendation from the Board of Commissioners. The purpose is to keep the area/property from looking like mobile home parks on road front lots.

Q: What are the setbacks for fences or trees?
A: There are no setbacks for fences or trees. We advise the public not to put them right on the property line just in case there is confusion as to where the actual property line is. We recommend 1-2 feet off property lines but the County cannot enforce that.

Q: What do I need to do to get a perk test done?
A: Contact Environmental Health at 989-5180.

Q: I would like to put a mobile home (or another livable residence) on my property where my house is located now.
A: Our ordinance does not allow more than one residence per tract of land. Either the existing home must be removed or the land must be subdivided.

Q: What can I do about my neighbor who doesn't cut their grass?
A: The County does not have anything in our ordinance related to grass cutting. Our Zoning Enforcement Officers send out letters to property owners advising them to cut their grass, however, we cannot enforce it.

Q: What can I do about my neighbor's trees that have grown over onto my property line or that were planted on my property?
A: This is a legal matter that needs to be handled between the 2 property owners; the County does not handle issues such as these.

Q: How can I find out if my property is in a flood plain?
A: Contact the Planning Department at 989-5150.

Q: Are permits required for a swimming pool?
A: Yes. All pools, whether inground or above ground require a permit for the pool, plumbing and electrical. The plumbing permit will usually only apply to an inground pool.

Q: Am I required to obtain a permit for a fence?
A: No.

Q: What does a building permit cost?
A: The permit cost schedule may be found by clicking here.

Q: Is there a building permit application that I must submit with my plans?
A: Yes. A list of the forms available are listed here.

Q: Am I required to have a handicap accessible toilet in my business?
A: Yes. All toilets and bathrooms must meet the accessibility requirements of Vol. IC of the NC Accessibility code. Toilet rooms in private offices must be adaptable. That means that all features of accessibility must be there except for the grab bars. The blocking for the grab bars must be installed at the time of construction.

Q: Do I need to obtain a permit to finish my upstairs bonus room?
A: Yes, you will need to submit permit application and 2 sets a plans showing how the room will be finished.

Q: Can I apply for an inspection permit over the phone?
A: No, you will need to complete the proper application and submit it along with structural plans, if necessary.

Q: How are child support payments disbursed?
A: Paper checks are slowly being eliminated. Payments are loaded onto a debit card known as the SMIOne. Clients may also choose to receive payments by direct deposit.

Q: Who do I contact if I have questions about my SMIOne card?
A: The customer service number for SMIOnecard is 877-776-9759

Q: Has a payment been made by the non-custodial parent?
A: The answer can be found by calling customer service toll free at 1-800-992-9457.

Q: Can I change my address on file with the child support office?
A: The answer can be found by calling customer service toll free at 1-800-992-9457.

Q: When is my child support court date?
A: The answer can be found by calling customer service toll free at 1-800-992-9457.

Q: Has the non-custodial parent been served for court?
A: The answer can be found by calling customer service toll free at 1-800-992-9457.

Q: How is paternity testing done and what is the cost?
A: The answer can be found by calling customer service toll free at 1-800-992-9457.

Q: How much child support do I owe?
A: The answer can be found by calling customer service toll free at 1-800-992-9457.

Q: How do I change my child support direct deposit account?
A: The answer can be found by calling customer service toll free at 1-800-992-9457.

Q: What is the Johnston County Child Support fax number?
A: 919-989-5627

Q: Where can I get more information about child support without calling?
A: A tremendous amount of information and application forms can be found on the NC Child Support website: Users must register on line as parents, employers, or child support workers.

Q: How should I fertilize my pasture/hayfield?
A: The first step in determining the nutrient requirements for your soil is to collect a sample of the soil and have it analyzed. Make sure you specify what type of grass or legume you are trying to grow before sending the sample to the lab. The test will indicate how much fertilizer and/or lime if needed is required to improve the fertility of your soil. Contact your local extension office, Natural Resource Conservation Services (NRCS), or your local Soil and Water Conservation Office to find out where to send the sample.

Q: I hear that it is a great time to buy a house. Can I afford to be a homeowner? What do they look at when I apply for a loan?
A: Buying a house is a big financial step and a decision that should not be made quickly. Income, debt, assets and credit score are all important factors that are considered before you can get a loan. Johnston County Extension Center offers Homebuyer Workshops each month that are taught by a Certified Housing Counselor. For information on the next workshop, or to pre-register, contact the Extension Office at 919-989-5380.

Q: Where can I get a credit report?
A: is approved by the Federal Government to offer credit reports. On this site, you can request a credit report from each of the three reporting agencies: Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion. You may receive one report from each of these agencies in a 12-month period.

Q: What educational opportunities are offered to senior Johnston County residents?
A: Johnston County Cooperative Extension is the coordinating site for the Senior Health Insurance Information Program also known as SHIIP. Medicare recipients can receive help when making Medicare decisions such as choosing the best Medicare Supplement, Advantage and/or Prescription Drug Plan. Appointments are available on Wednesday mornings throughout the year, daily Nov 15 – Dec 20 in addition to special appointments. Call 919-989-5380 to make an appointment.

Q: What is 4-H?
A: 4-H is a fun program where you get to "Learn by Doing." All youth between the ages of 5 and 19 are invited to join! In 4-H, you can go to camp, start a business, ride in a bike rodeo, take part in an international exchange, raise an animal, create a blog, give a presentation, participate in a community service project, develop your resume, practice interview skills, learn about healthy eating habits, build lifelong friendships. Best of all, membership is FREE! 4-H costs nothing to join, and you are not required to purchase a uniform. Member expenses are minimal and determined by the club itself.

Q: What is a 4-H Club?
A: 4-H Clubs are groups of 5 or more young people led by trained adult volunteers. They meet monthly in a convenient location and discuss subjects that interest the youth, such as GIS/GPS, Livestock, Horses, Rabbits, Dogs, or Community Service. In Johnston County there are 25 4-H Clubs that meet across the county.

Q: How do I join 4-H?
A: Call the Johnston County 4-H Office at 989-5380 to find out if there is a club in your area that will need your needs

Q: What are the operating hours of the Health Department?
A: As a result of our 2009 public survey, our hours of operation from Monday through Thursday have been extended to 6 pm. We continue to operate from 8:00am to 5:00pm on Friday. The Health Department is open Monday through Thursday from 8:00 A.M. to 6:00 P.M., Friday from 8:00 A.M. to 5:00 P.M., and every fourth Wednesday 8:00 A.M. to 5:00 P.M. Please remember to check the county holiday schedule for days when the department will be closed.

Q: Do I have to schedule an appointment to be seen at the Health Department?
A: Yes. Appointments are available from 8:00 A.M.-5:00 P.M. To schedule an appointment, call us at (919)989-5200.

Q: Who is eligible to be seen at the Health Department?
A: Residents of Johnston County. The Epidemiology and Family Planning clinic can see people from different counties as well.

Q: Is there a Dental Clinic at the Health Department?
A: No, there is not.

Q: How much will we have to pay?
A: Some services are income based; others are free; still many others are a set charge. For more information about payment, you can call 989-5200 to get more information on a particular service. For income based services, documentation of income must be provided for the previous 5 weeks, if possible.

Q: What type of insurance does the Health Department accept?
A: Medicaid and Medicare are accepted insurances. We also accept Health Choice and Medicare Advantage plans such as Humana, Wellcare and Advantra. Patients should ask their insurance company if the Health Department is a covered provider.

Q: What is the staffing for the Health Department?
A: The Health Department employs: nurses, nurse practitioners, physicians, physician assistants, secretaries, laboratory technicians, nutritionists, health educators, environmentalists, social workers, administrators and interpreters.

Q: Can I receive immunizations for my child at the Health Department? What immunizations are offered by the Health Department?
A: Yes. Some childhood immunizations are available free of charge. The Johnston County Health Department is not set up to bill private insurance for childhood immunizations. Immunizations are scheduled by appointment. For questions regarding vaccine availability, please call the Health Department Pediatric Clinic at (919) 989-5200. The parent is required to bring their child's up-to-date immunization record with them, child's Medicaid card or Health Choice card, and proof of identity (either parent's driver's license or other picture ID).

Q: What immunizations are available for adults?
A: The Health Department offers immunizations for travel. Adults may receive tetanus vaccine that is recommended every 10 years for adults. The Flu vaccine is available from October through March. Many others are available. Please call (919) 989-5200 for more information.

Q: What services are available for sick children and adults?
A: The Health Department is a preventive and medical operating facility. However, in order to accommodate patients, you must call for an appointment in Child Health or Primary Care and the program manager will establish the urgent care needs of the call if you are an established patient of the Health Department.

Q: What is the WIC program and how does one qualify?
A: The Women's, Infant's and Children's program is a federally funded program providing nutritional food supplements for pregnant women and their children from birth to five years of age. Participants are eligible based on nutritional need and income. Income must be verified by salary receipts for everyone working in the home for the last 30 days. A Medicaid card is proof of income. Additional information for WIC services include: proof of residency and identity such as a driver's license, birth certificate, picture I.D., work or home information with a valid address.

Q: How do I apply?
A: You will need to come into the HAPP office and bring social security cards and birth certificates for each person in your household. In some cases, the HAPP office could send someone to your home as a reasonable accommodation. Office hours are 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. The waiting list is currently closed.

Q: My family is soon to be evicted, can I get help now?
A: Unfortunately no. HAPP does not have emergency subsidy. Applicants are reached by the time and date of application.

Q: What is the difference between Public Housing and Section 8?
A: Public Housing Agencies own and manage the property it leases. Section 8 provides rental assistance but the families rent from private landlords whose housing meets certain standards.

Q: What are the operating hours for obtaining WIC vouchers on "WIC pick-up" days?
A: Smithfield office: 8:00 A.M.-11:45 A.M., 1:00 P.M.-4:00 P.M. on Tuesdays and Thursdays; and 8:00 A.M.-11:45 A.M. on Wednesdays and Fridays. Benson and Clayton satellite clinics: 2nd Wednesdays from 8:00 a.m.- 11:45 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Q: How much rental assistance will I receive?
A: The HA determines the amount of assistance based on HUD regulations. This amount is based on the family's income, number of dependents, medical expenses, etc.

Q: What is a Section 8 Voucher?
A: A Section 8 Voucher is a tenant-based housing assistance payment where the applicant/participant finds housing. Participants pay a portion of the rent based on their income and the housing agency pays a portion.

Q: What does a positive Tuberculosis Skin Test mean?
A: It means that there is a possibility that you have been exposed to Tuberculosis (TB) at some point in your life. It does not mean that you have TB or that you are contagious. If a person has a positive TB skin test, there are several other tests that must be performed to confirm the diagnosis. Many people with positive TB skin tests will have a negative chest x-ray and are not contagious at all. Preventative medication may be an option for those people.

Q: How long do I have to wait for assistance from HAPP?
A: There is no simple answer. Applicants receive assistance according to the time and date they apply. In general, an applicant's wait for assistance may be two years.

Q: Do you screen for Sexually Transmitted Infections?
A: Yes. The tests may vary based on your symptoms. We offer appointments daily. It is requested that you call at 8:00 a.m. on the day you would like to be seen for an appointment.

Q: What is portability?
A: Portability is the ability to transfer your Section 8 voucher from one county to any other county in the USA that administers a Section 8 program.

Q: If I have rental property and would like to rent through HAPP, what do I do?
A: You may call the HAPP office and we will list the property for you. When a participating family is interested in renting your unit, they will contact you an ask you to complete a Request For Tenancy Approval. When RFTA is submitted to the HAPP office, someone will contact you to schedule an inspection. For more information, contact the HAPP office at 919-989-5070.

Q: What are my obligations as a landlord under the Section 8 program?
A: The role of the landlord in the voucher program is to provide decent,safe, and sanitary housing to the tenant at a reasonable rent. The dwelling must pass the program's housing quality standards and maintains those standards as long as the owner receives housing assistance payments. In addition, the landlord is expected to provide the services agreed to as part of the lease signed with the tenant and the contract signed with the HA.

Q: I have a landlord who is willing to rent to me under the Section 8 program, can I get a voucher immediately?
A: No. We are required to provide assistance to families on the waiting list by time and date of application.

Q: How can I find out what vaccines I need for travel?
A: Many people from the community, including other physicians, contact the Health Department for information about foreign travel. We are glad to assist you by reviewing your vaccination record and informing you which vaccines may be necessary for your trip. We can discuss this information with you by scheduling an appointment or calling to talk with a nurse.

Q: What are the office hours of the Human Resources Department?
A: The Human Resources Department is open from 8:00 am-5:00 pm Monday-Friday.

Q: Where do I apply for positions with the Sheriff's Office?
A: Applications for these positions are only available in the Sheriff's Office.

Q: Where do I obtain a work permit?
A: To obtain a work permit, please contact the NC Department of Labor.

Q: Do I have to be a Johnston County resident or US Citizen to become employed by Johnston County?
A: Johnston County residency is not required. Non-US citizens must be able to work legally in this country and present documents verifying immigration status.

Q: What if I do not have a computer?
A: Computers and free internet access are available for you to apply for County jobs. Locations include Public Library branches or Johnston County HR Department located at 204 S. Second Street, Smithfield. You may also apply for County positions at the Employment Security Commission.

Q: I have forgotten my password for my online account. How can I log in to my account?
A: You can click on the “I Forgot My Password” link. Enter your email address and click the send button. Your User ID and password will be emailed to you.

Q: Am I required to submit a separate application for each job I want to apply for, or may I submit only one and be considered for all jobs for which I am eligible?
A: You must submit a separate online application for each position for which you would like to be considered.

Q: How often are new positions posted on the Johnston County website?
A: New positions are posted as they become available, usually several times a week. If you do not want to miss out on the latest postings, we suggest that you check our website weekly or fill-out a job interest card.

Q: What if I need help applying?
A: For assistance applying for Johnston County vacancies, please contact the Johnston County Human Resources at (919) 938-4700.

Q: How long do employment opportunities remain posted on the site?
A: Job postings remain on the site until the closing date which is at least five business days from the date of issue.

Q: What does it mean when a vacancy states the Closing Date is “continuous”?
A: A continuous closing date means that the vacancy does not have a closing date. Applications will be reviewed as received until the position is filled.

Q: How do I find out if a position is still available?
A: The Johnston County Employment web page is updated regularly. If the position for which you submitted your application is not listed, it is no longer available.

Q: I just found out about a vacancy that closed yesterday. May I still submit an application?
A: Johnston County cannot accept applications submitted past the official closing date listed on the vacancy announcement.

Q: Do I have to complete the “work history” section of my application? Can I just submit my resume?
A: You must complete all mandatory sections of the online application, including the work history section of the application, in order for your application to receive further consideration.

Q: How are applications assessed?
A: All applicants are assessed relative to the qualifications listed on the job posting. Only those applicants who meet the stated qualifications are eligible for further consideration. If a pre-employment test is required, you will be contacted for an appointment. Meeting the minimum qualifications of the posting does not automatically mean that you will be referred for the position posted as all applicants are assessed on a competitive basis.

Q: How will I be notified if I am to be interviewed?
A: The hiring manager from the department will contact you to arrange an interview.

Q: How will I be notified if I am not selected for an interview?
A: You may choose, as part of the application process, to receive an e-mail notice or a letter by mail about your referral status.

Q: Can I be automatically notified of vacancy announcements?
A: Yes. You can fill-out a job interest card for any position you are interested in under the Job Descriptions link.

Q: Why do I need a Land Use Permit?
A: We need to look at certain aspects of your project to insure that things like setbacks, flood plain, zoning, proposed use, and 911 address are taken care of before you proceed to other permitting agencies.

Q: Is there a water line in front of my house? Do I have to connect to it?
A: You can find more information about water lines and their related policies from the Johnston County Public Utilities Department. You can also call the Public Utilities department at 919-989-5075.

Q: For what purposes can I use my property?
A: The Planning Department publishes the Development Ordinance that lists the allowed uses of land. Please see the Ordinance. If you still have questions or need further information, please feel free to contact the Planning Department directly.

Q: What is the zoning of my piece of property?
A: You can find the zoning of your property by using our GIS interface. This interface is available on the web at From the Internet GIS Application, you can locate your parcel, and then query the zoning information. Or, alternatively, you can stop by the Planning Office.

Q: What do permits cost?
A: Planning Department Fees are listed on the web site at These are the fees associated with the Planning Office. Building Inspections and Environmental Health each have separate fee schedules.

Q: Is my property in a flood plain?
A: Because of the potential liability this question poses, we ask that you come in to the Planning Office and point the property out to us on our flood plain map. We will check your property for flood plain proximity when writing a permit.

Q: What does being in the flood plain mean?
A: Johnston County participates in the FEMA and FIRM programs. If you wish to build in the flood plain, there are certain building codes that must be met to ensure your safety. You should check with the Flood Plain Administrator for more information. Being in the flood plain means that there is a one percent chance that your property will be inundated (flooded) in any given year.

Q: I want to develop my land. What do I need to do?
A: The Development Ordinance lists what is required in developing land. Please also see the section in the Ordinance about subdividing property. Please feel free to contact the Planning Department directly with questions.

Q: I want to build a fence. How close to the property line can I put it?
A: Johnston County does not have a set back requirement for fences. We recommend, however, that you make sure that the fence is completely within your side of the property line.

Q: Is it mandatory that I sign up for a tap?
A: No. Participation in the project is strictly voluntary. Residences and businesses constructed after water mains are in place may be required to connect, if 350 ft. from the water main.

Q: Do I have to abandon my existing well if I sign up for water service?
A: No. You may sign up for water service and keep your well. However, in order to keep your well, your indoor plumbing must be disconnected from the well. Outside hydrants can remain on the well--consult your plumber. You may wish to contact the Johnston County Inspections Department for more information about this requirement.

Q: Why doesn't my road have a water line?
A: Sufficient interest has not been shown. Interested property owners on your road can sign a petition for water service which will cost $600 per tap.

Q: Is the tap fee all I will have to pay?
A: No. Additional expenses you will incur include the piping connection from your plumbing to the meter at the road right-of-way, a plumbing inspection fee, and possibly an account deposit. If a water line is installed adjacent to your property and water is available in that line, the County will notify you by mail to let you know that you can connect. First, visit the Utilities office and set up your account for billing. When setting up the account, a $50 deposit or letter of credit from another utility is required (for example, Progress Energy). Secondly, visit the Johnston County Inspections Department to apply for a plumbing permit (current cost is $31). You are responsible for the cost of the installation of the piping and plumbing from the tap to your residence. If a water line is not installed adjacent to your property, your tap fee would be refunded to you, or you may leave it on deposit to qualify for service in the future when a main is installed.

Q: If water lines are not currently proposed to go in my subdivision or road, how do I qualify for a line extension?
A: You may contact your neighbors and inform them about the plans for water in your area. Get as many neighbors interested and signed up as possible. Once you have sufficient interest in the area, the extension to serve your subdivision, road, or street will be considered with other project additions on a first-come, first-served basis, depending on the availability of funds.

Q: Do I have to live on a state-maintained road to have water installed on my road?
A: No. As long as there is sufficient interest, service can be provided on a non-state-maintained road. All landowners along any private road must grant the district a Utility Easement to construct, operate, and maintain the pipeline in order for an extension to be possible.

Q: Can I purchase a tap for a lot without a building or a residence on it?
A: Yes. If you do not plan to use the water for at least seven or more years, it may not be economically feasible for you to purchase a tap. Once water is available at the property, you will be notified and you will begin paying a base monthly bill whether you have connected to the system or not. If you postpone connection for several years, you would benefit by saving your money during those years and paying the County's standard rate of ($1,370 currently) at the time you desire water service.

Q: Will you run a water line up a long path for one residence?
A: No. The water line will be installed at the right-of-way of the road. The resident will be responsible for having the plumbing installed from the tap to the residence.

Q: My water is currently provided by a privately supplied water system. May I pay the tap fee and use county water instead?
A: Usually, no. Service could be provided only if a written waiver is provided to the district by your current supplier.

Q: How much will my water bill be?
A: It depends upon whether you begin using water immediately or not. If you have not had your plumbing installed from the tap to your residence and you are not using water, you will only be responsible for the base monthly bill. The minimum base rate is currently $15 per month. Once your plumbing is installed and you begin using water, you will pay the base monthly bill plus a usage fee per 1,000 gallons.

Q: Will there be fire hydrants, and, if so, will this affect my homeowners insurance?
A: It is possible, but not guaranteed, that you will have a fire hydrant close to your property. The amount of reduction in your insurance premium, if any, will depend on the proximity of your residence to a fire hydrant, the "rating" of your fire department, and the policies of your insurance underwriter. Fire hydrants will only operate on 6-inch or greater water lines.

Q: Where does the water come from? Is it safe?
A: The water originates from the Neuse River at Wilson's Mills. After intake, the water undergoes a state-of-the-art process of clarification, filtration, and disinfection. Quality is monitored 24-hours-a-day. In the event that U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) criteria are not achieved, a public notice must be issued. On occasion, our water supply might require supplementing from the supplies of the Town of Smithfield, City of Dunn, or Harnett County.

Q: How much is the base monthly bill?
A: The amount of the base monthly bill depends on the size of your service tap.

Q: What are the Public Utilities Office hours?
A: Monday through Friday 8:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. For Holiday closings, please see the Johnston County Holiday Schedule on the County Website at

Q: What is the Public Utilities phone number and fax number?
A: If you are calling concerning a utility account, the phone number is (919)989-5075 and the fax number is (919)934-0256. If calling after 5:00 P.M., on weekends or holidays please call the after hours phone number (919) 989-5056.

Q: How do I establish service for water?
A: Complete an application for utility service, pay an application fee and pay a deposit. The deposit can be waived if a letter of credit from another utility company can be provided. The letter of credit must be for the most recent 12-month period and indicate no delinquency in payments. You will also need to provide some type of government-issued photo identification.

Q: Can I start water service and the application and deposit be billed on my first bill?
A: No-all fees must be paid before service will be started.

Q: How can I change the name on my account because of marriage/death?
A: We will require written notification for a name change provided that the account has your original name on the original application.

Q: Where is the Public Utilities office located?
A: The Public Utilities office is located in the Land Use Center at 309 East Market Street, Smithfield, North Carolina. From the Clayton area, take 70 Business east into Smithfield-cross the Neuse River-pass the Johnston County Courthouse and the Land Use Center is in the next block. It is located on the left between the Public Library and the Ava Gardner Museum. From I-95 exit 95, take 70 Business west to 309 East Market Street.

Q: What utilities do you provide and will I be a Johnston County Public Utilities customer?
A: Johnston County Public Utilities provides water service to the rural areas of the county. We also provide sewer service in the Cleveland, East Clayton and Wilson's Mills area but very few are residential. If your address is within the city limits of any town, you will need to contact the town for additional information. You may provide our office with the physical address of the property for a determination. We also provide a Landfill and Convenience Sites for disposal of garbage.

Q: Once I complete the application and pay all fees, when will water be cut on?
A: Once the completed application, application fee and deposit are received in the Public Utilities office, the water will be connected the following business day, provided that a new service connection is not required. Otherwise, service may be provided within ten to twelve business days.

Q: I am divorced--how can I change the name on the account?
A: If both names are on the account, we will require written documentation to change the name.

Q: My online payment has failed due to error 12. What does this mean?
A: This means that requested credit card information does not match the credit card's banking information. Typically either the expiration date, the CVA--3 digits from the back of the credit card or the account holder's name does not match exactly as it appears on the card.

Q: My online payment has failed due to error 99. What does this mean?
A: An error 99 indicates that the online payment system is down for maintenance. Please try the payment process again later.

Q: Can I get an adjustment to my bill for a leak?
A: Johnston County Public Utilities does have a policy for making adjustments to your bill. Since you are billed a month after the usage, we will need to determine when the high water usage will be billed. The customer should also take into consideration that only one adjustment per year may be made. The water bill will be reduced by 50% of the amount in which it exceeds one and one-half times the average water bill for the preceding six months normal usage.

Q: Why is my consumption the same each month and always shows even gallons?
A: We round down to the nearest thousand gallons.

Q: I never see anyone reading my meter, do you estimate meter readings?
A: Meter readings are taken using an automatic meter reading system. "Public Utilities" vehicles with a special radio receiver drive by and readings are recorded using low frequency radio sensors on the meters.

Q: I am not receiving utility bills. What should I do?
A: Contact the Public Utilities office, verify the billing address and we can advise of any mail returned. We require the Postal Service to return any undeliverable mail back to the Public Utilities office where it is documented. We research the name and attempt to re-mail bills. If the billing address is correct, you will need to contact your local post office.

Q: How can I view my utility account online?
A: This information is available online at Under "step by step instructions," click on "pay the exact amount of an existing utility bill." Click on "Utility Bills." Enter the account number and the customer number as it appears on your utility bill. You can now view your utility account online. You may click on the link under service code to view consumption over the last 12 months and see a bar graph of the usage. Click on "View/Pay bills" to view the past 12 months' bill.

Q: I have sold my home and have not connected to the water tap. I am continuing to receive the $15 per month flat charge. How can I stop the billing?
A: Call our office with the closing date and the new property owner's name. When the GIS and Register of Deeds information is updated, we will stop the billing and mail future bills to the new property owner.

Q: How can I get rid of a pink residue around my sink and tub?
A: When the water contacts air sometimes bacteria can grow. The fixtures and surfaces should be cleaned with a cleaner containing bleach.

Q: Can you locate the utility lines in my yard?
A: No--we can only locate the water lines within the public road right-of-way. You can call NC-One Call at 800-632-4949 and request that all lines be located.

Q: What is the cost of a water tap?
A: If Johnston County water is available to your property, the cost of the water tap will include an assessment fee, tap fee, meter fee, application fee and deposit. The charges are established each year by the Board of Commissioners with the adoption of the annual budget. The rates are online under Public Utilities, Water and Sewer Policies.

Q: Can I allow someone else to apply for service for me?
A: You do not necessarily need to come into our office to apply. The application is located online at or you may call our office and an application will be faxed to you. The completed application may be faxed back to our office and any fees may be paid by credit card over the telephone.

Q: Can I apply for service over the telephone?
A: No, however the application form is located on the web site and may be faxed into our office. Any fees may be paid with a credit card by phone.

Q: Can I transfer service to another address?
A: No. An application for utility service must be completed for each address. An application fee and deposit must be provided.

Q: How is my monthly bill calculated?
A: The monthly bill includes a minimum charge (does not include any water) and a charge for each 1,000 gallons of water used. The water usage is determined by meter readings. The rate is established by the Board of County Commissioners and is posted on the Johnston County website under Water and Sewer Policies.

Q: What is my utility account balance?
A: You may access your account balance online at by clicking on "County Departments" and "Public Utilities." You are also mailed an invoice every month which indicates your account balance.

Q: Why am I getting a bill when I am not connected to County water?
A: When Water Districts were first created, property owners voluntarily purchased water taps for their property and signed a Water User's Agreement. This agreement requires that a monthly flat rate would be billed when water became available to the property whether or not the service is connected to the house or business. The tap which is physically located on the property and any unpaid charges are transferable to any future property owner.

Q: What is the latest date to pay my bill?
A: For accounts billed on the 10th of each month, the due date is the 25th. For accounts billed on the 25th of each month, the due date is the 10th of the following month.

Q: When will my service be disconnected if I do not pay the bill?
A: All accounts with a past-due balance are subject to disconnection the day after the due date.

Q: Do you send out a disconnection notice?
A: No--your monthly utility billing will indicate a past due amount. If the bill has a past due amount, the account is subject to disconnection at any time.

Q: Where can I pay my bill when the service is disconnected due to non-payment?
A: If your water service has been disconnected due to non-payment, you must come into the office to pay the balance due on the account and the reconnection charge. If the utilities have been disconnected, please do not pay your bill online. We will only take credit card payments over the phone if the account has been disconnected due to non-payment or to start new service when the application is faxed or emailed into the office.

Q: Can I have an extension on paying my utility bill?
A: No--there is no provision for payment extensions.

Q: I am divorced and my name is not on the account, what should I do?
A: In the event your name is not on the account, you would need to apply for service as a new customer and pay all associated fees.

Q: Where can I make payments for my utility bill?
A: Payments may be mailed to our lockbox at First Citizens Bank, P.O. Box 63025, Charlotte, NC 28263-3025; Johnston County Department of Public Utilities, P.O. Box 2234, Smithfield, NC 27577; Online at; in the drop box located at the parking lot entrance to public utilities; at any First Citizens Bank in Johnston County or you can enroll in bank draft. You will need to have your remittance stub to make payment at all locations other than the Public Utilities office. If using the drop box, include the remittance stub and only pay with check or money order. These are the only authorized payment facilities for Johnston County Public Utilities.

Q: How can I sign up for bank draft?
A: Complete a form for bank draft and provide a voided check. The form is online or can be obtained by contacting our office.

Q: When can I get my deposit refunded?
A: At your request, the deposit will be credited to your account after 12 billing periods of on-time payments. The deposit will automatically be applied to the account when the account is final billed. Any credit amount will be refunded by check to the customer and mailed to the forwarding address within six weeks.

Q: How much are the late fees?
A: Johnston County Public Utilities does not charge late fees.

Q: I think I have a water leak, what should I do?
A: If the leak is on your side (from the tie in to the meter back to your house or business), any charges for water will be the customer's responsibility. You will need to contact a plumber to make any repairs. If you have any doubt, contact the Public Utilities office and we will schedule a field technician to investigate. The field technician can not make any repairs to the customer's property.

Q: My water is brown. What should I do?
A: If the water is brown, please contact the Public Utilities office and we will schedule the lines to be flushed in the vicinity of your home or business. Once the lines have been flushed, you will also need to flush the lines inside your house or business.

Q: What is the price of the decal?
A: The rate is established for the fiscal year, July 1 through June 30, by the Board of County Commissioners with the adoption of the annual budget.

Q: Do you have recycling facilities?
A: Yes--Recycling bins for selected items are available at each of the Convenience Centers and at the Landfill. There is no charge for recycling and a decal is not required.

Q: My water smells bad. What should I do?
A: If the "cold" water smells, contact the Public Utilities office and we will schedule the lines in the vicinity of your home or business to be flushed. Once the lines have been flushed, you will also need to flush the lines inside your house or business. If it is the "hot" water that smells, it is likely to be your water heater and you will need to contact a plumber.

Q: My water smells highly of chlorine. What should I do?
A: Once a year, the Johnston County Water Treatment Plant will temporarily stop feeding ammonia with chlorine for disinfection of the water supply and start feeding chlorine only. State and Federal regulations require that public water systems that feed chloramines (chloride and ammonia) feed chlorine only into the system for a period of at least 30 days to ensure that no bacteria are present which may have adapted to the ammonia in the water. Customers who use kidney dialysis machines should be aware that the water will contain more chlorine for about four to six weeks. Also, the chlorine only water can be toxic to tropical fish. The chlorine odor may be stronger during this period. If you experience a water color change, which cannot be cleared by flushing the lines inside your house, please call the Public Utilities office.

A: The Department of Veterans Affairs does not maintain a record of veteran’s military service, except as is necessary for providing benefits. For information about obtaining your military record, you can go to the website That page gives instructions in submitting a SF 180 Request Pertaining to Military Records or you can come to or call the Johnston County Veterans Service Office for help. Your request should be sent to: National Personnel Records Center, Military Personnel Records Center, 9700 Page Boulevard, St. Louis, Mo 63132-5100.

A: If you are looking for the location of and attendant information about any VA facility, click on this Link. This link will get you to the listings for VA Central Offices, National Cemetery Administration, Veterans Benefits Administration, Veterans Health Administration, Facilities by state, and an interactive map. Also, the Johnston County Veterans Service Office has addresses and maps.

Q: Do you provide garbage pick-up service?
A: No--Johnston County provides 12 manned "Convenience Sites" for the citizens of Johnston County. These centers are available strictly for residential garbage disposal and materials recycling. In order to use the Convenience Sites, the customer must purchase a decal annually, and it must be displayed on the vehicle used to transport the garbage. Johnston County also has a landfill that citizens may use to dispose of garbage, recyclables, yard debris and other construction material debris. Charges may be assessed for larger loads of garbage, yard waste or construction debris.

Q: Where are the Convenience Sites located?
A: The 12 Convenience Sites may be located by clicking on the Johnston County website, "Public Utilities."

A: Complete a VA Form 26-1880: You can apply for a Certificate of Eligibility by submitting a completed VA FORM 26-1880, Request for a Certificate of Eligibility for Home Loan benefits, to one of the VA Eligibility Centers, along with proof of military service. In some cases it may be possible for VA to establish eligibility without your proof of service. However, to avoid any possible delays, it’s best to provide such evidence. ACE(automated certificate of eligibility): It’s also possible to obtain a Certificate of Eligibility from you lender. Most Lenders have access to the ACE system. This internet based application can establish eligibility and issue an online Certificate of Eligibility in a matter of seconds. Not all cases can be processed through ACE – only those for which VA has sufficient data in our records. However, veterans are encouraged to ask their lenders about this method of obtaining a certificate.

A: To apply for VA health care benefits, you need to fill out an application (VA Form 10-10EZ). Applications will be processed no later than 7 business days from receipt of a signed application. If it was determined you were not eligible to enroll, the letter will also give you instructions on how to appeal the decision if you do not agree with it. There are several ways to enroll: In person at any VA medical Center or Clinic, Online at: By mailing completed Form 10-10EZ to the Medical Center of you choice(please be sure to sign your application or it cannot be processed). Submitting a copy of your military discharge or separation papers(DD 214, Members copy 4) with your signed application will expedite the process.

Q: Where is the County Landfill?
A: The Johnston County Landfill is located at 680 County Home Road (off Hwy. 210), Smithfield, North Carolina.

Q: How can I contact the Solid Waste Division for information about the proper disposal of materials?
A: The phone number for the Solid Waste Division is (919) 938-4750.

A: For a comprehensive look at VA compensation and pension benefits for veterans, veterans’ dependents of deceased veterans, please go to the Compensation and Pension web site at:

A: Information about Agent Orange can be found on our VA website at Please go to this website for all VA information related to this topic.

Q: Can I purchase more than one decal?
A: Yes--there is no limit on the number of decals purchased but the full cost is charged for each decal purchased.

Q: What materials may be recycled?
A: The following items may be recycled: Corrugated cardboard-Remove all packing and flatten boxes Plastic-soft drink bottles and milk jugs only--remove lid and rinse clean Aluminum-Beverage cans only--rinse clean Newspaper Magazines Glass-bottles and jars only Tires-limit 4 per week (Tractor tires and large truck tires at Landfill only) White Goods (Appliances)-limit 2 per week Lead Batteries-limit 3 per week Waste Motor Oil-limit 5 gallons per week

Q: Where is the Johnston County Department of Social Services located?

714 North Street
Smithfield, NC 27577

Q: Do I need an appointment to meet with a caseworker at the Department of Social Services?
A: No appointment is needed to apply for services at Social Services.

Q: Which days does Social Services accept applications?
A: Social Services accepts applications on Monday from 8:00 A.M. to 6:00 P.M. and Tuesday through Friday from 8:00 A.M. until 5:00 P.M.

Q: When applying for Medicaid or Food and Nutrition Assistance at Social Services, what paperwork do I need?
A: You do not need any forms. However, bringing birth certificates, social security cards, bank account statements and insurance policies are helpful and may reduce the time needed for approval.

Q: Where do I find information on moving to Johnston County?
A: Contact the Chambers of Commerce for the cities you are interested in.

Q: What kind of grass can I plant for my horses?
A: There are several questions to consider. In what part of the county do you reside, and what type of soil is under foot? How many horses and how many acres are in your plan? Are the horses breeding animals, recreation or performance show type animals? Will you supplement with feed and/or hay? Fescue and Bermuda grass are the 2 predominate types of grass that can be easily grown in the county. Both are easy to establish and maintain. Horses can consume a large amount of forage (2% to 2 ½% of their body weight per day). So, plan on about 1 horse per 2 acres of pasture. A higher stocking rate will create a pasture or paddock with little grass growth, and supplemental feeding will be needed. For more information, ask for publication AG-524, Managing Pastures to Feed Your Horse, from the Johnston County Extension Center.

Q: What are the zoning laws for chicken houses?
A: The County is generally zoned agriculture/residential in the rural areas. If you are referring to a large commercial operation, the only law is to stay off of the property line the same distance as with any structure. The chicken producers are usually under a contract agreement that specifies how much land is needed for waste disposal and mortality disposal. Producers follow a waste management plans designed by NRCS. If you are referring to a backyard flock, town ordinances are the only concern for hobbyists.

Q: Where can I buy goat milk in the county?
A: Only grade A dairies can sell fluid milk. Grade B dairies can make and sell cheese. In Johnston County, we do not have any of these type facilities. We have a few goat dairy herds that produce milk for their own use. You can buy canned milk at some of the area grocery stores.

Q: Do I need a license to buy or spray pesticides or chemicals?
A: THAT DEPENDS. Pesticides labeled “RESTRICTED USE” require a Pesticide License in order to purchase or apply the product. A license is not required to purchase or apply general use type pesticides onto property that is owned, rented, or leased by the applicator. However, a COMMERCIAL APPLICATOR’S LICENSE is required to apply pesticides or any type of chemical on someone else’s property. Contact Cooperative Extension Service at 989-5380 or visit the NCSU Pesticide Safety Program website for more information.

Q: Is my timber ready to sell and who will pay the most for it?
A: Selling timber can be complicated and done only once or twice in a lifetime, which makes learning from experience very expensive. Forest and woodland owners should seek advice from professional foresters regarding selling or managing trees. Cooperative Extension can assist land and forest owners in selecting Consulting Foresters who will secure buyers for, oversee harvesting, and maximize the price received for timber sales, or provide management assistance that will increase the value and productivity of forested acreage. For more information, contact Cooperative Extension at 989-5380.

Q: What was Johnston County’s main field crop?
A: Soybeans account for the largest acreage of any field crop planted in Johnston County. Although, tobacco is the leading income producer in the county. Soybean acreage out numbers tobacco acreage 6:1.

Q: How do I remove mold and mildew from the walls in my house?
A: Clean mold and mildew growth from walls with water mixed with chlorine bleach, diluted three parts water to one-part bleach. Commercial products can also remove mildew and mold. Follow product instructions carefully. Very moldy items should be replaced. Use gloves to protect your hands, and test the solution in a spot that will not be noticeable, before cleaning a large area. What is most important is to try to determine the source of the moisture that is causing the mold or mildew. In a bathroom, check for leaks and make sure that the room is properly ventilated. Ventilation fans should be installed to remove excess moisture in the bathroom. Also, make sure that your home is properly ventilated. Be aware that your soffits and ventilation of crawl spaces are clear from plant and landscaping.

Q: How can I clean the underarm areas of shirts to remove antiperspirant build up?
A: Rub the area with undiluted liquid dishwashing detergent and launder. If the stain remains, use hydrogen peroxide.

Q: Someone is calling, asking for my personal information. Is it a scam? Who do I call to find out?
A: Consumer issues/Identity Theft: State Attorney General’s Office 1-877-5NOSCAM, 1-877-566-7226, Investments: Secretary of State Investor Protection: 1-800-688-4507, Health Insurance Medicare: Senior’ Health Insurance Information Program (SHIIP) 1-800-443-9354, If you are ever in doubt about if it is legitimate, do not give the person your personal information. It is far better to be safe than sorry.

Q: What type of grass will do best for my lawn?
A: This will depend on the type of area where it is planted and the intended use. Johnston County is located on the line between Piedmont and Coastal Plain. This location makes it difficult to name one grass that will outperform all others. In the north and west part of the county, it is possible to grow a fescue lawn with the addition of supplemental irrigation and some shade. For the rest of the county, warm season lawns such as Bermuda grass, Zoysia grass, Centipede grass and St. Augustine grass will be better suited to the sandy soils. More information on each of these lawn grasses can be found in the Carolina Lawns publication, which can be picked up at the NC Cooperative Extension office or accessed on the internet by going to and clicking on the picture of the publication on the left side of the screen.

Q: How do I take a soil sample to test my soil pH and nutrient levels?
A: When submitting a soil sample for analysis, it is recommended to take 8 to 12 cores (a cylinder of soil going straight down) six to eight inches deep and mix them together in a plastic bucket. Then place a sub-sample of the soil into one of the boxes that are available at the Johnston County Extension Center. The box only holds about 1.5 cups of soil, so any excess can be returned to any holes made while collecting the sample. A small hand trowel can be use to collect the soil cores. The boxes along with the form can be dropped off at the Extension office or mailed to the NCDA&CS Agronomic division at the address provided on the box. For more information, a publication, “A Gardener’s Guide to Soil Testing” is also available at the Cooperative Extension office.

Q: What is the government going to do to get rid of all these fire ants?
A: This may not be the most popular answer, but it is the truthful one. Fire ants are here to stay. Eradication was attempted in Texas with little or no success. Since then, it is a matter of controlling their spread. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), in an effort to slow the spread of fire ants, has set up a quarantine area with regulations on the movement of possible infested materials out of that area. The best way to control fire ants is going to be dependent on the area where they are found. Different products are labeled for different areas such as home grounds, pastures, or vegetable gardens. Bait products that the ants collect off the ground and take back to the mound are often the best method of insuring the death of the mound, but they may take a few days to a few months to fully work.

Q: Where can I get more information to help control the fire ant population?
A: There are several sites on the internet with more information on fire ant control, below are two of those sites. You may also contact the Extension Master Gardeners for more information at (919) 989-5380, Johnston Co. Fire Ant Site or NC State Fire Ant Site.

Q: What educational opportunities are offered in the area of Health & Nutrition?
A: The Johnston County Extension Center offers weight loss/maintenance classes in the Spring and Diabetes Education workshops in the Spring and the Fall. Nutrition & Physical Activity classes are offered to teachers of young children twice a year. Check our website and click on Health & Nutrition.

Q: What educational opportunities are offered in the area of food safety?
A: We offer the ServSafe Manager’s Food Certification Course three times per year. Successful completion of the course and the national certification exam with qualify participants for two additional points added to your sanitation grade when Environmental Health inspects your establishment. This course is appropriate for anyone who works in the food service industry. Home canners workshops are offered in the spring and technical support is offered throughout the year. For these workshops and other food safety information, check out our website and click on Food Safety and Processing

Q: Why is there a large group of bees outside my home, and what can I do about it?
A: The cluster of bees is called a swarm. This is a natural phenomenon, which occurs when a hive of bees is forced to leave their home for one reason or another. Generally speaking, the swarm will not harm humans or animals if left alone. The bees are searching for a new home and typically will only stay in one spot from a few hours to three days. The best advice is to leave the bees alone and call a local beekeeper to come and pick them up. You can obtain a list of local beekeepers by contacting Cooperative Extension at 919-989-5380 or email Amie Newsome at

Q: What can be done to solve the problems I am having with my pond? (Problems can include dead fish, weeds, algae, or unusual water coloration.)
A: The first step is to take water and soil samples from the pond. The samples will help determine the health of the pond, and possibly some underlying problems. Chemicals are only a short-term solution. If the major cause is not corrected then the problems will continue. Soil samples are free to NC residents. Water samples cost only $5.00 per sample. For more information, contact and Agricultural Extension Agent with the Cooperative Extension at 919-989-5380.

Q: How do farms acquire organic certification?
A: It is a long process for farmers to obtain organic certification. There are many steps in the process and growers must adhere to important precautions prior to certification. It can take up to three years to complete documentation and to ensure that soils have not been contaminated. Information on certification can be found on the NC Cooperative Extension – Chatham County Center’s website, Growing Small Farms.

County Manager:
Rick Hester
Send E-Mail
Physical Address:
Courthouse - B-206
207 E. Johnston Street
Smithfield, NC 27577
Mailing Address:
207 E Johnston St
Smithfield, NC 27577
Phone: 919-989-5100
Fax: 919-989-5416